Today, I hit the 25 pound lost mark. Here’s what I’ve learned.

25 pounds.  A sack or taters.  Or a medium sized dog.  Or a really big cat, but that’s what I’ve lost so far.

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I’ve learned a few things.  I surprised myself by really enjoying lifting/weight training at the gym…BUT…the treadmill or stationary bike?  They are just torture to me.  I’ve given them a good, hard, try, but I just can’t do it.  Luckily, the weather has been pretty decent for me to do outdoor activities.  When the weather has been crappy, I’ve been walking at the mall.  Yep, I’ve turned into a senior citizen mall walker.  It just makes me feel like I’m going somewhere, even if it is just around and around the mall.  I suspect when winter gets here, I’ll do a LOT of walking at the mall.

I’ve learned I’m not drinking NEARLY enough water.  And, honestly, it’s a struggle for me.  I gave up diet pop some time ago, but replacing it with water is proving more difficult than I thought it might.  I’ll keep trying, but it’s a struggle.

And, I’ve learned just how much time I spent setting.  I’ve made it my goal to get up and DO something every hour…walk around the block, pull some weeds, SOMETHING to keep active.

So, just a few random thoughts about my first 25 pounds.  Here’s to the next 25!

Central Park, Carmel, Indiana.

In my quest to become more healthy, I’m doing a lot of walking.  It’s a great, low impact exercise for those of us with joint issues, and, it’s fun.  You don’t cover as much ground as you do with bicycling, of course, but it’s a great way to slow down and enjoy the scenery while enjoying the exercise.

Central Park in Carmel, Indiana, is less than a mile from my house.  It’s a huge complex, with a large lake, a wetlands, wonderful hiking trails through the woods, a bicycling trail, and more.

When I walk there, I usually walk the trails in the woods,   but yesterday we got quite a bit of rain, so I chose to walk the paved path that goes around the lake.  One loop around the lake is just over a mile.

The lake covers a few acres, and is a birdwatchers paradise.  While walking, I’ve seen the common birds…mallard ducks, Canada geese, robins, sparrows, and the like.  A little rarer, but still common, I’ve seen red wing blackbirds,  several kinds of hawks, grebes, bluebirds, and more.  Shorebirds are fairly common, with the great blue heron being the most commonly spotted.

If you’ve not visited Central Park, give it a try.  A great place for outdoor activity.  I’ll leave you with just a couple of pictures.

 

Two weeks in with the FitBit

 

As with any piece of technology, there is a bit of a learning curve, and it takes some getting used to.  There are a number of tweaks one can do to make it most useful to you personally.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite useful right out of the box, but I’ve been tweaking and have been pretty happy with it.

There are, or course, somethings that work VERY well, and some that either I’ve not tweaked enough, or just aren’t going to be that useful for me.

The useful:  Step Tracker, although it’s a mixed bag.  I’ve been counting steps and comparing it to the FItBit, and it’s dead on accurate.  I really like that because it allows me to keep track of how much I’m moving.  The downside to that is, when I do other types of exercise  (Weights, etc) it doesn’t track steps, so there’s a temptation to neglect those and go for the steps, as I’m a little bit competitive so I want to at least equal my friends.  Nevertheless, I’m finding it quite useful for step tracking.

Exercise tracking I’m also finding quite useful.  When I do weights, it keeps track of time, calories, and heart rate.  Again, after doing some cross checking, it seems to be dead on accurate.  That’s a good thing for an analytics geek like me.

Sleep tracking:  I’m not finding that to be very accurate at all.  If I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom  (something I do at my age) it just stops tracking sleep, even if I go back to bed.  I’m pretty disappointed  in the sleep tracking feature of it.

The Smartphone/Crossover features…the ability to read text messages, caller ID, etc.  It’s somewhat useful.  It’s nice to be able to just look at my wrist and see who’s calling or texting, but I don’t use that feature as much as I thought I might.

All in all, it’s been a VERY positive experience.  I’m still tweaking and learning, but it’s playing an integral role in helping me keep active and be more healthy.

My biggest challenge so far

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After getting started, logging everything, getting my exercise in, my biggest challenge is a huge surprise to me.
I thought it might be sodium.  Nope, it’s turning out not to be a big deal.  There are a couple of days I’ve barely gone over, but not by much.  Watching it is pretty easy, especially if I stay away from processed foods.
I also thought it might be sugar.  Nope.  Although…I’ve never really had much of a sweet tooth, I realized there is often a lot of sugar in processed foods.  Again, staying under isn’t an issue for me, although I thought it might be.
It’s eating enough calories.  You read that right…I’m struggling to get enough calories in.  The combination of eating smart and moving has made me, at times, struggle with eating enough calories.  Adding a lot of water to that, it also makes me feel full all the time.  Fruits, veggies, non processed foods, and lean meats just don’t have the calories of what I was eating before.
It’s also made me realize how many “empty” calories I must have been eating to put all this weight back on.   It’s made me realize, in addition, that I need to plan my days better so that at 9PM I don’t realize I have several hundred calories left.  I’ve taken to eating about 1/2 of my exercise calories back instead of all of them, and that seems to be working well.  I’ll re-evaluate that in a couple of weeks and see if I need to re-evaluate again.
I’m curious…what’s your biggest challenge?

My Experience with Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness

I’m seeing a fair amount of hate for Planet Fitness, and I don’t get it.  Although your mileage may vary, my experience with them has been overwhelmingly positive.

Back in the day, when I was much younger, slimmer, and active, there really were no exercise machines.  Pretty much, it was free weights, calesithenics, and running or biking.  (This was back in the 70′s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth)

One of the reasons I was intimidated by joining a gym was because of all the changes in exercise technology.  Weights, routines, gym culture, and more. But a PF opened just over 5 minutes from my house, and I decided it was now or never.  And, with my age and health….that’s a pretty accurate statement.

I have to say, I was made to feel welcome from the moment I stepped in the door.  The staff is friendly and professional yet casual.  The trainer  (who I had a free session with) was patient and thorough, and had me set up on a nice routine of strength and cardio workouts.  Each morning when I walk in, I get a friendly greeting, and each morning, after my workout, when I leave, a get a friendly “see you next time”.

Although I’ve only been at this a short time, I already see improvements.  I’m sleeping better, I feel better, and I’m paying MUCH more attention to what I eat.

Although a lot of folks may gripe about PF, and, for them, those gripes are valid.  For me, it’s a no brainer….it’s helping me make small improvements in my life, on a daily basis.  Thanks, Planet Fitness!

My first workout in 60 years

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That’s true.  It’s my first real workout in 60 years.

That may be a bit of a misnomer.  I’ve done a lot of cycling, hiking, and other things in my 60 years on this spinning ball, but I’ve never met with a professional to work out a plan to get healthy again.

I’ve got a plan to alternate workouts between strength training and cardio training.  My initial goals are weight loss and better general overall health with an aim towards doing a lot more cycling this summer.  An added benefit is that as the weight comes off, my ankle and knees will become less painful when I walk, and I can enjoy that more.

This morning was my first strength training workout, 45 minutes of circuit training.  To say I’m exhausted is an understatement, but I’m happy and I feel like I’ve accomplished something  early on a Monday morning!

I SELDOM get intimidated, but…

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I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a lot of things in my life.  I’ve white water rafted, hiked wilderness, flown airplanes,  driven Route 66, traveled the USA, lived for a bit in Europe, and much more.

But, at 60 years old, last night I did something I’d never done in my life.  I stepped into a gym.  For the very first time.

I seldom get intimidated, but I must admit.  I pulled up into the parking lot, and had to set and gather my thoughts for a few minutes.  I found myself making up excuses to not go in…I’m too old, I’m too fat, I don’t have time, the list goes on and on.

But, I took a deep breath, and went inside, fully expecting to see a room full of jocks working out.

Instead, I saw a group of people, some much younger than myself, and, much to my surprise, some much older.  Tall people, short people, of all shapes and sizes.  Some were on a treadmill, some on a bike, some stretching, and, much to my surprise, all were having a good time.

I chose Planet Fitness, at first, solely for convenience…it’s close enough to home that I can ride my bike up there.  It just so happens their slogan is they’re a “no judgement zone” and that was evident from the minute I walked through the door.  From the folks at the counter to Brandon, my trainer, they immediately put me at ease.  I spent an hour or so with him, and now have a program to get me back on the track to health.

All in all, it was a very positive experience.  It feels good to be taking some positive steps for my own good!