Happy Anniversary!

Today marks one full year of me having a gym membership. August 1, 2009, I tore my MCL for the second time and not having insurance I knew I'd need access to certain machines to rehabilitate my knee. September 8, 2009 I was finally able to walk fairly normally on my mostly-healed knee and, application in hand, I headed to my local YMCA. I signed on the dotted line, and received my membership card.

I don't really know what exactly my starting weight was, on that day I signed up. I know what my weight was at a doctor's appointment in December 2007, and after that point I am sure I put on at least 15 pounds. So I am using that as my starting weight. After today's workout (just 65 minutes on the cross-training elliptical), I weighed myself again, as I usually do once a week. On this anniversary, my weight loss is 52 pounds. That puts me "right on track," according to the experts, who suggest one should not lose more than 1-2 pounds a week.

To summarize what I've been doing, here's a quick list.

I've changed my eating habits. I eat regular meals (especially breakfast), more whole grains, more fruits and vegetables. I try to not eat any later than 7:30; I usually have dinner around 5:30 and a low-cal dessert at 7:30. I've almost completely cut out caffeine -- I do on occasion have a cup of coffee, a mug of hot chocolate, or a Diet Coke -- and the same is true for traditional fast food. (I say "traditional" because I do get Chinese take-out a couple times a month.) Most importantly, I'm working on controlling my portion sizes. I'm not perfect. I do occasionally indulge in a big meal, that sweet that I really want, something like that. I just know I have to make an adjustment somewhere else, be it elsewhere in my eating habits or in my exercise. Speaking of which...

I spend on average 7-8 hours a week at the gym over 5 days. I usually take either Thursday or Friday, plus Sunday, off. What I do at the gym varies depending on my schedule. There are several classes I enjoy taking, and sometimes pair those with a cardio workout of my own. If I'm not working, my schedule is:

Monday: Zumba (50+ mins), followed by Resistance Training (50+ mins)
Tuesday: Zumba (50+ mins), followed by Hatha Yoga (50+ mins)
Wednesday: cardio on my own (35-65 mins), followed by a Pilates/Yoga hybrid class (50+ mins)
Thursday: cardio on my own (35-65 mins), followed by Hatha Yoga (50+ mins)
Friday: off
Saturday: Zumba (50+ mins), followed by Core Class (40+ mins)
Sunday: off

Obviously my work schedule, which as a substitute teacher is unpredictable, sometimes interferes with the classes, since those except the Tuesday classes are offered during the day. If I can't make a class, I do a 65 minutes "performance program" on the cross-training elliptical, which is a multiple "hill" program where half of it is done pedaling backwards. At least once a week, after that, I'll do 10-20 minutes of weights on my own. Frankly, I'm not very patient at weights on my own, so 20 minutes is pushing me!

The weight loss is a big benefit, but the real reason I'm doing this is to be healthier. High blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity run in my family. I've already been on and off medications for hypertension, and been diagnosed as insulin resistant, which is a pre-diabetic condition. Both of these can be controlled with diet and exercise. I don't have health insurance at the moment, and may have to get it on my own within the next year or two due to the legislation recently passed in Congress. I stand a much better chance of having a premium I can afford if I am within "acceptable" weight parameters. All this aside, I just feel better!

And the "you look great" compliments are certainly a nice benefit, too!

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