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Tag Archives: aging

Working While Not Working

This title may be a little misleading. This post is about what I’m doing while out of work for social distancing, but it’s also about aging and the challenges of taking care of myself (I’m not saying I’m old, but I am older than I was). I guess with more time alone each day I’ve had a chance to contemplate and try to understand it all a bit more.  I really want to grow old gracefully and be healthy for years to come. I want to stay active into my old age and die peacefully in my sleep one night, not from some preventable disease. I want to “rage against the dying of the light.”

Like many others right now, I’m not working. But I’m also not sitting on the couch, binge-watching Tiger King with a family-size bag of Cheetos in my lap. In fact, I still only watch tv in the evening, and then I try to exercise my brain with a puzzle or something stimulating while I sit.  I still set an alarm, just in case I don’t wake up early on my own, so I can get up and work out before I start my day. As my weeks at home have stretched past a month, I am also putting more time into my daily workouts.

Why? Once I blew out the candles on my 40th birthday cake, it really was like a switch had flipped. All my life, I was always the thin girl who people tried to make feel guilty for it. And no, I really didn’t have to think about what I ate (other than being a bit hypoglycemic); I did not gain weight from chocolate cake or second helpings of pizza, or anything, really. I just had a really good metabolism. But just like all the curses I used to receive, such as, “Just wait, it’ll catch up with you one day,” warned, when I hit forty, my luck ran out, I guess. I gained at least 10-15 pounds, and it does not want to go away. My running pace and my metabolism both suffered at the kickoff of my fourth decade on this blue marble, and I’m a couple years into it now.

I used to be able to just work out a little more or eat a little better and see huge results and quickly.  It’s just not that easy anymore.

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I am not at all comfortable posting anything where I don’t have make-up on.

These pics of my arm muscles (please ignore and don’t get too judgy about the sweaty no-makeup mess that is the rest of what you see of me in the pics) might lead one to believe I’ve got a rock solid body to match. I will be honest. I only took pics of my arms because they tone and show definition much faster than the rest of me (and I do laugh when I cannot wear the shirts I’ve had for years because the sleeves and shoulders are now too tight). I do not have it all together, but I’m working on it. This is my progress in the last month. I think I finally figured out how to speed up my metabolism a little. I try to mix and balance cardio and strength training. Most people think just cardio will do it, but when all I do is run, it is not enough. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest, so you can get even more out of those cardio workouts if you also have muscle, right? I do know my energy level has increased.

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I ramped up the calorie burn in April and am off to a good start for May.

So I’m gaining muscle, but my body weight is not really changing. I hope this is because muscle is more dense and maybe I hadn’t been trying quite hard enough until about a week ago, but I really need to get rid of my gut and the flab in my thighs. I had no idea it would be so hard. So there I was in mid-April, thinking I should be looking better with more workouts and fairly healthy eating, except my husband works at a grocery store that carries amazing chocolates and cookies, and it was Easter candy season. Basically, if it’s in the house, I WILL eat it because I like yummy stuff and because I’m super cheap and will make sure my money has not been wasted. So he brings it home, I eat it. I told him to please stop. We have agreed on that. Also, we had to slow down the beer drinking. I’m not a drunk, but I do enjoy a tasty beer, or a few of them. Limits. I must have limits! We eat well all week, and we allow ourselves a cheat day over the weekend. We have just implemented this…again.

I refuse to partake in any diet that cuts out any of the main macro-nutrients (fats, carbs, proteins). Our bodies were meant to have a balance and there are far too many health risks involved in cutting out all of any of the above. Our bodies were not designed to function at their max capacity with these deficits, especially not if we are also exercising. If you have found a quick diet to lose weight, it is probably damaging your body in a way you just may not know yet, and the weight loss will not be lasting, though the damage to your organs may be. I want a diet that isn’t a diet, but a way of life. But when I do settle down in the evenings, I like to snack. No more of that. I have decided to have tea in the evenings instead. Hopefully this little Jedi mind trick will work. And I’m eating more, but smaller meals. I learned long ago that this helped with my hypoglycemia, but I got out of the habit. It is also supposed to help your metabolism work more efficiently.  I already drink and pee a lot of water all day, so I’m good there.

Goals are important, so I have come up with a number I would like to see on my scale ( I will not share that here). But I am mostly looking to attain goals in the inches I can lose and where I can lose them. As I build muscle and lose weight, my proportions should change. I’ve always weighed more than people thought, so that number is not the important one. I want to carry it well. I also signed up for a challenge to run as many miles as possible in May. I believe I opted for 75 miles as my goal, but my real and secret goal is to reach the 100 mile mark (shhhh). I like to have a goal, but I don’t want to beat myself up over it either, so a secret goal is good for me. If I hit it, I look like an overachiever, but if I only hit the slightly lower goal I still know I accomplished something good.

So now I’m running more. The past couple times I increased my mileage, I also injured myself. This made me realize I need to create a better balance in the types of workouts I’m doing and to let certain muscles rest more between. Part of me just wants to be a beast and run five miles every day while also doing an hour of weight training. But I know I cannot do that without hurting myself in a bad way. I need to cross-train, but I don’t need to die. This morning, I ran a mile as a warm-up, did a twenty-ish minute upper body workout, and finished with a half hour of yoga stretching. I didn’t want to go that easy, but my muscles had been so tight, I knew I needed it. I felt amazing when I was done, and I’ll be ready to move and burn calories tomorrow without injuring myself.

These are my struggles and self solutions. Maybe this can help someone else. I’m just being honest about me. We are all different. I do recommend a couple resources though. I love the workout selection at fitnessblender.com and it’s not too late to sign up for the challenge to run, walk, or treadmill (boring-zzzzz) as many miles as possible in May. You can enter your miles up to two days behind and it’s only the 4th now. You get a cool shirt when you’re done and the feeling of accomplishment. Plus the Facebook group that goes along with it is so supportive. https://runsignup.com/Race/FL/Deland/MilesdeMayoChallenge?fbclid=IwAR3el7TzZbG9DsqENrZ-mc5pXsH3mzb5vNGUCSl2A2kZzympMRfjOcqXKgo

The Older I Get, the More I Keep Staying the Same Age

I’m about to turn 29 for the 7th time. Can you believe it?

My original birthday: day one

I don’t feel that old, and thankfully, I apparently do not look it either.  Not that I really care about that too much.  After all, we all age, right?  Some people just seem to do it more quickly than others. I’m just fortunate that I’m what I like to call a “slow ager.”   Truthfully, I seldom feel like I’m older than I was when I graduated from high school… well, maybe from college.  I guess I always thought when I got to where I am now I’d feel so mature, but I just don’t.  Maybe it’s partially because I don’t have any kids.  Mothers always seem more mature because they have to be the grown up and raise others to be grown-ups, wipe noses and bottoms, threaten to pull over cars (or the dreaded mini-van-yuck!), kiss and bandage boo-boos…  I opted out of that (which is why I still drive a fun sports car). **side note- adoption is still not completely off the table, so I may get pay back for these comments**

7- but I guess you can see that for yourself

I’d like to think that if it weren’t for my students, I wouldn’t have any grey hairs.  I know that’s not true though, as I found my first grey when I was 23!  The nice lady cutting my hair a year or so ago also pointed out my “antique blonds,” but of course she wanted to appeal to my vanity so I would pay her to cover them over.  I decided to keep them.  They’ll just come back anyway, and with my hair down, they really aren’t too visible, so it’s no big deal…yet.  They just show I’ve lived a little, right?

11, I think. Candle positioning makes it difficult to count them.

I went into a liquor store the other day to buy some pumpkin beer, and a couple of the employees were pouring for a tasting.  When one young man asked to see my ID, I smiled and said, “I don’t get carded too often anymore.”  He replied that they have to card anyone who looks to be under 30, so I continued to smile because that meant he really thought I looked under 30.

13, and I look so thrilled about it

Also, older people tend to point out to me how young I am all the time, as if I really haven’t lived any of my life yet.  Sometimes it feels a bit demeaning because I think I’ve lived plenty, but I guess I’ll take that as a compliment as well.  I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I’m about to begin a new chapter (Ugh. That sounds so cliche), which is both exciting and frightening.  The paradox of the situation is that I feel too old to begin again, but not quite mature enough at the same time.  Sigh!

14

I can’t dwell on age though, because it’s all in one’s perspective.  Other than a few more creeks and pops in my joints from time to time, I still feel like a much younger person.

Thankfully for us all, I really don’t have many birthday photos of myself, or at least not many I would find.  I have one last birthday picture from before I moved away from my parents and became a real adult(ish).

19- I know this was a birthday pic because of the little pumpkins we’re wearing, and I was wearing a skirt (a rare sight). With Dez and Liz (makes me wish I had a Z in my name)