Body Limits and Training

I present a challenge to my new personal trainer.  The good part is that I’m 104 lbs lighter than when I started this journey.  But I am badly out of shape and am mostly sedentary, though I do walk more than I used to.  Both legs sport ruptured ACL’s and PCL’s, presenting issues with knee stability, and the right knee needs to be replaced in the next few years.   I don’t do things on the floor since I can’t get up.  My feet are full of arthritis and wearing normal athletic shoes presses on all the sore spots.  Those aren’t excuses, just the status quo, along with saggy skin and tight, sore muscles.

But I finally got up the nerve to call the gym to start the process.  I’m signed up for a weekly trainer session, beginning this Saturday.  The trainer wanted to do the fitness assessment herself, rather than have the head guy do it today.  She wants to see my flexibility, strength, range of motion, and endurance as well as have me explain what my current limits and issues are.  Lucky for me (actually, this is probably why he wanted me to work with this trainer), she is aqua-certified so we can work on a lot in the pool.

My goal is to be fitter, more toned, and more healthy.  To buy myself some time before I get a new knee.  To keep the metabolism jump-started to keep the weight loss up (down?). To keep the skin from sagging so much – it will be there, I know, and a lot of it, but more tone in the muscles underneath will go a long way.

But I’m not expecting or wanting to have the hard body of someone who works out two hours a day, six days a week.   I’m simply not motivated for that.  And I know that will mean that some people, including some of you, will look at me and see pockets of fat that I should work on to get toned to my true potential.  Give it up.  For me to get there, to the lower end of normal on the BMI scale, I will be down to a weight I haven’t seen since 8th grade.  It’s not healthy for me to be there, and it’s not a weight I can maintain without driving myself crazy.

Sometimes I get really depressed reading other blogs when I see how far behind people I am.  And then I remember, hey wait, it’s not a contest.  Our bodies are different, our goals are different, our lives are different.  For me to be my best, I need to ask for help when I need it, and then pay attention and act on what advice I get.

In the meantime, let’s hope my new walking shoes show up soon so my feet don’t hurt.  A new bathing suit is on the way so I can take advantage of the pool (my others are all way too big now).   And I’m making an appointment for a much-needed massage to help me unknot some of these muscles so they’re ready to work.

Life Beyond CPAP

My CPAP rubber parts have been soaking in white vinegar/distilled water for a final cleaning before I pack the whole thing up to put away in the back of my closet.  The machine itself cost over $1,300 so I’m taking very good care of it, just in case I need it again at some point.

But for now, and hopefully forever, my sleep apnea is gone.  I had a home sleep study that showed my apneas have gone from 38/hr to 1.3/hr – and normal is under 5/hr.  I only snored for 3 minutes the whole night.  I was happy dancing to hear the word that I’m normal and no longer need the machine to help me breathe at night.

Much as I didn’t like being tethered to my ResMed CPAP, not using it has been an adjustment, one I didn’t really expect.  For one thing, it’s awfully quiet in the room.  Roomates told me at conferences that the machine didn’t make that much noise, but as the masked person with the elephant hose, let me tell you that there is a persistent wooooshing sound in my ear as the air moved.  It was actually comforting and after getting used to it, the sound helped me sleep.  I think I’ll get a “white noise” sound machine to do the same thing for me now.

My special CPAP-friendly pillow is in storage and I’m adjusting to being able to move my head without the mask shifting out of position or the hose wrapping around my neck and strangling me.  Well, not really, but sometimes it felt like that.   Now, though, after several months of restless sleep and fatigue, I wake up feeling rested and having had deep, vivid dreams – which means I’m getting REM sleep.

One of the things I had heard before my surgery was that bariatric surgery patients – both bypass and lapband – often found that medical conditions often disappeared on their own.  Things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.  So I had suspected that my sleep problems, which began acting up 2 months after the surgery, were related to getting a lapband.

Losing weight can also help the apnea go away or at least be more minimal in intensity.  But I’ve been almost this low before one year after I got my CPAP, and all that happened is that my air pressure were adjusted slightly.  This time, it’s quite different.  I’m more than ready for it.

Visits and Leaks and Weight Loss, Oh My!

My nephew came down for a quick visit this weekend from the New England Patriots training camp.  I saw him last November when I went up for a quick visit to see him and my brother.  His muscles in his arms and legs have muscles that are as hard as rocks, and he’s in wonderful shape.  As he said during the visit, it’s his job to eat healthy and work out in one way or another 5+ hours a day.  After practice and after some supper, he heads back to the gym for additional time.

I made him a home cooked meal (the most exotic thing in it was green bean casserole, which he loves) and was astounded by the amount of food he eats – but then, he has to fuel that body for hard physical work.  For a special treat, I made a sour cream coffee cake using an old family recipe.  My mom makes these for holidays and special family gatherings, and he was shocked that I not only knew how to make it, but had been doing so since before he was born.

We spent Friday night looking at boxes of old family pictures and telling stories.  On Saturday after a leisurely breakfast of coffee and an enormous pile of scrambled eggs, we went out to explore Yale.  It is over 300 years old and the buildings and campus layout are totally different from anything he’d seen in Texas or Utah.  We wandered the law school, old campus, the main library (which he recognized from the Indiana Jones movie that filmed there just as I started working), and checked out Skull and Bones.

We finished the visit with a relaxed lunch at an Irish pub before he had to hit the road to get back for a charity event that night.   We are the only family members in this part of the world and being able to get together without the hassle and expense of plane tickets is priceless.

While he was here, we discovered a water leak from the apartment above.  The toilet tank seal had broken and water was flooding their bathroom and dripping down through my ceiling and down the walls, getting the carpet and pad beneath it soaking wet.  It happened fast and having Rob here was a blessing, since he found the damage more quickly than I would have here on my own.

Maintenance came and fixed the upstairs problem, wet vac-ed my rug and carpet pad, and set up a dehumidifier to suck water out of the walls and carpet as well as fans to help dry things out.  They’re coming back this morning to do some repairs and I’m sitting here waiting for them, since I want to be sure I know what they’re doing.

Last but not least, I’ve now reached the 100 lb milestone and am only 10 lbs away from entering ONEderland for the first time in over 25 years.  I’m not there yet and am not celebrating in advance.  But I know I can do it now and am content to let it arrive when I’m ready.

I’m very happy with my progress and accomplishment.  I am also painfully aware that people who don’t know me see a fat woman who needs to lose a ton of weight, has no tone and obvious fat pockets.  I’m lumpy from the saggy skin, though people don’t necessarily know that’s the reason when I’m covered up.  Time is running out for that as the temps rise.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember when reading other people’s weight loss blogs that we are in very different places in our journeys and that their words and observations are not about me at all, since they’ve never met or even seen me.  They just hold up a big mirror to the things I still have to deal with – or not.  My goal is not to have a lean, trim, toned body. My goal is to be healthier, fitter, smaller, but it also needs to be a place where I know I can maintain without looking out for the fitness police to knock me into a different place just because it works for them.  I have enough to process for now.

I am Many Things, But Graceful Isn’t One of Them

I sit here counting my sore places which are aching, tender, a little swollen, and starting to bruise.  And wishing I was less of a klutz.  Clearly the weight loss has not changed some basic movement competence.

Lunch was in the Dining Hall today because it was raining and I didn’t want to get wet.  I go there all the time and haven’t had a problem wending my way other than the hallways full of students too busy texting to pay attention to the people around them.  Today the area outside the Dining Hall had some weather mats on the floor to absorb some of the wet people were tracking in.

My foot caught on the mat and I could feel my body in the air on the way to fall (it’s happened before so I’m used to the sensation and try to avoid it all costs).  I grabbed the wooden door, slamming my right side against it as I scrambled to keep my balance.  My right forearm is bruised and scraped, the heel of my palm is swollen, tender, and still stings, and my knee was wrenched a bit in the process.  It wasn’t until I was on my way home that I realized that there’s a small bump on my forehead and now I have an achy headache.

I am grumpy.

On the other hand, I finished my big genealogy project and presentation last week.  Not only did I do a PowerPoint and write a script, I also did a handout and created a wiki to provide more information for my colleagues who wanted to know more or couldn’t remember what I’d said – or both.   Here’s the link:  Climbing Your Family Tree Wiki.  It’s still a work in progress but it’s a good start.

There’s been no time for blogging lately because my evening time has been spent looking up relatives of mine or one of my colleagues in census and immigration records, and lately in city directories.  I love puzzles and sorting out relatives is a great long-term activity.  It makes a great evening companion for me while watching TV, plus I love finding new little names, dates, and locations that fill out the picture.

In the meantime, the weight loss is creeping along, and I’m less than a pound away from a 100 lb loss.  I’m not worried about the speed because my body shape is changing most of the time.   I do have a fair amount of excess skin which is starting to drive me crazy.  It was stretched out for 30+ years, and while some of it may be elastic, I’m going to end up with more than I thought.  I’ve worked out something with my doctor to document the skin issues (mostly rashes in skin folds) so that in a few years I can take that to a plastic surgeon to show it’s a medical issue.  It won’t hurt to have documented whether I decided to have more surgery or not, and right now I’m not really inclined to.