New member; looking to recommit...

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2003
New member; looking to recommit...
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 1:07pm
... to being fit (or at least just more physically active than I have been lately!)

I haven't read many of the posts here yet but I wanted to introduce myself first and then I will go lurk in the shadows for a while. The very-helpful jenindc recommended this site to me, as a fellow veggie and gym nut.

See, at one time I used to go to the gym almost every day. And I liked it! But I burned out. In fact, I have reached the burned-out stage way too many times. My problem? I have very specific goals in mind, and I work as hard as I can to attain them, and then I don't see any reasonable results and feel a failure.

I am about 20 pounds overweight right now. I eat healthily, and I am strong, yet I still have all of this fat hiding my beautiful muscles. It seems that no matter what I do, the muscle grows but the fat stays above it. I need to know how to get rid of that pesky layer of fat! I think if I could accomplish that much, I would be able to stick with my commitment to the gym, because it's so hard to see your strength increase while you still look and feel squishy.

And of course, I have a secondary motive right now. I am getting married in September, and I just bought my boo-tiful *strapless* wedding dress, and I want that upper body to actually look toned when I wear it.

So, I look forward to reading the posts on here and contributing when I can. I'm hoping you all can give me some ideas on achieving my goals, or at least give me a challenge to get off my butt and hit those weight machines again.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 2:20pm
Welcome to the board!!! Whoot, we were just talking about how we recommend the board and nobody shows up, you've proved us wrong!

I understand your frustration at lack of visible (at least to you) results from working out. It is easy to give up and say it isn't working when you feel so good but FEEL that you look terrible. I've been there for, oh, 5 months now. I'm getting stronger, fitter and more capable but still have this nasty (and much more than you if you are only 20 pounds overweight) layer of fat on top of what I know will be killer muscles when you can see them. The thing is, like anything of value, you just have to let go of what you believe it SHOULD be like and work with what it IS like. Appearance is important, don't get me wrong, but it should not be your only reason to work out, if it is you'll fail.

How do you feel when you go to the gym? Is your mental acuity better? Are you less stressed? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment? Fired up and ready to go? Laid back and relaxed? If you found out tomorrow that you could take a pill that makes you look good and never had to go to the gym would you stop going? See, when I answered those questions I realized that I feel GREAT after working out and like the sense of accomplishment. I realized that I would not give it up because I reached my appearance weight and that realization allowed me to let go of a great deal of that frustration that you are feeling right now.

As for the burning out. You need to be reasonable in your efforts. I burned out once upon a time, but I was working too much and for the wrong reasons. I wanted to get into a specific size. After a few months (with progress, mind you) I was not getting there as quickly as I felt I should have and just gave up. When your goals aren't enough to counter the frustration and burnout then they are the wrong goals. My goals change frequently now. They are attainable. The little ones this week are to make it to the gym 6 times instead of the four or five that have been the norm since school let out; to add another 10 minutes to my cardio each session and to work on my pull ups on an off back day. Those are simple, small goals, they're attainable. I can check them off at the end of the week, or if I don't make it I can figure out why and try again next week. I also have larger goals for the long term. Make exercise a part of every day life and keep at it past barriers. I've had three major barriers this year that I've worked through and kept myself on track. I'm reaching that larger goal every day that I go. And yes, while looking good is somewhere in there, it is nearer the bottom. Feeling good, feeling that accomplishment, feeling like I've made a difference in my health all come above it. And you know what? I've not lost a single pound in well over a month but I look better every day because I'm happy for reaching the more important goals. Beauty isn't all about your size and not having flab, it is about YOU and your own happiness.

I'll just pry my arms from around this tree I started groping somewhere along the line of this post and again welcome you to the board. YOU CAN do this, but you have to be careful when you set your goals and look yourself in the mirror that you aren't doing more harm than good.



Co-author of:  MONSTER'S INK HORROR ANTHOLOGY By Cyber-Pulp Press

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 2:23pm
i know jean will recommend fitday or another program to count calories, so i thought i'd add that i'm going to give her my copy of dietpower. btw, VB, you were the one who first told me about fitday, which i've passed on to many people here! it seems to have really helped people, so thanks.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 2:33pm
very wise words, kiervin! i think you are very right about what kind of goals are productive and what kind set you up to fail. i really don't think i'll ever be the size or weight i want to be, but i'm just happy when i do all the exercising that i tell y'all that i'm going to do over the weekend, or get my butt to all the workouts in a week that i wanted to make it to. the most satisfying goals that i've acheived since coming here have been the ones that seem small but are really triumphs in their own way - like doing two unassisted chin ups. or when we were trying to see how many pushups we could all do in a month. those group goals are extra fun. we should do that again for july! if anyone else wants to, let's try to think one up because jean will be away by then. any ideas?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 3:37pm
Welcome! When I first read your name, I thought, "Oh yay, someone right up jen's alley!" Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Kiervin and jen both had great feedback. On getting more motivated to go to the gym, have you found something that you really love doing? I love classes and it's hard for me to get motivated sometimes to do machines. I think one key to long term fitness is to find something(s) that you love. If you can afford it, a few sessions with a personal trainer would be great to help you with exercises on looking great in a strapless gown. It's easier to focus on short-term goals, and people do better when they set smaller goals. Make small goals, like getting to the gym three times a week and then add to it once it becomes habit. You want to make sure you're making changes that you can keep for a lifetime. You don't want to look great for your wedding and then go back to old habits after. Glad you decided to join us and keep us updated on your progress!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 4:06pm
Hey congrats on your wedding! One of my friends and coworker at my gym got married last week in the Bahamas; she wore a white strapless gown and looked AMAZING. She worked out consistently and stuck gung-ho to a specialized diet, and the results were great. I'm so proud of her! If you are interested in losing bodyfat, you should really concentrate on your diet. Consume lots of lean protein , whole grains , and tons of fruit and veggies. Key is to eat 5-6 small meals a day; seems like a lot, but when you are downsizing portions, it keeps your stomach happy and forcing your bod to digest more often and fuel up with good fuel will help boost metabolism. Make sure protein size is roughly the size of your closed fist; 4-6 ounces. Read labels of carbs carefully - portion size can easily be distorted. 2 ounces of whole wheat pasta is a serving size - for a pasta fanatic like me that is such a tease!! Nuts are great, no matter what anyone else tells you - just make sure they are unsalted and don't overdo. I lost 8% bodyfat and 30+ pounds in the last year, and it has made such a difference - I have a totally different body than before. I plateaued for a while, but then I reexamined my diet and had my boyfriend make me a new diet. I also added more 2-minute sprints to my cardio routine and finally broke through my plateaus. Here is a sample of a day's diet for me . Hope it helps.

7:00 a.m.

4 oz OJ

1 cup coffee w/Splenda

3 egg whites, scrambled

1/4 cup oatmeal w/cinnamon and splenda

10:00 a.m.

1/2 cup 1% milkfat cottage cheese low sodium

1 whole wheat English muffin

1/2 fuji apple

1:00 p.m.

2 cups mixed variety lettuce

1/3 cup diced cucumber

1/4 cup diced tomato

1/4 cup diced vidalia onion

6 oz chicken breast tenderloin, grilled on the Foreman

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp EVOO

4:00 p.m.

1/2 can albacore tuna

1 tbsp Hellmans 2 Good 2 Be True Mayo

S&P to taste

2 slices light 7 grain bread

1 cup steamed mixed vegs

7:00 p.m.

4 oz extra lean ground beef

1/2 diced vidalia onion

2 oz whole wheat pasta

1 clove garlic

- cook & drain garlic, onions & beef, stir in cooked pasta, sprinkle with parm cheese

10:00 p.m.

1/2 low sodium cottage cheese

1 whole wheat english muffin

Hope that helps! IF you need any more suggestions I'll be glad to help you out. Being on a strict diet like this may seem overwhelming, but you will get used to it; after a while of dieting like this, my stomach can't really handle anything too heavy, even pizza! Follow it 6 days a week, and always allow yourself a cheat meal! My weakness??? PASTA!! Bring it on!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2003
Thu, 06-26-2003 - 4:30pm
Thanks for all the encouragement so far, everyone. Tonight I am promising myself I will go to the store and buy new sneakers! Up until this point it's been one of my lame-o excuses for not going back to the gym-- I needed new shoes!

You all brought up some good points, especially about taking it slow and establishing a pattern first. And of course, to just do what makes me happy and not worry about the results. I am probably a strange creature because I LOVE weight lifting and I hate cardio. I have to force myself to do cardio, usually right after my warmup (before lifting) because if I put it off till the end then I will just not want to do it at all. My inspiration, years ago, was watching an Opera show (not normally my thing) and there was a segment on these older women who were incredibly buff and healthy. They showed a photo of Angela Bassett's upper body, front and back, and WOW... that's what I want. Right now my back and arms are sorta squishy and the muscle underneath is not visible. I really want to change that. So, when I did go to the gym I spent a lot of time working on my upper body. Of course, I gave attention to my lower body too (especially those frustrating abs) but it seems that lower body is easier since you use it so much day-to-day anyhow via walking, standing up, resistance from lifting things, etc. I really love doing leg presses. So, strange as it is, thinking about going back to my beloved leg press machine is making me feel HAPPY.

Right now I am not sure what I can do about the way I eat. I do think I eat fairly well, although I need to cut back on the desserts, that's for sure. My problem is that I get obsessed with things too easily and I am prone to fretting over my calories or fat or carb intake too much, to the point of being afraid to eat something. With the summer here, my appetite always decreases significantly and I get more in the habit of eating more veggies and whole grains instead of stuffy carby things.

More later-- thanks again for the kind words! I'm enjoying reading your board.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 4:00am
I'm not going to add to the excellent advice that you've already received... just wanted to say welcome to the board and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Like you, I love the weights and really have to force myself to do cardio. I was so out of shape when I started going to the gym last year that cardio would just get me depressed -- two minutes on the stair master or 5 on the bike and my legs would feel like jelly, I'd be completely out of breath, and I'd get so down comparing myself to everyone else who was in such better CV shape. I loved the weights because they were something completely new for me and, as a beginner, I was improving every single time I worked out.

Now that I'm in better shape and can handle the cardio (though nowhere near the cardiovascular fitness levels I'd like), I *STILL* put it off because I am so much more into the weights workout and I get SO bored doing cardio. I've only recently started getting serious about it for two reasons: 1. I'd like to do some more hiking this summer and I really need to get in better shape to keep up with some of my runner friends, and 2. I'm starting to see really nice muscles in my shoulders and legs and I *really* want to drop my body fat to the level where other people see them too!

This long winded post is just to welcome you and let you know you're not alone. Maybe we can motivate each other!

~ Vanessa

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-26-2003
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 11:14am
Have you found that the cardio does indeed help melt away the fat layer? I guess if I can be convinced it will do it, then I will be more diligent about my cardio sessions :)

Last night I bought a pair of NB cross trainers. They weren't the style I wanted to get but I had to take whatever DSW had, since I couldn't pay full price at a NB store with more selection. They will do, at the least for weight lifting and some cardio on the machines at the gym.

I also finally moved my gym membership to a branch that's closer to my new apartment. This new gym is not as nice as my previous one, but if it gets the work done then that's all that matters. I am already looking forward to going tonight and starting up my routine again. I also get 2 free sessions with a trainer at the new gym, which will tell me my current body fat composition (shudder) and my other measurements to use as a baseline. I'm a bit fearful of that, but I should probably find out. The last time I had BF measured it was above 30%, which my trainer said was in the "dangerous" category for women? It kinda scared me out of not wanting to have it measured again. The truth hurts, you know? Also, it could have been slightly inaccurate because it was done using calipers, but I have been told that the inaccuracy of calipers is usually only a range of a couple of points, so I'd still be pretty close to 30%. Bah, whatever. I will find all this out again when I meet with the trainer.

Thanks again!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 06-27-2003 - 11:26am
that's great about your new sneaks and taking care of moving your membership. gyms can be so slimy about stuff like that. but that's pretty good you get 2 sessions and a free body fat test, the gyms i've been to don't offer that.

i was afraid to get my body fat tested at first too. but then after i had been exercising a while and had it tested again, and i had improved, then it was very satisfying and i was glad that i had done it. it's really one of the better ways to measure your progress, even if it's not exactly accurate.

i'm surprised he used the term "dangerous" - that sounds like a huge exagerration to me, that makes it sound like you are about to keel over at any time! the truth is more like, "you are at a higher risk for weight-influenced conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, etc."

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-21-2003
Sat, 06-28-2003 - 8:46pm

just read your message (this is my first time to this site-love it!!) I used to be a regular at the gym, but the last few months I just tapered off. NOt sure why, because I love going and feel great afterwards, but now I am paying for it. I feel sluggish, and have lost muscle and cardio endurance. I want my tight muscles and my flat tummy back!!! I really want to get started again too, so I thought I'd let you know you're not alone!!

THe posts on this site are great- I was wondering what some of your workout regimens are? I really want to become a good runner (I always shy'd away from running) but my roomates are big into running, and I want to prove that I can keep up!! My gym has classes-step and kickboxing- but I'm not sure I can burn as many cals there as I could on say, elliptical machine or a treadmill. (They are more fun though!)

Also, I was reading some of the other posts on this line- what is FITDAY??? I know that diet is a huge part of getting that cut look I'm in search of, mine needs an overhaul, but I ready for a change. I want my beach body back!! (look out bikini season '04)

It's great to have a site with knowledgable and encouraging people-look forward to reading more. ~Sara