Slow and steady…

I had to go see my doctor about a month ago for a check-up in order to get my blood pressure prescription renewed.  He ordered a blood test as well, and the numbers were… not good.  (Not diabetic or even pre-diabetic, which is good, but cholesterol numbers were… really bad.  My other numbers were all normal, thankfully.)  I had a follow-up exam this week to talk about that.

He showed me some numbers for estimated likelihood of heart issues over the next 10 years.  Currently, I’m at just over 11% risk.  If I were to fully cut out smoking, that would drop me to about 3% risk.  Quitting on my own is clearly not working, so I opted to go ahead and get a prescription for Chantix.  I’ll be starting that on Sunday.

We also decided to go ahead and start me on a cholesterol medication, but that prescription hasn’t come through yet.

So that all happened.

I’ve only been averaging 2 or 3 days of exercise each week so far.  While that’s less than I’d like, it’s more than I was doing before.  It’s not been enough to make any noticeable changes on the scale or in the way my clothes fit, but the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed that my energy has been better.  Waking up in the morning isn’t quite the struggle it has been for so long, either.

My weight tends to fluctuate in a 5 pound range most of the time, and that range has been pretty static until this week.  At my follow-up with the doctor, he said I was a little lighter than when he last saw me a month ago.  While I didn’t look at the numbers to compare, I know I’m at the low end of a fluctuation right now.  That said, this morning the scale read almost two pounds less than my “usual” low.  So progress is happening.  Measurable progress.  Finally.

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So goes another day

Did my P90 “sculpt” session this morning despite still being incredibly sore from yesterday’s room-painting shenanigans.  When I started back up doing P90 a couple of weeks ago, I kept myself to the 5lb hand weights.  This week, I’m mixing in the 10lb hand weights as I can.  While the heavier weights are definitely pushing me, I’m also finding that a number of the exercises are starting to be less of a struggle.

Went into work for a couple of hours for a Very Important Meeting (yes, I’m on vacation, but this is kind of a big deal) before heading back home to start binging Behind Stranger Things.  (Finished Stranger Things season 2 last night.  No spoilers, but I rather enjoyed it.)  Then I went out to hang with friends for a bit.

I’m back home now and doing some score study for the upcoming orchestra concert before crashing for the night.

I don’t think I’m going to get into the habit of daily update posts here, but it at least seems to make sense while I’m not thinking about work and stuff.

As always, thanks for reading.

Making my bed room better

What?!? Two posts in the same week?

So I’ve been looking for a proper, nice bed frame or headboard for a while now.  Last week I scored an amazing headboard on Craigslist.  It came from the Grand Californian hotel at Disneyland.  (It also came with a plain queen sized metal frame and four throw pillows from the hotel.  Not sure what I’m going to do with those just yet.  Here’s an image search showing the headboard and pillows in their former natural habitat.)

Knowing I’d have to tear apart my room to get the headboard attached to the wall, I figured now was as good a time as any to get some painting done in there as well.  I’ve been struggling with exactly what colors I wanted to use, but getting this piece helped me make a decision.  But more on that later.

First off, here’s what the room looked like before I did much.  (Just removed the clutter from atop my dresser and book shelf.)  My apologies for the haphazard state of the bedclothes.

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Once the book shelf, night stand, and dresser were moved out and the bed relocated to the opposite corner of the room it was time to locate the wall studs, attach the cleat to the wall, and test for fit.  This took far longer than I would have liked, but I was really paranoid about messing up and missing a stud somewhere.

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Next up, move the headboard out of the way and prep the walls themselves.  This included wiping down the baseboards, applying painter’s tape as appropriate, and removing electrical covers.  Here’s a (crappy) panoramic shot I took of that stage.

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I then proceeded to paint the two walls of the “bed corner” a lovely, dark green.  Took three coats, but I’m super happy with the result.  Here’s the room restored (minus dresser-top and book shelf clutter) with just the room light on.

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And here it is with the bed lights lit.  The lights don’t actually have switches, so I’ve plugged them into a remote control system for easy switching on and off.  I’d kind of like to try putting some flicker-flame bulbs into those fixtures, but I don’t think it would be terribly practical for reading.  Though it sure would look cool.

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I have to say it’s a definite improvement.  I also got to remove the lamp from my nightstand, making more room for whatever I happen to be reading at the time.  And then there’s the added benefit of said lamp no longer being something (else) I have to worry about the cats trying to knock over in the night.

The other two walls haven’t been painted yet.  I didn’t have the time or energy to deal with that today.  Plus, I want to give the green at least a couple of days to fully set before putting painter’s tape on it.  But when I do get to them, those walls will be a nice blue similar in tone to the green.  Yes, the room will be rather dark.  I like it that way.  Especially when I get a migraine.

I actually chose the blue first for the “non-bed” walls, and was trying to find a complimenting blue for the “bed” walls without finding anything I really liked.  Then I decided to try green for the other color, which I think was a good call.  Hopefully the blue paint will be a smaller project – at least as far as prep work goes – since I’ll only have to move the dresser, take down a few pieces of art, and throw a drop cloth over the foot of the bed before taping and painting.

So, yeah.  I’m very tired and very, very sore.  I suspect I will sleep rather well tonight.  As always, thanks for reading.

Just keep swimming…

Only got three out of an intended five days of exercise in last week. But this is a new week. And I’m on vacation. My plan was to park on the couch in front of Netflix all week, but I realized that I have no excuse for missing even one day – especially since I’m not traveling anywhere. So I just got day 1 done.

Then there’s the part where I scored a really sweet bed headboard off Craigslist last week, so I’m also going to try to get my bedroom painted this week before mounting that headboard to the wall.

So the plan this week is exercise before getting to do Netflix or bedroom improvements. And I REALLY want to get that headboard in place before I have to go back to work in a week.

Also, there are band rehearsals and gigs through next weekend starting Friday night. I’ll be playing with Things That Aren’t Words at Mercado San Augustin on Saturday night, 5-8pm. Come say hi. (Sunday’s gig is a private event, or I’d talk about that too.)

Titles… meh.

So I only got 2 days of exercise in last week.  I think I went at it too hard Monday and Tuesday since I was so sore that I could barely walk Wednesday through Friday.  By Saturday morning the soreness was gone, but I was fighting our latest wave of cubicle plague.  I decided to take the weekend to rest.

So far this week I’m 4 for 4 on exercising after work.  Today will be day 5.  I’ve dusted off my Power 90 level 1/2 DVD and have been making use of that.  It has a structure, I’m already familiar with it, and it only takes half an hour or so.  (The cardio days take closer to 40 minutes if I do the “ab-ripper” bit they tack on at the end.) Plus, I can do it without leaving the house.  I know it’s too early to see any difference on the scale or in the way my clothes are fitting, but that’ll come if I stick with it.

Since at least January I’ve also been struggling – very much a lot – with the whole “I’m angry/stressed/bored/depressed. Screw it, I’m going to hit this drive through” thing.  Not just at meal times, but pretty much any time I’m out and about.  I know that food won’t fix my feelings.  I know this.  But it’s such an easy salve – even though I’m well aware that it’ll just leave me feeling worse after the fact.

So far this week I have avoided all drive-throughs.  Today was particularly challenging, given some recent developments that I can’t talk about.  (It’s okay.  I’m… well… I’m not fine, if I’m being completely honest.  But I’ll deal.) But I did it. I drove past all 10 drive throughs – and one Sonoran hot dog cart – that are along my usual route home. So there’s that.

Thanks for reading.

Small changes

Despite my best intentions to get out of bed early enough to exercise before work, it’s just not happening.  So I’ve decided that I need to just do it as soon as I get home from work.  I’m 2 for 2 on making that happen this week.  Here’s hoping I stick with it.  I’m rather sore from yesterday’s exercise today – which made today’s exercise a challenge – but I know if I just keep going, my body will adjust and the muscle soreness will go away.

Also, I’ve changed up my grocery shopping patterns.  I was a loyal Albertsons customer for years, mostly because they didn’t require any sort of “loyalty membership” to get the best prices.  That, and they offered a 10% discount every Saturday with my university ID card.  Unfortunately, that’s all gone out the window.  Albertsons has started a so-called loyalty program where you have to make an account, download an app, put in your phone number at checkout, blahblahblah.  They also did away with their university discount at the same time.

And then there’s the part where their new pricing patterns are ridiculous.  In one instance the app showed one sale price for a particular item, the sale tag on the item in the store showed a different slightly higher price, and then there was an “e-coupon” thing below the shelf sale price with a QR code where if you scanned it with the app you got a third, lower price.  I don’t want to have to look three different places to figure out which way I’m going to get the best price.  And half the time, the discounts didn’t even come off at checkout when I did put in my phone number, requiring me to then stand in line at Customer Service to get a refund.  Also at the same time they started doing loyalty thing, they did away with the university discount.  But I kept going there for months entirely out of habit.

I’ve finally decided my privacy isn’t worth whatever few dollars I was “saving” – or selling my data to them for, really.  So I’ve started doing most of my shopping at Sprouts.  While they do have a membership thing to get their sale flyers in an email and an app and all that, you don’t have to *use* it to get their advertised sale prices.  If it’s on sale, you get that price no matter who you are or what information you give them.  (In my case, no information.)  And I’m finding that their sale prices are actually pretty darn good.

I’ve actually been spending about the same amount – if not less – each week than I was at Albertsons, even with their stupid loyalty “discount”.  And I’m generally buying better food, too.  Mostly because I’m not buying nearly as many convenience items – which were also not helping with my weight.  While Sprouts does have a fair selection of those types of things (frozen pizza, fish sticks, boxed mac & cheese, etc.), their prices are generally higher than I want to pay for those products.  So I buy more produce, fresh meats, and nuts instead.  Which I know is better for me any way.  And now that I know I don’t want to pay what they’re asking for the convenience products, I don’t even look at them.  Temptation, removed.

So, yeah.  I’m still hovering around my highest weight ever right now.  But I’m hoping these choices will help change that.

I also picked up some big plastic tubs to sort out some issues in my closet.  I have a ton of clothes in there from when I lost all the weight before, but I can’t fit into them now.  Frankly, it’s rather depressing when I see it all hanging there as I get dressed every morning.  So I’ll be sorting through the closet and packing away the smaller clothes for now.  Then, in the future, I can take the smaller clothes out of the bins and replace them with my “fat clothes” as I slim back down.  That’s the plan, at least.  Here’s hoping it helps.  We’ll see how it goes.

Let’s try this again…

Wow.  It’s been a year and a half, and a lot has happened.  I bought my first house, got a promotion at work, joined a local indie-rock band, played with a couple of one-off cover bands, and did some recording work with other folks.  I’ve also managed to fail to re-establish most (if any) of the healthy habits which I lost track of after running that half-marathon forever ago.  So it’s time to try busting some more cycles.

There’s a local gym whose advertisements for a free 6-week challenge I’ve been seeing on the Facebook periodically for a while now.  I’ve always shied away from the thought of joining a gym because I just don’t want to deal with all the dude-bros and whatnot but this gym appears to be aimed at nerds, so I figured why not go for it?  (It’s right there in the name… the Nerd Gym.)  Worst case, it’s not for me but maybe it’ll help kick-start me back into some healthier patterns.  If not, I’m only out my time for several weeks.  And if trying a gym thing isn’t busting a cycle, I don’t know what is.

So a couple of weeks ago, I saw one of their promos and decided to sign up for it.  The first sign-up page looked a little spammy – complete with “results not typical” transformation photos – but I figured I’d go ahead and give it a go.  By the third page of the sign-up process they wanted a time when they could talk with me about it, but the orchestra schedule was ramping up and the listed available times didn’t fit with what I could do, so I decided to let it go and maybe try signing up again the next time I saw their promo.

The orchestra’s winter concert cycle wrapped up Saturday night, then I got a text Monday afternoon from the owner of this gym wanting to know if I was still interested in the free 6-week challenge thing.  My schedule outside work is about as calm as it’s going to be for a little while so I said, “Sure.”  So tonight I’ll be attending an orientation for this challenge at the gym.  Here’s hoping good stuff comes of it.

UPDATE:

I liked the facility and my first impression of the people was good, but I’ll not be participating in this particular challenge.  There was a rather sizeable deposit which while not totally unreasonable, was outside my means just now.  Yes, you get it back at the end of the six weeks if you don’t decide to join the gym, or it would get applied to your membership should you decide to stay on.  I just don’t have it to spare right now.  So I’m just going to have to put on my big boy pants and start exercising like I did four and a half years ago.  I know I can do it.  I mean, I’ve done it before.  I’m just a little bummed at the moment.  So it goes.