The Long, Steep Climb


I’ve mentioned that I started tracking my food intake a couple of weeks ago. On Sunday I created a Health & Wellness Page that I am going to update as I progress through my various goals. I have three overall:

  1. I want to lose weight — specifically I want to adjust my diet and monitor my calorie intake appropriately.
  2. I want to improve my overall fitness — specifically I want to get stronger and have greater cardio endurance.
  3. I want to increase my capacity for mindfulness and resilience.

I’m implementing them slowly as I want them to be habits that last, instead of fads I chase in the hopes of getting to the “right” size or losing a certain number of pounds. So far I’ve only been tracking food intake and more or less meeting my caloric goal. I say more or less because I grandfathered in a cushion so that when I go over, I am still on track to lose overall. But the goal is not to go over that often. And, to be clear. I’m less concerned with the weight than I am with general fitness, but I also know that health starts and ends in the kitchen (barring other medical conditions of course). And I also know that my portion sizes and “occasional” indulgences were pretty off target.

Anyway, the calorie tracking seems to be mostly under control, so this week I am starting with some goals related to physical fitness. Again going very slowly to build up habits that last. This is the area where I have probably lost the most ground over the last two years. I am trying to hold off from judging myself, but it’s hard when I used to really be in good shape and proud of that fact. Rather than jumping in and going balls-to-the-wall for a couple of weeks and then quitting because I can’t see any improvement, I thought I’d start out a bit more rationally this time. I administered myself a fitness test. The results are pretty dire. But the good news is that I have a starting point from which I can measure any progress and I can only go up (I hope) from here.

I cobbled together my assessment using information from online articles.

Beginning Fitness Assessment: 7/3/17

Blood Pressure: 114/73   Heart Rate: 72 BPM   

  • Wall Sit: 30 secs.
  • Plank: 30 secs
  • Push-up
    • regular: none = needs improvement!
    • knees: 4 = needs improvement!
  • Sit & Reach: 20″
  • Graduated Tree Pose
    • R: 20 secs, mid-thigh
    • L: 25 secs, knee
  • Toe Touch: Knuckles
  • 4 Square Jump: 10 quadrants in 10 secs
  • Blind Balancing: 15 secs
  • Overhead Squat: good
  • Vertical Jump: 80″ (about 6″ from my standing reach, I think)(I’m pretty gravitationally bound)
  • 3 Minute Step Test: 174 BPM = needs improvement!

At some point I will add a timed mile into these stats, but right now I’m not walking outside as much because of the heat and my access to a treadmill is somewhat limited. But in the long term I would like to build back up to running long distances, so at some point I’ll add that information as well.

So, as you can see, pretty pathetic. But, like I said, I can do better! Frankly a lot of what has been holding me back is disgust at being so out of shape. But that only makes me more out of shape! No more of that destructive thinking. In addition to the fitness assessment, my actual beginning goal for the next couple of weeks is to attend a weekly yoga class and to add in two additional workouts each week. The additional workouts don’t have to be long, I’m mostly trying to build in consistency. I am going to post new numbers for the assessment monthly, but I want to check in weekly on my goals. At first I didn’t want to do that because it seemed so very visible and also maybe a little overwhelming. But I think it will actually be easier to manage if I link to posts on the Health and Wellness page, rather than trying to create this huge, scrolling monstrosity of updates.



8 thoughts on “The Long, Steep Climb

  1. Good luck Laura! I’m pitiful when it comes to strength exercises and I’m quite sure that I couldn’t do even just one push-up. Several years ago I was using a videotape that had gentle strength exercises and, as I practiced several times a week, I eventually started to get stronger and actually be able to do 10, 20 push-ups. I was so excited! I need to go back to that too. Unfortunately for me that video isn’t available in DVD, but I still have my old VCR and I’ve been meaning to just play it and film my TV screen and I think you’ve inspired me to try to do this. I’ll add it to my To Do List 🙂

    1. Thanks Nathalie! I do love being strong. That was one of my proudest accomplishments about being fit. I would really like to get back to that place as it felt empowering overall, actually. I hope you find your video! There are also a ton of videos online, although the cross fit craze makes gentle stuff harder to find.

      1. You know, I don’t like change. When I find something that I like and that works, I expect to be able to keep on using it forever! As long as my VCR still turns on when I plug it in, I should be able to run the videotape (I know exactly where it is!) and then I’ll just film my screen:)
        I have found some “easy” strength videos on Amazon Prime and added them to my watch list so, if my first choice doesn’t work for some reason, I guess I’ll just resort to using those… the hardest thing is for me to remember to actually DO strength exercises because biking on my recumbent bike is more fun and lets me do other things at the same time. There’s not much else you can do when you’re already grunting at trying to do a push-up, is there?

      2. haha, so true. i do like the bike or the elliptical since I can read at the same time. But I’ve been really enjoying podcasts and audiobooks when walking, so that makes me feel like I’m getting a bit of a bonus in, too. 🙂

  2. Good luck with your wellness program! I started out this month with the decision to actually start walking 30 minutes a day, as recommended by my medical team.

  3. I have always hated to exercise. But I did some walking when I was younger, and it worked well for me because I considered it my time to think things through and clear my mind. But I don’t do that anymore because I am so busy with other things. I see my doctor next week and I have a feeling she will tell me to MAKE the time.

    1. Yes, doctors are a little insistent like that, huh? 😉 I like walking for the same reason.

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