Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tripping Over My Shoes Ep 8: General Health Rambles

What better way to start than a selfie and introduction? HI, my name is Liz!

I don't know how to start this. I've started a fitness/health post several times over the past three months, and every time I've ended up deleting what I've written. I'd worry this post was too braggy, or that post was too rambly. I was concerned about offending someone with the way I might phrase something. In the end, though, Deb phrased it quite nicely: my opinions are *my opinions* and I should be able to natter them on *my blog,* right? It's still a concern, though. I guess I've read too many horror stories about Feminazis and Tumblrites (I apologize if you enjoy Tumblr. I've seen nothing good from it) attacking people for 'oppressing' them or other equally ridiculous notions. I was talking with Michael about my fears and he summed it up quite nicely for me. "Stop caring about what others think." Besides, it's not like I'm setting out to offend anybody. I've been asked to post about this, and more importantly, I've been wanting to.
So. Here we go. I shall just let the words flow, maybe try and  tidy them up a bit, but this will just be an introduction to my health and fitness progress over the past few months. This post will be very long, hard to understand, and very ramble-y. Let me say this again. This post will be very long, hard to understand, and extremely ramble-y.
*beep breath, channeling Sokka from Avatar the Last Airbender*
Let me start at the beginning. Katara and I discovered Aang frozen in an iceberg, now I didn't like Aang at first but grew to love him over time, then we went to the Southern Air Temple where Aang used to live and then we met Suki...

I do not apologize. I saw an opening and I took it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, disregard that previous paragraph. Anyways, back on track.

Four months ago, I was dealing with a huge change in my life. I had left my job to move half way across country to reunite with Michael. It was a big change. We'd spent the past 9 months of our lives living apart while he did his military training thing and I continued with schooling and work. In any case, I was really feeling lethargic and, to be frank, fat. That's the only description I have for how I felt  physically. I felt my stomach bunch when I sat down. I felt winded going up the single flight of stairs that led to our apartment. My heart would start racing for no apparent reason. I wasn't sure what caused it, but I knew it wasn't good. I tied it to what I knew was my declining health. I phrase it in a dramatic way, but that's really the best way to put it. I wasn't fat by any means, but I could no longer call myself fit or skinny/thin.
Eventually our possessions arrived and, eventually, I unpacked our scale. Out of curiosity I stepped on it and found to my horror that I'd gained 10 pounds in the month since Michael and I had been reunited. The funny thing is we've found out that our scale is inaccurate and has been for a while. It was probably broken during the move. So weight I thought I'd gained was, in fact, weight lost. I can tell you the weight the scale tells me I am, but it wouldn't be accurate. I'm wary of posting it until I know something more accurate. Eventually we'll buy a working scale, but none of us think it's important or healthy to have one in the apartment. Whether I'd like to admit it or not, I place more value on the numbers I see there than I should.
In any case, I started really paying attention to my body and found that I wasn't happy with how it had gotten. I was no longer toned. I didn't feel comfortable wearing the same clothes I used to wear. I used that more than anything else as a motivator. So Michael and I resolved to work out at least every other day.
My initial workouts were nothing out of the ordinary. They weren't even hard. I would run 1 mile on the treadmill, then stretch, then hop back on and do interval training. Modified interval training. I'd like to say I switched between running and sprinting. In reality I switched between walking (3.5-4.0 mph on the treadmill) and running (anywhere between 7.0 and 8.5), one minute to each speed. When all was said and done, I'd average between 2 and 3.5 miles for my workout, including my warmup. On off days I would do some minor weight lifting with some dumbbells we owned (skullcrushers, squats, lunges, v-ups). It was by no means a workout. If I saw the weight and could do it while, say, playing a video game or watching a YouTube video, I'd do it.
We kept that up for about a month. In February when we went to Keys West I wore some bad shoes and really messed up my feet. I would experience sharp pains in the arches of my feet whenever I walked on my feet, and even as they healed I couldn't pivot on my feet or I would anger the soles of my feet. It was a month before my feet completely healed and Michael and I started working out again.
This time I stuck to the same workout, only I completely cut out the warmup mile and my sprints were faster (8.0 or higher). I'd stretch before the run and just go until I hit 20 or 25 minutes, whichever I could mentally push myself to. I would hit maybe 2 miles total.
That lasted for a week or two before Michael was put on profile for a hip injury and he was no longer allowed to workout. Fortunately a friend had decided that she wanted to start using the clubhouse facilities and we resolved to meet up as our hubbies set off for work, at 7:45 AM.
This time my running was more 'run as long as you can at 7.5, then switch to intervals.' I would make it to about 10 minutes, or a little over a mile, then switch to intervals until I'd hit 3 miles. I'm happy to say that this period of working out had 3 miles as my absolute minimum. I was more likely to hit 3.5-4 miles per run, averaging at about 9 minutes a mile overall (and I was still doing my walk-sprint intervals).
Unfortunately, that only lasted about two and a half weeks. This puts me at about mid-April.
Over the course of my attempts to improve my stamina and keep up with cardio workouts, I've continued to add in more and more weights to my everyday routines, as well as clean up my eating. Michael and I make a point to either not buy or buy very little microwaveables. The meat we eat is confined mostly to ground turkey, tuna, salmon, or chicken. We add in lots of veggies to our foods and pay more attention to the butter or oil we cook our food with. Really we were just getting back to the sort of eating I'd grown up with alongside my parents. It wasn't that hard. The hard part was making sure I actually ate. One of the most important things I learned from my Dad while he was in school for Kinesiology is never starve yourself, intentionally or not. I've never been a breakfast person, but I can say the time where I've seen the biggest changes in my body were after I started making myself eat breakfast every morning. Now I'll have 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout my day, and I'm still seeing a difference in the mirror from last week.
Michael and I don't run anymore, since he's still on profile, but we will still go out on hikes or go disc golfing or just go out and stay active. I guess this post isn't about working out or eating right, it's more just chronicling how I've slowly made changes to a more healthy lifestyle. I still do very very bad things (just last night I made a meal of some raw cookie dough. no ragrets). but I hope the inspiration in this post is that I was imperfect. I am imperfect. I still continue to do bad things and I have yet to stick to any one thing consistently, but the overall effect has been astounding. Are you ready for some hard numbers???! Because I hate following someone's lifestyle posts and not seeing hard numbers. Also, I know some people lie about consistently getting 'better' numbers. It ain't happening, and it most certainly didn't happen with me.
I happened to take periodic measurements of my bust, neck, waist, hips, and butt over the past three months. I'll share my initial and today's results with you because 1. I want to put out there my overall improvements and 2. I feel like it makes me more believable... and human :) If you want more, just tell me. I'm really willing to share, I just feel like it might be too much info all at once. Like this entire post LOL. If I don't get everything out now, though, I'll keep psyching myself out of ever posting this.

I am 22 years old. I am 5'7". My weight for most of 2014 was somewhere between 135-145lbs.
Weight (keep in mind this is with a faulty scale. From what we can tell it's between 10 and 15 lbs over.)
February 4: ~150 lb.
Today: ~155 lb.
February 4: 35.5 in
Today: 34.25 in
February 4: 14 in
Today: 13 in
February 4: 30 in
Today: 29 in
February 4: 37 in
Today: 35.5 in
February 4: 43.5 in (I have a, as they call it, ba-donk-a-donk LOL)
Today: 41.75 in
Body Fat Percentage (as calculated by this Army body fat calculator. Keep in mind it's not entirely accurate, but it's nice to get a general idea of where you're at)
February 4: 25%
Today: 23%

What's that? I've gained weight? Why yes, I have. Let me say this: muscle is heavier than fat. In case you didn't understand me: muscle weighs more than fat. Need another rephrasing? You can still get 'thinner' and gain weight. This is due to muscle replacing the fat. Which the muscle is more heavy than. I've been working out my muscles with both weights and running. They were bound to get bigger, and thus, gain weight.
If you're like me and not what the medical field would qualify as overweight (by weight/age I'm actually considered at the high end of normal), it is very possible to gain weight when you go through the health changes I have and yet still end up 'thinner' than when you started. I knew this going into this change, which is why I made a point to take measurements. That, more than anything, would tell me how exactly my body has been changing.

If you are looking at making any sort of change in your lifestyle to be more healthy, I highly encourage you to take the time to take measurements from your body and document that instead of your weight. Obsessing over weight will not help you. That's not the most important number you should look at. I could go on and on about this, but I won't.

Anyways, this is my huge and rambly post. If you have any questions ask and I'd be happy to answer. I just needed to force myself to wordpuke this entire story out so I can now contemplate whether I'm going to make this a more consistent post topic as opposed to whether I'm even going to breach the subject.


  1. My name is popping up all over the blog world today. Well, okay, twice. And both times I've been like 'What did I do now?' in a mild panic. LOL I'm glad my natters have given you courage to natter freely yourself. =)


  2. I really enjoyed reading this post Liz! You have a beautiful smile. Small changes are what I struggle with. I tend to be all or nothing, then burn out. This motivates me to start small and progress.