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Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

Sometimes you just gotta move ahead on faith. Last weekend, on my kayak trip in Black Canyon, I was able to canyon hike for several sandy miles, scramble over boulders, and do a bit of ladder and rope climbing to get up to some of the hot springs. I was also able to work the rudder in the kayak without ill effect. I was overjoyed!

After doing so well on the river trip, I’m quite hopeful that I will someday completely conquer the residual nerve damage in my legs. I’ve discovered some new factors that make things easier and the long-term improvements continue, as well. (Related posts: “The Fibroid From Hell” and “From a Flabby Forty-Nine to a Fit Fifty“)

What seem to be making the most difference are warmth, lighter footwear, no pack weight, and being more cognizant of the alignment of my feet. I’m also doing some regular visualization of my legs being completely healed.

Going back and forth between Flagstaff and Phoenix is teaching me the role of warmth in my recovery. The warmer I can keep my legs, the better I seem to do. It was quite warm on the Colorado for late October, so my legs never got cold. The hot springs in Black Canyon were an added bonus.

I also wore much lighter footwear than I usually do in the backcountry. My river sandals weigh a small fraction of what my wildland boots do and I had no pack weight as all I carried was a liter of water on the hikes. I think this was a big factor in how well I did.

By the end of the day, back in camp, I noticed that I was getting some drop in my right foot (not unusual when I get tired or sore) but I deliberately worked to align my feet while walking or in the boat, and that seemed to help. I’ve since added some of the old leg and foot alignment exercises from my post-surgical PT into my FF2FF workout program in the hopes that those will keep this process moving along.

I’m still going very light on my core workouts, but I’m walking everyday and I’ve tried a little exercise biking and stepper work in the last week without any problem. I’m just about ready to try my rollerblades and the mountain bike again.

My weight is stable. I haven’t lost any weight in the last three weeks, which I attribute to all the miles I’ve been racking up between the river trip and going back and forth between Flagstaff and Phoenix every week–too much road food. That will change soon. The last twenty will disappear with more exercise.

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It’s been over a week since I last posted, so I thought I’d do a brief update at least…

I spent most of last week in Phoenix job-hunting and apartment-scouting. I’ve got a line on a guitar teaching position at a music store, which I will know more on at the end of this week, and I’ve narrowed the search area considerably for housing. Good progress and the weather was gorgeous. And, as always, it was a joy to see my friends.

Despite my dismal practice record of late, I got a Tangos and a Sevillanas vocal at my guitar lesson. I nearly made myself hoarse practicing the vocals on the way back to Flagstaff and I’ve gotten them memorized already because of that. Best of all, the lesson seemed to turn around the musical block I’ve had going for weeks and I’ve been practicing every day since. Funny. Practice really does seem to make a difference…

I’ve been back home for a couple of days now and have gotten the “Music by Ariel” site up and running with Drupal. Flamencophile now has blogs, a calendar, and a forum operational. It’s still in development and behind schedule, but it’s progressing. I’m roughly on track with my novel edit, too, only about two days behind my schedule, and I’m hoping I can get caught back up by the end of the week.

My exercise program has been wavering a bit, but is not forgotten. Lifting boxes and the amount of driving I did last week has been a little hard on my legs, so I’m still at the earlier level and taking it all very easy. I expect that to continue until I actually get settled in Phoenix. I have lost two more pounds in the last month, however, so my old rate of weight loss seems to have returned, which makes me quite happy. I’ve still got some more to go, but at this rate I’m within a month of having lost 40 pounds. Yeeha!

While I was gone, the temps took another dive into the 20’s. My maple tree turned red and dropped most of its leaves while I was in Phoenix. The aspens up on the San Francisco Peaks are turning golden and I hope to take a drive up that way in the next few days before it’s back down to the Valley for another round…

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My more usual optimism has returned this evening, leaving the melancholy of midday to fade away into memory. As I drove to Flagstaff to have dinner with my friend Margie, I realized how reclusive I have become the last few months – two trips to Flag in a week feels positively extraverted. Between the novel edit and the intense effort on developing the Drupal-based websites, I’ve spent many, many hours at the keyboard lately. Despite Elmo the Wonder Cat’s attentions, I was in real need of human contact.

I realized some other things today, too. As one of my correctives to the earlier mood, I looked back some more over the last year and thought of all that has happened. It wasn’t so much a “count your blessings” sort of thing, though that was part of it. It was more of an evaluation, an assessment of how far I’ve come, in an effort to have more perspective on how far I have yet to go. I’ve been so busy projecting into the future and seeing how far I had to go to reach my goals that I was a little overwhelmed. The glance behind gave me a much needed shift in point of view.

Wow! A year ago I weighed 37 pounds more than I do now (down another pound this morning, in fact) and I still had several areas of complete numbness on my right leg and foot. Today, there’s only one little spot left on my big toe and even that has some feeling that has come back. I still have to work around the residual nerve damage at times, but it gradually continues to improve.

A year ago I had a regular job that I enjoyed and which paid alright. It only used a fraction of my skills, however, and would prove to be short-lived. Today, I work for myself. That demands every bit of skill and knowledge I have to grow my business. It’s fun, exciting, worrisome at times, and definitely a challenge. By the hourly rate, it’s great compared to my job a year ago. Now I just have to get more hours…

A year ago, I was into the fourth week of the beginning flamenco dance class at Coconino Community College and having a blast. I’d just been down to Tlaquepaque to see Mosaico Flamenco perform; I came back all enthused and determined to study guitar again. This past Friday, I accompanied the class for the first time, using what I’ve learned in taking guitar lessons from Gaetano, the lead guitarist of Mosaico. I had some trouble keeping the Sevillanas even at the slow speed and I’ve got quite a ways to go before I will feel comfortable accompanying the baile, but it’s a start and something I had no idea would come out of signing up for a dance class. I’ve gotten my guitar dreams back and even had a couple of performances in the last few months.

A year ago, I had a bunch of scenes strung together in a somewhat confused and disjointed screenplay and no idea what to do with, about, or to it. Today, I have a novel written and the first few chapters out to an online critique group. I’ve received some encouraging feedback and concluded that it’s less than half bad. The hours and outlines and preliminary writing on the other novels in the series start to look like a semi-reasonable investment as opposed to an insane waste of time.

A year ago, I never would have guessed at all that has happened since. As I look ahead to my move and all the uncertainties of the coming year, reason tells me that I am in the same position once again. Who knows what the year ahead will bring? After seeing how far I’ve come in the past year, the distance ahead doesn’t look that far after all.

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Week in Review

It’s been a mixed bag this week on the “Flabby Forty-nine to a Fit Fifty” exercise program. I lost another pound and I finally got my goals and motivations posted. I fell off the wagon on my hydration program – too many sodas in place of water. That will change this week. I just started back today on my original core exercise program. It took longer than I thought for the nerve pain to settle down, but it’s fine now, and I’m back on track.

This week’s goals:

1) Do the original core exercise program ONLY. Do not push, do not add any extras. One week of the easy version, and then I’ll try adding in a tiny bit more. I set myself back trying to do more than those little old femoral nerves were ready for.

2) Get back on track with my pre-emptive water consumption. This is especially important as I will soon be in Phoenix. I want to have this habit firmly established.

3) Do my daily goal review and visualization to keep my motivation high and my focus clear.

And, I’ve got a blog post entered in the “Very Public Diet” blog carnival to put a little more pressure on to keep practicing what I preach.

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I took three days off from the FF2FF exercise program and reevaluated due to nerve pain in my leg. My plan is to start over on the ab and core exercises as soon as the last of the pain is gone and just gently stretch and do the easiest core program for a week or so before trying any increase in difficulty. I obviously need to approach it more gradually than I did to get the results I want.

I did very well on increasing my water consumption and I did log my progress. I’m still behind the eight ball on getting the visual motivators going. I have done well in reminding myself of why I’m exercising and its benefits, though. My motivation and attitude are good despite the setback and I’m rarin’ to go on my dancing and Arnis as soon as I’m able. No change on body measurements.

This week’s goals are rather modest:

1) 20 minutes easy stretch and ab/core program every day as soon as the nerve pain is gone. I’m currently doing stretches and exercises that don’t affect my core or legs for about ten minutes per day until then.
2) Maintain water consumption.
3) Get those visuals up!
4) Keep at it!

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I’m not waiting until the end of my workout week to make some changes in my exercise program. I have one potential problem developing that needs addressed and there is one potential improvement that I can make right away. Why wait?

Nerve Pain

The good news is that I’ve finally got some sore muscles! My abs are slightly sore, which I want; the down side is that I’m also getting some of the old femoral nerve pain down my right leg. (Refer The Fibroid From Hell post.) I knew I would be walking a fine line with this, so I’m not bummed out by it, just trying to find where the edges are, so I can play it right up to the line. I want progress and it may take a little bit of pain to get it. On the other hand, I’ve also gotten a little bit wiser over the last few years, and I’m not going to injure myself or get the old nerve damage flared up any more than I absolutely have to.

So, instead of my set program, I’ll decide how much core work and other exercise to do on a day to day basis. Whether five minutes or fifteen, twenty or none, I’ll take each day as it comes and see if I can gradually push out the boundaries. Now I know where the pain starts, which is very useful. I just have to determine how far back from that I need to step and still get results.

Hydration

I also found some information on hydration last night that got me rethinking my approach. On that front, I’m changing to a preemptive strategy. I had been just making sure I replenished water when I lost it. Now, I’m going on the offensive and drinking water before I feel thirsty and before I think I need it, without using loss as the cue. That should bring my water consumption up a bit more and pretty much take care of hydration issues. The key will be maintaining that level, so it’ll stay on the goal list a few weeks, until I’m sure the habit is established.

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From a Flabby Forty-nine to a Fit Fifty:

Evaluation of Fitness Goals for the Week of Aug. 23 to 29, 2007

1) Flexibility and core strengthening exercises. Yes. Observations and Log. Yes. Flexibility Assessment. Two days later than planned, but yes.
2) Increase water consumption by 10 %. Yes.
3) Identify and write down three motivators, things. Yes. Find a way to make these powerful, memorable, and visual. Post them where I will see them and remember them. No. Rolls over to this new week.
4) Define system. Yes.
5) Research and select a set of upper body strength exercises. Yes. Ahead of schedule, actually started doing this.

Not too bad. All but one accomplished, and I’ve committed to doing that one this week:

New Fitness Goals for the Week of August 30 – September 5, 2007

1) Continue basic flexibility and core strengthening exercises for six days out of seven, but cut the time spent to 20 minutes per day and increase the difficulty of the exercises.
2) Do a functional strength and stability assessment and determine exercise needs accordingly. Decide how to implement this into flexibility and strength training.
3) Add in at least 20 minutes per day of either flamenco dance, Tai Chi, or Arnis, for six days out of the seven. Do 10 minutes of upper body strength work at least twice during the week on non-consecutive days – this can be part of the Arnis time, if necessary.
4) Increase water consumption by another 10 %.
5) Find a way to make my three motivators powerful, memorable, and visual. Post them where I will see them and remember them. * This is the rollover from last week.
6) Research and select a set of lower body strength exercises. Decide the best way to implement this to work around nerve problems in my legs.
7) Log everything.

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