Friday, July 18, 2014

My Fitness Journey: Staying the Course

It’s been awhile since I've written. I promised myself in beginning this that I would be inspired by SOMETHING and not just write to write. So, sometimes we settle into a routine that is not marked by unusual thoughts or circumstances. Actually, that’s a very good thing, at least it is for me.

I continue to work at my fitness program. I go to the gym and I do exercise at home also, because the orthopedic surgeon gave me some exercises to do, and while I can work them into a class when the class is doing exercises that I am FORBIDDEN (for the time being) to do, I can also just do them at home. I go to boot camps at least twice a week and have another day of “hard labor.” Haha! Then there are other days that I either just do some cardio at the gym for 30 minutes or I work my lifting in at home, because of time constraints. In all things, I MOVE! That’s the key.

It is summer and I am eating fruits and vegetables. My one medication seems to make me nauseous. I don’t know why this is, but I go in spurts. I have already changed meds and I don’t think I will again. After all, it is always temporary, so I know I’ll feel hunger again. Somehow, I always have room for a piece of cherry pie. I don’t know why that is.

The scale moves slowly BUT I can feel the changes in other places. I am not going to be graphic about this, but be assured, I know.

Stamina is still an issue. I work through this. Fundamentally, I don’t plan more than one big thing a day. There will always be housekeeping chores, and I can break them down. I am not in that place where everything has to be done on my day off! Exercise is key, but there are just some things that I don’t do. For instance, I don’t plan on traveling far, spending all day with someone, and driving home after dark. That’s too much. Going from one social event to another is too much.

Stay tuned, however. I have a road trip planned in August. We’ll call it “Thelma and Louise,” because it’s with one of my best high school and beyond friends. I have no doubt there will be stories. Most of all, I really AM looking forward to it. And I’ll probably be wonderfully exhausted.

There is much to look forward to, and I just keep on keeping on. We have a granddaughter to be born in a few months, and I don’t know how Grandma is going to wait. But wait, she will. Football season is soon upon us and the Coach’s Mom is looking forward to the fall. (By the way, the baby must not be born on a Friday. Haha!)

As I previously mentioned, there are changes going on at the gym and mostly how that affects me is in the class schedules and MY schedule. I will continue, I will continue. How I will continue is to be determined.

And you know what? Mixing it up isn't all bad, either!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Let Me Hear Your Body Talk!

As I channel my inner Olivia Newton-John, I had an experience the other day, and I would like to share this with my fellow fitness friends.

We go to the gym and we love our classes and we talk and we move to music and meet physical and social and mental needs all at once. It is wonderful.

But last week, I got another cortisone shot for my knee and the dr. wanted to send me to Physical Therapy and I said “Why do that when I go to the gym and it’s paid for already? Just tell me what to do and what NOT to do for the next few weeks!”

So I was given some specialty exercises that I can do at home, and told not to do squats and planks and pushups whatsoever, unless I could do them from my feet.


So I try to do most of my exercises at home, and when they start doing any of the above, I just do free weights in some shape or form. My arms are going to be awesome! Haha!

As I lay on the floor at home and do the leg exercises she gave me, I don’t have any music going on and I can give the task at hand my full attention. What I have come to find out is that it is very interesting to listen to my body.

We all know that we talk about the creaking of our bones and joints as we age. I am nowhere near a knee replacement although there may be arthroscopic surgery in my future, but not today. But, it’s not really the knees that I am talking about. As I quietly lay on the floor, I can listen to the pops and cracks of my pelvic bones, my lower back and to a small extent, my hips. It is interesting to focus on exactly what is going on and where.

I want to strengthen these areas for what I can, but I also am aware of where the weaknesses are, in a way I can’t hear when I've got the TV on, or listening to the upbeat music at the gym. I mean, whoever heard of a silent gym???

This may be an experiment for you to try, and it doesn't matter how “fit” you are, because this is about bones. It is not about how much meat I have on those bones. Give it a try some quiet evening, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Exercises to do? Nothing major. Slow leg lifts. Crunches. The keyword is SLOW so you CAN hear your body talk!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How Medicines Affect Weight Gain/Loss

Yesterday’s blog was a hard one to write because it’s about people. This one is hard to write because it’s just plain depressing.

I am working like a dog. I am doing an “ab challenge” to work on The Last Frontier. I am usually at the gym five days a week.

…..and the weight is creeping up, or at the very best, staying the same.

This is about the medicines that post-menopausal women have to take to keep the breast cancer AWAY! I take Arimidex because I am post-menopausal. It is my understanding that the other drug, the pre-menopausal Tamoxifin, does the same thing. So pre or post, is not really the issue.

I am eating the things I need to eat to fight cancer and I am working out and I AM getting stronger! But the scales do nothing and the clothes are tight.

This past week, I bought three pairs of capris in a larger size so that I would not look like so many people who think it is cool to be poured into their clothes. I am going to talk about clothing in another blog as it has been asked for, but for today—it’s hard to work so hard, and NOT see results.

I have to take the medicine for three to five years with one year down (!!) and I will continue to work and build strength and endurance and SURELY, when I go OFF the medicine, something will start to happen!

Seven pounds, seven ounces is more accurate.
Now, I will add this, since we are talking about the Fitness Journey and it’s a recommendation I would make that you probably are not going to see anywhere else, because it’s politically incorrect among fitness people. When I lost a full size, I dutifully got rid of clothes, except some pants that I kept because I knew that I would need a larger size to wear leggings under for football games.

I am extremely glad that I kept a few things. Now, I am not talking trendy garments, but solid staples that do not go in or out of style.

My point is this: NONE of us know when we are going to get an illness which requires medication that will put weight on! It could happen any year to any of us. Take the clothes, the good ones, and put them in a box in the basement and don’t think about them. Hopefully you never will!

I have gained 10 lbs. since my diagnosis. That is NOT horrible. I have heard ladies talk in the neighborhood of 30 lbs. gain. I am NOT there and I am going to work my a$$ off not to BE there!

And I may need to accept some things.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Changes At The Fitness Center

This is a hard blog to write. Whether we are talking about fitness, or any other subject—to a very large extent, it’s the people that make it work.

When I joined the fitness club three years ago, it just came in to work out and I knew that I needed to work a “hard” day and a “not so hard” day. I did this alone and I had results. It was only after a few months that I dared to go to a daily class which was kind of a “circuit training” within the class setting. It was Tuesday mornings and I think we had about 8-10 women there. Usually that’s about how many circuits we had too.

After a couple months of that, I tried boot camp. That kicked it up a notch; but I have never done everything like the teacher, and that was OK. My left shoulder could never hold my weight.

All was going swell until I broke my foot. I was in the middle of personal training and the club worked with me as far as my payment. They were great. After healing, I got back into things as I was able. The last thing I wanted to do was break another bone. All the ladies in boot camp and the other classes I tried were very supportive of me. I adjusted.

Then, I got cancer. Again, I received lots of support from my Facebook “friends” and the private group we had on Facebook. Again, the gym froze my membership for as long as needed. We actually had to do that twice as I really did not know what radiation was going to do to me.

In the interim period while I was busy resting and getting ready to retire, one of the trainers left the employment of the gym. As sad as I was to see her go, I realize that people have to go after a better opportunity in life. It’s part of life. I wished her well.

However, she took a BUNCH of people with her. Now, we’re all still friends, but I am staying put, because it’s so close to home and this is not a time in life I want another change going on. There was enough left that I could do, and I even started Zumba for a change! I like Zumba. It just goes too fast for my knees.

*humorous Zumba story: the teacher worked the old dance “the monkey” into the routine and of course, I could do that! She said, “You pick that up pretty good,” and I replied, “I was doing this dance before you were born!” and she’s 42!

We love our sticks!
We started another new thing called “PoundFit©” which is ONLY 45 minutes long and for that you are grateful. While it seems simple, playing with weighted drum sticks, it is work! Google it. I found one source that said if you did everything perfectly—which of course I was not—you were doing 15,000 repetitions! No.wonder.we.were.all.tired.

However, the only trainer that was trained in this program also decided to leave. There was no angst, but she couldn't make a living under the business model that was being used. Classes were being cut and she made money with her classes.

Now, people are really getting upset. We like the classes. Women LIKE companionship. While certainly there is comparison (at least there is for me), there is also support and people watching out for each other.

So right now, everything is up in the air and women are unhappy because they like their schedules. We NEED our schedules, because even as a non-working woman, there are things I do on certain days. My kids are GONE, for heaven’s sake. These other women need structure! We want our classes.

I continue to go almost every day and do something, but there is another problem I am having right now and we’ll discuss that tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Summer (Fall, Winter, Spring) of Our Discontent

I've never had a blog post inspired by a comic strip, but I guess there’s a first time for everything! Right at this present moment, I haven’t been spending much because we don’t need anything, and as I mentioned before, we are in graduation season. If you thought this would end when your kids graduated, think again. It goes on forever in families that have overlapping generations. I am full of gratitude that we have these rich relationships with which to celebrate the milestones!

So today’s topic is how we are bombarded with advertisements telling us how we should be, look, act and how our houses should look. We need to do more of whatever it is, and we need to buy THEIR product! More, more, more! I think Calvin’s dad says it best:

“Why do I get the feeling that society is trying to make us feel discontented with everything we do and insecure about who we are?”

Every day I get two or three catalogs to stores I would shop online if I were purchasing. And of course, I get the emails too. I don’t mind the emails. I do shop these stores, when I shop—and yes, I combine deals, etc. etc. I can opt out of the emails and I DO NOT do that, because at some level I am interested in their products. Also, these stores sell my name to other stores. Actually, sometimes they are interesting and basic awareness of something is not a sin. You never know when you need to recall that information.

I was a part of fundraising and I understand the Annual Fund campaigns. I know what they do and am fully aware that many organizations would go under without donations. It is up to us as a couple to decide how we want to give our money away. I’m glad I have my husband. I would give to everyone! That is another situation where we have to look at the whole picture and decide where we want to give. This past April we gave to environmental causes from our tax refund. Next year, it’s MY turn and we donate to history causes.

But we have chosen simplicity and we are not ashamed of that. I like to look my best, but I don’t need people telling me about every new thing. Some of my favorite products are Noxzema and Aqua Net! Helloooooo, Grandma!!!! I manage on very little, but I assure you I am not into mixing my own concoctions.

I am really thankful that we can tape shows and fast forward through the commercials. At least we can remove THAT from our lives. Really, though; advertisement is all around us and it bombards us every day. We have to conscientiously CHOOSE to say to ourselves, “We don’t need that.” Or perhaps, “Maybe someday we will, file that idea for future reference.”

Our kids are out of the house, but I still like Calvin in the last frame. Ten minutes ago I didn't even KNOW I needed that!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Finding Decent Clothes for Middle-Aged Women

Today we are going to talk about finding decent clothes for women of our age. In our world, we are told “60 is the new 40,” so we are not ready for “old lady clothes” yet; but there is nothing more disgusting than a 60-year-old trying to dress like a teenager. I don’t care what a great bod you have, it doesn't work.

I do not claim to have all the answers. Comments are certainly welcome.

The first thing is the body type of the woman. Whatever we choose, we don’t want to draw attention to the parts of the body that are not our best asset. I personally have always been attracted to clothes that draw the eye up to meet the eye of the other person. I guess it’s a “connection” thing.

The second thing is the coloring of the person. (Come to think of it; maybe it’s the first thing) Know what your coloring is and stick to what looks best on you. There are dozens of “color” sites as to what to wear; but I think the simplest question to ask yourself is what color are the favorite items in your closet TODAY? Back in the day when I first asked myself this; I was working, it was BK and I loved a hunter green dress and a burgundy red dress. For me, deep colors work. Being a little overweight, black and navy is always good!

The third thing, the most difficult, is the styles of clothing. It’s an abomination. The “Baby Boomers” have supposedly got all this money to spend and none of the styles are geared toward them. I’m not going off on a tangent on the obesity of our nation, but honestly; big huge prints on women who were affected by gravity some time ago?

I have mentioned the slacks styles previously. The actual style of the pant pushes the “muffin top” up out of your pants and into your already ample abdomen. In able to look decent, you’d have to wear (what we think of) as maternity tops. And for heaven’s sake, don’t get me started on most maternity clothes—my daughter being the exception, and I am so proud of her for wearing decent clothes.

Since I am talking about my daughter; I can remember some discussions that we had about clothing when she was a teen. I always said to her, “What message does this outfit send?” We can ask ourselves the same question today.

  • I think I’m sexy because I am poured into a size too small.
  • I want to look cool at all costs. I want to be noticed. (Oh believe me, you WILL!)

  • I want to look nice, but natural (maybe we insert the word comfortable here).
  • I want to show that I respect myself, my partner, my children.
  • I want to dress appropriately for whatever the occasion is.

This is kind of interesting!
The fourth thing is where I need help. What brands of clothing lend themselves to making a middle-aged woman look nice, but not overdone or underdone? What brands FIT? I know I stick with my LLBean and most are solid colors that I accessorize with scarves. I don’t care for prints next to my face, but will wear a printed blouse as a “jacket” over a t-shirt.

I know Coldwater Creek is very nice. I've
worn many Sag Harbor garments over the years. What else do you find that works?


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finding Out Who I Really Am!

I follow some of my favorite vocalists on Facebook and one day I saw a photo that was taken the same day as a photo many of you are familiar with. This photo was taken with the artist and her two daughters and was just adorable, but it didn't make the album cover.

And it was then I thought, yeah….that’s me. Earthy, above all, a mom, a natural woman.

I do like my jeans and t-shirts (or sweatshirts). While I do like sandals, my feet are better suited to gym shoes and always have been, since wearing corrective shoes at age 5-6. I’ll be honest, as I've aged, makeup is more important to me, and I like having my hair a COLOR that is not gray. Only my hairdresser knows for sure, she mixes the concoction and if anything happens to her, I’m in deep trouble!

As I've aged, I have learned to like accessories with my basics. I’m not a jewelry collector, but I do like a little jewelry. I like scarves, but even in those, I am pretty simple. Most importantly, I do like to look appropriate for an occasion, but for me and my house, it’s the jeans and t-shirts.

At sixty years of age.

"Tapestry" debuted in April 1971.
Like many of my contemporaries, I came of age when Carole King released her album “Tapestry.” Although I never pretended to BE Carole King, her impact on me was much bigger than I ever knew. I never played the piano well, but her “style” fit me. I was a natural woman and I wanted a man who made me FEEL like a “natural woman.”

I also came of age during the Mary Tyler Moore Show and knew that as a “liberated woman” I would work and have a professional life. At least I believed that. Later, as I came to mature, I realized that was NOT me, and I was the most homebody of homebodies, once again counter-cultural. While my children were not everything in my life, I enjoyed raising them. I enjoyed music in our home. I enjoyed reading and I enjoyed history. (Actually, very little of that was passed on as I raised two athletes. I enjoyed sporting events!)

When my daughter was 15, I bought my first “CD.” It was "Tapestry." I was in the kitchen with my daughter and her BFF from church, and I was dancing the way we used to dance to “I Feel the Earth Move” and I had two girls doubled over in laughter! It was pretty funny, but I still had it.

So I have marched through all these stages of life referenced in the previous blog entry and here I am, back to jeans and t-shirts. And exercise clothes. I assure you, I attend church, weddings and funerals in appropriate dress. After all, I am “mature.”

I am still frustrated with losing weight, but once I lose another size, I will have four pairs of jeans and several corduroy pants also. And I’ll finally be “me.”