everything is good for you if it doesn't kill you
Warning: following discussion of fitness and weight management regime may be triggery to some.
When last we left out intrepid girl reporter, it was early May and she was moving from Discipline 1.0 to Discipline 2.0 in an attempt not to destroy her body trying to be an athlete with approximately 70 pounds of famine reserves in surplus of requirements hanging on her ass.
Now, a brief pause to say that your body is your body, and whatever you are comfortable with it being is good by me. But my body is my body, and I want it to climb walls with grace and style, which means stripping down to the muscle in as much as possible for a nearly-40-year-old with a sedentary dayjob.
"I don't care if I look my age," says one of the climbing grannies at my gym. "As long as I don't climb my age."
That means exercise and calorie restrictions. And watching my glycemic index like a hawk, because have I got a famine-tolerant metabolism? Why yes, I do have!
Now, exercise is fun. Calorie restrictions are not. However, I am having some success with Dicipline 2.0 (I managed not to gain weight in a month on the road, and in fact even gained some cardio fitness from all the tromping around, and I'm down 20 pounds since I got back from Leprecon).
This morning I weighed in at 222, which is not quite my low this month (last week I saw 221 for a day, but I think I was dehydrated at the time) but which is the top end of the range where I feel comfortable in my body. I can do a plough position without suffocating myself, for one thing. And climbing is a heck of a lot less painful--and it's starting to get easier to hold myself on the wall.
This, of course, means I need to work harder to maintain strength, since I'm climbing in a lighter weight vest, more or less. So I'm upping my protein intake, and continuing the fitness regime.
In a month, I may be in my next size down pants, which would be comforting. I have a pair of jeans I had when I moved to Las Vegas--getting back into those is one of the goals.
These days, Project: Valkyrie is composed of three elements: strength, cardio, and flexibility training. The flexibility training is yoga--3x a week, preferably more. Sometimes it's a little light stretching; sometimes it's letting Rodney Yee kick my ass for an hour.
That latter also doubles as cardio and as strength training. Seriously, my triceps never hurt so damned much as the day after one of those, and the sweat drips off my nose in a distinct counterargument to that old saw about women "glowing." In addition, I climb and kayak, both of which are strength exercises--the climbing more than the kayaking.
I used to lift; I gave it up about a year after I started climbing, because I realized that the climbing improved the weightlifting, but not the other way around. I prefer functional exercise whenever I can get it.
I also run. Er, jog. Okay, waddle painfully around the neighborhood. But it gets my heart rate up. And someday it may be running again. In thirty pounds or so. (My goal weight is 165, but as I get closer to it I may revise that upwards: the last time I weighed 165 I was not carrying this much muscle.)
I want forearms like the climbers at the gym, which is total vanity. I mean, I have them--I have that hand strength, or I couldn't climb at over 200 pounds--but right now they are hidden from view.
I do have mild exercise-related asthma, and an inhaler for same. It only really troubles me when I'm doing something extremely intense, or involving breath-holding (like swimming).
This past five days, here's what my exercise schedule has looked like:
Today: Jog/walk 2.25 miles (~40 min)
Wednesday: Jog 3.2 miles (~50 min), 1.5 hours climbing, belaying, and hanging around the gym
Tuesday: Jog 2.2 miles (~30 min), 1.5 hours climbing, belaying, and hanging around the gym
Monday: Walk 45 minutes (dog walk) (this more or less counts as a Rest Day)
Sunday: Jog 2.2 miles (~30 min), yoga (1 hour)
Tomorrow I will do yoga again. Saturday I'm traveling, but I'll try to do some yoga when I get to San Diego.
Okay, so that's the workout half of fitness for writer. Anyway, that exercise schedule was not succeeding in getting the weight off me, and I think you will appreciate why I didn't feel I could really step it up any. I have overtrained myself into illness twice; I plan to avoid it making it three if I can.
Which meant that my previous eating plan needed a heavy revision. The Discipline (Mark 1) counted for a varying intake of between 1600-2200 calories a day (I burn somewhere between 2200-3400, depending on my activity level), with emphasis on whole grains, vegetables, and lean protein.
In May, I got mean.
I'm currently sticking to around 1500-1800 calories a day, with occasional metabolism reset days, and seriously limiting carbohydrates and fat. I'm not a proponent of Atkins-style diets (I think they're a great way to wind up with kidney stones and vitamin deficiencies) and I'm not a proponent of ultra-low-fat diets (My cholesterol is fucking fantastic as somewhere around 30% fat a day and plenty of dairy) but I do believe in plenty of protein and veggies and so forth.
So here's an example of what I ate (or plan to eat) today:
Fat-free Greek yogurt with fruit (6 oz): 140 calories
Toast with fig orange jam (1.4 oz toast): 144 calories
Almond milk/protein powder/soluble fiber whizzed in blender: 225 calories
(Normally I would have had this last a little later, as a midmorning snack, but I was starving.)
Thai red curry tofu with dandelion greens, green onions, and fennel, 1 cup: 312 calories (roughly estimated)
brown short grain rice cooked in chicken broth, 1/2 cup: 107 calories
Vegetable juice (beets, carrots, apple, cucumber) (3 cups): 413 calories (I'm guessing here. I enter home made juice as if it were the whole fruit, and figure the calorie overrun will keep me honest--and losing some fiber makes up for losing some calories, but believe me, home made beet and apple juice is not lacking fiber. NB: beet juice has an... er... cleansing effect, and should be taken in small quantities until one knows how it will affect one.)
Salad with chicken on it and blue cheese dressing (we're going to a restaurant tonight, and that's always a good standby): 350 calories
AFPS (another fucking protein shake): 225 calories
Handful of almonds: 83 calories
...so we wind up with a grand total of 1850-odd calories, 43g of fiber, 26% fat, 27% protein, 47% complex carbs except the sugar in the jam and the yogurt. Which is my indulgence for the day.
That's more protein than I'd really like (oh, my kidneys: I try to keep it under 20% normally--but I also try to keep it over 100 grams, and with this calorie restriction those are incompatible goals) but what the hell. It's only for a couple more months. And it seems to be working.
Requires a certain amount of privation--I do wind up sharp set a lot (not actually hungry, but aware that I have not eaten as much as the old meat would have liked)--but that's why we call it The Discipline.