Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Unfit Author - The Journey Begins!

I used to keep in shape, able to eat anything I wanted. If I wasn't walking, I was riding my bike. In college, I worked in the scene shop. Nothing like set work to keep you healthy and strong! I also took a lot of dance classes.
After graduation and marriage, I worked out in aerobics and water aerobics. I was fit! Even after four children, I was slender and in good shape. Then a serious of health problems put me down and I haven't been the same since.
Thanksgiving of 2000, I broke my neck. I call it that for dramatic effect. What I actually did was rupture the C5-C6 disc in my neck. Excruciatingly painful, it curtailed my physical activities considerably. I had a fusion and replacement in the spring of 2001, but it left considerable nerve damage in its wake.
Afterward, it was difficult to walk or ride my bike. In fact, it was downright painful to do anything but normal daily activities. Once the neck brace came off, I had some therapy, but never regained full mobility of my neck. I have almost constant discomfort, if not pain, in my left shoulder. There are areas of hyper-sensitivity alternating with tingling, numb spots all down my left arm and leg. There isn't anything that can be done for this. I'm not incapacitated, but it does make exercising challenging.
After that, I started to gain weight and I couldn't keep ahead of it. In 2009, I weighed around 198 pounds. On my 5'5” frame, that's a fair amount of weight. I was thinking of how best to pursue weight loss when I found out I had breast cancer. Diagnosed in December of 2009, I started chemo in February of 2010. My year is a blur for the from January through August, between chemo and radiation treatments.
The steroids they gave me during the treatments started a spiral decline that I couldn't dig out of with a back hoe. I also developed more severe allergies, I think likely keyed to the chemo, and was diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis two years ago. For that, I was prescribed more steroids in the form of an inhaler. The inhaler is $200 a pop, so I've had to wean myself off it. It wasn't as effective after two years, anyway, so I haven't noticed a huge difference either way.
It's hard for me to walk, due to a dodgy hip and knee, and it's not very interesting walking around our neighborhood. My bike was stolen, just as I was getting out to ride it every day, so there went that. Needless to say, I don't get much exercise. I need to and I need to get this weight off. Health issues aside, I don't like how I look. Having a negative body image isn't healthy emotionally, and I need a boost.
My self-esteem takes a nose dive whenever I try to work out. I was doing well with the P90X Stretch, then the disc got lost and I no longer had it as a workout resource. Shortly after that, my son and his girlfriend moved in with us. I don't like working out in front of others, particularly those who are fit. It's distressing and depressing, so I sit in my office and don't do anything. I can borrow my son's copy of the X Stretch, but I'm in such sorry shape now, I can't do it. I'm breathless and wheezing less than 10 minutes in—that's just the warmup!
So, I set myself a goal. Every hour, I do at least three minutes of exercise. This doesn't sound like much, but it's a manageable goal for me. Today is day one, Monday, February 16, 2015. I hope that by writing about it, I will be able to make myself do it. I will update every week. I took my weight and measurements today. Since I'm rather embarrassed by the numbers, I'll keep them to myself and give weekly updates on changes (if any).

Below are the songs I danced to 2/16/15

Duration Song & Artist Time
3:53 F**k You – CeeLo Green. 12:43
7:38 Whiskey Bar – Zak Deputy 1:29
3:31 Haven't Done Nothin – Stevie Wonder 2:36
4:03 Money for Nothin' – Dire Straits 3:40
4:39 Fire Like This – Hardknox 4:48
Dinner prep and eating 6:00 – 7:00 (approximately)
3:16 Into the Jungle – Jamie N Commons 7:03
3:13 Rumble and Sway – Jamie N Commons 8:18
30:13 Total

You'll notice that my times are a bit wonky, not exactly an hour apart. Part of this is due to the fact that I set the timer after I exercised. Part of it is due to the fact that I sometimes forgot to reset the timer. This is a work in progress, after all.
I decided that after dinner, I was going to relax and not push myself. The last couple songs, it was difficult to breathe. However, if I've added up correctly, I got just over 30 minutes of exercise today. Not bad, considering I rarely get any.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Today's workouts were a little more scattered, but I still got in over 30 minutes. My daily goal is 30 minutes for the first couple of weeks, then I'll try for more. I'm not worrying so much about diet at this time, rather activity levels. So far, so good, but it's only the second day.
I had to fight the impulse to skip a couple of sessions, but I made myself get up and do them. I chose shorter songs so I wouldn't feel as overwhelmed.

Below are the songs I danced to 2/17/15:

Duration Song & Artist Time
3:39 Bottom of the River – Delta Rae 11:25
7:30 Whiskey Bar – Zach Deputy 12:24
7:12 Luz, Amor y Vida – Carlos Santana 1:36
4:01 I Don't Care – Patrick Stump 3:51
4:00 Tenderoni – Chromeo 8:47
3:26 Barbed Wire and Roses – Pinmonkey 9:57
38:11 Total

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Today is my writing group day. I volunteer at the local Council on Aging. It takes up a large portion of my day. With one thing and another, I didn't get much exercise in, but I did make myself do some so the say wouldn't be a total loss.

Below are the songs I danced to 2/18/15

Duration Song & Artist Time
4:20 Pretzel Logic – Warren Haynes 11:25 PM
5:25 Regulator – Clutch 11:31 PM
9:45 Total

Thursday, February 19, 2015
Today was better. I was home for the day and was able to keep up a fairly regular schedule. I took a break to fix lunch and supper (and watch a movie with my kids) I'm a little stiff from the last few days, but it's not painful. I'm simply using muscles that haven't been exercised this much for years. I take it easy, not dancing as hard if I feel something twinge.

Below are the songs I danced to 2/19/15

Duration Song & Artist Time
4:55 Number 9 – Moon Hooch 11:02
5:10 Concrete – Revivalists 12:09
4:47 Electric Worry – Clutch 1:16
Lunch and a break 1:35
3:59 Only One – Melissa Etheridge 2:38
3:56 Let Me Go – Melissa Etheridge 3:41
4:48 Luz, Amor y Vida – Carlos Santana 5:15
Dinner and a Movie 6:18
3:31 Haven't Done Nothing – Stevie Wonder 8:46
4:35 Hi De Ho – K7 10:04
34:43 Total

Friday, February 20, 2015
Today wasn't a very good exercise day. I did all right until midafternoon when I developed a migraine. It took hours for it to settle down and it never completely went away. I didn't get as much exercising in because dancing around made my head hurt worse.

Below are the songs I danced to 2/20/15

Duration Song & Artist Time
3:40 So Far from Your Weapon – Dead Weather 12:44
3:13 Rumble and Sway – Jamie N Commons 2:20
2:23 Jack the Ripper – Link Wray 3:32
Migraine kicked in
4:38 New Low – Middle Class Rut 10:31
13:54 Total

Saturday, February 21, 2015
Another bad day. I didn't get any exercise in at all. Went to bed with a headache, woke up with it and kept it most of the day. Even the idea of dancing made it hurt more. Okay, that's probably psychosomatic, but that's the truth of it.
Tomorrow is another day and I won't give up. I do notice that I feel a bit better since embarking on this—other than the migraine. Migraines suck.

Sunday, February 22, 2015
Didn't do as badly today, though I didn't reach my 30 minute goal. I got distracted and I was still feeling the after effects of the migraine. I also realized that I need to add stretching to my routine, which I will do starting on Monday, February 23, 2015

Below are the songs I danced to 2/22/15

Duration Song & Artist Time
3:00 Venus – Shocking Blue 12:08
3:30 Mercy – Duffy 1:20
3:44 Hem of Your Garment – Cake 2:26
4:28 Tenderoni – Chromeo 5:29
4:00 Pick Up the Pieces – Average White Band 7:48
5:08 Funk for Your Ass – Frank Wesley 9:01
2:46 Long Way to Go – C2C 10:08

After the first week, no change in the measurements, which is as I anticipated. However, almost a pound difference in weight. Keeping in mind time of day, fullness of stomach & bladder, I'm not calling it definitive yet, but it's a pound and I'm owning it!

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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