12 April 2007

Slim Goodbody

Remember the public television show of the late 70s/early 80s? With the guy dressed in a spandex suit printed with the organs of the human body? I remember how much it grossed me out.

Now, however, I am amazed, astonished, and also considerably annoyed by the miracle that is the human body. Yesterday was a rough day for my fitness regimen. I had terrible, awful, painful cramps. Of the womanly variety. I know, I know, way TMI, but if I just said cramps, you might think I meant simple muscle cramps.

Any-way, moving on. I was on the treadmill and hurting. That's been a bit of a theme recently, hasn't it? Instead of the "we were so drunk AND..." stories of my youth, now it is "I was on the treadmill and my (whatever) hurt and...." Getting old is a bitch, y'all. I stopped the treadmill when I got to a mile and a half, which is about half or three quarters the amount of distance I usually do every day. I hurt so badly that instead of doing my usual stretches and then the requisite charting that I do to keep track of my progress, I left and went home for a hot, hot, hot shower. Which didn't help much. Neither did the three ibuprofens I took.

When I finally managed to drag myself into work, I took two Aleve, which eventually, about 3 hours later, eased the pain a bit. I hadn't been able to do the amount of running on the treadmill that I'm trying to do every day either. Which left me feeling a bit like the workout had been not exactly a failure, but inadequate. That's frustrating.

I've been staying off of the scale, knowing that it will only piss me off. I can tell that I'm in better shape than I have been in years and years and years, by the way that the workouts don't make me all winded. The fact that I can now run for longer periods of time before I feel that I'm-so-exhausted-I-can't-do-this-for-one-more-second feeling is another positive sign. I'm pushing myself further and further, every single day. But the results are just not what I'm looking for.

I want to be super-skinny, like I was at 17. That's such an unrealistic goal that I'm dooming myself to failure before I even get halfway there. I have curves these days that I never had at 17. I also happen to be taller, I continued to grow until about 19, an unusual phenomenon that seems to occur on my dad's side of the family. At 17, I was about 5'1". Today I am about 5'4". Not a huge difference, but at 17, I really and truly weighed about 98 pounds. Friends have told me that they thought I was anorexic. I wasn't, and when they told me that story when we were 26 or 27, I laughingly reminded them of the boxes of Fudge Rounds I used to eat, the fried chicken we used to get at the mall on Saturdays, the huge amounts of junk food that were present at every single sleep-over we had. What I wouldn't give to have that metabolism back!

In stark contrast from yesterday's workout, though, today's was excellent. I felt fantastic leaving the gym. When I first started trying to run weeks ago, I'd amp up the speed on the treadmill and watch the clock, thinking, I'll run for one minute. Then back to walking. Periodically, I'd try to increase the amount of time I was running, and eventually, I was able to get where I am now, which is about 10 minutes of the 35 that I'm on the treadmill. The eventual goal is to run the entire program, with the exception of the 5 minute cool down.

My body has adapted well to this, and I'm amazed at what I've been able to accomplish. I watch my heart rate closely, mostly because I'm a geek obsessed with stats, but also because I want to see if my resting heart rate will go down, as it should, when I'm in 'good' shape. I've got great definition on my leg muscles. You should see my calves, and my shin muscles are a beautiful thing. I am thinner than when I started working out 6 days a week back in October. But I'm not satisfied at all with the pace of the weight loss. I'm also very annoyed that I don't yet have a six-pack, and that I think my arms are as flabby as ever. They're not, and I know that because I can fit into jackets and shirts that I haven't worn in a long time, but my perception is that I've made very little progress. My thighs aren't any smaller, either. Dammit.

It is astonishing to me that one day I can barely do what I need to and the next I feel like a million bucks. If one day I had eaten a bunch of junk food, or had lots to drink, I could understand. I went out drinking with some friends last Friday, and Saturday's early morning Yoga class was a real bitch. But the major difference between yesterday and today? I have no idea.

I'm eating right, not snacking on the junk food that ABOUNDS at my office, severely limiting my caffeine intake, I'm drinking a ton of water, trying desperately to get enough sleep, and none of it seems to be making a difference. I've given up coffee, and don't drink soda unless I'm drinking which I don't do often. You would never seem me running around with a diet Coke in my hand. I don't eat red meat, I don't eat pork, I am eating two hateful bananas every day to keep my potassium levels elevated for the running, and what? Nothing. No results. Honesty compels me to revise that. Not no results but perhaps less result than I was expecting.

"Hateful bananas" because I really don't like them. Ugh. I choke them down, though, because I firmly believe that we should get most of our nutrients from real food, not from supplements. I was having trouble with muscle cramping about two months ago, and when I explained to the trainer what was happening, she told me that it was clear to her that my potassium levels were low, and the best way to fix that was to eat two bananas a day. Yuck!

There must be something missing. Some missing link. Something that I've overlooked, something that will turn the key and make everything work. I know that the only way to truly do weight loss is to put in the hard work and the time. That's why I'm not 'dieting', but watching what I eat very closely. I could never stick to Adkins or South Beach or any of the other myriad promised quick fixes out there. Been there, done that. Bought the t-shirt. Long term weight loss and overall health only comes from doing it the right way, watching calories and exercising. I'm doing all that. What's missing?


MotherMe said...

Missing ingredient? TIME. Give yourself a little more.

You look great, by the way. What you're doing is working! Rock on, woman.


Lucy Arin said...

Thanks, that's very sweet.

How much time? I've been doing this since October!!! Progress should be faster, dammit. Lots faster. Rrrgh.


Erin said...

LA - you are looking fabulous. Don't get discouraged. You know you just have to keep at it and you're doing all the right things. They say that weight lost slowly over time is weight that stays off. *hug*