Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Part Two - What NO ONE Tells You About Weight Loss

For Women Only, Part 2:  the GOOD and the BAD

 

Over the past 19 months, I have been on a journey to lose weight (and now keep it off) and become healthy and fit.  Here, I share my journey with youWhen you lose a lot of weight, there are a lot of unexpected benefits and a few side effects, that you learn to deal with.  This is part two of the things NO ONE ever tells you about.  You can read Part One here.

Gym Hands

I got my first callous last fall after I had been training with Mike for a little while.  I was appalled.  I bought gym gloves, but they get dirty fast and are just nasty.  You can wash your hands after working out, but are you going to put your gym gloves in the wash every time you work out?  You should!  When Dmitriy started having me do pull ups (and hanging leg extensions), my hands got numb and turned white.  I said to him, “I really wish I had my gloves on.”  He said, “You don’t need them.”  But my hands hurt!!  So when I was by myself trying the pull ups, I used the gloves.  Worse thing ever!!!  They seriously cut off the circulation to my hands and I felt like string was tightly wrapped around them.  I haven’t worn gloves since.  I do treat myself to a manicure about twice / month and I use lots of hand cream, but the callouses are simply part of gym life.
Calloused, sore hands after doing pull-ups
Gym Attire
Because I was fat, I did not want to wear anything tight fitting.  When I worked out, I wore grubby sweat pants and an over-sized t-shirt.  I didn’t even necessarily pay attention to what I was wearing to the gym.  One time I was working out with Mike and I had one of Mitch’s swim team t-shirts on and he asked if I was the swim coach.  I was like, “What are you talking about?  I’m wearing this shirt because it’s my son’s senior class t-shirt.”  I didn’t even know what I was wearing!!!  He must have thought, “This chick is a real dummy.”  After that, I bought a couple of shirts to wear just to the gym and recycled them with my t-shirts.
This is the t-shirt I thought I was wearing when Mike asked me if I was the swim coach.  I actually had on the boys' swim team t-shirt, but I didn't even realize it.  I used to just grab whatever was at the top of the drawer, throw it on with sweat pants and go.  I don't have the swim t-shirt to show you and this one is like a small tent on me, but it holds sentimental value.
In December, I brought my gym clothes to change into at work and the girls stopped me on the way out and said, “Tracey, you need some new gym clothes!  Look at you!  You look ridiculous.”  So, I threw out the worn out Adidas yoga pants and bought three new pairs of yoga pants, but kept wearing my t-shirts and the couple of gym shirts I had.  In February, I had started shedding weight quickly and added a couple of Patriots shirts into the mix after they won the Super Bowl.  I needed new clothes for work, so every time I bought some, I bought new clothes for the gym.
This was a real treat!!!  I got rid of all my sweat pants, bought some tank tops and a couple of new sports bras.  I use the mirror when I lift to make sure I have good form.  With the new clothes, I began to like what I saw.  Instead of wearing clothes that were baggy and loose, I wore clothes that let me see my body.  As I began to see some definition develop in my shoulders and arms, I bought MORE clothes to wear to the gym.  In the spring I bought a couple of tank-tops with built in bras, which were great.  But new problem – they don’t provide the best protection, so I had to add my own inserts.  I see a lot of women double bra with those tank tops, but I don’t like the added restriction.  We are women, we do whatever we have to make it work!!
One of my new tank tops.
For the ones with a built-in bra, I've improvised and added some protection to keep the girls from showing everything.  I only have one that came with its own built-in protection.  I wonder who actually designs these?  Certainly not a woman who works out!  I've tried to double-bra it, but that's way too uncomfortable.

 ALL THAT WATER

One of the things that has been hardest for me to adjust to, is drinking enough water.  For whatever reason, I don’t have a taste for it.  I tried everything to get myself to drink it.  Lemon wedges didn’t work.  Buying special water bottles was a pain to always have to wash them.  I started buying cases of bottled water and keep some refrigerated at all times, which has helped.  It wasn’t until I got my 20 oz. Wonder Woman Tervis cup last month that I finally started drinking enough water.  I love being able to keep track of exactly how much water I am drinking (it has measurement lines) and the insulation keeps the water cold for a long time.  I still have to consciously make myself drink water, but it’s so much easier now.  I only drink coffee, water and tea (when it’s cold), so that makes it easier to consume enough water.
If I fill this with ice, it will keep my water cold all day!
Here’s the one thing they don’t tell you:  when you drink a lot of water, you constantly have to pee.  The urge to pee is constant.  When I’m working out at the gym, I drink a lot more water, so I take at least two trips to the bathroom.  If I stop at the grocery store after working out, I have to pee.  When we are on a long drive, I’m the one who says, “Honey, we need to stop at a rest stop.  I have to pee.”  Any woman who has given birth knows that when you have to pee, it means you have to go now.  All that water has added an interesting twist in our travels. 
At a rest stop in New York on our way to my cousin's wedding.
Hormones

Probably the best part of my weight loss is what it has done for my marriage.  My husband and I are closer than we ever have been.  He has always been the love of my life, but since I feel so much better, we have been able to really connect through this journey.  In Part 1, I talked about my energy levels and how they have improved.  This is largely due to the improved balance in my hormones.  The excess body fat doesn’t only bring down your energy levels, but it messes up your hormones.  My mood has improved drastically and my anxiety levels have been largely in check, although I do still worry.  There are other hormonal benefits as well, which pair nicely with the increase in energy and improved affect (mood). 
Me and the love of my life
I’ve done some research on this and it’s relatively complicated to explain.  But I will tell you this – if you are overweight, your hormones are out of wack, which affect just about everything.  A proper nutritional plan, coupled with exercise will improve your overall physical well-being – body, soul and spirit.  It's hard to explain unless you've been through it yourself, but you really feel like a new person!
These are just three of hormones that become disrupted when you are overweight and have an excess of body fat.  An imbalance of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone will wreck havoc on just about everything.
 Final thoughts...
I have talked with many people about how I lost weight.  Most think doing cardio to get their heart rate up will do the trick.  Unfortunately, cardio alone is not enough.  Nutrition is the biggest factor for weight loss and choosing the right plan for you is critical.  Be very skeptical of any plan that promises a quick fix.  Your workout must include weight training, which is essential for building muscle, strengthening your bones, and increasing your metabolism.  Don’t expect rapid results and be willing to take the first step to start your journey.  It took me 19 months to get to where I am now and I'm not finished yet.  I'm not trying to lose weight anymore, but I can't stop where I am and expect to stay here.  It's an ongoing, lifetime commitment.

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Questions for you...
What do you wear when you exercise?
How do you drink enough water?
What do your hormones say about your health?
Leave your comments below.