View Full Version : Help and encouragement needed from fitness gurus

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05-27-2010, 10:48 PM
I'd be careful about doing so much walking at such a high incline. You hit a certain age, and plantar fasciatis and achilles tendinitis crop up really regularly, and are hell to get rid of once they start. I was walking 4 1/2 miles 5 times a week and ended up with some problems that are still not fully resolved four years later -- and I love to walk. One of the first things the podiatrist said was avoid doing a lot of walking at a significant incline.

That's really interesting. I walk at least 4 times a week at least 30 minutes at a time, sometimes on a treadmill and sometimes outside. I have increased the incline and speed gradually. I kind of had to in order to get my heart rate up as high as I want it at times. No troubles with tendonitis or plantar fasciatis, but I'm careful to have rest days and also don't wear the same pair of shoes for walks two days in a row. I started walking to make sure my bone density test results don't get worse and perhaps will improve, and I need the heel strike for that, so the elliptical won't do the job in that regard.

Anyway, good luck, Avid Lurker. Sounds like you've made a good start.

05-27-2010, 11:16 PM
Congrats! It is just a huge initiative to get the motivation to exercise and start eating better. It gets hard when you're in a rut. You definitely seem to have the motivation.

In my case, basically I put on 15-20lbs after high school. I never realized how easy it is to put on weight. In high school I could eat whatever I wanted, because I spent at least 11-12 hours a week exercising. I ran cross country in the fall, played tennis in the spring and was skating at least once or twice a week 2-3 hours at a time. I was burning everything off...but once I got to college, not exercising, stressing over tests, essays, partying on the weekends and eating Taco Bell at weird hours of the morning, it just all added up. I'm not overweight, but I could see myself easily sliding down a slippery slope if I kept it up. I've tried everything over the past three years to get into shape, but I realized I was doing it for the wrong reasons and kept slipping into old habits. I wanted to *look* fit, not actually be fit. I just wanted a hot body. And that's the reason why most people diet/exercise.

My dad was morbidly obese when he got gastric bypass back in 03', and now he's lost over 150lbs and is in shape. He also played semi-pro baseball in the 70s, so while my family is athletic, we just don't eat right. Plus, my dad is 1/4 Chickasaw, and its an understatement to say that Native Americans are terribly prone to diabetes and other complications. His brother and sister are both diabetic, and there are a lot of strokes in the family as well.

Basically, I realized that I can exercise all you want, but if you're not eating right (or only eating right with no working out) you're only solving half the problem. That was my problem, and I never want to get to the point where he got, diabetic, high blood pressure, etc. So now I try to look at keeping fit as not just a way to squeeze into your favorite pair of jeans. I want to be healthy and while I may not have the best genes, I do have the power to control how my body works and what I put into it. Its cliche, but its the little things - getting diet or lowfat instead of regular, walking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the supermarket - that really get you in the right frame of mind. 'Cause it is a lifestyle change, its not a temporary thing that you can do for six months then go back to normal. Now, I try to run or bike for at least an hour a day, and I just avoid sugar and high fats, though of course I splurge. In my case it was a Cosmorita last night. If you deprive yourself you'll break down and binge (like me) so its OK to eat that brownie, just not everyday.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. I hope that you are able to get healthy and at the same time feel good about everything you're doing. Weight and health problems are something that almost everyone struggles with nowadays, and you're definitely on the right path.

05-28-2010, 01:09 AM
I am finding my elliptical very boring unless I have a very exciting movie or TV show to watch at the same time - I had great numbers during the Olympics! (When things are exciting on the screen - I go faster and longer without really noticing.)

Have you ever thought of ice skating for an alternative exercise? I can't go as often as I used to - but it turned into a phenomenal way to get/keep in shape. You don't have to do spins and jumps and stuff - just skate around for an hour with a friend. It's fun, and you get the benefits without huffing and puffing.

All the best with your journey.

05-28-2010, 03:58 AM
congratulations on your start. That is one of the biggest hurdles, getting started.

I have lost nearly 30 pounds in the last year. Part of it was portion control. In the US portions are way to large and many of us have the "clean your plate - you are not leaving the table until you finish you dinner, do you know how many starving children in Africa would want your food" mentality. Part of is exercise.

The treadmill worked great for me until it fried - literally - during a thunderstorm/power outage. So make sure that you have a power surge protector for the plug in.

The elliptical is ok, but unlike many people who find it better on the knees - my knees didn't like the stress. I love our wii fit plus that our kids gave us for Christmas. We also walk, a lot. I am totally surprised at the number of walking trails in our city.

Find an exercise partner. Hedwig and Chelle and I are tracking our minutes of exercise with each other. My cousin has a work-out challenge with her friends on facebook, for a small entrance fee we compete against each other. This is my fourth one and although I have won any of the "pots" it is fun to hear what others are doing AND it is a way of staying committed to the goal.

05-28-2010, 08:48 AM
Congratulations and good luck, Avid Lurker.

If you can keep at your exercise regime for six months to one year it gets easier to maintain because your body gets used to and enjoys it.

I've been going to a gym for about four-five years now and am not really enthusiastic about it anymore, to be honest. I used to religiously put in about eight hours a week, but now I just go when I can - preferably four times a week for an hour - 1.5 hours.

It's become sort of tedious and I often don't feel like going. Like today, when I was very tired and stressed out, feeling the pull of inertia.

But I went to the gym anyway because I knew that I would feel better and less tired afterward. It is the mental health benefits that ultimately keep me going back.

05-28-2010, 12:34 PM
If you can, try working with a personal trainer. It doesn't have to be a long term thing -- maybe once a week for 4 weeks? The benefits of a personal trainer is that he or she will understand what your goals are and help you design a workout plan that will work for you. After you stop working with the trainer, you will still have these workouts/exercises. I recently worked with a trainer for about 9 weeks. While I have yet to actually go back to the written workout plans he designed for me (I will, someday soon), I've been able to take these exercises and incorporate them into my own plan. Prior to the training, I usually just got on the elliptical for 20-30 minutes and that was that. Occasionally I used some of the machines at the gym. Through time with my trainer, he explained that I was better off mixing cardio and weights to my routine (even if I only had 20-30 minutes to spend at the gym) than to spend 20-30 minutes just doing cardio. Moreover, I learned about interval training and realized that doing 10 minutes of cardio with intervals (ie: hard for 30 seconds, easy for 1 minute) was better for me and produced better results than going at an even pace for 20 minutes. I also learned that I should mix up what kind of cardio I did (I hated the bike, but now I try and use the bike a couple times a week). Now, I usually warm up with 10 minutes of cardio intervals then spend 30 minutes on the machines/light weights/pushups/situps before cooling down on with intervals on the bike for 10 minutes or get on the treadmill.

It might be helpful to introduce jogging to your routine. Cool Running's Couch-to-5k Running Plan (http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml) is really helpful. They want you to go slowly and recommend repeating weeks as many times as necessary until you feel comfortable to move on. I followed this plan a couple years ago and then life got in the way with grad school, but I just added it back into my exercise routine. It's doable too. The first week consists of alternating 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds walking. Intervals.

Anyway, good luck!

05-28-2010, 09:47 PM
Keep up the exercise, in any way, shape, or form! My MIL has great success in keeping her blood sugar down with just half an hour of walking each day, plus she feels better too. I agree with all the advice to vary things to keep it interesting, and I'm with Japanfan that exercise has DEFINITE mental health benefits, too!

My hubby has hereditary bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Once after his triglycerides were through the roof (unmeasurably high) he finally gave up the sugary lemonade he loved so much. That made a difference.

The other thing that has helped us both? South Beach Diet. First time in my life I think you could accuse me of being trendy. Essentially, give up sweets and sugar except very rarely, eat only whole grains and go easy on them (breads, cereals, rolls etc), eat lots of veggies, beans and LEAN meat--that's the essence of South Beach. it takes some getting used to and rethinking of old habits and finding different ways to satisfy the cravings, but hubby's triglycerides and cholesterol are far better on a South Beach-style eating habit.

Good luck and take good care of yourself!

05-29-2010, 10:28 AM
The other thing that has helped us both? South Beach Diet.

This is a bit off topic, but something that perplexes me:

My MIL did very well on the South Beach diet and I don't really know much about it - but I do remember her making egg-white omelets and since then I've encountered others who say that egg-white omelets are a dietary mainstay. . .

I just couldn't get excited about any diet that included egg-white omelets. An egg isn't an egg without the yolk and I couldn't fool myself into thinking otherwise. IMO, I'd rather just skip the omelet and breakfast altogether.

05-29-2010, 02:01 PM
You could possibly use egg substitute instead. The problem with eating egg yolks every single day is that, while chock full of protein, they also contain 210 mg of cholesterol and we're only allowed I believe 300. So if you're eating even one egg yolk every day, chances are you are consuming well over your daily allotted amount of cholesterol. That's not good.

And skipping breakfast is a terrible idea :P

05-29-2010, 03:48 PM
Raspberries and blackberries are actually good for diabetics. Cherries and grapes are BAD BAD BAD. Just ask my type 2 diabetic non insulin fiance. He had the riot act read to him about that. If you are trying to lower blood sugar, lower the carbs(quinoa is a good alternate for rice) and watch the sugars. Low fat food often contain A LOT of sugar to make them taste good. Even though you arent diabetic, perhaps looking into a diabetic cook book would be a good thing. Also, the south beach diet (not the diet itself but the way to eat ) is good. Hubby sticks to the outline of it but not the exact diet itself. Remember portion size and moderation. Have that cake, but not everyday...

Thanks, all - especially Aimless - it's good not to feel alone in this! We CAN do it!

With respect to diet, I have been advised to eat more veggies and whole grains, cut down on sweets and the white stuff (bread, rice and of course refined sugar). I love good food so I am focusing on choosing foods that are both delicious and good for me. Last night I splurged on some out of season raspberries and they were delicious.

Based on the advice upchain I am going to start recording what I eat. I sort of hate the idea but it will make me more accountable to myself - otherwise it's easy to "forget" that I had a chocolate bar at lunchtime, another for a mid-afternoon snack, another one in front of the TV ...

05-29-2010, 04:56 PM
I'd be careful about doing so much walking at such a high incline. You hit a certain age, and plantar fasciatis and achilles tendinitis crop up really regularly, and are hell to get rid of once they start. I was walking 4 1/2 miles 5 times a week and ended up with some problems that are still not fully resolved four years later -- and I love to walk. One of the first things the podiatrist said was avoid doing a lot of walking at a significant incline.

Oh, man, don't be freakin' reminding me about that!! I've had Achilles tendinitis in BOTH ankles since the age of 13, yet it's really backed off in recent years. It used to be hell when I'd wake up in the morning with a double flare-up and not be able to walk without limping. I found that it flares up after a period of non-exercise, and I have to keep on exercising on a regular basis in order to keep it in check, or I get antoher flare-up.

The plantar fasciitis is a recent development, though, and it really flared up last winter to the point where I couldn't dance on it or walk (for exercise) on it. The only thing I could do was just to stay off of it, which seems to have done the trick, because I have been walking and dancing on it for almost 2 months with no problems.

05-29-2010, 08:00 PM
You don't have to be tied to an exercise machine to reach your weight goal. You can lose weight from activities such as vacuuming, walking, swimming, climbing stairs, dancing etc). Instead of constantly monitoring your weight, monitor your calorie, fiber, and salt intake as well as how much calories you burn off per day. You can just check your weight once a week. Btw, you're allowed to lose 10% of your weight within 6 months. Don't rush it. Find a health provider (ie doctor, pharmacist, nurse or dietitian) who can help you create your MEAL AND EXERCISE PLAN. It's very involving but worth it. Don't just rely on an exercise guru, get some advice from a dietitian as well.

Avid Lurker
04-29-2011, 06:25 PM
I am updating this post, which I started one year ago.

I have been exercising regularly for the past year. Until four months ago I just wasn't ready to tackle my bad eating habits. Then, around the new year, I felt like it was time. I started making small, sustainable changes to my diet, mostly cutting back on salt, sugar and animal fats and replacing them with fruit, veggies, whole grains and lean protein.

I'm happy to say that it seems to be working!

I lost 14 pounds in one year, which likely makes me a Slowest Loser candidate. I have gone down two sizes (from a 16 to a 12) so I believe most of my weight loss was fat.

My blood pressure and blood sugar have both dropped to within the normal range. My triglycerides are down from crazy high to just slightly above normal. The treadmill test shows that my fitness level is much improved. And my liver is happier - it isn't "fatty" anymore and my liver enzymes are normal!

I still have a long way to go. My cholesterol is remains high, and I have quite a bit of body fat to lose. And all of my numbers have room for improvement.

I'm happier and have more energy. I actually enjoy food more now - I think all the fat, sugar and salt impaired my ability to enjoy the taste of fresh, real food. And I love the benefits of exercise - I never want to give it up. It took me a while to find the right path but there's no stopping me now.

I hope next year the news is even better!

04-29-2011, 06:31 PM
I hope so too. Great job! :cheer:

04-29-2011, 07:51 PM
Congrats. I'm a treadmill person and will share what works for me. I alternate days of low incline (no higher than 5) with days of the "hill" setting where I go up for 5 minutes, then down for 5, then up again. My warmup pace is 3.2-3.5 depending on how cold it is in the gym. I strive do do at least 20 minutes at 4.0 on my low incline days. On hill days, I go up at 3.7, and down at 4.0. Oh, and I lift weights 3 days a week.

Good luck, sounds like you're doing well.