Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Getting Fit

For several years now, I have not been very happy with my body.  It largely began about half-way through college, and has continued through to today.  I now have a very strong desire to change that.  I'm tired of certain clothes just not fitting quite right and having to shop for looks that help to conceal the parts of my body I'm not comfortable with.  Plus there's the extra motivation I'm receiving from my husband getting into really good shape while doing his daily workouts while deployed, and not wanting him to put me to shame when he gets home :)

Growing up, I was always on the skinnier side -- tall and thin up through when I graduated high school at almost 5'8" and around 125-130 pounds.  I was fairly active when I was younger, with some of my favorite activities being playing outside with my friends in the neighborhood... riding my bike through the street, roller blading around in my driveway, swimming in pools at neighbors' and my aunt's houses, playing hide & seek, and going on little hikes through the woods surrounding my neighborhood.  Anything that got me outside of my house and time with friends, I enjoyed.

Once I entered high school, my schedule became busier and left me with less time to spend as much time outside, however at this time I then got a job working at the local library where I shelved books.  This job kept me on my feet the entire time, where I had to move around constantly - walking, bending, kneeling, climbing - all with a stack of books in my arms (or while pushing around a 6-shelved cart loaded down with books to be filed).

Then I began college and entered the world of all-you-can-eat dining halls, late night snacks of sweets & runs to Waffle House, and of course partaking in the typical college experience of parties and the consumption of alcoholic beverages.  I had a new job that also kept me on my feet the entire time I was at work and had a hilly campus to walk across getting to and from class each day, however it wasn't enough and I slowly saw my weight creep up to 140-145 pounds.  Not anything too bad yet, but I was definitely feeling uncomfortable with my new stomach and thighs.

During my final year of college, I began dating my now-husband, and we found ourselves eating out for at least 9 out of 10 meals when we were together.  I was also very stressed in my student management position at work.  It was at this time that I also went on the pill, and quickly found myself gain another 10 pounds and got up to 155+ lbs.  I tried going to the gym on campus some during this time, but with my crazy schedule between classes, working 30-40 hours a week, and seeing my now-hubby every weekend we could, it was difficult for me to squeeze in enough time, and my twice-a-week 1 hour workouts simply didn't cut it.

Then came the summer after I graduated college.  Hubby and I had just moved in together, and both found ourselves unemployed with nothing to do for a period of about 3 months.  I was applying for full-time positions left and right, and he was busy looking for a new part-time job after moving back to my area to continue to earn some income while he returned to school in the fall.  We quickly fell in a routine of sleeping in until 11am each day, and not moving ourselves from the couch very often during the day other than to get something from the kitchen or to let Kiba outside.  During that time, I managed to put on another 25 or 30 pounds and soon found myself at the heaviest I've ever been at about 183 pounds.  I'm pretty sure my heart skipped several beats when I saw that number come up on the scale.

Thankfully August came, shortly after hubby returned to school and got back into a routine of sorts, I secured a full-time job and managed to find a routine of my own again too.  After a year of going to work each day & being a little more mobile and getting back into eating structured meals again, I had lost about 10 pounds and was in the lower 170's.  Another year of this routine, combined with taking walks most days on my lunch hour, earned me another 10 pound weight loss and I found myself hovering right around 160 pounds.

Shortly before my husband and I got married last year is when he signed his contract to join the Army, and we both decided it would be a good idea for him to work out as much as possible between that point and when he was scheduled to leave for basic at the beginning of August in order to prepare him as much as possible.  One of the gyms in our town was preparing to open a second location and was offering new membership deals for people who wanted to join, with no enrollment fee and a reduced membership rate of $29/month, so hubby and I both decided to sign up so we could go work out together, since the buddy system is always good to have when getting into a new routine.

About two weeks after we got married, the gym officially opened and we quickly got ourselves into going an average of four times a week for about two hours each day.  Between mid-April and mid-July, I had managed to knock off another 10 pounds and got down to about 150 pounds.

Once my husband left for basic, I found it to be much more difficult to continue working out, as doing anything that I usually did with him was hard for me to face without him by my side.  During that time I managed to get down to 141 pounds, however I believe much of that weight was lost during the last week or two leading up to hubby's graduation from basic, as I was so excited and nervous to see him that I could hardly eat much.  I did manage to keep that weight off after I got my appetite back... that is until Christmas rolled around.  My routine of cooking for one went back to a lot of meals out when my husband came home on leave for two weeks, and between all of the eating and celebrating that goes on at that time of year, I put that last 10 pounds back on.
Since that time, I've been sitting steady right around 151 pounds.  I had gotten back down to about 146, but then when stress hit me with this deployment, it shot right back up to 151.  My previous gym membership expired in April, and I did not wish to renew it only to have to deal with the hassle of trying to get out of the contract when we move (it was hard enough for my husband to cancel his contract when he left for basic, and they even had a military clause built in for "easy" canceling), so it's been a while since I've had a place to go to get in a good workout.

Why am I telling you all of this, you ask?  Because I want to try and get back on track, and hope that by discussing where I've been and spelling out my plan for the future on here, I'll be held more accountable for my actions.

  • Exercise: I recently purchased a voucher on one of our town's daily deal websites for a two month membership at a small local gym in the area that is open to its members 24/7 with keycard access.  They have no contracts or enrollment fees and you simply renew your membership on a month-by-month basis, so once my two months are up I am under no obligation to continue going and also have no contract to try and wiggle my way out of, which works perfect for our upcoming move.  I've been good about going so far and have been there 8 out of the 10 days my membership has been active thus far.  My goal is to make it there 5-6 days a week for at least an hour a day, getting in a variety of cardio and strength training.  I have also purchased Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD and intend on working through it every day for a month as well, alongside my gym workouts.
  • Gear: I finally invested in some good running shoes so I am now no longer working out in my New Balance toning/walking shoes and have the proper support and cushioning I need for my feet and walking/running style to support my workouts.  I cringed at the thought of spending over $100 on a pair of shoes for myself, but as soon as I worked out in them for the first time I immediately knew I had made a good investment.  I have also purchased some more shorts and sports bras so I have more clothes to workout in without having to do laundry so frequently.
  • Food & Drink: Over the last couple months I have drastically increased my water consumption in order to stay better hydrated, and am continuing my trend of getting plenty of water each day.  Water has always been my beverage of choice (even as a kid, I always preferred water to any other drink), I just wasn't every very good about drinking enough of it.  Over the last month or so I have also increased the amount of protein I am eating each day, and am now working on incorporating more fruits and veggies into my daily diet as well.

I have made note of all of my starting measurements and took beginning pictures of myself as well, but I have decided to wait to share them until I have made it to the end of my two month gym membership to reveal a final before and after of the work I have done.  I certainly want to lose some weight, but more important than the number on the scale, I want to slim down, tone up, and increase my overall strength & endurance.

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