Category Archives: exercise

Hitting another milestone!

30-lbs-30So, at today’s weigh-in I am officially down exactly 30 lbs. That was one of my milestones. Another milestone I hit last week was getting into the 170′s… Yay me!

This has been a slow journey for sure – 6 months to lose 30 lbs which averages out to only 5 lbs a month – but as I looked back at my weekly weight loss journal, I have lost weight practically every single week, even if it was just 0.2 lbs. What’s weird is since it hasn’t been drastic, it’s hard for me to physically see it on me – especially my face. I still feel like I look the same. I do get a few comments here and there but again, it’s been gradual and that’s OK.

Where I *am* noticing it is in my clothing. At my largest I was wearing 18 in pants, squeezing into some 16s. It was also hard to find those sizes and have them look consistently good on me. Nowadays I can try on a size 14 and it does consistently look good on me. They are not tight (some are even loose now) and I have even been able to buy a couple of 12s (still a tad tight & wearable but I anticipate they will fit fine within a month). I used to wear Large or even XL shirts (especially button down shirts) but now I have found that some Larges are too big. This past weekend I was even able to get a Medium in one of the shirts! Needless to say, shopping has become a little easier and clothes just fits me better than it used to at larger sizes. There are more options at size 12-14 including wearing skinny legged jeans and pants for the 1st time in my life and actually looking cute in them!

Besides sticking with the Paleo-Dairy diet, I do continue to go to Pilates twice a week. I feel good in class and can do the exercises confidently. I really enjoy the class atmosphere and my instructor and have increased my spring tensions on several of the exercises as I’ve gotten stronger. Since I won’t be able to go to class for 2 weeks while we are in Spain, I’ve asked my instructor to design a 15-20 minute routine I can do without equipment at our Airbnb. I’ll have a personal training session with her next week to see what she put together. I think we may use resistance bands in the routine since those are very easily packable and won’t take any space. I’ll share what I learn for those interested.

Well, thanks for reading this week and good luck on your wellness journey, whatever it may be!

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Additional Pilates Thoughts

So I’ve been going to Pilates twice a week now since the 1st week in July and have only missed a week due to our Las Vegas trip. The classes fit well into my schedule, the studio is perfectly located halfway between work and home and I really love my instructor. All of these factors have made it easy to keep a twice a week schedule. The exercises and stretches challenge me enough that I do feel that I am getting stronger (I have been able to increase my spring tension on several exercises) and more balanced (I got rid of the stick during balance work – see pic below with the green top) while not making me dread going to class and becoming miserable halfway though a routine (like Zumba was doing for me). It is not cardio, I know, and I need to add a more active activity but for now, Pilates is the right fit. I am also not using it as part of my weight loss plan but more of just a keeping my core muscles in some sort of shape.

So what do we do in Pilates? Well, we use the Reformer machines that uses springs and a moving platform to do a myriad of exercises that work our core muscles (arms, legs, back, stomach) as well as our balance and flexibility. The exercises also help make you more limber and loosens your muscles.  Pilates is not about trying to stay on beat or keep up with a class full of better coordinated people.  It’s not cardio exercise nor will it really bulk your muscles up. And unlike a gym where you move from machine to machine, in Pilates you stay on one machine that is incredibly versatile and each of us can do the same exercises but at our pace at the tension appropriate for our strength. As you get stronger and more balanced you can modify the exercise (like adding a leg lift) to increase the challenge.  This allows for both experienced and beginners to work out side by side without slowing anyone down or making you feel pressured to go beyond your abilities and hurt yourself. Finally, Pilates is not about lots of repetitions. Each exercise is only done 4, 6 or 10 times (depending on your level). So you can quickly move through exercises.

A few more thoughts…

  • I really like that my class only has 6 machines. It keeps it intimate and my instructor can watch each of our progress and offer adjustments and corrections for each of us as needed.
  • Along those lines, my instructor is really good at knowing our abilities. She asks if we had any particularly sore parts or issues and will adjust your routine accordingly. She also increases your spring tension or tells you to do more reps as she sees you make progress.
  • We do core exercises each class but my instructor changes it up so we don’t do the exact same routine every week. Every few class sessions she shows us something new (at least to me) so it stops it from getting old. And as I said above, as you get stronger she adds new elements in to up the challenge for you.
  • Due to the set-up, the room is dimly lit which is rather relaxing.
  • This is the first exercise class where I don’t look up to see how many minutes there are left. I may glance at my watch only once if at all.
  • Since it’s not cardio, you don’t work up a terrible sweat. I do walk about a bit spent and I really feel it in my muscles, but I am not miserably sore the next day.

In conclusion, I think I finally found an exercise I can see myself sticking to in the long-term!

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This was my 1st attempt at doing balance work without the balance stick. The platform I am on is on springs and moves back and forth.

     imageWe use the straps to do both arm and leg work.

Trying out Pilates

I hate exercise. I am jealous of those who enjoy it or at the very least, feel invigorated after a workout or any physical activity. I feel the opposite. I feel drained and usually hungrier than ever! Still, I know it’s a necessary evil. Every study out there shows we must remain active to stay healthy as we get older.

In the past I’ve tried various things – more recently bike riding (often too hot or too rainy to ride) and Zumba (I have become too uncoordinated and the routines were complicated, I was getting flustered).  We have a treadmill in our bedroom and I have also gotten on it and walked a few miles while watching TV. But, I never stuck with anything and I know I needed to do something. I tried to do a small workout on the machines at the gym (with some guidance from a friend who is a personal trainer)  but the gym experience was not for me. People hog the machines I needed and I was just not comfortable.

Over the years I had read about Pilates and was interested in the concept – it seemed up my alley. It is low-impact with a focus on core strength and balance and flexibility. The gym I had a membership to though does not offer it and the friend who helped me above, who is a certified Pilates instructor, was way too far of a drive for me. I put the thought aside… until I went to lunch with a friend recently and he mentioned that he had taken some Pilates classes just down the street from my home and office. I called, met the instructor, liked what she had to offer and have signed up for classes twice a week. Her gym is what I was looking for – it is small and intimate with only six machines (they are called Reformers, you can see the pic below). The small class size lets the instructor personalize the workout for each person. While we may all be doing the same exercise, we are doing it at different spring tensions, with or without a box on the machine, each doing the number of reps appropriate for our level.

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I am not doing it for weight loss (that is what the change in diet is for) but rather to try to build some strength again. I know I will need to get some cardio in at some point but I’m not worrying about that just quite yet. Maybe when I am ready I will get back to the treadmill or convince my husband to join me at the gym for some laps in the pool.

I have been to five classes and I do find myself slightly sore but never so sore that I am pain the next day. And the hour class seems to go by quickly. I usually am looking at the clock every ten minutes during any other type of exercise but in Pilates I may only glance at it once. I am glad I found this place less than 2 miles from my home and from my office so I have no excuse since it is literally on my way home from work!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

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