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The Treadmill of Sisyphus

I’ve started and restarted a diet and exercise routine more times than I care to count in the last decade. Serious attempts started in 2005, when I used my apartment building’s gym at night with the lights off, the ambient light from the lamp posts by the pool enough to see the exercise bike. I loaded Dane Cook mp3s onto my iPod Nano and counted minutes on the elliptical. I started the Self Challenge, a 3-month diet and exercise program, the next January with some friends who quit after about a month. I stuck with the structured program and lost a little weight. It was enough of a taste of the results of diet and exercise that it stuck with me, and so, once a year or more often, I will stop with the constant barrage of carbohydrates and go back to the gym for a few months.

My food downfall is carbohydrates. I am a fool for pasta, and sometimes, all I want is a bag of chips or another helping of dumpling stew. I was a vegetarian for 8 years, then went back to meat following surgery to remove my gallbladder last year. In the year before my surgery, I lost 16 pounds. After my surgery, I put on 19 pounds. In March of this year, I found that I was having trouble fitting into any of my pants, and so, I started on a diet-only regimen and dropped 15 pounds again. I have been stuck at that plateau for months, torn between the wish to fit into smaller shirts and the siren call of no longer counting every calorie, of having as much processed and bready food as I want without having to be accountable for it.

The only success I have ever had has come about from strict dieting and reduction of carbohydrates. I’m not going the route of keto, paleo, Atkins, or anything – when I try to reduce my carbs, I attempt to do so by getting more protein, by including more vegetables or vegetable-based foods into my diet. I try to choose frozen meals that have more complex carbohydrates, whole wheat instead of plain pasta.

Exercise has been difficult, due to a number of injuries and conditions. I twisted my ankle camping a few years ago, and it still gives me trouble from time to time. I took a walk the other day without my supportive ankle brace, and my ankle ached the entire next day. I injured my knee about 12 years ago, and it is sometimes sore after I walk, whether I use a knee brace or not, and I have to limit how much I use stairs and cannot run (I tried Couch to 5k and quit after two weeks due to knee pain).  I injured muscles in my left shoulder two years ago while screwing around doing pilates, and I’m at the end of a stint of physical rehabilitation for those muscles to build them back up again. I lost range of motion in that shoulder, and wearing older bras without good band support got to be extremely painful to the point where I started wearing longline strapless bustier-style bras. I’ve put off starting a new workout program until my physical therapy was complete.

My current weight is 191 pounds, after three weeks of backtracking and getting down to 188. My starting weight last March was 203. I never want to see that side of 200 again, and I am disappointed in myself that I am up to 191.

My goals always change, but someday, I would like to lose much more weight and get out of the BMI ranges of obesity and overweight. My lifestyle right now is sedentary; I’d like to change that by improving my strength and cardiovascular health, lose weight to reduce my risk of developing diabetes, and stay active and mobile as long as I can.

In the weeks to come, I plan to get some home exercise equipment to match what my physical trainer provides as well as utilize the gym at my office in order to continue to build strength in my weak shoulder. I also plan to start using the New Rules of Lifting for Women workout once again. I also plan to start using my Livestrong.com account to track my food. I bought their app for my iPhone several months ago and used it regularly up until the midsummer.

I hope to use this blog to chronicle my progress on my shoulder, talk about my diet, track my weightlifting progress, and give myself motivation to keep on track with my initiatives.

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