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getting there is only half the battle

Started off week 3 of the exercise effort with a trip to the gym with mlyn to help me figure out how to work the elliptical machine. I got brave last week and tried it out, but it was excruciating and left my thighs a burning mass of rubber. A bunch of people barked at me this weekend about how I needed less resistance and a lower level, but I hit button after button on the thing that day and made it a whole 7 minutes or so. It never changed. M'lyn volunteered to go with me and show me what to do so we went over there tonight, and I did 20 minutes on the machine with mostly just knee pain, which is something I'm very used to so it doesn't bother me. It's just what you get when you don't have any cartilage left in them.

It definitely wasn't easy (I was watching those minutes tick down like a buzzard waiting for someone to die), but it helped to have someone to talk to, as well, and then we went down and did weight circuit, even though she's feeling a little under the weather. Then we went and got sammiches and talked about diet and maximizing the workout foodwise. I plan to stick with this, even though it tires me out, and now gas is at $3 a gallon and the gym is not at all close by. I figure that if I do this at least a couple times a week, and keep up with the yardwork and the walking everywhere, maybe I can see results by end of summer, but I'm not necessarily looking for them, if that makes any sense. It takes a long time to see results, in the first place, but most importantly, if I judge my health by just the pounds or the clothes size, I'm doing it wrong.

The other thing that will probably help me lose some weight is that next week I go in for the impressions to get my braces. They said they can do the Invisalign ones, which is a load off my mind, though they may in fact use the metal ones at the end. I just don't want metal in my mouth again, ever. My experience was so awful, and I have such bad memories of it, that even though the clear ones have many of their own issues, I'd rather do it this way. It's insanely expensive, but worth it for the peace of mind. The big issue is that you usually have to brush and floss after every meal, and I'm not a meal eater -- I graze in small amounts all day. Since I'd have to be brushing and flossing all the time, and having to take them out for tea and Pepsi and stuff, I'll probably stick to water more often than I already do (which is a lot, but I do love my tea and my cola drinks), and eat a lot less, or eat stuff I can get by with a quick brushing instead of the whole kit & kaboodle.

I'm not looking forward to this at all. Especially not to having them at Vividcon, where my diet goes out the window in favor of convenience. But it's better to do it now than wait until I crack a tooth with my bad bite.

So between starvation (not really, just eating in a different way, less often) and working out, with any luck, I may finally be able to fit into my favorite pants again at some later date. And btw, anyone who wants to check in with my on my progress or to nag me into not giving up, please feel free to do so. It would be good to keep motivating me.

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Jun. 16th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
Go you with the exercise and healthy eating! It sounds like you have a great attitude about it.
Jun. 16th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
When I get there, my attitude goes right out the front door as I enter. But I want to deal with this weight more, so that wins. It's so hard!!!
Jun. 16th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
OMG it's my retainer.

I didn't know what Invisalign was, so I looked it up. They gave me one of those to use as a retainer after my braces. Admittedly, it worked real well, esp after the surgery where they cut my tooth-holding ligaments. :) A YEAR? They think they can get one's teeth straight in a year with that? It took me two years with regular braces, and my second orthodontist called my first orthodontist a sadist.

The first orthodontist had promised me I'd have my braces off by my wedding; the second withdrew that offer and wouldn't do it. Sigh.
Jun. 16th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, no, it's definitely not just one year -- they have me down for 18-24 months. But they may still put the metal ones on instead of it being Invisalign all the way, and that bums me out completely. I just despise the idea of metal in my mouth again. The first time was a terrible experience that I am loath to repeat.

Apparently some people keep their final set of Invisalign trays as retainers, but there are also harder, more long-wearing retainers that are clear -- it just depends on the orthodontist's preference, I guess. I'll know more about that a lot farther down the line.

One of the cool things I found out about clear ones is that you can use them to put whitening gel in and lighten your teeth! The dental hygienist told me yesterday to make sure that they don't go above the gum line, though, because it can burn your gums. But still! I'm such a heavy tea-drinker that I think it will be great.
Jun. 16th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
(I was watching those minutes tick down like a buzzard waiting for someone to die)

This is exactly my feelings toward exercise. I've managed to keep doing it on a fairly consistent basis but I will never, never be one of those people who enjoy exercise. But you're right, whether you lose weight or not you'll feel better.

My suggestion is to get yourself an MP3 player to listen to music or podfic. It does make the time move a little less slowly.

I'm a grazer, too. Having diabetes this is both good and bad for me. Being a diabetic you're encouraged to eat 5-6 small meals instead of large ones, but to wait 3 hours or so between 'meals' to keep your blood sugar even. But once I start eating I want to keep on and that keeps my blood sugar at an elevated level. When I become distracted I can easily go for hours w/o the desire to eat, especially during the day. But that will make my blood sugar spike, too. So I eat something small but then have the insane urge to nibble for hours *sigh* Kinda sucks. Having to re-teach myself how to eat and not just diet has been one of the hardest things.

Good luck with the diet and exercise regime. I'll be over here in the Midwest commiserating with cheering you on!
Jun. 16th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
I really hate exercise. I mean, I hate the whole going somewhere to do this sort of thing, but clearly walking everywhere and eating less and whatnot aren't working. At some point, if I ever have money again, I will buy myself some kind of cardio machine to use in the garage, but that time is not now.

To be honest with you, one of my huge motivating factors is diabetes. Since I don't know my birth parents' medical history, I have no idea if it is in my family, and I'm terrified of it - my dearest friend for years has type 1 and it is slowly destroying him, and my dad has type 2 and his life has been such a mess because of it these past few years, although he's doing pretty well for an 84-year-old. So fear is my great motivation, which I suppose is as good a motivation as any! And I know what a difficult struggle that was when you were going through the initial stages, and it was valuable insight for me.

I'm not sure I will ever enjoy it, but... I get tangled up in my iPod wires all the time so I haven't brought one with me, but the ellipticals are unfortunately over by the sports-all-the-time TVs at my gym, and at least CNN is on the other one, except the bad part is that it's only near the bikes. The rowing machines are there, though, so I think I will add rowing once I get up more speed.
Jun. 16th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
One of the things I've learned about diabetes is that if you don't have the gene for it, no matter how over-weight you are or how bad your diet, you're not going to develop it. Unfortunately you don't have a way to check for that history.

Loosing weight is important and will help deter diabetes if you're prone, but watching your carb consumption which helps keep your blood sugar from spiking and your body from developing a resistance to insulin is more important.

Fortunately that means if you're not diabetic or pre-diabetic (that can be tested for), you can indulge a little bit with fat content. It's when you can't have very much fat or very many carbs that things begin to get kinda boring. ):

Has your doctor checked your fasting blood sugar?
Jun. 16th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're sticking with it, despite the pain and everything.

(I was watching those minutes tick down like a buzzard waiting for someone to die)

Boy, I know that feeling well. That's why I ended up buying an elliptical trainer: I watch stuff that's on my TiVo while I put in my time, and it goes SO much faster because my brain is somehow sufficiently distracted by a/v (but not just a; I've tried just listening to music, and 5 minutes feel like the Bataan death march) to disengage from the OMG... GAHHH... BURRRNNNNSSSSSSS! mantra to allow me to get through a workout.

I used to love stuff like yoga and racquetball, but I can't do either anymore, so I'm kind of stuck with what I'm able to do, which doesn't leave a lot of room for choice.
Jun. 16th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
It's good though that even with all your pain, you're still exercising. Go you!! I wish I had room in this house for some kind of machine and a TV. Since I love TV anyway, it would make stuff a lot easier. At some point I'd like to get something to put in the garage, but there won't be any tv in there!

And I get what you mean about a/v being important -- a doesn't really distract me, either, on its own. I would much prefer to have pretty men doing interesting things on my screen (and some pretty women, too).
Jun. 16th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
There are times I can't exercise at all, so I definitely need to do a LOT more.
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
Well, having only recently gone through Invisalign teeth-straightening (I had 'em in for a bit under 2 years and am on the retainers now) I can give you my impressions:

--Don't worry so much about the brushing & flossing after everything. I was fanatical about that for a few months, but it ended up being impossible to maintain when I wanted to drink something other than water at the office. Mostly, if you don't brush after every bit of food/non-water drink all the time, the aligners can get a little icky. The easiest way to deal with that is to brush them in the morning before you put them back in after eating and then brush them again at night before going to sleep. Some days you can just bush them with water or toothpaste, but as they get older and the surfaces get a little scuffed, brushing with Listerine cleans them up really well.

--You will stop grazing. Trust me on this: they cured me of it pretty thoroughly. It becomes way too much of a pain to be taking the damn things out all the time (this was especially true when in public or at work coz popping them out is kinda gross). Your teeth will be really sensitive/a bit sore the first few days after each new set of aligners (since that's when they're shoving your teeth around the most and the fit will be tightest) and popping them on an off will be a little uncomfortable so you probably won't want to do that very often.

--It is important to keep them in as much as you can. If you leave them off for a while (and I mean more than a day, because, yes, there were a couple times when I had a cold that I'd forget to put them back in at night) then your teeth move back out of shape and you have to get the impressions done again and the company has to make up a new series of aligners and the process takes even longer. (I am kind of/totally compulsive about these things and so never left them out for very long; the orthodontist would exclaim over how well it was going every time I saw him and told me about how so many Invisalign users leave the aligners out and have to start all over!)

--An emery board is your best friend. No, seriously. Because the aligners are plastic molds, they have some sharp edges and uncomfortable spots. Put the aligner in for an hour or two so you can feel for any spots that might poke you or an edge that might cut into your tongue or cheek a little. Then take them out and use the emery board to file the sharp edges down. This will vastly improve your comfort and make it a lot easier to keep wearing them all the damn time.

The awesome part is that very few people ever notice you're wearing them. And I'm really happy with how my teeth turned out.

If you have any questions, let me know and I'll do my best to answer!
Jun. 18th, 2009 06:59 am (UTC)
This is all extremely helpful. Much as I love the interwebz, there are a lot of people out there saying stuff that does not always help when one needs it -- I keep reading all these horror stories about people's experiences with them. And since most of them seem illiterate, it's hard to know what to really expect; you get either stupid pissed off cretins or marketing stuff that's clearly done by people who want to sell them to others.

I am absolutely OCD about my teeth. My parents had terrible teeth and suffered so much all my life with teeth problems, and so every time I go to the dentist, even after a long time, they talk about my impeccable dental hygiene. It won't be hard for me to keep those things clean because I can't stand even the slightest fuzzy feeling on my teeth.

I didn't know about the emery board. That is really good to know since my freakishly sensitive skin seems to include the inside of my mouth as well. I'm really down about the whole thing, but I know it's a necessary evil. I think that's going to be the hardest part for me, to be honest; not pain or inconvenience or starvation, but just doing this at all, again, and with a whole new set of troubles. None of my buddies seem remotely concerned or interested and I am sure they won't want to listen to me talk about them, and that would help. So I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me this, it helps a lot.
Jun. 18th, 2009 07:34 am (UTC)
Well, like I said, my orthodontist would constantly call me his "star Invisalign patient" because I wore them enough that they actually worked the way they were supposed to. I can imagine if you have to keep starting over it would be a complete nightmare!

Oh! The other thing about them: coz you've got something over your teeth it's hard to enunciate clearly and you can even sound like you have a slight lisp. You wouldn't think a thin layer of plastic would cause that, but it can--especially right after you switch aligners. The mouth is a weird place, man...

The emery board thing is a trick I figured out around my third set of alingers (I was changing them out about every 2.5 weeks). My tongue was sore enough that I was beginning to wonder how I was going to make 18 weeks, let alone 18 months (and it ended up running a couple of months over that), with that level of discomfort and then I just thought "You idiot: file the edge down!" Instant improvement.

After I got used to them, I did tend to...not forget I had them on, but stop noticing. It was pretty amazing to see my teeth progressively straightening when I would take them out to brush. I also tend to clench my jaw at night, so I found the aligners and the retainers to be helpful for that, too. I really didn't find them to be much bother once I got into the habit of them being part of the daily dental routine; I don't know if that eases your mind or not.

I don't mind talking about it at all--I just tend not to since I haven't wanted to bore anyone! But I know I would have appreciated some tips when I got started, so I'm glad if any info is useful.
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