Determined not to be the Fat Americans when we entered Europe, we started out last year by going on a diet. By the time we set off on the Aventura (September 1, 2011) we each had dropped twenty pounds and were still heading in the right direction. Indeed, four weeks into the new life, I had lost an additional two pounds.
Myfitnesspal.com should get the most credit for our weight loss. It is a simple on-line tool that allows you to enter the food you eat each day and compare it to the amount of calories you are burning. Based on your weight, age and activity level, it comes up with a set number of calories that you can eat each day without gaining or losing weight. If you want to lose weight you either have to eat fewer of those calories or burn more via exercise. (Their comprehensive database has most foods already referenced and quite a few exercises.) The best part of the program is, after logging in your day of eating and exercising, it provides you with, “If every day were like today, you would weigh XXX in six weeks.” Let me tell you, that can be a great motivator - each day elicits either a "Yahoo!" or an "Oh My!"
A wonderful tool for us two A-type personalities however, you need an internet connection to record all the data and during the first month of the Aventura we were shy of an internet connection most of the time. I think we continued to lose because we were hiking almost every day and eating fresh trout, grilled vegetables and very little else. Unfortunately, when the cold weather set in and we headed North, we found ourselves inside most of the time—maybe getting an hour walk every day, most often not. We also had fallen out of the habit of recording our food and exercise so we really weren't surprised when, four months after our start, we had gained back four of our twenty pounds.
Having by this time reached south-east Texas where an attempt at playing tennis landed Alan back at the orthopedist and hiking rarely involves a change in altitude, we needed a new plan. Europe, after all, was closer than ever and we were fast approaching the wrong side of the Fat Americans. So Alan, on a friend’s recommendation, ordered the P90-X training system. A set of DVDs that promise to lead you to your best fitness level ever in only 90 days. (For those of you familiar with the system, we are doing the “Lean” option, the other two options promising more muscle definition than we are after.)
Obviously, an exercise program that involves sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, yoga, martial arts, kickboxing and, my favorite, stretching (corpse pose, anyone?) is not being performed--even by one person--in a 19’ trailer. So we took two cleansing breaths, bought yoga mats, set the DVD player on Salt’s doorstep and began our training; basking in the fresh air and curious stares of our neighbors.
I have never been so sore in my life, but it sure feels good.
P.S. As you can imagine, The Noses are not thrilled with this new exercise regime: River tries to walk underneath and lick our faces when we are in downward facing dog and Rosco constantly tries to sleep on the mats. Worst of all, we are so tired when we are done that they aren’t getting their usual long walks. Soon I hope we will be able to do it all.