Have you ever had one of those months where everything you had planned went by the wayside due to many unexpected additions to your schedule? July was that kind of month – the kind of month that in the past I would have used as an excuse not to exercise. Instead, I found that if you really want to, you can make time and space for getting exercise in spite of your schedule.
Last month I told you about my discovery of Stickk.com, and my decision to hold myself accountable for getting on the treadmill daily, and losing 20 lbs. in 16 weeks. I ended up not trying to do two goals at once, settling on losing the 20 lbs. While there are several other payment options, I decided that I would stake $5 every week I did not meet my goal to be paid to an “anti-charity.” These are organizations selected by Stickk that are on opposite ends of contentious political issues, and you have the option of selecting the place you would least like your money to be used. You also select a referee who will verify that you have met your goal, and ideally, supporters who will participate with you and cheer you on. They even have an option for you to use a Withings scale, a device that monitors your weight and statistics and wirelessly delivers them to Stickk. I decided that was a little too “Big Brother” for me, and besides, the cheapest Withings scale I found was around $100.
Somehow I didn’t notice that I had decided to start my journey right before my vacation. Not only that, this vacation is the same one I have taken for the last 14 years, one that includes 15 all-you-can-eat meals (talk about a vacation from diet and exercise goals). It also includes a number of wonderful outdoor activities that I don’t do. How in the world would I be able to meet my goals? I could commit to taking walks around the 200 acre property, and there would be a fair amount of walking in general, back and forth to activities. Since we were on the third floor, I could even plan to use the stairs instead of the elevator. Not that it mattered much, since the dining hall and hub of most activities is also on the third floor.
Glancing through the schedule, I decided to try the Zumba class that was being offered daily in the auditorium. Two of the homeschool moms at the conference are certified Zumba instructors. Back home, one teaches Zumba classes at a fitness center, and the other one owns a fitness center! I had taken these classes in the past, so I thought I knew what to expect. Turns out my memories were on the fuzzy side.
This video will give you a general idea of what Zumba is. Wikipedia says Zumba “incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves.” Our classes were for a whole hour – quite a departure from half an hour on the treadmill daily. I worked up a major sweat every day, and I am proud to say I attended classes the four days they were offered (that’s not our class, nor me in the video below).
In addition to these classes, I did avoid the elevator, and I did quite a lot of walking. I ate a lot of wonderful salads, and really dialed back my portions of other food. I was determined to achieve my first goal, and I did! For the first time ever, I lost 2 pounds on this vacation instead of gaining five or ten pounds.
I was home for about 48 hours, where I continued to watch what I was eating, exercise, and monitor my progress. Then I got on a bus with 80 teenagers from my church and headed to St. Louis for a week for a large youth conference. The first day we were there, we went to the St. Louis Zoo, where I think I walked about three or four miles in 95 degree heat. The remainder of the week was a whirlwind of activities at the America’s Center, which also involved a great deal of walking, dodging 7,000 teenagers, taking our meals in the Edward Jones Dome, cleaning up streets in a dangerous neighborhood, and sometimes, walking another 3/4 mile back to the hotel at the end of the day. Combine all that with terrible food that I didn’t eat very often, and it seemed to me that I would be on track that week to have lost at least two pounds, if not more.
When I got home, I decided to finally get on the scale after more than two months of ignoring it. Unbelievably, it said I had not only NOT met my goal, I had gained ten pounds! I blinked back tears and ran out of the room. “That’s impossible!” I shouted. “I drank tons of water. I was active. I didn’t eat too much.”
My son heard me yelling and asked what was the matter. When I told him that I had gained ten pounds, he said, “That’s ridiculous. There is no way you have gained any weight. Even I can see that your belly has gone down.” My husband agreed. And of course, they were right. My clothes were fitting a lot better, and my rings were even spinning round on my fingers to the point that I had to take them off because they were too big!
Clearly I should have taken my own advice and thrown away that scale. In fact, I probably went about Stikk all wrong in the first place, by focusing on weight loss (the scales!) rather than building muscle, losing fat and having my clothes fit better. Meanwhile, I couldn’t honestly report back to Stickk.com that I had lost weight, because I didn’t have any idea whether I had actually met my goal or not. So I ended up making a $5 contribution to my least favorite charity.
I wish I could say I have been as diligent since I returned home from St. Louis. We have done quite a bit of eating out because of the busy schedule, but I have managed to exercise three times this week, in spite of having to deal with insurance paperwork from a car accident, a funeral (unrelated to the car accident!), catching up on all the work I left behind for two weeks, and getting sidelined by a nasty summer cold. If I can find the time to exercise in the midst of all that, you can too! Baby steps are still steps in the right direction. Just keep going! I would love it if you would help me meet my goal to lose 20 pounds by the end of October. Email me at susancritelli (at) verizon.net, or find me on Fit After Fifty and let me know you want to participate.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, U.S. Army, Brittany Carlson (USAG Stuttgart)
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