Getting more serious about working out/healthy eating

Yesterday’s blog was definitely not about the advantages of being afraid to be around humans.  The advantages to this mess, for me, can be summed up very simply: I would have never quit smoking or drinking, I would have never started running/jogging/walking (not like this, maybe something a little lighter), and my yard would have never looked this amazing.  Why?  I would have been distracted, probably by people.  I would have been distracted by nights out at the bar, vodka, cigarettes, whatever I had to do during the day, and the constant rat race that our lives have become.  If you needed some positives, there are some.

I probably wouldn’t have dyed my hair, or if I had, I wouldn’t have taken my time with it.  I probably wouldn’t do my nails every other day.  I never had time for that shit, or I didn’t perceive that I had time for that shit.  I probably wouldn’t take large swaths of time to see how far I can travel all over town on my feet simply because “who has time for that”?  A friend of mine said that the other day, that he simply “Didn’t have 2 hours to do anything”, and I was like “You work for yourself?  How do you not have 2 hours to do anything?  That doesn’t even make sense.”  It’s because he perceives that he doesn’t have time.  I know he has time to drink multiple beers in a night.  I know he has time for a movie.  It’s a matter of priorities at that point.

I have had many jobs that I was so exhausted from when I got off that I couldn’t have even thought about putting more hurting on my tootsies than was absolutely necessary.  Many of my jobs have required me on my feet for hours and hours, conversely, it was much easier to keep my weight down during that time- the activities were built right into my daily job.  Easy-peasy.  I get that feeling and absolutely wouldn’t be doing this if that were my life now.  In those days I did a lot of crunches and pushups instead.  These days I think that planks and burpees would probably do me the most good, and I’ve gotten some of those giant rubber band things, so I’ve got to really check those out.

Tomorrow I really should take the day off from walking (or at least walking so much) and let my calves have a rest because they are absolutely so sore, and have been every day for the past 8.  I may do a shorter walk because I had a friend that wanted a walk buddy, and try to do some other types of more body conditioning, resistance exercises.  I’ve turned myfitnesspal back on and integrated it with a walking app (like I used to have my fitbit done).  I do really like that walking and running makes it so I really don’t have to worry so hard about what I eat.

Being a person over 40, especially a woman, is hard.  We require about 1400 calories a day (if you don’t have a physical job), 1200 if you’re losing weight.  Exercising makes it so that you can eat like a “normal person”.  Really, I’m not extravagant, and I am a very healthy eater, but even I can get very depressed very quickly at how little we’re “supposed” to eat.  It’s really hard to get enough protein, calcium, zinc, iron, and potassium at such tiny amounts of food too- in fact, I’ve never been able to do it, no matter how hard I’ve tried.  You simply cannot eat that few calories and get a daily dose of everything that you need to be healthy.  Vitamins are the cheat for that (at least for calcium, iron and zinc).  Protein, you just have to plug away at it and know that the app will tell you that you have eaten too much cholesterol, no matter how careful you are.  I have never gotten enough potassium.  I don’t know what you would have to eat in a day to reach that number, and I’ve tried it all and studied it all, trying to find the perfect balance.

So, this is what I’m going to control and obsess over for a while.  I don’t have alcohol to take up a bunch of garbage calories, so it should be a bit more healthy than I’ve been in the past.  I just have to do something, and now is the time for doing pretty much anything at all (that doesn’t involve people).

Week #2: Not Smoking (and why our postal service is important)

I have hit the official 2 week mark of not smoking!  YAY!!! I am still on the patch, which has given my body the opportunity to heal from inhaling smoke, as well as given me the opportunity to create new routines that don’t center around cigarette breaks.  The patch is a very useful tool to have in your “quit smoking” tool box because although you are getting nicotine, you have space and time to re-create your life in a smoke-free environment.  While cold turkey is very effective (purging your system of nicotine in 3 days), I feel like 3 days isn’t long enough to create meaningful new routines and to form new habits.  Three days, even with the patch, still had me in a place where I couldn’t figure out exactly what I should do next.  Change takes time.

I’ve been doing my fast walk/running thing every day, each day going farther into town than the day before.  I’m changing up where I go each day to keep it interesting (and because that is a smart thing to do in general), and I’m really loving it.  I am wearing my knee brace, which has helped tremendously, as typically, I can’t do anything like “jogging” without one.  My right knee is shot.  It just puts me in a better mood all day, gets out nervous energy, and I get to see different things besides my own yard, which is great, but we all get tired of seeing the same thing every day.  I’ve noticed that running makes my appetite better, which in turn, gives me more energy to be able to do more.  It’s an actual “upward spiral” instead of a “downward” one.

One huge reason that I started doing this is to stretch and exercise my lungs.  I gave myself an almost full 2 weeks before I started so that I would be healed enough to be successful, even at a very modest pace.  This is very important because 2 decades of smoking does not go away overnight.  My cells will be replacing themselves for months ahead, and some parts of my lungs (mainly alveoli), may never fully recover, but I can still make it “better than it was”.  I’ve also started back my “50 pushups” thing I used to do, and BOY AM I OUT OF SHAPE!!! I did it Saturday, and I’ve been paying for it in soreness for 2 days.  To think that I used to do 50 pushups and 100 sit ups every single day (which was a decade ago), I am seriously so sore that I couldn’t touch a pushup yesterday or today.  I mean my abs ache, my triceps ache, my entire pec muscles ache all the way across my chest, my back muscles ache… man, if you don’t use it, you damn sure lose it.

I’m hoping to be able to do some sit up/push ups/hip extenders/squats tomorrow.  I know I’m going to have to build up to being able to do those every day as well.  I typically alternate arm and leg days (I did do 100 hip/glute reps yesterday, but didn’t get sore at all, which means that I need to do a higher number of those).  I just really shredded myself on those push ups- you never know how many things you use your abs for, until they are aching, then you realize you use them when you cut vegetables, and drive your car, seriously.  I’ve also lost 3 lbs. in 3 days.  Whenever I start doing some serious cardio, that happens.  It doesn’t go on like that forever, but it definitely jump starts your metabolism.  Since I’ve spent the past 6 months doing literally nothing, I’m sure my body appreciates the jolt.

In other things that give me hope, I was inspired to try out my bead loom today.  I have only used it once, the first day I got it, and then it went into the craft room and I forgot about it while I had my months and months of depression which turned into 2 years.  It was nice to do something creative.  I am still writing snail mail and am looking forward to a couple of letters to write tomorrow- I go all out with it, all sorts of pretty embellishments.  Which reminds me, I got the John Oliver Last Week Tonight stamps.

I’m so in between, I really want to use some of them when I get them, but I also feel like I should keep them as a collectors item, because they’re only available through June 11th.  I should have gotten 2 pages of them.  They’re absolutely hilarious.  Being a snail mail person, I had to have them, and I love the things that John Oliver’s show does.  This one is to specifically support the post office, which is why I bought the last two books of stamps that I did, so I’m all in.  I don’t want our postal service to be privatized.  That would be just one more way to disadvantage people, not to mention, our postal service is part of a broader network- every country has a postal service of some sort.  That’s how anything gets anywhere.  For more about this issue, I got to listen to “How Protecting Voter Safety with Mail-in Ballots Became a Partisan Issue” today.  Please read the transcript to find out why our postal service is in danger of being eradicated.

I got these nicotine patches through the mail.  I got the second set of them through the mail during lock down.  Without the mail, I might not be able to do this life-changing thing that I’m trying to do right now.  Go buy some stamps :).