Monday, December 10, 2012

"New Rules"

While I dislike the word "rules", and prefer to use "guidelines",  "suggestions",  "theoretical brainspasms" or "Your mission, should you choose to accept it....", it's good to have some sort of format in life.

A little over three weeks ago I began a lower-carb lifestyle and then threw in some exercise. Why? This 40+ pounds of "nursing school baby weight" caught up to me. N.S.B.W. consisted of sugar-laden coffees, gyros with french fries between classes, muffins, fast food on the way home, easy-to-stash bags of pretzels, chips, Combos, etc. The only exercise I got was walking to class and during clinicals, as well as occasionally lifting patients. Very rarely would my friend Emily and I hit the gym, which was usually a minimal workout because we were yelling flashcard questions at each other in an attempt to do something different while studying.

The stress of jobhunting after I graduated in May has also taken its toll. I am a huge stress-eater, and would dive into boxes of brownies, sneak trips through the drive-thru on the way home from work, and work potlucks became a free-for-all. I devoured a hell of a lot of chocolate on Halloween. I have sets and sets of scrubs and a closet full of clothing that is too small.

I admit here, publicly, that I am a sugar addict. I would put more sugar into my coffee than any human should be comfortable doing, to the point of turning my body to hide it from the 7-11 employee cleaning the coffee bar. If I hit a low point at work, I would dump a packet of sugar into my mouth and enjoy the quick energy it gave me. Unfortunately, this wouldn't last long, and I was soon wanting to crawl on my hands and knees because I had crashed so hard. I have always loved sweet things. Some people like salty, and while I love my salty stuff, it's the sugary stuff that draws me in.

Which is why I knew I had to make a major change.

I also began exercising on an almost-daily basis. The first aerobics video I chose to do was off of the On-Demand service on cable. It was an aerobics video designed for women over 50 years of age, and was only 20 minutes long. Halfway through, I thought I was going to fall over. The next morning, I woke up and chose another aerobics video for beginners. I had to hit "pause" about 7 times, but made it through the entire thing. I did it again the next day, and the next. Sooner than I could even believe, I was able to get through that 30-minute cardio - and alive, too!

I then ordered the "Slim-in-6" series because it was a strength-training workout as well as having cardio benefits. I tend to do this four times a week instead of the six that is suggested, just because of my work schedule plus other things going on. I'm on the second stage, and it's a butt-kicking 50 minutes. I can tell that I'm getting stronger, though, and it's such a good feeling.

After all of this, I've lost almost 10 pounds and 13 inches. It's like I'm losing a lot of that "I think I suck" factor along with it, which is very healing.

I have also ordered "The New Rules of Lifting For Women" after hearing many people rave about it on My Fitness Pal. It's been sitting on my coffee table for over a week, with me staring at it every day. I've read it, but it's actually getting up the nerve to go back to the gym, alone, overweight, and heading straight for the meathead-filled weight section. I think today might be the day. It might be tonight, when there aren't so many people there, but today needs to be the day. You never get anything accomplished if you don't take that first step, right?

For anyone worried about my out-of-shape self heading to the gym and tearing into a lifting program, let me assure you that I have done this before. I was heading into a degree in kinesiology before I found nursing, and I know the in's and out's of training. I worked for a women's gym as a trainer, and I was very fit when I was in the Reserves. I loved the feeling of being strong, not necessarily skinny. Plus, I'm not built to be skinny. Fine by me.

So, I am setting "rules" for myself. And my first rule is this: "Make yourself better every day."

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