January Jumpstart Jive

Man, I am out of practice writing blog posts. How do I start? What do I say? How do I not sound like a total lame-o? Jeepers!

It is now officially 2018! Yaaaay!
I’m really looking forward to 2018. I’ve moved through all my internal work, laid to rest my old ghosts, and now it’s time to fly! It’s going to be a bit of a slow start, thanks to being sick since the middle of November, but I’m hoping that means we got our sick season out of the way early. (Fingers crossed!)

KST has graciously agreed to guide me through the physical part of my forward motion. I can’t wait to really get going! So, here we go!

My January Jumpstart Jive Challenge

Here’s a secret: I have always wanted to be a ballroom dancer. Ever since I was a wee thing, I dreamt of heating up the stage alongside Danny Kaye (White Christmas is still my favorite holiday movie). He was always more my style than Fred Astaire – sweet, funny, adorkable. I learned how to swing dance in high school, but I’ve never been brave enough to step out of my social phobia comfort zone and jump into taking classes. That is my physical goal this year: To be strong enough to follow my passion. The Jive is a style of swing that’s high-energy, super bouncy…and that makes it really scary to consider. But it’s also kind of my goal dance to be able to do. If I can pull off a jive? That will be the ultimate success! (Here’s Lindsey Stirling’s jive from the most recent season of Dancing with the Stars – I love her music, and she’s super adorable on the show!)

Obviously, I have a long, long, LONG way to go before I have the stamina, cardiovascular capacity, or joint strength to be able to pull it off. But that’s why this is my Jumpstart Jive challenge! That’s my goal, and this is my first kickoff. Yay!

So, here are my month’s goals:

  1. Strength train 6 days a week with KST’s awesome routines.
  2. Daily stretching, flexibility, and physical therapy moves.
  3. 5 days of 30-minute gentle cardio (stationary bike, walking, dancing, KST’s fun vids) for stress relief.
  4. 3 extra bouts of hard cardio (elliptical, speed walking, pushing on the bike) a week for heart and lung training. (Working up to 30-45 minutes.)
  5. Stage 1 cleaning up the food (no extra sugar, make healthy trade-outs, increase protein, veggies, and vitamins).
  6. Water, water, water!

Basically, I’m looking at an hour of exercise a day, plus an extra 30 minutes three times a week, plus a stretchy rest day. Because of the weather in Phoenix, I REALLY want to use the weather to my advantage, so I’m going to be emphasizing the walking, as my husband’s schedule permits. It’ll be too hot to go outside by April, so I want to get crackin’!

(And as a bigger picture, I’m intending to work really hard for the next…68 days. Then we have spring break and after that – I dance!)

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Revised Goals

You know all those goals I posted before?

Forget them.

I just read a wonderful health journey post by a man who used a more Eastern approach to lose 100 pounds and get healthy. Immediately, my heart responded with, “Yes, this, REMEMBER??”

The scientist in me likes data I can track. Quantifiable numbers. Trends. Patterns. They’re important. But I am not, by nature, a by-the-book sort of girl. I am intuitive in my body use and my habits. I track patterns by observation of non-quantifiable data as easily as I do with numbers. The difference is that the “professional” weight loss/health improvement plans are seductive. They make promises, like “do this and you will feel better!” And “don’t eat this, and you can be happier!” And, the one most likely to knock me out of my groove, “You will have company and social support if you just do what we do!” The intuitive track is by nature a solitary one, and I get so excited about not being alone with all my efforts that I hop on band wagons even though deep down, I know better.

Hope is a powerful thing.

But none of those hopeful promises ever pan out. I’m not someone who’s always been fat, or anti-exercise; someone who doesn’t know what she’s doing. I’m not someone who loves food so much she finds it hard to give it up. I’m not your “average” American go-getter. Rewards don’t work for me. Streaks do nothing for me.

What does work for me? Me. Mindfulness. Paying attention to my body and doing what I can do. For me. Without tracking it. Without comparing it to some arbitrary plan. No calendars, no systems, no “this is what you should do.” Just me,  doing what feels “right.”

So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going back to my 2-weekers. I will try something new for two weeks, keep to it, and then if I don’t like it or it doesn’t feel right, I’ll try something else. If it does work, I’ll keep it and integrate a new thing for 2 weeks.

My central goal for the short-term: Stress release.
Gentle movements. Stretching. Breathing exercises. Meditation. Anything that will promote the release of all this stress I’ve built up is what I’m going to do. No competition. No challenges. Just experimenting with ways to make my body feel softer, looser, and more movement-friendly.

My medium-term goal: Lower my blood pressure.
I won’t be able to trust myself to do work with weights or any up-and-down movement until I stop having such significant BP spikes. This will come about through my short-term changes.

Long-term goal: Be ME in MY body again.
Healthy, limber, strong, agile, and able to enjoy my own self!

Starting Goals!

Ultimately, my goal is of course to feel good, be healthy, and be the best version of myself I can be.

That’s not exactly quantifiable, though, so I’m going to be setting goals that allow me to feel successful as I make this journey to a well me. This first set is made up of somewhat random targets, both long-term and short-term, until I can figure out how well I can do right now.

  1. Blood Pressure: 120/80
    I’m going to make that my primary target for now. I don’t know that I will ever be able to control it, but I can decrease it. Exercise helps a lot. Diet will do better. Clean it up, cut it out, and make healthy choices! 120/80 is the clinical “normal,” and climbing 25 points from there, while not exactly good for my veins (or brain), is at least not in the “Am I going to die from this pressure in my head?” region.
  2. Stamina: 30 minutes on a treadmill at 20-minute/mile
    I might already be able to do this – I haven’t tried lately. I can’t go much faster than that because of my hip flexor/pelvis issues. But sustaining it is doable.
  3. Leg Strength: Move up to 80 lbs on ab/adduction machines
    Short-term, as I’m already at 60 lbs.
  4. Arm Strength: Pick a program and stick with it for two weeks
    I really like working my arms. But I don’t want to use the weights at the gym for fear of straining too hard and increasing my BP too much. I have a hard time working out at home because my MIL is always in the main room, and I’m too self-conscious to get a good workout. So I need to find something I feel comfortable doing in all ways.
  5. Cardio: 45 minutes at sweaty speed on the elliptical
    I could do this before the holidays, back when my BP had gone down. I stopped using the elliptical in November because of my hip trouble, so I want to move back into that (hip permitting – I start PT soon).
  6. Weight: Finish shedding initial 10%, to 235
    I started at 261 last year. Chucked 5 pounds in two months through exercise. Plateaued. Chucked 6 in dietary changes in November. Gained back 4 or 5 of those over the holidays. 235 is my post-pregnancy stasis point as well as the 10% weight loss that is recommended as a bare minimum for health improvement.

That was my doctor’s suggestion today, too. Unless the cardiologist finds an underlying cause for my orthostatic hypertension, the best I can do is lose weight and control my salt intake. So here we go!