VISIBLE RESULTS | MY FIRST 2 MONTHS |10.09.18 – 11.11.18 | BACK IN THE GYM
10.09.18, 10.10.18 & 05.11.18
I posted this photo a week early on my BFF Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211019422796328&set=a.10203382303473118&type=3) page with the following reference to my dearly departed mother:
“I was going to wait until 10.11.18 but thought it apt to take my Month 2 comparison photo yesterday in memory of my blessed mother Rita Pemberton. First photo start date 10.09.18, middle photo 10.10.18 and final photo 05.11.18. #ThanksForYourStrengthMum”.
I would have loved nothing more, now that the dark autumn mornings are upon us but to hibernate and put off getting back into the gym until the spring of 2019. Unfortunately DVT in 2015 and two strokes in January this year forced upon me a respite that went on for some three and a half years. “Be careful what you wish for”.
Each day, I remind myself how illness stopped me dead in my tracks from someone who trained 5 mornings a week to a woman who was constantly in pain and walked with a limp. To my detriment I ignored the signs, determined to keep going I treated the swelling and pain in my right leg with Deep Heat. This lead to further complications and a serious condition known as pulmonary embolism. This is when a piece of a blood clot breaks off into the bloodstream and blocks one of the blood vessels in the lungs. I have learnt the hard way to listen to my body; Distinguish between determination and dogged stupidity; to remember those who didn’t get a second chance and not to blow mine.
The swelling and pain in my right leg made the thought of ever walking without a limp, let alone getting back into a rigorous fitness routine an impossibility. This belief left me feeling less of a woman with each and every pound that I subsequently piled on. I felt embarrassed to wear a dress or a skirt, self-conscious of walking around with one calf visibly fatter than the other. During this subdued chapter in my life, how other people saw me was not only important but challenging. Each and every journey on public transport I had to endure the “maybe if you didn’t eat so much you wouldn’t be so big and would be able to walk properly” look. I had to choke back my need to scream that my obesity was the result of a serious illness and justify why I needed them to give up their seat. In short, how I saw myself, was everything and placating comments like “if you hadn’t mentioned it I would not have noticed it” made no difference to my self-esteem whatsoever!
Aged 56 and recovering from a serious illness I had to accept that I would probably never be as fit as I was Pre-DVT back in 2015 when I trained Monday to Friday, for at least an hour and a half.
RETURNING TO THE GYM - My goal on 10 September 2018 was simply to seize my second chance at life. Resolute, to start attending the gym three times a week, I got my exercise gear together. I was determined to simply get moving again and prepared to try anything that might rid me of that tingling, numbing sensation that would shoot up my right leg whenever I stood for any length of time. I was fed up of having to request a chair whenever I went out and last but not least anxious to reduce the visible swelling in my right leg and bring it in line with my left.
My biggest challenge was learning to be patient. To recognise the triggers like “not to place unreasonable expectations upon myself” or “compare myself to the person I was before DVT and the Strokes”. The first step was, to be honest with myself and discover the true cause because recognising what gets me “wound up” would also help to combat the onset of raised blood pressure as a consequence. Was it people – a feeling of my space being invaded, or specific situations like a lot of noise that regularly caused me to become exasperated and spark my destructive, impatient frame of mind. Every day, I consider those whose illness was terminal, no cure and no hope and give thanks that I was fortunate to have survived. Today, recovering is simply to be “a fitter and better person than I was yesterday”. Whenever I feel irritated, I remind myself how pointless it is to react that way and of the repercussions on my health should I continue in this vain. I had to develop the ability to tolerate environmental situations, that I found abhorrent, without reacting adversely.
First month YouTube video record of gym attendances (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgNLKJsB3qc).
In the past my “get up and go” drive meant I had a tendency to rush in, overdo things, and either found the mental pressure unsustainable or suffer an injury that ultimately left me sitting on the sidelines watching the weight that I had worked so hard to lose pile back on and more besides. Honestly, I found it easier to forget the pain of childbirth than I did the muscle soreness and stiffness suffered in the first 24-72 hours after our body is forced to work harder than it is used to causing microscopic damage to the muscle fibres. This above all else proved to be a mental stumbling block.
FITNESS FIRST - BISHOPSGATE
I AM BACK: Returning to my local Fitness First where I knew all of the staff and layout of the gym was an added stimulus to get fit again. Re-acquainting myself with my surroundings offered me comfort and security. This reassurance meant I was able to ease myself back into a low-intensity workout, in a familiar environment. I felt that walking on the treadmill, while holding on, would be a good way to reintroduce my body to regular cardiovascular activity while focusing on my form.
Feeling comfortable in my surroundings was the catalyst for my decision to go big and aim to work out three days a week. I summoned up memories of how after working out and basking in
the heat of the sauna I didn’t have enough energy to massage warm coconut oil into my body let alone get dressed. The very next day I ordered these 2 Pack Black/White Zip up the front Comfortable Bra Tops (Fashionworld Size 24/26 £22) because hooking, swivelling and pulling on my normal bra proved hopeless. Today 11.11.18 due to weight loss I have just ordered them again in size 20/22. Whatever microscopic energy, I could muster would be vital to get me up the stairs, out of the gym, to the bus stop and finally home.
TOP PHOTO 10.09.18 CALORIES BURNT 696
BOTTOM PHOTO 09.11.18 CALORIES BURNT 1837
HOW FAR HAVE I COME? They say "a picture is worth a thousand words". Who could have known that walking on the treadmill (holding on) at my own pace could improve my cardiovascular endurance to take me from Burning 696 Calories the day I started on 10.09.2018 to Burning 1837 Calories on Friday 09.11.2018? Resistance training came in the form of the incline i.e. 15.0, and flexibility besides working my knees, stomach, thighs and buttocks came in the form of Callanetics I do three times a week 5 mins in the morning on “non-gym days”. I am really showing my age now back in the day of Jane Fonda going for the burn Callanetics was the new “yoga”. Quality trumps quantity, especially when you're just getting back into fitness. My strides on the treadmill are deliberate and I am conscious of my movements. I focus on my form which is crucial for avoiding injury and on controlling my breathing.
MY VISUAL TAPE MEASURE: Sssssssh come into my bedroom. For me, visual proof, confirmation, corroboration, substantiation or authentication is key. The photo was on the left taken 06.10.2018. Photo on the right taken 11.11.2018. To see it with my own eyes is to believe it. I will not be dieting and have already made the relevant dietary adjustments to lower my blood pressure. Above, is the dress I have chosen as my "Visual Tape Measure". With a wardrobe full of timeless clothes, that would fit if only my body is toned, my goal now is regular exercise, listen to my body and make modifications/adjustments so that I can consistently blog visual corroborating accounts of my results.
REST DAYS – This is a lifestyle change and I am trying to adapt and so I am realistic about how many times a week I should train. My GP, son and personal trainers have educated me about the significance of taking rest days. Rest days are a critical part of any fitness regime and to sustaining long-term wellness. I no longer perceive Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends as “days off”. These are my “recovery days” when my body is working hard to repair and replenish itself, after all, I put it through on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
WINDRUSH 2018 @ HOLIDAY INN CORAM STREET
I am happy to blog below that some fun times were had in between all that hard work in the
gym, namely Windrush 2018 - 27.10.18 and the Antiguan Dinner & Dance 03.11.2018.
I GOT CURVES – above is the photo of the dress that caused such euphoria. Others had told me that they could see the difference on my one-month gym return anniversary on 10.10.18. Although I could definitely feel the difference/comfort factor in my day to day clothes, I wanted visual confirmation/rewards of my efforts. I purchased this “Frill Cold Shoulder Body-Con Black Dress” from Very for £38.50 on 12.10.18. So when, on a cold October afternoon I tried it on over my clothes in one of the office shower rooms and I saw my curves I couldn’t believe it. Further, when I put the dress on, on Saturday 03.11.18 to wear to the Antiguan Black Tie Dinner & Dance it was too big for me, but comfortable. I had to adjust the straps so that the hips dropped just right to hide that fact. See my review below:
“Quality That Hugs in All the Right Places - I bought this dress a few days ago. I tried the dress on not expecting much from the photo and because of the price. Well blow me down with a feather having just returned to the gym recovering from DVT and two strokes January this was what I needed a dress that showed me how hard I had been working in a month. "I GOT CURVES" this 56 year old screamed! I knew the moment I held the dress in my hand that the quality and weight meant that it was going to hang properly. Another gem of a LBD from Very.”
CONCLUSION: After only two months back in the gym I have experienced an alien concept,
HAPPY FEET – I have danced into the early hours of Sunday morning wearing my Teal Diamanté Sandals (Fashionworld EEE Fit Size 9 £17.50) and I didn’t need my flats which is just as well because I forgot them. The swelling and pain in my right foot is nominal. When taking this photo, I felt the emotion rise up in me and temporarily blur my vision.
My family, friends and you my subscribers, are my motivators. Thanks to you all, I am not this year, sitting with my head in my hands asking the question “had I actually joined the gym when I said I was going, would it have made a difference to the way I look tonight”? With your prayers and kind words of encouragement, I did go and it did make a big difference. There is no tension around my stomach and/or pulling at the seams in my clothes when seated. When I stand there is no tugging at the hem to pull it down over my hips my little black dress naturally falls that way. I no longer wish for “miracles” when wearing my Spanx but for extra flattering “support” to accentuate the hard work I have already put in. When the feeling of well-being takes hold there is no stopping it. I have discovered that I am sharing my blogs with people who are also looking to get back into a regular exercise routine and/or recovering from illness. Together, we can keep each other motivated and inspired through this year's festive season and hop, skip and jump into 2019. Until next time. X