Monday, September 27, 2010

Shaking My Bootie

The words of the day are: Aqua Zumba! I love it!!!!! As much as I enjoy my water aerobics class, I would give it up for another 2 classes of Aqua Zumba. Aqua Zumba is only offered Monday night (I can attend it!) and Tuesday & Thursday morning (I am working). It isn’t as cardio as my gym side activities, but it provides a different “high”. The adrenalin rush is awesome! Both gym side and water side get me pumped. Who would have thought physical activity (AKA exercise) would be such an important part of my life. Without my surgery none of it would have been possible and without the exercise my surgery wouldn’t be such a success! Today between my gym time, my water aerobics class and aqua Zumba I burnt 1,207 Calories. I know this because for my birthday I got a heart rate monitor (HRM). I have been wearing it during my workouts and I am amazed at how many calories I actually burn during my workouts. It is encouraging and spurs me on to work harder. I look down at the HRM and see where my heart rate is and sometimes it causes me to push myself a little more. Here is an excerpt from something I wrote this week. It will give you a glimpse into what exercise does for me.

Push it, harder, keep going, push a little more. 62, 78, 93, 112, 143, 156, 175. Easy, slow down, ease up. 160, 152, 136, 122, 118. Steady, easy, level out. Now the sweat is pouring out. It feels great to push it to the limit; to do the bike and work the cardio. The drenched shirt, the soaked hair; the droplets off the nose. The trickle rolls past the forehead onto the glasses lens, over the cheeks and down the chin. Wetness in all the cracks and crevices. The signs of a great workout.

I hope this will get some of you moving. I know there are some of you that wish to feel better and moving will provide that. I know you may not do 2 hours and 15 minutes of workout like I did today or my usual one hour and 30 minutes to one hour and 45 minutes a day. I know when you start, 5 minutes may be all you can do, but keep at it! When I started 5 minutes on the bike and 5 minutes on the ARC trainer was exhausting. Then I began adding the weight training/strength training and 15 minutes was my max. It was a slow process and each week I went longer and harder. Progress is all you need to focus on. Do what you can and increase with time! As I get bored or sluggish I add something else. I have added the row machine, the treadmill, a different floor circuit and different weight machines. I have added aqua Zumba and Pilates sometimes. Just make it fun. Explore until you find things you enjoy. It doesn’t hurt to try something at least twice and then decide. This last week I tried a “BURN” class. It is a cardio circuit class. I found I enjoyed it but didn’t get as great of a benefit from it as I do when I do the same thing on my own. On my own I work it harder and consistently. In the class you have to stop and slow down for things to be explained, so I will go it on my own and feel like I get a better workout. Last week I also tried YOGA 3 times. I decided it is not for me. It irritates me more than relaxes me. I think I can better serve myself and be more relaxed by doing my workout with the cardio machines and strength training plans. Just give something a try!

Hey, thanks for listening and sharing my enthusiasm of moving and aqua Zumba! It really is a blast! Moving more and exercising harder really does feel awesome! Besides, I take my exercise time and turn it into God & me time. We have great conversations. Well, at least I talk and He listens. I do hear Him talk to me in the songs I listen to while we are spending time together. You ought to give it a try!

"If you want to look smaller, just carry a larger purse.
Where's the luggage Department?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Beginnings

As of Sunday (12th) I am 48 years old. A new year beginning. A few years ago I felt 84 years old. Today I feel 48 thanks to gastric bypass surgery, eating healthier, although at times slipping into the old eating habits. I am exercising like I have never exercised before and loving it. I actually love to sweat! Talk about new beginnings. I can remember when exercise was a dirty 4 letter word not to be muttered on my lips or a thought to dance through my head. I couldn't do it, didn’t want to do it and refused to do it! Now I crave it! It refreshes my outlook mentally and emotionally and strengthens me physically. It gives me time with God--just Him and I. That refreshes my spirit. Talk about new beginnings and new outlooks/perspectives.

This week I started Aqua Zumba!!! Now that is for me! I loved it! It is a good cardio. No I still can’t do the arm moves with the leg moves. It is impossible to move as fast as the music due to the water resistance. Everyone struggled with that, so it wasn’t just me and my “flailing” skin. At least I didn't wipe anyone out in a "tidal wave". I sucked at hoopla hoop as a kid and my hips do NOT move independently from my knees. So the “salsa” moves with the hips are a no go for me, but I make up for it in the leg movements. No one can see you not moving the hips anyway! I am just interested in the cardio aspect and it is certainly that! I did really love it. I wish it were taught 3-4 times a week, but it isn’t unless you can make the morning class (10:45). So Monday nights are the only time I can go. There was a gal there I know and she and I laughed the whole class. If you can't laugh at yourself then life is too tough.

I also started a new floor routine I learned at the support meeting at IWLS last week. Oh my goodness, talk about a workout. It was time for me to change to a new routine. I think my body had gotten used to the weight/strength training machines routine I was doing. I had upped the weight and reps, but just didn't feel like it was working. I was getting a little sore/stretched, but just was bored with it most of the time. Anyway, I started this routine that focuses on abs, glutes, arms and legs. You do a set of exercises (Abs-7 different ones; Glutes 13; Legs 13; and Arms 7) for 45 seconds each. I made it to at least 30 seconds on most, some 45 seconds; so I will have to work up to the 45 seconds on all of them. I don't have the clock to look at so I have to remember to count to keep track of my time. Actually I have a clock, but my eye sight isn't good enough to see the second hand and exercise at the same time. A year older….. Who knows, maybe I went longer than I thought. It took me an hour to do the entire routine. Sure felt good at the end. I was tired, sweaty and felt strong. Now I am feeling the complaints from the thigh. I know tomorrow will be a screamer day for all those muscles and I will love it! I will do cardio and water aerobics to give them a rest.

Tonight I tried for the 1st time--Yoga. I had no idea what I was getting into. I was apprehensive, but excited for a new adventure. As I said, if you can't laugh at yourself! I figured if I couldn't do it, then I didn't have to return, but I just might find another outlet I enjoy. Like Aqua Zumba. I've learned through coaching with Ronda at ILWS that I should be open to new things. That is a challenge for me. I don't like to go out on a limb and face new situations and I did that tonight not knowing anyone in the class. I've done a lot of that in the last few months. I have a hard time being idle. I feel like I have to be busy all the time or I am wasting time and that drives me nuts. So Yoga being a quiet, breathing, introspective time was going to be an added challenge. I found I enjoyed the time with myself. I focused on my breathing, relaxing and communicating with God on a quiet level. I really think I will enjoy it. I will give it another try Thursday evening. I may have to by knee pads though because my knees don’t get along real well with the hard floor, even with the THIN mat between them. First I will try using a thicker mat under the thin mat. If that doesn’t work and I decide to stick with it I will buy knee pads and I think that will suffice.

My new beginnings have also centered on my "own-ness". This has centered for years around friendships. I have talked in the past about not being myself, but an extension of someone else. I have been discovering myself. I love the independence I have been feeling. The separation of self from someone else. It has allowed me room to allow my friends room. My expectations for them are so different. Sadly sometimes indifferent, but in a good way for me. I have certainly found a peace within myself. I have also grown a stronger peace within my relationship with God. That relationship I intend to continue to focus on and work on diligently.

This week I began a new season of Bible study at church. I am excited for the friendships within that group to bloom. To be able to grow in Christ in a safe situation and have some "girlfriends" to do it with. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17 I also started another long distance Bible study with a dear friend from 29 years ago. She is a friend that has come back into my life in the last 3 years. We did a study over the summer via email and phone conversations. We took a month off and started another study this week. My birthday brought a lot of "presents" as Tracy put it.

I have ventured outside of my comfort zone and taken on a new challenge this week. I have started an online writing class. I don't know much about it yet, but am excited for the challenge I hope it will provide. I want to hone my skills and funnel this inspiration God has placed in me again after many years of writer stagnation. It is a 10 week class with assignments each week and I should write daily. I'm jumping into new waters and I think I am loving it.

I have a few more goals beginning. I have some plans with steps to take to make it to the next level. Daily I will work on them. For right now I am happy where I am physically, mentally and emotionally. I am not dependant on any one person and any one person's actions or lack thereof has little influence over my feelings. That is a new concept for me. I read just recently a book by Sandi Patty "The Edge of the Divine". She wrote about the edge and defined it as "the point at which something is likely to begin." Well, a lot of things are beginning for me.

Recently I wrote something: "Life gets busy and so many things get placed on the back burner or buried in the junk drawer. That doesn't mean we don't care for the things or people laid aside for a time. Each season in life brings new and different priorities. We take care of what we have to for the here and now and pray the neglected will climb to the top of the priority list and get taken care of too at some point. My only fear is that you can't put the petals back on the roses. We just have to hope a new bloom will grow and afford us the time to nurture it. God gave us 2nd chances and I pray that will apply to relationships. I have had several in the last few years that I thought were lost forever and they have resurfaced just when I needed them most. I've had some I thought would last forever and the petals have turned to wilted silk. I have had to readjust my thinking and accept that the status quo isn't so bad. Even keel is okay sometimes. There is no such thing as forever." And I am okay with all of it.

So as my 48th year begins, so does a lot of new thinking and more beginnings in life. Watch out world "I am woman, hear me roar"! Watch me grow! It is great to be on the edge.

Live for the moments that take your breath away.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Contrasts & Perspectives

The Greatest sung by Kenny Rogers

Little boy in a baseball hat stands in the field with his ball and bat
Says, "I am the greatest player of them all"
Puts his bat on his shoulder and he tosses up his ball.
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,
Swings his bat all the way around
The world so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls to the ground.
Now the little boy doesn't say a word, picks up his ball he is undeterred.
Says, "I am the greatest that there has ever been"
And he grits his teeth and he tries again.
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,
Swings his bat all the way around
The world so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls to the ground.
He makes no excuses he shows no fear
He just closes his eyes and listens to the cheers.
Little boy he adjusts his hat, picks up his ball, stares at his bat
Says "I am the greatest when the game is on the line"
And he gives his all one last time.
And the ball goes up and the moon so bright
Swings his bat with all his might
The world's as still as still can be, the baseball falls
And that's strike three.
Now it's suppertime and his momma calls,
little boy starts home with his bat and ball.
Says, "I am the greatest, that is a fact,
But even I didn't know I could pitch like that!"
Says, "I am the greatest, that is understood,
But even I didn't know I could pitch that good!"

It is all in the perspective. With the right perspective we can continue on when it looks to the world that we have lost or failed. We are the greatest if that is how we see ourselves.

I am smaller in size and less in weight, but larger in confidence and stronger in physical strength. I can do things I haven’t been able to do in years.

I feel I am younger, yet today I am older in years.

I feel stronger, surer and larger somehow; more capable than ever before!!

Two years of “down-sizing” has left me bigger in so many ways.

Live for the moments that take your breath away.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BS/PS Hoopla

BS = Before Surgery
PS = Post Surgery

BS one lap around the edge of the lawn mowing = dying for air and extreme pain in the back. Solution = sit down and breathe!!!
PS mow the entire lawn with no pain in back and not out of breath at all. It felt so GOOD!!!!

Another blessing to add to the list of successes of surgery!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recovering Slowly

I did something not knowing I wasn’t supposed to do it. I guess you would call it a lesson learned. Wednesday the 25th I gave blood at the Red Cross Battle of the Badges blood drive. It is a yearly contest between the policemen and firemen of Salina. Each department attempts to get the most blood donations (votes are cast after blood is given). The one with the most votes is the yearly champion. It is a fun friendly competition between professions here in Salina and a way to give to the community through Red Cross blood donations. On Thursday after donating I left for a weekend in Tulsa. By Friday evening I was dragging. I walked 2-3 times more than usual and enjoyed the exercise it provided. By Saturday I was struggling. I got home Sunday dead tired. I have skid marks on my butt to prove it was dragging. Okay, maybe not that obvious. I got up on Monday at my usual 5:30am time to be at the YMCA to workout. I had missed it all weekend because our motel did not have a fitness center. I made it 15 minutes out of a 90 minute workout time. I came home and went to bed. I got up Tuesday and went to the “Y” and made it through 15 minutes again. I didn’t even attempt to work out the rest of the week. I took the time to sleep 2 extra hours each day and I went to bed an hour earlier than normal. The lesson I learned is a gastric bypass person is not supposed to give blood. Guess we don’t generate iron as efficiently as a non-gastric person. Hadn’t really thought about it before! I have since read some things by other gastrics and they were fine. All I know is I was not fine and my doctor does NOT recommend it. I’ve also read others that say not to donate. So to be safe I guess I won’t do that again. A week and a half later I am still dragging some. I have more energy than I had a week ago, but it is a slow recovery at this point. I will start back at the “Y” on Tuesday. Guess I will go slowly and build back up to speed. I just wanted to inform those who are fellow gastric to be careful. My doctor increased my iron supplement to try to build the iron back up. I hope to be back to “normal” soon—whatever normal is! As I look back at my progress in the last 2 years I realize the normal of a few years ago was to feel like 85-90 years old most days. Even with no energy I feel so much younger and healthier. Soon I will be back to feeling like the young 47.999+ I actually am.

I am feeling a little frustrated overall. I had to back off of the “Y” workouts for a little while. As you might recall I injured myself doing Zumba. My ligament seems to be healed and so I am ready to get back to it. The week before blood donation I was starting to get back to par and increasing my weights, reps and intensity. Now this setback. It isn’t the end of the world. I will just get back on the ball and balance it all again. God is good and God will be my support through it all. On Monday September 13th I plan to take Aqua Zumba class. I hope the water will allow me to take the pressure off the ligament and enjoy the fun activity I found in Zumba. I also plan to beef up my workout time and take a few other classes as well. Variety is the spice of life so they say. I am ready for some different spices in my life!! September 12th starts 2 new Bible studies and I am excited about both of them. Life needs to be more challenging and fulfilling. God will provide my needs! I just have to look to him!

"Forever is composed of nows ."
~Emily Dickinson~