Saturday, May 15, 2010

Physical and Spiritual Restoration

Since my goal for this year continues to be about restoring, I wanted to share a little progress in two areas of my life that have been receiving significant restoration as of late.
My day starts at 4:45--that's a.m.--when Mike's alarm goes off. We've both committed to getting things done in the mornings before the kiddos are up, and it's really been paying off. That's not to say I don't have to literally drag my body out of it's cozy cocoon every morning, but I no longer have to decide whether or not to actually get up. For that, I am happy. I'm also grateful to have a husband who's not only supportive but is joining me in my efforts, even if he does make popcorn nearly every night.

My early morning routine has a two-fold purpose.

1) Spiritual Restoration. Mike leaves just after waking up to go workout, so after he leaves I start my morning with a prayer, my scriptures, my journal, and my Yoplait Light with Kellogg's Bran Buds (13 g of fiber per 1/3 C. serving!), just so I have a little protein before my turn at the gym. Since I started blogging, I thought I had no need for my journal anymore, but I've discovered a new use. As I read, I write down the impressions and thoughts I get. What's interesting about this new approach is that even after I've closed my book, my mind remains wide open. I've actually thought about taking a pencil and paper with me to the gym as my mind continues to ponder things (faster than I can keep up) even as the sweat seeps through my t-shirt and my muscles are ablaze, but I'm pretty sure that even if my sweaty hands could keep hold of my pencil, the writing would be completely illegible from the constant up & down of the elliptical. So that's out. But I'm really grateful to have taken advantage of the quiet stillness of the mornings that allows me to study without interruption, giving me the opportunity for receiving inspiration, revelation, and reflection once again.

2) Physical Restoration. After I've concluded my studying, I tie on my sneakers and trade places with Mike. By this time, it's 6 am and while I'm at the gym, Mike gets the girls settled in for their breakfast, then heads to our room to study. I'm quite certain his study time isn't as quiet as mine, but he insists on being at the gym first so he can move from station to station without waiting on the little old men who come to lift at 6 and have nothing else to do with their morning than hang out, chatting between sets. (If I didn't know any better I'd think they were having Relief Society.)
Providing no one else has beat me to the punch, I jump on my favorite elliptical with the moving handlebars, so I really feel like I get a whole body workout. I do this for 30 minutes and usually do some kind of interval program--either 2 min. low intensity/2 min. high intensity, or there's also a 4 minute interval option. I usually burn around 400 calories if the juice in my mp3 player hasn't run out, otherwise it's hard to keep up a really good pace and I find myself slowing down too much to burn that high.

Since I workout 6 days/week, after my cardio I do 30 minutes of strength training where I rotate between upper body, lower body, and core, so I hit each twice a week, and do 2-3 sets of 15 for each exercise.

Upper body--Dumbbell curls, overhead triceps extention, lateral raises, shoulder press, shrugs, bent over lateral raises (back), and incline bench press w/dumbbells (since I have no spotter).

Lower body--Quad extensions, hamstring curls, leg press (though I've been informed that I must stop these immediately--again, thank you, knees), calf extensions, and skater squats (squats with a side leg-lift).

Core--Dumbbell side bends, dumbbell crunches (on back, legs straight up, holding weight with straight arms & lifting towards feet), crunches with twist, seated twist with dumbbell (figure 8 motion, side to side across body while slightly reclined), lying straight leg raises (on back, arms to the sides, hands slightly under my tush to support my lower back, then straight legs extended up 90* and back down), swimming (on front, legs and hands extended, then slightly arch back to move straight arms & legs up & down), back extensions (on front, hands behind head & lift), and modified plank (on forearms & toes with body straight--holding for 30-60 seconds).

Along with my calorie output as I workout at the gym, I'm also taking care to pay attention to my calorie input, which is frankly something I have never really cared much about. I like food. No, I LOVE food. And I've become pretty good at cooking that food that I love so much--which is a contributor to my high of 217 lbs. I've realized, though, that I can't continue to eat as I have and lose the weight I need, regardless of how many hours I spend at the gym. And let's face it, I don't have my 3-sport high school athlete metabolism anymore, so over the last 4 weeks, I've been very diligent about the following things on a daily basis:

64+ oz. of water
5+ servings of whole fruits and veggies
Eating about every 3 hours
30+ g of fiber
100g of protein
No added sugar and VERY limited salt
1200-1400 calories

I know the calories seem pretty low, but I started with a BMI of 32, which put me embarrassingly in the obese range. Since my "ideal weight" is something like 127, if I were to actually get back to that size (which I maintain is completely unreasonable), I will have lost about 76 lbs. So, my reasoning (logical or not) for cutting my calories so low is that a) I NEED to get as much pressure off my knees as I can, as quickly as I can, b) it's more unhealthy to be obese than it is to not get quite enough calories, and c) I'm in it to win a couple hundred bucks, so I'm taking drastic measures!

But truthfully, I feel better than I have in a really long while, and I'm pretty certain that if it were just the physical changes alone, I wouldn't feel nearly as well. My morning study has given me not only perspective during the day, but the daily spiritual guidance I desperately need as I try to accomplish a very long list of to-do's, and to-be's. I love that I've opened up a conversation with my girls about what it means to be healthy and unhealthy, and I love that I've been able to include my girls in my Saturday morning workouts. Today was Maggie's turn and she went the ENTIRE three-mile loop with me around our neighborhood--which has some significant hills. When we walked triumphantly through the door, I said, "I'm so proud of you for going the whole way, Mag!" To which she relpied, "I'm proud of me too, Mom!"

I still have a long way to go on my path to restoration, but at least now I'm not just standing on the path...I'm running.


julie said...

wowzers Amanda! You go girl! Awesome.

Quigley Family said...

YOU are my hero. I am so proud of you and want to be like you!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, girls! It means a lot. I wish all areas of my life felt as "together" you know?