FF: Check In #1

by Elizabeth on December 30, 2011

Since this is the first week of Fitness Friday’s weekly dealie, I thought I’d take a second here to tell you what it is and what you can expect to find here every Friday.  (Call this a freshman orientation, of sorts.)

At the beginning of December, after The Big Epiphany, there was one thing I knew for sure.

If I didn’t start watching out for my health a little more closely, I wasn’t going to be around to keep working.

I know.  Big words.  Probably about as big as my hindquarters have spread in the past few years, even.

But seriously, I’m going to be 41 this year, in June.  I don’t feel 41 most of the time.  I sure don’t act like I’m 41 most days.  But my body is, chronologically, going to be 41 this year, no matter how much I try to deny it with caffeine infusions and frequent bouts of stupid.  The creaking in my knees from years of being semi-sedentary, added to the creaking in my knees from the years before that where I kind of forgot that I wasn’t a superhero sometimes (biking 20+ miles on a perforated knee cartilage?  Not the smartest move I’ve ever made.) — let’s just say that my bones make a whole lot of noise sometimes.

Add to this bit of bodycrazy the other, more annoying (to me) fact that I eat like a teenager.  It’s mostly out of convenience — it’s hard to shop and cook like a grown-up when you’re constantly hunched over a keyboard.  Still, Doritos and soda do not do a body good.  Especially when they’re the bottom of your own personal food pyramid.

I’ve been lucky.

So far, I’ve managed to dodge a few pretty serious health issues.  With the exception of a bum appendix, a touchy gallbladder, and a cancer scare a few years back, I’ve been just about as healthy as one could reasonably expect to be.  Colds, flu, allergies…sure.  (And I catch everything that goes around, trust me.  Always have.  My immune system’s made of tissue paper and chewing gum.)  But no diabetes, no heart issues, no major organ failure…despite being a pudgy, middle-aged, sedentary smoker.

Thing is:  I know it’s a matter of time.

You can’t pile on the risk factors like this and not end up getting caught by something perfectly preventable.  (And yes, I know there are exceptions to the rule.  The 89-year-old grandmother who attributes her longevity to a diet of red meat and beer, or George Burns and his cigars and whiskey.  They’re exceptions for a reason…and they’re not odds I’m willing to play the life lotto with.)

And then there’s the pride.

All of that aside, I’m tired of not being as confident as I could be.  I’m not as strong as I was a decade ago; I sure as hell can’t bike 20+ miles now, cartilage perforation or not.  And those days of deciding to climb a mountain because it’s Tuesday and I’m bored?  I’d die up there.  Literally.  They’d have to send helicopters and body-sniffing dogs.  And I hate that.  Not to mention that I’m getting old lady cankles and a second chin isn’t attractive on anybody.  We won’t even discuss the way my upper arms are starting to do that flappity thing.  My psyche can’t stand to even think about it.

Which leads back us to now.

Post-epiphany, I gave up soda cold turkey.  I figured if I could just take one little action right away, that one was the least painful.  I went out and bought a panda water bottle (see below.) and started drinking water instead.  I kind of thought about what kind of exercise I might want to start doing, but standing in the video aisle of Target and seeing a line of leotard-clad perky people staring back at me with giant toothy grins scared me too much.  (And, really, I’m the least coordinated person on the planet.  We’ll talk about that another day.  I’ve injured furniture in attempts to do beginner yoga.)

the panda water bottle

After a week, I got on the scale, just to see if all the water had done anything.  (Mind you, I’d done nothing else differently yet.)

And I lost 14.2 pounds.

Fourteen-point-two.  I still boggle.  I was carrying around fourteen-point-two pounds of sugarwater somewhere on my person.  No kidding.

This, my friends, lit a little fire.

(As you can probably imagine it would.)

I got over the whole toothy leotard thing.  And I think I’ve picked what I want to do, once it’s not frigid here in the midwest.  (Being outside is uncomfortable to the point of misery, and if something’s miserable, there’s no way I will do it consistently yet.  Maybe someday.  But not now.)  The past two weeks have been slower.  I’m not exercising as much, partially because The Shred kicked my ass up one side and down the other, and partially because the holidays sucked out my brainmeat, but now that they’re over and I’m back in a schedule, this whole moving myself thing is going to be a part of it.

Because, really, I don’t care all that much if I look cute in a pair of skinny jeans.  But I do care that I’m not having to be buried in those jeans because I didn’t bother to do anything to prevent heart attacks or diabetes.  It’s a huge part of my plans moving forward — the whole eating well and being strong enough to really dig into life again bits — so it’s definitely a focus item.

After all, I don’t think I’d enjoy life as much if I was dead.  Or so I suppose.

Every week, then, I’m going to be doing a few things on Fitness Friday.

You’re going to find a few to be consistent:

  • a check-in with how I’m doing on my own stuff,
  • some tips and tricks from the week, if I find some good ones,
  • and, if there are any, recommendations and/or reviews of stuff/programs/books/whatever that you can use if you’re also trying to get off your ass and start moving.

In addition, I’m going to try to get a few experts in here to talk about what to do/what not to do, since so many of us just plain get it wrong.  And if you’re an expert or a trainer or a cook who does amazing, healthy food or something — email me.  I’d love to pick your brain for my own benefit…er…talk to you for the greater good.

I don’t have it quite done this week, but in a week or two, I’ll also share with you my tracking stuff.  I’ve got a sheet here that I’m playing with that keeps track of some of the pertinents every week.  (Water, food, movement, mood — that kind of thing.)  It also forces me to remember to think about the vision rather than just the details.  You’ll see in a week or two.  Check back next Friday.

In the meantime, I want to know what you do.

Hop on over to the forums (registration required) and tell me what it is that you’re doing to improve/maintain your health.  Got any recommendations for a couch potato to try?  Any strategies that worked for you?  Or maybe you’re going through the whole training process yourself and want to have a thread for your own accountability…it’s all good.

Stop by.  Inspire me, and each other.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kelli January 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm


I have followed you through the last few years and have totally enjoyed all the rides. Just sayin’

Keep on doing what you do – inspire us all.

Thank you!


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