The Weightlessness Machine

When the parts for my exercise machine finally arrived, I was thrilled! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the tools to install the parts. Lucky for me, my next door neighbor had the tools–as well as the wherewithal–to get the job done. I don’t know what I would have done without his help. I’m exceedingly lucky in that sense, and exceedingly unlucky in another: After he left, I discovered I needed additional parts, so I was not able to use the machine–yet. Once again, I contacted the manufacturer and waited.

As the days dragged on. I found myself taking longer walks to run errands I didn’t really need to run. I took care of the garden, killed weeds in the backyard, and generally moved around as much as possible. I cleaned things around the house even when they were not dirty. I took my laundry to a laundromat farther away from home, just for the exercise.

That would have been all well and good, until I decided to fall off the wagon of weightlessness. Then it got ugly.

Weightlessness Awry

July 30, 2018

I don’t ever seem to have the same motivation from day to day. I rarely wake up wanting to exercise, but I know it’s got to be done.  What I need most is to have an intense workout with a variety of audio or visual experiences to pique my interest. For example, when I exercise to music, I get lost in the world of each song. I create my song list knowing that I have several songs in a row that will inspire me to work harder.

But today was not that kind of a day. I have a home exercise machine (hybrid) and I love it, except when a part breaks, like it did yesterday. I was distraught, but I persevered. I sent a message to the manufacturer, but it was Sunday, and I probably wouldn’t be able to get in a work out until Wednesday. So I went near and far searching for the part, but I could not find it.

If I wasn’t such a solitary exerciser, I’d go to a gym, but I get too distracted.

Now I just wait for the parts to arrive.

Further Adventures in Weightlessness

Exercise

In addition to monitoring caloric intake, a crucial key to weightlessness is exercise. Our bodies need to move, and if we don’t move them, we won’t be fulfilling our potential. But I’m one to talk. I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I know it elevates my mood—big time—but I can be lazy and procrastinate about it. There were years of my life when I didn’t have to think about exercise because I was extremely active, and then there were years of my life when I consciously needed to exercise daily.

Joining a gym would never have occurred to me when I was 19 (I am now 54). But I did. I signed up. I knew nothing about gyms, but I wanted to get fit because I wasn’t extremely active at the time, and I’d been gaining weight. I chose a Gold’s Gym because it was close to my apartment. I had no idea it was a bodybuilding gym. I walked in and asked how it all worked and what it would cost. I was given a tour of the machines, and it seemed very straightforward, so I signed up.

I wasn’t quite sure how to use the machines, but a kind soul came along and showed me how to work them. Over the course of the first month, I got the hang of things, and even started to develop some definition. The following month one of the trainers approached me and asked if I might be interested in competing.

“Competing?” I asked, absolutely clueless.

“Yes,” he said, “in bodybuilding.”

I think bodybuilding is nothing short of remarkable because of the enormous amount of effort and energy that is necessary to maintain such a muscular body, but I could not see myself in that role. It was a marvelous compliment; however, I knew the lazy procrastinator in me would eventually win the day. I stopped going to the gym just as soon as I lost the weight I wanted to lose. Of course, that was a mistake.

Over the years my weight (and health) have fluctuated dramatically. I did occasionally go to a local gym, but it seemed to be more of a social scene than a place to work out. I decided to purchase a stationary bicycle for exercise. Because I had it in my house, I was more inclined to exercise than ever before, and I was fit for some years. It wasn’t the first machine I used for my health.

Today I use a Sunny Health & Fitness Air Resistance Hybrid Fan Bike – SF-B2618, which has movable arms and bicycle pedals. It is my machine of choice because I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands and feet, with accompanying chronic pain. And, as my first rheumatologist told me, “If you lose 20 pounds, your symptoms will decrease by 50%.” If that isn’t a worthy goal, I don’t know what is.

I took my rheumatologist’s advice and got serious about exercising (again). At first, I couldn’t sustain a workout, I was in so much pain. My doctor suggested exercising even a little more every day would make me feel better. He was right. I went into remission for a few years, but once again, I stopped exercising for one reason or another, and fell back into an unhealthy lifestyle.

This is where I find myself now.

More soon…

Adventures in Weightlessness

I had truly lost my mind. Between 2015 and 2018, I gained 43 pounds. When I eventually realized how much weight I had gained, I was shocked. Clearly, I hadn’t been paying attention. Sure, my clothes hadn’t been fitting me well, but instead of taking steps to maintain my weight, I bought new clothes. When those clothes didn’t fit, I bought new clothes again—and again. What was I thinking?

The truth is, I wasn’t thinking, and I wasn’t taking care of myself. I felt perpetually uncomfortable in my skin, and more so, in my clothes. I spent less time with others and more time feeling ashamed of myself. My self-esteem was close to zero, and my well-being needed a makeover.

I eat healthy most of the time, but I was consuming more than I should. I stopped eating meat in 1986, but I eat fish, and I love cheese, particularly on pizza, which is the worst of my temptations. I also exercise every day, except for a day off here and there. It might be a matter of simple indulgence—eating too much, drinking too much alcohol—but it feels like insecurity, anxiety, and instability, somehow.

In May of 2018, I knew something had to give, so I mentioned my predicament to my doctor, who was happy to counsel me.  She suggested I fix my food intake at 1500 calories, which involved counting calories. Come to find out, this is not an easy task, particularly when fruits and vegetables—the majority of foods that I eat—have no nutrition labels. I hopped online and located many of the foods I would normally eat via FitBit and MyFitnessPal. I noted their calorie contents, categorized them, and then wrote them in the back of a blank book, which I could take with me when I’m out and about. I saved the front of the book for noting the foods I was eating or going to eat.

I started my diet by fasting for three days, which seems ludicrous, but there is a method to that madness. According to a study by Catharine Paddock, Ph.D., of Medical News Today, “prolonged fasting ‘re-boots’ immune system.” Further information supports the study, as Sarah Knapton, science correspondent for The Telegraph, writes: “Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as ‘remarkable’.” There are many reasons, ways, and lengths of time to fast, so I won’t delve deeper into that topic area. If you are interested in fasting, please consult your doctor or a medical professional.

On the morning after my three-day fast, I ate a small bowl of delicious soup consisting of cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic, potato, herbs and three cups of vegetable broth, which I had wittingly prepared in advance. I also discovered that six pounds of my fleshy, overweight body was missing. I was excited about it, but I was also afraid that I had gone too far, and I worried that I would gain back all the weight I had lost, but I held steady, and the next day, I had lost another pound because I was still figuring out how to arrange my calories throughout the day. For a while there, I was consuming just a little over half of the 1500 calories allotted. No wonder I was so tired all the time. In order to get maximum nutrition within 1500 calories, I made a meal plan for each day, and thereafter all went smoothly, for the most part.

Copyright @ 2018 Marla K. Greenway