Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Arm-y matters

So how did I do with the goals?

1. Well, I went twice, but when I wrote this I'd forgotten that I was going away for the weekend to help my sister move flats. So I couldn't go on Friday. But I reckon that all the hefting of boxes, flat-cleaning and running up and down several flights of stairs counts for something. I went again on Monday (and ran) and will go tomorrow.
2. I did this, and also went for a long walk around a reservoir on Saturday with Dad and my sister.
3. I did fairly well. On the other hand, I didn't eat terribly healthily over the weekend, because we were kind of living from hand to mouth because of the flat-move. I have definitely fallen off the wagon regarding resisting desserts (apple cake on Friday. Danish pastry AND waffle on Saturday. Lemon meringue pie today - OK, that's enough of that).
4. Emm, well, I definitely drank more water than I usually do.

This week, my initial three months' gym membership ran out. It feels like a good moment for a stocktake. Since I started I've learned to run on a treadmill and use a set of unfamiliar weight machines (twice. I never blogged about it, but I'm on the second lot of Nautilus machines now and am having a great deal of fun on the Gravitron).

I haven't lost all that much weight - about 8lb - but I can see a difference in my shape. Even a month ago, I could see that my calves have firmed up. Although they are not slender, you can actually see individual muscles in them now, and I feel a lot happier wearing a knee-length skirt. I'm aware of having abdominal muscles, too - my stomach has never been one of my problem areas, but even so it's much firmer than it was. My waist is smaller.

My thighs are still ghastly, but not quite as ghastly as they were. When it's hot, I now wear shorts at the gym, and there is no better motivator, I can tell you, than having to look at my thighs as I run. One weird thing that seems to happen when I start to lose weight is that the cellulite on them looks worse, rather than better, and to this end I've cut down on caffeine which does seem to have helped. They are definitely slightly smaller, and the muscle tone has improved, although it has a long way to go. I would imagine that only I can see a difference, but I know I'm making progress. I think I started out doing about 100lbs on the Leg Press machine - now it's 235.

I wish I could say I see a difference in my upper arms, but I just don't. Although I've managed to make progress on the Nautilus machines for back and chest, I'm really not making any on the Tricep Extension and Bicep Curl - particularly the latter. When it's set at 30lb I could go forever, but if I put it up to 35 I can do about 9 or 10 reps and no more (the Nautilus target is 12). It's been like that for months.

Similarly, I can't seem to get past 25lb on the Tricep Extension, although I've only been doing that one for three weeks, so I'll give it time. The muscles in my forearm have hardened and it's possible the ones in my upper arm have improved a bit - but not visibly, and it looks as bad as ever. And it's summer. Short-sleeve, strappy-top time.

Most of the time I don't have too many issues with my appearance. But I hate my upper arms. They are probably the one part of my body I would agree to have cosmetic surgery on, if I could afford it - that's how much I don't like them. There's something indecent about the way they look in a top with no sleeves, or those cap sleeves that most girls' T-shirts seem to have these days, like boneless pink sausages, all weak and flabby-looking.

Not surprisingly, I get annoyed every summer by the lack of Cute Tops with Proper Sleeves in the shops. It's all cap-sleeves, or worse, halters and vests. I do have some tops like that, but I wear a shirt over them. And this summer I have succumbed to the lure of the shrug (even though I think they are kind of silly garments). There has to be some middle ground between vestigial or non-existent sleeves, and mumsy blouses, surely?

For the moment, I have a lot of medium-size boys' T-shirts, which I've re-hemmed so that they hit me just below the waist, rather than mid-thigh. It's not exactly that I mind doing this. I'd just rather be able to buy what I want.

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