In or Out – The Choice Is Mine

Internet Image - Woman On Spin Bike

I know I haven’t posted a photo of myself since the one I took on July 4, but before you get excited from a quick glance at the photo above, let remind you of what I actually look like because that one is not me. It’s one I pulled off the internet because the model is demonstrating one of the positions I’ve spent a lot of the summer in while on a spin bike at the gym.

The pictures below are me. I took them after my class today and shows you what I meant when I wrote about Spinning for England. They’re not pretty, but who needs pretty when you finish a class feeling strong and fit.

Out Of The Saddle - Where I Like To Stay When Spinning

Elizabeth Harper - Spinning For England (Notice My Shirt)

When I realized back in early June that I might be stuck in the US for a while and after I had eaten my way through three, that’s right, three pints of my favorite Hagen Daz ice cream flavors and three 1/2 gallons of Bryers, (ice cream sales seem to always be based on buying three) I decided that I was going to need an outlet other than sugar and salt combinations to survive my extended stay in Atlanta.

Finding a gym within walking/running distance to my downtown house was important as I didn’t have a car this summer except when my friends, Carla and David, loaned me their cars while away on trips. It’s been a long hot summer with temperatures staying in the mid to high 90s making indoor exercise necessary. I’ve been run/walking to the gym to spin most days (5 to 6 a week) since early June and while it’s only about 1.7 miles away, covering a distance of about 3.4 miles on foot in addition to spinning for an hour has begun to show some results.

I still weigh more than I did when I met John in early 2008 and most people here don’t seem to have noticed the change in my size. It’s not dramatic like someone who loses a noticeable amount, but I can see it and what’s more, I can feel it. I’m down 17 lbs as of this morning and trying to make it 20 before I fly home next week. I won’t be too bothered if I don’t get to 20 as I can tell I’ve lost inches from working out, but it would be nice to make it an even 20 lbs.

Earlier in the year I was moaning about wanting to get fit and how I wanted to wear my shirts tucked in again even though it was not in fashion. From what I can see it’s still not in fashion, but guess what I did last Friday … yep, I wore my shirt tucked in!  Since I’m short-waisted, tucked in has never my best look even when I was thinner, but it felt great to do it and the best part was knowing I had a choice.

Now if I can just remember that bit about choices when I head for home next week, particularly when there’s no spin class down the street and the sausage, egg, and chips, combo calls to me from the pub menu on quiz night.

In or out, fit or fat, yes or no … during my season away in what I alluded to as my ‘Summer of Lost and Found’, one thing I’ve discovered is that moderation in some areas of life makes me happier. I’ve still eaten the foods I enjoy without guilt, but I’ve paid more attention to why I want something and how much I really need to feel full. Combined with exercise this easy approach has been manageable and has not left me feeling deprived in any way.

And look at what has happened to my legs …

Getting Fit At 50

31 thoughts on “In or Out – The Choice Is Mine

  1. Wow – it looks as though the other spinners decided they couldn’t keep up and went home ?
    Look forward to getting back on the Camel Trail – but if you get to the pub first, you can get them in ? 🙂

    • @ John ~ The other spinners had left. The gym has a no pictures policy so I waited until the classroom had emptied. I’m afraid I didn’t understand the last part of your comment. Maybe you can tell me later offline. 🙂 It’s a good thing you’ve been on your bike while I’ve been gone because I plan to do a lot a hill riding when I get home and unlike before I’m going to have no problem keeping up.

  2. Hi Elizabeth … I think you better do my portion of keeping fit, seeing that I am still out of action … I have never tried spinning .. and I find gyms very intimidating. I lost lots of weight when in hospital with my broken ankle and now trying to put it back on , but gently as I cannot do any thing at all , except move about the house and walk up the road a few steps.

    • @ Anne ~ I bet that was a miserable way to lose weight and you didn’t have any extra like me. I hope that ankle is getting you where you need to go and not causing you too much pain.

  3. You are awesomeness! I too have been changing it up and getting myself on track. I’ve lost 89 pounds since Feb with around 15-20 to go 🙂 Keep strong!

    • @ Hay ~ Good gracious, Hay! Well done you … that is marvelous. I know you must be feeling great. Any secrets to your success you want to share? You know I’m going to want to see a picture. 🙂

  4. Congratulations dear, you’ve done great! Glad to know you will be heading back to John and Cornwall soon – meanwhile I’m heading west this week to California and some cool lakefront days…and nights! Oh to sleep under a blanket again after these triple digit days in NC – it’s been horrid and torrid!!!!!

    Bon voyage – looking forward to posts from the Westcountry soon.

    Mary X

    • @ Mary ~ Thanks for the congrats. It’s been good to put down the ice cream and do something productive to counter the stress of the last few months. I’m sure you’ll enjoy California especially if it’s cooler than the East coast has been. I had forgotten what it feel like to be so hot all of the time. Travel safe and I’ll look forward to pictures at your place. xx

    • @ Kelly ~ I know that 17 lbs is not really that much, but I feel so much better. My knees hurt less and I feel stronger. I think its been good for my heart too which at 50 begins to be more important than tucking my shirt into my jeans. I’ve been following you this summer and you’ve had some big changes with even larger ones ( one anyway … 🙂 to come. xo

  5. Way to go Elizabeth. The most important thing is how you feel about yourself. You inspire me to work harder at making myself feel better phyically.

    • @ Lisa ~ Thanks Lisa, I feel so much stronger physically than before … more like a younger version of myself. I think the last time I felt truly fit was when I was 44. Picking a exercise routine that I knew I would enjoy and that burned calories quickly was important to the outcome. I get bored easily with weight training and running long distance is painful so spinning was a great choice. If you’ve never tried it you might want to look for a gym that offers it and ask to attend for free for a week to see if it might be something you’d like.

  6. 17-20 lbs will look amazing – and of course the extra tone & fitness will make every thing looser and more tuck-inable. I’ve lost weight too while in USA – about 15 lbs – doing almost no exercise, so no better tone to speak of. .I keep thinking – oh, I must be looking great and then I see myself in a photo and think – no, still a LONG way to go, M – in the region of Hay’s marathon result.

    But 17lbs..and 89lbs – way to go ladies! What a great achievement, I hope you feel good about yourselves and healthy with it. Very inspiring.

    • @ Mariellen ~ The lost inches are making me very happy and the way my knees feel makes everything easier. I think aging is much better the more fit we are. One of the instructors at the gym I use is going to be 67 and he spins circles around me and I’m no slouch on a bike. Well, not now anyway. 🙂 Well done you for your weight loss and I know what you mean about those photos. My illusions were put right when I tried on a few swimsuits last week and left empty-handed. Hay is doing a remarkable job isn’t she? Talk about inspiring, reading her comment earlier helped me work harder when I went back to the gym for a second class this evening. I though I might limp through it having had a good workout at my noon class, but thinking about her efforts and loss made me spin faster with more tension on the bike. xx

  7. Secrets? Nah. Just that old story, eat less, move more. I joined a website called myfitnesspal, and I track what I eat there. I run six days a week, do strength training and some more cardio on the elliptical. I’ve actually blogged a bit about it, I’ll send you the link. 🙂

    • @ Hay ~ You are amazing and thanks for sharing the website with us as well as reinforcing that the only secret to success is hard work and restraint, neither of which is always easy for some of us. 🙂

  8. Hi Elizabeth – we may see you on the Camel Trail – it runs almost past the cottage we are buying at Nanstallon! Yes, we appear to have sold our cottage again – the third time in three months! Hopefully this time the bods who are buying will actually go through with it and not have some hideous hidden agenda.
    As John said you should be first to the pub … so I guess it’s your round? x

    • @ Angie ~ Congratulations on the sale of your cottage and the purchase of your new one at Nanstallon. I glad that has sorted itself out. Thanks too for explaining John’s comment. It’s so funny that even after almost four years of knowing each other, I still get surprised by expressions he uses. I’m looking forward to meeting you face to face soon.

  9. You go girl!!!! That is awesome 🙂 I am getting ready to kick my own butt here pretty soon — finally am getting settled enough to go to some Yoga classes! I lost 20 lbs last year and have actually managed to keep it off but the scale has quit moving and I have 30 more to go! Thanks for inspiring and can’t wait until you get back to Cornwall!!

    • @ Sarah ~ Well done you for dropping 20, I have a feeling that the 30 you think you need to lose is not really 30, Texas girls are always thinking they’re carrying extra weight when they’re really twiggy and slim. Next time you’re down my way we’ll have to take a spin on the Camel Trail. We’ve got extra bikes for company so just you and the Canadian can just hope on the train. BTW, your Presidential Suite in Ireland was a gorgeous! Great way to settle in to your new London life. I can’t wait to read more and love seeing your home transitioning.

  10. Haven’t read thru the comments, but you might find small consolation seeing that BREYER’s cartons are 1.5 quarts, not a half gallon. Sneeky way to raise price without consumer notice. Although I _DID_ when it was my turn to bring ice cream for an event and we ran short.
    Congratulations on the weight loss. My own body needs to move more….

    • @ MrsDOF ~ Hmmm, there may be a small consolation in the size change. I thought they looked smaller, but decided they must be eliminating waste. (packaging, I mean, along with my own waist) With the changes you’ve had lately at your house, I might be reaching for the ice cream. Hope your mister is feeling better.

    • @ Scott ~ You know me, I have been so ‘ Bovvered’ this summer, thankfully it’s almost over here for me and I can enjoy what’s left of summer when I get home to Cornwall and John. It was so good to see you while I was here. Thanks for making the trip and congrats again on your acceptance to nursing school.

    • @ Otrgirl ~ I read that ‘ Da-yam ‘ exactly how you meant it, cause you know I have southern roots.:-) Speaking of roots and southern states, it looks as if you are settling in well in your new home. Glad things are going so well for you in Texas.

    • @ Donna ~ I still have so much of the Grits you brought me that it’s not even on my list to take back and I haven’t had any while I’ve been here. Peanut butter and cornmeal, that’s what I’m packing this trip. I noticed you’ve been even busier this summer than normal. Congrats on all of your writing related achievements.

  11. Good for you! Keep at it, because once you let yourself go at our age not only do you rarely if ever get yourself fit again, but you just open yourself up to all kinds of needless health issues. There’s a lot to be said for moderation!

    • @ Jayne ~ You know, feeling better has been as nice as shrinking down a size (and a bit) and I can see more clearly the effect the extra weight had on my aging body. The physical rewards are more obvious than in the past when faced with the need to drop more than vanity pounds such as my post childbirth weight. Okay, so she was almost three when I lost the 42 lbs, but we can call that post childbirth, can’t we? I hope your move has gone smoothy. It’s a pretty amazing lifestyle change and I hope you’ll post a few pictures when you settle in to your new space.

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