For a good six weeks at least, probably since I last made a post here, I've been doing my very best to exercise at least five times a week. It all started when quite inadvertently I discovered I had some residual diastasis in my abdomen (the separation of muscles that occurs during pregnancy). I had been cuddling in bed with Hayden and went to sit up. As I did so, I had put my hand on my stomach and was horrified when my fingers sank into my middle. Shudder.
After some research, it became evident to me why any exercise I had done over the last few years had really had no impact whatsoever on my midriff. Any abdominal exercise I had done had only served to maintain the diastasis. Yuck.
I found a fabulous book, Lose Your Mummy Tummy, by Julie Tupler. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is pregnant, post-partum or has a diastasis. Julie's exercises are easy to do and all it takes it a little stick-to-itiveness to get back on track. Of course, be sure to consult your doctor ahead of time.
While it took a little less than the six weeks Julie recommends to repair it (mine was pretty minor as it turns out), I kept at it and have just now begun to reintegrate abdominal exercises into my workout routine. The nicest thing about this is that it got the ball rolling and I am now in a place where I enjoy my workout and look forward to it. In fact, I rarely am able to exercise on the weekend and I find I quite miss it.
I started with just fat burning on the elliptical machine. I had decided that since music did nothing to motivate me to exercise that I would try something different. I carted out my Buffy Season Seven and watched those on the portable DVD player while I worked out. And like magic the time flies by and I barely notice the agony of working out, as long as I am watching something high action. From a year ago when we purchaed the elliptical to now (with huge lapses in between because of my cosmetic surgery), where I could only do about 3 minutes on it, I can now easily do 30 and sometimes more. I am not at a super high level but I am proud of myself for doing this much.
Recently in an effort to head off batwing arms at the pass, I have started doing some arm exercises on the BowFlex. Thanks to Laura, who is my go-to person for all sorts of things, she has helped suggest some good ones for me and I hope they work.
I have done some serious self-talk and convinced myself that this will take time, results will not be immediate. I have set a year deadline before I start to freak out. I want to point out that it has been suggested to me in the past by various fitness trainers that once a woman crosses thiry-five, it "becomes twice as hard" to lose weight/tone up, etc. I feel fitness trainers do women a disservice everywhere by sending them this message, because personally I had the "why bother then?" attitude. If it's going to be that much harder, why even start? But the fact that I can do my entire workout without taking Ventolin, have a lot more energy and generally feel healthier speaks in volumes to me. I have also incorporated my own high fibre/high protein style of eating into this and have significantly cut out refined white sugar (candy and pop) and carbs (chips and other starches). That is not to say that I don't eat them ever. A person has to enjoy their life at the same time. But I am cautious to not overdo it and usually I find I don't enjoy the treat as much because of the guilt that goes along with it.
Not all of this has been terrific. As I have fought to strengthen my abdominal muscles, the layer of fat over my stomach has gotten jigglier. This is because my muscles aren't pooching out as much any more (I consciously activate them whenever I can), so nothing is supporting the fat. I was quite dismayed at this until I figured it out, which is why I am still intensely trying to fat burn as much as possible.
Anyway, I'll try and mark my progress here when I think of it, but I have also been limiting my computer and television time. I have been really struggling with a lot of sciatic pain in my right side (chiropractic has done nothing for it) and sitting for extended periods of time only aggravates it.
In other news, Hayden is now able to spell and I believe is just starting to write letters...and he's not even four yet! I went for parent observation at his preschool the other day and he spelled 16 three letter words as I watched! I was mightily impressed and really hope he will be just as avid a reader as the rest of the family. Boys don't always have the same amount of interest in reading as girls do. By the next day, the teachers informed me he was beginning to spell four letter words. Yes!
My beautiful Hannah is graduating from high school and will be off to Concordia University in Montreal in the fall! Gulp! I don't know quite what to think of it. She did get accepted into three universities here as well, so we'll see what happens, but right now Concordia is pretty high on her list. And, um, who doesn't want to go to Montreal? I love it there, so I don't blame her!
Miss Kestrel is reading like a house on fire now. Once she got the basics there was no stopping her! She reads well above her age level and I am so happy abou that. She also has flow when she reads and is not stilted, which indicates to me that she is mastering reading ahead. Yay Kes!
The weather here is fantastic, so I am going to go and enjoy it now!