08 April 2010

Things I'm Doing - Fit By Forty: Week 1

This space is where I hold myself accountable in my Fit by Forty efforts. I originally intended to post here weekly when I first started on March 1st, but... Well, it kind of got away from me. So I'll do a few posts to catch up in the next few days and then carry on with a weekly update.

For background on my Fit by Forty quest, click here.  And here is where I spelled out the ground rules.

Week 1 - The Unkindest Week of All

The first week was definitely the hardest. Although I was resolved to take real action to get healthy, my weight was at its highest while my morale was at its lowest. My clothing was all fitting too small, my cardiovascular condition was so bad that exercise was a struggle, and my muscles, unused to the exertion, screamed in agony for days after every workout. And for the first few days, as I cut my food intake back to healthy levels (fear not - no starvation diet for me; I love food way too much) I was hungry all the time, even though I was getting more than adequate calories.

I think we all know what healthy eating is. It's no secret that fresh vegetables, whole grains, and food that doesn't come in a crinkly package are healthier than frozen pizza, fast food, and consuming your own body weight in ice cream daily. So I filled the fridge with salad greens and fresh vegetables, and really started to opt for healthier choices every time I had something to eat. For the first time in a long time, I started really paying attention to what I ate, and most importantly: how much. 

I had been eating a lot. A lot more than I thought. Working from home, I got into the habit of snacking all day long without realizing it. I'd been eating too large portions at meals, and having seconds (and thirds - hey, I'm a good cook!), and finishing whatever was left on The Imp's plate too. And eating ice cream almost every night before bed. No wonder I was feeling unhealthy.

I eat as much as I want - I've just made some changes to what I'm eating. Way more vegetables, less protein, less processed sugar, less fat. I'm not depriving myself; I have real butter on my toast every morning. (I hate margarine.) I did cut out the daily giant hot chocolate to start the day and instead drink a fruit smoothie. And I've eliminated all the pop and juice I'd been drinking all day and drink water and unsweetened herbal tea instead.

Best change:
Limiting portions to reasonable amounts. Within a couple of days, my body adjusted to the new intake levels, and I had way more energy than I'd had before.

Fuck me, but that first week was hard.

Aching muscles, joints unused to exercise... I ate Advil every eight hours. I coughed up unlovely chunks of phlegm. I did the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels - for one day. I got on the bike and had to hop off to push it up hills. I took the stairs up to the 21st floor and collapsed wheezing in the living room. But I got some exercise every day.

I know me. I am the master procrastinator and I can justify anything. (Being an alcoholic makes you really really good at the justification game.) Every night for the last year or more, I've thought to myself, "Tomorrow I should get up early and do a workout before The Imp wakes up." Every morning I found a reason not to. But I also have an iron will when I choose to use it, so I knew that if I could just get through this first week, I'd be on my way. I reverted back to the "one day at a time" mentality that got me through when I stopped drinking all those years ago, and just made it happen.

Best change:
Using my bicycle more and more as my main mode of transportation. Biking with The Imp to daycare in the mornings allows me to build exercise into my daily routine. I don't have to "find time" to exercise. I just use the bicycle instead of the car. Time from the apartment to daycare in a car: about 6 minutes. Time on a bicycle: was about 12 minutes, what with all the hopping off & pushing up hills. Six weeks in, it's down to about 8 minutes.

And now, for the numbers:
Starting weight: 149 lbs
Week 1 weight loss: 3.5 lbs (!!!)
New weight: 145.5 lbs

Anyone else out there working to get into shape? What were some of the changes you first made? How did you feel about them?


  1. Smoothies really are the best. I have a hardcore caffiene addiction and I'm trying to always order a smoothie instead in the afternoon (i won't give up the am coffee now way, no how!),

    My personal approach to fitness has always been love nature, love being outside, and walk or bike to where you need to go.

    Go Lexi!

  2. Go Go Go Lexi! Just this morning, I've decided that I'll need to take action for my health... after the bambina arrives in a few months.