Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Move it to Lose it Class



Last week I bought a work-out shirt that has printed on the front: Everything Hurts and I’m Going to Die! I didn’t wear it to my first class at the YMCA on Monday but it sums up perfectly how I felt the day after the hour and a half class. Actually it wasn’t even a real class, it was an assessment of my strengths with a trainer one-on-one. She started out by timing me on a treadmill to see how far I could walk in a 15 minute period while still being able to talk, taking notes on my heart rate---.53 miles with a heart rate of 140 in case you’re comparing your own stats to mine. She (Julie) took notes on everything including my measurements, height, body weight, fat and muscle mass weight.

Weight-ins take place every Monday. Accountability, she said. Yup, I need that. Don’t want it but that’s what I signed up for and I intend to get my $150 worth out of this twice a week, seven weeks long class. She wants me to up my daily calories, though, by 300 calories! That seems so foreign to everything I know about dieting that I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that without the help of Starbucks and those naughty boys, Ben and Jerry. Eat more protein, ya, she mentioned that. I have to keep a food journal for the class. Been doing that right along with my Fitbit, I just need to learn how to print a hardcopy off my dashboard.

Julie was pleasantly surprised that my muscle mass was higher than she expected from a sedentary person. Many of her clients, she said, start half way down the scale from where I’m at. Of course, I can’t get cocky about that because two of my future classmates run half marathons. In fact of the three others in the class, I’m the only new comer. I haven’t met them yet but they’ve repeated this same ‘move it to lose it’ class several times so I expect I’ll be the only fatty-fatty-two-by-four among them. I told the trainer that I haven’t run since the '70s, that I don’t even remember how to do it. She was shocked and almost speechless at that admission, but it’s a fact. My secret goal---don’t tell Julie---is to be able to run by the end of summer. Yes, after just one class I’m thinking big, thinking about reenlisting until I’m a one-by-two instead of a two-by-four. That’s just me being me. When I took a marble carving class back in college, for example, I thought I’d be the next Michelangelo. I found out by the end of the semester that it’s a really hard---no pun intended---medium to work in. My brother has my unfinished, female torso in his front yard. I suspect I’ve set my goal too high again for my Spring of Getting Physically Fit but I live by the wisdom of Michelangelo who wrote, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” 

After the treadmill, Julie had me do “the circuit.” Apparently a circuit is a set of machines where you do repetitions for strength training. I was able to do them all. At one I was pulling 70 pounds and I impressed the heck out of myself. Of course, others can pull up to 200 on that machine but at least I wasn’t doing the lower, 25 or 50 weights so I was a happy camper. We had to skip several floor exercises using a giant beach ball designed to strengthen the core muscles because of my prosthetic knees and my extreme fear of not being able to get up off the floor. She gave me some other stuff for my core, saying there’s too much paperwork to do if I get hurt. 

I felt pretty good when I got home. It was the next day when I felt the pain. Julie said she didn’t want me to have so much pain the next day that I cursed her name but enough that her name came up. She achieved that goal. The only real downer came when at one point we were taking about what activities I do to keep active and she asked, "Do you go to church?" I answered, “No” and there was an awkward few moments where I thought about how inappropriate that question was in that setting. It gave me a flash-back to when I paid for private lessons with an art instructor 2-3 years ago and he talked religion the entire time. Too bad, I would have taken more than just the two classes if he hadn’t been wearing his church doctrine on his sleeve. 

I was fourteen the first time I faced weight issues. My mom took me to a doctor who gave me thyroid medication after blowing into his quack, thyroid measuring machine. I was sixteen or seventeen when she took me to a place that wrapped me up like a mummy with mineral soaked cloths and then baked me in a sauna. It makes you loss inches and pounds but it come backs in a few weeks. I couldn’t believe it last year when I saw that fad is coming back around again. When I was in my mid twenties I joined a gym, worked my tail off and had great results. In my sixties, I repeated the gym with great results. I’m hoping history will once again repeat itself. Stay tuned. ©

28 comments:

  1. Jean R. - you are an inspiration to me! I usually join the YMCA gym for around 6-8 weeks (that's all I can take!) each year. The first time I did this, I enthusiastically went for all the classes I could do, for about 5 days/week (paid for it so make full use!). But that didn't last long. The third year, I just went for the classes that I liked, so thrice/week. I walk to and back from the classes (about 45mins total) and that, plus the stretch classes, made me feel good (no weight loss though). But I did dislike being tied down to a schedule! and the relaxed l-o-n-g breakfasts!!

    With decluttering going on, I thought I'd give it a miss this year. But reading your post, I'm thinking I should give it a try. But I'll definitely do it next year!

    Why did the trainer ask re your religion?!! You didn't elaborate. To give the trainer benefit of doubt, I thought it was to encourage you to join up on church-related activities - I trust this was the reason as otherwise I think its out of order. ~ Libby

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    1. I've never been able to substance going to a gym or exercises more than 3-6 months either. I think big in the beginning but in reality I'll probably quit in the fall. And that's okay. I need it NOW.

      I admire that you're decluttering. I did a LOT of it but I have a few more things that I hope to do this summer, but it won't be my main focus. Got to get healthier first.

      The trainer's question was definitely out of order. While she was watching me work on a machine, she had asked what I do to keep busy and I answered that I'm always on the go---that I belong to a movie and lunch club, a book club, a lecture series and a bunch of other stuff at the senior center. Then she asked, "Do you go to church?" It's really not that unusual here in my part of the state and in social situations, I guess, the asker is just trying to be friendly. But when I'm paying for a service it annoys the heck of me! I just looked up their mission statement for the YMCA (nationwide) and it says,: "The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all." So from her point of view, the question might not be out of line although I used to take my husband there and never had anyone ask that question.

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  2. Why do you think she asked you if you were a church goer? Or did you ask her why she asked you?!
    Good luck with your efforts. It's good to have assessment and monitoring. I definitely find that short and long term goals push me to "keep at it". Ah, the things you learn as you get older!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Leze, I expanded on how the question came up in my reply up above to Libby. There was a very awkward silence after I said, "no" until I asked a question about the machine. Since "Christian principles" is right there in their mission statement I suppose it's wrong for me to expect that church never to come up from their employees. It just never happened in the past when I've been a member.

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  3. I was worn out already at the 1 1/2 hour idea. More power to you!

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    1. I just got off my exercise bike after a half hour and I'm worn out, too. In the class I will be able to work at my own pace if it's too hard at first.

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  4. The next day aches and pains DID put a damper on my Tuesday, but I'm going back today. I think you are too sensitive to questions about religion or church. That church question is on the survey they ask. I was asked the same question, about church activities I am involved in and gave the same answer you did, "No", but I felt no discomfort by the question or my answer. I also answered "No," to the other questions about if I exercise, belong to any groups, or take part in Senior Citizen clubs, or have regular visits with family members. They just want to know if we are involved in "life" or are hermits. I am a hermit and I like it that way. :-)

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    1. You're going to the YMCA for your physical therapy? I thought it was at a medical facility. All those questions sound like part of the Medicare Wellness Exam for seniors, not PT? I've got mine coming up in April.

      I don't really believe it was part of a survey because she and I were in a private office before the exercises began where she filled out a two page form with questions she asked me and my answers. The church question came out of an organic conversation in the gym much later. You know, the normal "how many grandkids do you have" yadda, yadda, yadda kind of conversation. "None, but I keep busy doing so and so."

      But I agree I'm sensitive about the church question and with good reasons that goes back to grade school and having kids tell me they couldn't play me because I didn't go to their brand of church, and boyfriends in high school having their parents tell them they couldn't date me anymore for the same reason. It's only been in the last 2-3 years when I started answering the church question honestly out of fear of being ostracized or preached at. So, yes, I am sensitive about it. You've got a long history with going to church so, naturally, you react differently even though you no longer go regularly. We all get stressed out over different things; that's what makes blogging reading so interesting.

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    2. I don't know where you grew up, but those people were weird! I played with Baptist, the ones that kept asking me if I was saved. I played with the Jehovah Witness girl who was one of my best friends and the Seventh Day Adventist, who was my other best friend. We didn't have any Catholic people in town, but I'm sure I would have played with them too. I also had a lot of non-church going friends. One of my best friends was the daughter of the well known town drunk. My Mother was a church going person and she never had a problem with any of my friends and their mothers didn't with me. So, I'm sorry you had to go through all that. I'm the one who should feel sensitive about the church question because I haven't gone in nearly 3 years and I do feel guilty about that. I'm just too darn lazy on Sunday morning and would rather sit in my Heavenly Recliner of the Rock and watch a couple of preachers (that make sense) on TV.

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    3. I grew up in the "City of Churches"---one on practically every corner. Now, we're known as "Beer City, USA." Oh how times change! We're getting OLD!

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  5. Ooh I envy your having a YMCA class. My town is so small that we don't even have a mall to walk. I use Walmart which is a bit sad but it is level and climate controlled, plus there are several regulars. I lost 40 pounds when I had a health wake up but losing weight and being fit are too different animals. I need a program like you have. Keep up the good work. You can only benefit.
    Pretty sure since the C in YMCA stands for Christian is why the church question. Think you solved it with your "No" answer.

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    1. I'm lucky that I have a YMCA only 3-4 miles away. We have five in town! I wish I could give you one. Yes, now that I remember the Y is a Christian bases operation, I will not be annoyed if the topic comes up again. I was caught by surprise because when my husband was alive we had memberships and went often to help with his stroke but no one ever asked that question before.

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  6. Oh my goodness! This is amazing!!! I would only be able to do 1/10 of what you mentioned. But, any effort at all on my part would help a lot! I'm starting Weight Watchers tomorrow and need to sign up for a water exercise class!

    We are rooting for you!!!!

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    1. Good for you! Weight Watchers work if you do the program and I'm a fan of water exercises but the chemicals are so strong they bother my asthma.

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  7. Good for you for taking control of your health. I think walking is as far as I'm willing to go with exercise.

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    1. I'm not fond of walking because I have a lot of bone structure problems but somehow the treadmill is easier walking than the neighborhood.

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  8. Good for you -- have at it! The most weight loss success I had was a self-devised program riding my 3-speed bike with my 35+ pound son on the back when I was in my forties. My next structured program 20 years later, setup for heart patients, though I wasn't one, at a hospital where I was working was good. Fully intended to keep it up the next year, but was just good intentions on my part. I should do more now.

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    1. I admire the people who do keep it up year in and year out. I don't know many people over 55 who do, it just wasn't accented in older generations when we were young like it is now.

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  9. This is pretty exciting. Good on you! Just don't get injured. It could blow your whole plan. I'm still walking for a while in the morning, and then setting the stove timer to walk a little every hour.When I mentioned that a short time ago, I meant to tell you that I got that idea from you when you wrote about your Fitbit reminding you to move around every hour. I need the prompt. So lazy am I.

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    1. That hourly reminders actually do help don't they. Sometimes my Fitbit will tell me I only need to walk 18 steps to get to 250 and other times I might have to do 220. "Don't get injured." Yes, that's what happened when I took the Zumba class, took we 3 weeks to get my knee back!

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  10. Good for you! You'll be in that bikini by summer :-)

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    1. Not so fast. Stay tuned on Saturday for part two of 'body beautiful.' LOL

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  11. This sounds like a great way to get in shape. I think I was 13 when my mother first looked askance at my changing body and suggested I diet. I've been officially overweight most of my adult life, but I'm also quite fit, so I mostly don't worry about it. I started running when I was in my twenties as a hedge against the bad family cardio-vascular history and gave it up in favor of brisk walking when I was in my fifties because the running was just too hard on my joints. I often do a few minutes of running as part of my walk, though.

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    1. I got kicked out of this class before the first session and am now switched over to one-on-one session with a trainer.

      Between your walking and gardening you are wise to stay active. I haven't done that and I'm paying for it now.

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  12. A few months ago I started a Senior Strength and Conditioning class. It's "semi-private" with only 6 students and the instructor. It takes place at a local Rec. Center in a big "multipurpose room" where she sets up stations for us each time, targeting different muscle groups and aerobic work. It's only 40 minutes long and believe me we get a workout! We do each station 3 times -- lifting weights, stretching, bending, stepping up and down, going up and down stairs etc. I notice I am very flexible from my yoga classes, but I want to get stronger and build more muscle and my aerobic conditioning sucks. We are all at different levels and she helps modify the exercises for each person to feel successful. I don't think I could keep up with a regular class -- well, I'm fairly competitive with myself and also like to do as told, so I'd probably kill myself TRYING to keep up -- and I'd hate it and quit. This one offers me just the right challenge to stay optimistic and mostly enjoy it. I wish the same for you! Bikini season is right around the corner! LOL

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    1. That class sounds a little like the new one I've been demoted to. I personally think they have the 'move it to loss it' class misnamed if it's not for moving around a lot to loss pounds. But it sounds more like the others in the class have been together a long time by repeating the class over and over again and I'd be too far behind them.

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  13. I suspect she asked about church-going because in study after study it's been shown to be strongly correlated with good health in older people. It doesn't make a bit of difference "which" denomination, either: Jewish or Christian, Mormon or Lutheran, it's the belonging and participation that makes the difference -- not the belief.

    I need to take off another ten or fifteen pounds, but don't have the ability to get involved in a program like you have -- work precludes that. But I do try to get as much walking in as I can, including a few extra jaunts up and down the dock at work. They say that everything counts -- even parking farther away from the grocery store -- and that's been my mantra since the beginning of the year: fewer calories, more exercise. I've managed to almost wean myself off the sweets, which is a biggy. I stood in front of the ice cream case at the store today and still got out without buying any. That's progress!

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    1. That is progress, to pass up ice cream. I finally got myself weaned off sugar and I'd been trying since New Years. Few calories now for the more exercise part for me. With the kind of work you do, I would have guessed you burn a lot of calories sanding and finishing boats. The extra jaunts was a great idea.

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