Tuesday, October 01, 2013

My October Challenge for My Personal Fitness

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Home from my honeymoon and there was one bit of disappointment in everything. As you know, dear reader, I’ve been exercising, trying to lose weight.  I’ve even seen some success.  Since my visit up north, I’ve lost about 15 lbs.  Okay, during my honeymoon I gained 3.4 lbs but, barring that, I have made progress.

When you are only trying to lose 40 lbs, a 15 lbs loss is significant, yes?  Absolutely! 

But nobody noticed.  I received compliments on my haircut, my hair color, even the paleness of my skin, but not one word about having lost 15 lbs.  I lose over 1/3 of my total goal and nobody notices. 

First, let me say that I know, intellectually, that it shouldn’t matter.  I am not exercising and trying to lose weight to be noticed. I’m doing all of this hard work (and there are days when it is very hard) for my health and well-being.  That I was able to walk 10 miles a day, sometimes 15, while on our honeymoon with little physical distress is remarkable.  I’m clearly doing the right things to take care of myself. 
Knowing something doesn’t mean you don’t want a little validation, a modicum of recognition, thrown your way.

Second, I should have known nobody would notice.  Why?  Why would nobody notice my having lost 15 lbs in the five months since some of them had last seen me?  No reason whatsoever because, when I went to the store to buy one more pair of jeans for the trip I had the reality check of trying on two sizes and learning that, in spite of losing 15 lbs, I had not gone down even one size.


So what about the September challenge and October’s challenge?
Moving right along (since I can’t help but feel that losing 15 lbs is both an accomplishment and not good enough right now), I dropped the ball on the September challenge during my honeymoon because I kept losing track of the date and then something happened (which I’ll be blogging about right here in a few days so stay tuned).  However, I ended the month able to do 3 sets of 10 modified push-ups so, whether I was faithful and consistent with the challenge or not, it was a success.

Now for the October challenge

I once took a qigong class (to which nobody else showed up so it was just me and the instructor) in which she showed us Swimming Dragon.  Have you ever done an activity that immediately felt perfect, like you had found your exercise “drug of choice” as it were?  I mean, some people love running the way I love yoga while others love biking, etc.  Swimming Dragon felt so right when I did it that I knew I wanted to do it more.  Unfortunately, finding a dvd with Swimming Dragon in it was not uncomplicated.  I found one that purported to have something like it but it wasn’t quite right.  (Lucky for me I borrowed the dvd or I’d have been stuck with a not quite right fit).  Then I borrowed a book from the library and lo and behold there was the exercise, right there in this very slender book.

I did not know at the time that the exercise is purported to help the practitioner lose weight.  I am choosing this qigong practice as my challenge for October not because it’s supposed to help me lose weight.  That would be nice but I really just want to learn this form for the sake of experiencing the movement again. 

The practice will take about 25 minutes to do, once I know how to do it with ease.  By the end of the month I should be on track.  There is an initial drawing in qi energy before moving into 20 repetitions of Swimming Dragon.  Because of the twists and turns of the body, the hips moving in opposition to the torso which is following the spiraling movement of the hands, this is a great exercise to help work the core and challenge my balance without pushing myself.

So here I am, begrudgingly disappointed but persevering nonetheless.  And patting myself on the back for gaining only 3.4 lbs, given how I was eating!  Needless to say, the qigong practice is not all I will be doing.  Yoga and walking will continue to be a part of my daily exercise.  I continue to struggle with really incorporating strength training into it all so that will be another part of my focus.

Oh, and as if that were not enough, Erin bought Leslie Sansone’s latest dvd so I am joining her in doing this challenge for which you don’t even need the dvds (although I confess that it helps me if I have resources easily accessible and all in one place so that I don’t have to think about doing things).  I think Erin will be doing it as well but, even if she isn’t, I’m going to do this challenge.  Albeit, on the days when I cover the challenge requirements during my morning walk with Snowdoll, I can fulfill the challenge requirements without doing more.  There will be days when more than a two mile walk is required, I’m sure.  But for the first week I can probably finish it all before 8am. 

So there you are.  You can expect a book review soon in my book review blog.  I’ll also be updating my My Fitness Pal account.  And, of course, updating here once a week as part of Joy’s Readers’ Workouts.   


  1. It is disappointing that no one noticed all your hard work. Don't let it get you too down though. Keep going towards your goal.

    1. Thank you, Heather. That's definitely the plan.

  2. Keep in mind that lots of people will never compliment weight loss. It's awkward, you know? You have to say it just right to not have it come out "You were SO fat before." I went to a conference a couple of years ago where most people had only seen my 70 pounds heavier and I got all kinds of compliments on my hair. The only person who complimented me on my weight loss had also had a significant loss -- so we complimented each other!

    The Swimming Dragon practice sounds great! I do better with DVDs so I hope someone does one.

    Joy's Book Blog

    1. I found a lovely youtube clip from a dvd. I just told Rob that it costs $30 with shipping and handling but we could make it a Christmas gift for me and I'd be content. However, maybe before that day comes, I'll have practiced enough with the book to really feel like I understand the sequence and can do it without thought, allowing my body to move into it and truly experience the qi energy.

      My family always comments when I lose weight and they've been very worried about the weight I've gained so it's truly hard for me to believe that they would say nothing if they could see a difference. Perhaps they've changed. If so, it's for the worst. I used to get comments on my hair when I gain weight, not lose it.

  3. 15 pounds is indeed quite an accomplishment in my humble opinion. I would bet you can definitely feel a difference!

    1. I feel different. Unfortunately, every time I look in the mirror it's like a slap in the face. Fifteen pounds doesn't seem to have made a difference whereas, before, even five pounds would have been noticed. Not that this is going to stop me. It's just disappointing.

  4. Eh, they never notice! Don't get discouraged! The only way to get some recognition of your success is to tell everybody you are trying to lose some weight. Then they'll say you've lost it even if you don't :)

    1. Unfortunately, my family does notice and they always encourage when they do. When they default to comments on my hair, it's because they don't see any difference or, worse, they think I've gained. And they know I'm trying to lose because they all want to see me do so. This excess weight is hard on my balance and, given my mother's history with cancer, I need to lose the weight to reduce my risk.

  5. So sorry no one noticed your weight loss! It is disheartening when that happens, but in the end they will notice.

    I love doing qi-gong. It's my favorite way to de-stress other than reading and biking.

    1. Qigong is right up there with yoga for me. I prefer it to tai chi because the movements are slower and require less balance. It definitely gets the energy flowing, which is why I can't do yoga and qigong close together. I will literally make myself nauseous and that's not good. I need to see if there's any qigong practices for hot flashes because I definitely need some help with those. Sheesh!