Diet, exercise, and strength training for the uncoordinated

I had meeting 3 with my personal trainer today after cancelling on Wednesday. It was kind of a spontaneous meeting – J was doing his own workout when I got there to burn off some negativity and offered to “reschedule” my cancelled appointment after I had some time to warm up and he could finish his workout and shower/cleanup. My guilt for cancelling on him knows no boundaries, and I really could not say no. After all, young guy, Friday night, offering to spend an hour of his evening with a newly minted bitchy old lady? Yeah, I caved and mustered up some false enthusiasm for the idea. Fake it until I make it, right?

Our first few sessions we have been working on really basic stuff. Warm-ups, planks, squats, lunges, rows, deadlifts, hinge things. Honestly, I feel like a G’s puppy lab learning how to move her big, lumbering body appropriately without harming myself or others in the process. We have been using some very basic and not very heavy dumb and kettle bells, and my focus has been to not let them slip from my hands and onto either of our feet or fly away through the air and into someone’s head. My imagination for disaster scenarios where someone is maimed or killed knows no boundaries.

Apparently there are also no boundaries in the ways I can fall over while trying to learn good form. Lunges, squats, planks, lifts – I have either tripped or had different muscle groups in my legs simply fail and send me sprawling most ungracefully across the gym floor. Always it happens when we are working together on it, never while I am alone and practicing staying upright at home or by myself in the gym. It’s a little humiliating, but I keep reminding myself this is why I hired a trainer. So I can learn to do it right. So I can be safe. So I do not feel like an idiot when freed to pursue my own program.

Yeah, like that will voluntarily happen anytime soon. I think J can count on a weekly paying client for the balance of the year.

While I would love to tell y’all how much I am loving our personal training sessions, I am a pretty lousy liar. I hate a lot of the minutes of it. I feel like the clumsiest person in the entire gym membership. And I pray regularly that I am his only truly awful-to-train client.

Yet I sense I am making some progress, albeit very slowly. I only work at this stuff every other day, and not always everything and not at the gym. Like my yoga practice where I still spontaneously topple over after a few months of regular attendance at classes, I have to cultivate some patience and keep practicing regularly. Funny but when I am at the gym, with my handful of illustrations showing how each move is to be executed and what I am supposed to be feeling where while going through the sequence, I see other people with similar papers doing the same sorts of things. We smile knowingly at each other in sympathy, and I am encouraged that I am not so alone in the learning to move training camp.

Patience, grasshopper, patience.

My trainer is from Los Angeles, went to college at Berkeley, and is very zen/modern hipster like. Only kind of cooler and sarcastic. He is teaching me a lot outside of the handout basics, and it is a good experience and learning relatoinship for me. Except I feel as if I am in the special needs wing of his students, and honestly, that has to be okay with me. I have never been very athletic and for those naturally inclined (M, my son, a lot of our close friends) it’s hard to understand why this is so hard. For me it just is; deal with it.

Through all this, I have been consistent and faithful with my cardio, walking, rowing, arc trainer stepping or some combination of all three each and every day. The scale says stubborn pounds are finally falling away. But – and isn’t there always a “but” in these tales? – my blood sugar is wildly out of whack. Stress is feeding a lot of that. My toothache on one side of my head is back with a vengeance, and when I consulted my present dentist about it again he says my gums are irritated/inflamed and to rinse with hydrogen peroxide and water in a 50/50 solution. Pain apparently can keep my numbers elevated, and high blood sugar can affect the teeth and gums, and stress makes me grind my teeth even with my night bite device. Which leads to depression and anger, which could lead to consumption of mass quantities of chocolate and swigging of sugary soda, because if blood sugar is going to stay high why not just give up?

A vicious, vicious cycle, one that I am sure my readers struggling with diabetes control can relate to completely.

I am not giving up, although I have wanted to just throw my hands up into the air or throw myself onto the ground and have a major tantrum. Seriously, forget pulling on my big girl panties; I want to pull those suckers off and go streaking naked through life for a bit to see how that feels. Not to worry – the world has enough issues without that additional “cannot be unseen” sort of trauma.

Yesterday I finally gave in and called my endocrinologist for help. It’s another month before our next round of labs and appointment, so maybe there is time to avoid a face-planting depression over my next A1c. He called me this afternoon with some adjustments (read: increases) in my medications and an observation that I am all over the place in my eating habits. Well, yes, my life is busy, hectic, crazy stressful and probably eerily similar to your other patients with these types of issues. He suggested eating/medicating on a more regular schedule with no more than 4 to 5 hours between meals versus the 8 or 9 hours presently and the grazing snacks that may take place in between. It is really difficult to monitor food intake when I wait until the point of light-headed starvation to eat and then feel out of control in my ability to recognize that I have had enough food.

This is my new marching order for the next week before checking in with him by phone: regular schedule of testing, medication, and eating times every 4 to 5 hours during the day with ruthlessly minimal to no snacking between meals. My only exceptions are the protein shakes before workouts and my one carton of greek yogurt after dinner. I also think an hour outside reading beach books would help with my stress.

I know I am not the only person who struggles, and I am happy for the advice and support I receive here as well as in my day-to-day life. It is one of the things that keeps me from buying a box of candy bars at Costco and consuming them in an eating frenzy with a case of ice cold Mexican coke (caffeine AND sugar). While I have never smoked and I do not drink alcohol, but I do understand addiction and its associated behaviors. I have to continue to seek out and utilize healthier distractions, yet not too much that I forget my basic map of healthy lifestyle.

Sometimes the simple act of managing my life and day-to-day affairs is so much more complicated than it seems possible. For all the minutia that happens, I should have a lot more interesting drama to share. But nope, I am just your average hamster running-running-running on my wheel with a grinning-grinning-grimacing-grinning expression on my face. Life is actually quite good, and I definitely want to live longer and prosper in good health.

4 thoughts on “Diet, exercise, and strength training for the uncoordinated

  1. Yay for makeup session! Your trainer sounds great. Have you gotten to the point yet where you say – “you want me to do what?” I say that at least 3x a week – occasionally 3x in an hour. 🙂 And I might have fallen down a few times (and might continue too).

    It is funny – another friend of mine has gone the exercise with trainer and yoga route this year too and I just added a 2nd yoga session. And in talking with her and some others – it seems people either love the yoga and tolerate the strength training or vice versa. But we do what we gotta do.

    On the BS levels – good for you for reaching out. I have had to do so as well because my levels are too high (again) and my body tends to react unusually to exercise – no lows for me – just highs. The meal planning/eating is tough – for me when I travel it is the worst. One thing that I am experimenting with is adding to my calendar when and what to eat and test – with reminders. I semi-joke that I do whatever the calendar tells me to – so hoping that will help me be more consistent!

    BTW – plank – for some reason I hate it. I will agree to do an ever increasing number of increasingly complicated ab crunches in exchange for not doing plank. We’ll see what my breaking point is where I do planks instead.

    • I don’t really dislike the yoga so much as I have not enjoyed the studio that much. It’s getting better, because the classes I have strategically chosen tend to be less populated by the clique-y soccer mom set. But really, it’s discouraging to got practice in the hot box and have no one interact with you before or after, despite my best efforts to reach out. It’s getting better, I’ve met a few people who are just starting and taking the same, less populated classes that I favor.
      My trainer is a good kid, and we actually have a great rapport and he is really patient and is going along at a nice, slow learner’s pace with me. I am trying to find a time where we can both be present and get this done every week, but he already works with a group and we individual clients all need evening appointments. We will work it out.
      It does seem like a betrayal when we have to talk to the doc about more medicine when we are moving more and eating better, and it the simplest (and dumbest) things that seem to trip me up. But I love the calendar reminder/meal plan idea. I tried just the reminder and it didn’t work out that well, but if I have my meal there, too, I’m a lot more likely to eat according to the plan. I too am a slave to my phone and it’s many reminders.
      My most hated? Squats. Hate them. Hate every single freaking version of them. Lunges are far from beloved, but I’d rather do several more sets of those and ditch the squats … as if I could. He laughs every time I try to negotiate my way out of them.

  2. I hate yoga. I am not coordinated enough, or graceful enough. Without fail I wind up on the floor once or twice or three times.

    • It’s definitely an acquired taste. I don’t love it, but it’s doing good on the flexibility so I’m sticking with it … and spontaneously falling over regularly.

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