Posts Tagged ‘health’

I have a story

April 3, 2012

I was thinking the other day that I haven’t updated where I am in the whole working out process. If I were you, I’d think that I’d fallen off the wagon and given up for good! (Believe me, I’ve considered it!) The fact that I don’t blog about my workouts would lead you to believe that I’m just hoping you forgot that I used to! Thankfully that isn’t the case. My life, my health and mental well-being depend on working out. (darn-it-all)

You see, I floundered around for a few months after my trainer, Nick, died. Then my brother died of a heart attack. Then my other brother was hospitalized with heart problems eventuating with open-heart surgery. Started me thinking about my own heart health.

Christmas was right around the corner and I continued half-heartedly working out…until I had surgery requiring six weeks off. I loved the excuse to not work out! But, I lost much of the progress I’d made.

I was discouraged with my lack of discipline and with my body, but my husband wasn’t going to let me slip into an emotional abyss! He knows all the signs. We’ve been married nearly 30 years! He found me a new trainer pronto and I started back up in January. It’s amazing how a good workout can change one’s mindset! (It’s supposed to change your body too, but mine is particularly stubborn!)

I made the huge transition from private training to a much more public venue – Lifetime Fitness. I had to hoist my big-girl panties and just decide I wanted it bad enough to deal with the possibility of being watched. I can’t let myself look in the mirror at the gym as it’s too rudely honest. My imagination sees me as 30 pounds lighter and 20 years younger! I’ll keep my eyes averted and let my imagination run with it!

I just go where my trainer takes me and do what my trainer says to do and give it my all and hope that a middle aged, not-stick-thin mother of two, two-time breast cancer survivor can somehow inspire someone to hang in there just like me! I know I’m probably a sight to see!

So, here I am, three months along in the process with my new trainer. He’s excellent, by the way. I know I’d see more progress if I could get all my cardio in each week, but I have these pesky little nuisances called injuries to deal with! (And what is up with that?! I turn 50 and start falling apart?!)

A shoulder that snaps and clicks loudly and with searing pain. (It’s improving finally, in case you’re wondering.)  A foot that has such bad bunions that just walking without a limp is a feat. (pun) Can you hear the violins playing as I waaaaaaaaah?! And yes, the doc wants me to have surgery . . . not if I can help it for as long as I can manage!

I told my trainer the other day, if this is as good as it gets, being half a century old and needing a 50,000 mile overhaul, by golly, I’m keeping at it! The only alternative is quitting and that won’t help me one bit! In three months’ time, I’ve lost only 3 pounds! I can guarantee that if I didn’t work out, I’d gain a lot more than three! He’s still young. He just grins a confused grin. Someday perhaps he’ll listen with enlightened understanding. =)

The deal is this. Every time I go to the gym I need a reality check. I need to remind myself that I work out because I feel better emotionally; I feel stronger physically and I usually sleep better.I work out to become healthier, not because it will make me something I am not – young and svelte!  It’s always good to remind myself of this lest I get discouraged!

You’d think that by the time any person turned 50, they’d know themselves well enough to not be pestered by the same trivialities that pestered them their whole life? Well, apparently not. The temptation is still there to judge myself harshly and compete with and compare to others and come out the loser. At least I’ve learned not to give in to it. The temptation is always there, but I throw it aside.

Something I have come to grips with is that these things will still dog me, but my value isn’t based on my appearance. Maybe to some people, but not anyone who loves me.

I have a story. There’s history hidden beneath this skin! I have purpose. I have people in my life who love me and count on me. They’d miss me if I were gone. They’re just glad to have me around, and don’t care if I’m buff or tan or young or svelte.

If someone only sees me and makes a value judgement based on what they see, they’ve missed the biggest and best part of who I am! Besides, I don’t really think all that many people are even looking! They’re all too worried that someone is looking at them!

What’s your story?

Bridal-shower-Barbie-doll

April 20, 2011

Saturday I had the privilege of hosting a bridal shower for my namesake niece. She’s absolutely precious and beautiful inside and out. I had a great time and it appeared that she did as well!

That afternoon, I was looking through the pictures and was taken aback in dismay. The reason being, the way I looked in them! (Quite selfish and narcissistic I know, but I’m being honest.) My thought process was something like this . . . ‘Ohmygosh, I look awful! You mean to tell me that I’ve been working out for 16 months and I still look this big?!’ Then, ‘I definitely shouldn’t have worn that sweater…makes my arms look like a sumo wrestler! Wear dark colors, Kris, dark colors!’

I have to say that I hit the wall of discouragement. I’ve been ‘bustin it’ and really trying hard and I still look like I need to go hire a personal trainer! Oh, wait, I already did, 16 months ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then my thoughts went this direction . . . ‘So if I look like this now, after all this work, how awful must have I looked all those years prior? Les, you let me out of the house looking like a train wreck?!

Then I remembered (because my kind, loving, wise husband has reminded me of this hundreds of times) that I’ve been through several years of hell-on-earth and I reminded myself that I barely survived and whatdidIexpectanyway?! I’m alive. I’m happily married, to my very best friend. I’ve got two amazing-fantastic-incredible kids! What does it matter anyway that I don’t have a Barbie-doll body? And who set that up as the [insert expletive here] standard in the first place?! And why do I feel like I have to continue to explain to my imaginary audience (all skinny women of course) why I don’t measure up?!

You see, if you’re anything like me, you’re busy living life, going and doing and loving, and don’t really take the time to worry about such ‘petty matters.’ Then you get in a room full of women and the temptation to play the comparison game presses in. Well, I chose not to even think about any of that, after all, I’ve been working out and am feeling better than ever!

But, there were three women there, in particular, who looked like a million bucks. (They also had bodies, like Barbie, that I’ve been longing to look like and working at becoming on and off for basically my entire life.) I noticed them. Who wouldn’t have? They were not only lovely to behold, they were loads of fun to be around! They enjoyed a friendship with one another that was special to observe and fun to be included in for the moments we were together.

Then I got home and looked at the pics. Down, down, down my spirits went. After all, it is women like these I have striven all my life to look like. And now, it’s a proven fact (the pictures show it) that I am not that, and most likely shall never be. And should this desire to be like Barbie continue to be a lifelong goal of mine? I’m not thinking so. It is not a worthwhile or noble goal (for me) to spend the amount of time and energy it would take to get to that place. Not that I should give up working out, but working out to look like a certain body type that isn’t mine, therefore it isn’t even realistic for me. Unless I worked out hours a day, daily for years to get down to almost zero body fat, I’d still need surgery on my rounder parts! I don’t think it could ever be a practical reality. And then there’s the problem, how would I maintain that?  Is it worth giving up much of the living of life in order to look a certain way? (I don’t even see myself most of the time, it’s for others that I’m trying to look that way, if I’m really being honest. Although I do have this imaginary idea of how glorious it must be to pull up a pair of jeans and not have them tight at the hips and bagged out at the waist. Ahhhhhhhh, it must feel fabulous!)

So, as I furiously picked up around the house (my therapy for dealing with difficult emotions) I worked out my solution. I went downstairs and sat near my husband and verbalized it as such:

“I’m not going to deny myself for the rest of my life to be something I can never be.”

He repeated it back to me with an addendum: “I’m not going to deny myself for the rest of my life to be something I can never be (…nor was I ever meant to be.) Hmmmm. He’s right. [insert another expletive!]

Now, I don’t want any of you to think that my trainers have failed me. I could never have gotten where I am without them. Nor am I giving up and throwing in the towel. Although, if you’d have watched me eat these last few days, you might have thought so! I’ve been eating cookies and Easter candy and chicken pot pie and all sorts of things in quantities that don’t match my fitness plan! It’s not very wise therapy, but it is yummy! But now that I’ve comforted my hurting emotions in an unhealthy way, it’s time to get back on the wagon and pump some iron and burn those calories! It’s time to get back to work, not to continue to chase after an illusive pipe dream, but to maintain my health and facilitate the accomplishment of my goals. What are they, anyway?

I need to take a good look at my reasons for working out and trying to lose weight as well as the motives behind them.

1. I want to look good for my husband. He loves the way I look. He’s not pressuring me to be Barbie.

2. I want to be strong and healthy. I’m there and am growing in strength week by week!

3. I want to be around to enjoy my grandkids someday, to be able to play with them, not just look at them.

4. I want to look like Barbie so that I can feel good about myself, look fabulous in my clothes and be happier! (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ [alarm sound] Warning! Warning! That is a motive I need to ditch! It isn’t even true!)

I’m in this marathon (darn it, it is a marathon, not a sprint) to attain good health and to become my very best (not someone else’s) for my family and for myself. I need to train myself to enjoy the body God gave me, not to strive for achieving (or coveting) the one He’s given my neighbor.

(These are my personal and intimate thoughts from my own bumpy, rambling process. Please don’t feel badly for me or have the impression that I’m needing you to write and tell me how fabulous you think I look. You may be tempted to judge me or condemn me for my lack of spiritual maturity, and that’s ok. I’m just sharing with you, vulnerably, the inside workings of my mind and heart as they relate to the never-ending struggle with/fight against comparison, body-image, cultural values and longing.)

It would be so much simpler and far more enjoyable if I would just revel in who God made me to be. As I think about it, this is so like the issue in the Garden of Eden. I want that instead of what God said I could have. I don’t want to act that way! I want to choose contentment as I strive for good stewardship of my one and only body.

God, here I go again, comparing, longing for something that I don’t have and totally getting myself off track. Thank you for keeping me alive through a horrendous double-wide ride through cancer-hell. Thank you for keeping my marriage and family strong through trying times. Thank you for health and friends and strength to enjoy each day you’ve given me. Please help my blog-reader friends to learn and grow in this area as well, to delight in your creativity as you’ve made us all, differently, in Your image. Amen.

week five

February 9, 2010

Well, for anyone who’s following my progress as I pursue a healthier life, I’ve now entered my fifth week of being accountable to a personal trainer! Woo – hoo!  I’m not sure I’ve consistently exercised for four weeks ever in my life, except in college where it was required to graduate! So, that being the case, this is cause for great rejoicing! (Okay, so that was a little exaggerated, but it’s been 10 years since being this consistent. It feels great!)

Yesterday I went in and Ashley worked me over good! She’s always very encouraging, and even though I may feel like a mammoth middle-aged matron, she never makes me feel that way! She’s always saying things like, “Great job! Awesome! Way to go!” I can tell she’s genuinely meaning it, too.

I was doing my cardio (gotta love the lingo!) on the treadmill afterward (like a good athlete-in-training) and feeling pretty proud of myself that I was reaping the benefits from walking regularly while on vacation as I wasn’t huffing and puffing nearly as much as before! I was feeling stronger and was even able to run a few minutes at a time, a couple of times which may not seem like a big deal, but I’m not ashamed to admit my small beginnings! (I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t have had the same success on the eliptical machine, that thing’s killer! But that day will come!I will master it!)

While I was panting in rhythm to my steps, Nick, the boss/trainer came over to chat. It’s a little trick he does to see how hard I’m working! Am I talking with ease? Not working hard enough. Am I gasping for air and unable to utter a word? Probably working it just a wee bit too much! I was in that happy middle.

Nick asked about my vacation, and complimented me on my Baja tan, then got down to business in a friendly sort of way. (He’s supposed to – that’s why I’m going to him!)  How did I do with my cardio while I was away? (great!) Did I do any weights? (oops, nope) How ’bout the eating? Did I stay pretty well within the 3 small meals and 2 snacks per day routine? I happily replied, “I did!” (pant, pant)

As I trotted along  (plodding actually, but in my heart I was trotting!) I told Nick that I’ve never been so pleased with working out! Ever! I actually enjoy it! Look forward to it! It’s a marvel! It’s nearly a miracle!

So, these next few weeks I’m trusting I’ll be seeing some fruit from my workout labor. I’m definitely feeling results! I’ve got more energy and I’m sleeping better. I’ve already cinched my belt in a notch and my clothes aren’t so tight. (I’m not looking at a scale; it’s not about weight. It’s about being healthy and getting more fit, remember?) All these are encouraging things. Little strides are worth celebrating!

I’ve found that calorieking.com is a very helpful site to keep me informed about food choices. Check it out! And if you’re interested in meeting with Nick at Fitness Together, here’s his information. Just tell him Kris sent you!       402-932-5346        nickryan@fitnesstogether.com           www.ftomaha.com

week three

January 26, 2010

I figured maybe you were wondering how the whole physical trainer thing is working out! (I love it when I accidentally stumble into a pun!)

To stay accountable and be forthright with you, I thought I’d better write an update on my third week. (So you know I’m doing the work! Just like Bob, “I’m doin’ the work! I’m taking baby steps!”)

I’ve had 5 sessions with my trainer. I have to admit that I love going each time! I certainly didn’t anticipate that, so I’m pleasantly surprised!  I’m seeing changes already and feeling stronger and more energized and encouraged! (I also feel deeply sore and get very sleepy earlier at night, but I can deal with that! Yawn.)

The soreness is the main thing. My trainer switches things up each time, presumably so I don’t get bored, but it could also be that she wants me to work different muscles, which means I’m always sore someplace, or it could be that she just wants to hurt me!

The day I did all those lunges and squats I had no idea what was ahead! Now I do!

Today I did what felt like a billion squats. By the time we were done with the workout, I not only was feeling the burn, I was feeling the shakes, and my legs were wobbly like jello! That means that tomorrow morning when I get out of bed and go downstairs, my legs will be tempted to do whatever they feel like, not what my brain is pleading with them to do.

Do you remember those little wooden puppet toys with the button underneath? You push up on the button and the little toy crumples down to the base? The diminutive figure has something like fishing line holding all his pieces together, and when you push the button, it loosens the line and all the pieces fall. I had one that was Pinocchio when I was young and received endless satisfaction pressing the button and watching him fall to pieces and when I’d release the button, up he’d pop, standing taught and erect once again.

That’s the way I feel after a day of working my legs hard. (The falling down part.) Now as I descend the stairs, a slow fear creeps into my mind, like fog rolling into a gully,  that whatever little cords are holding me together could just give out and cause me to crumple to the floor! Or as I’m running on the treadmill, a wee question will waft into my head . . . “What if my legs just give out without any warning?”. . . and I continue pacing along, hoping that my legs will continue to carry me, ready to grasp the hand rails if necessary!

Other than that, I feel great! Really! Yawn. It helped that today was sunny and bright. That always makes such a significant difference in a day! Yawn…

Well, I’m starting to fade, and I need to make it up two flights of stairs to get to bed. I’m just so glad someone invented hand rails!