My new hobby

During a routine check-up last week, my doctor casually told me that I could afford to lose a few pounds, but added that "by Pittsburgh standards, you're practically anorexic."  Wow. Thanks!  That line is more or less irrelevant to this post, but I thought it was a funny thing for a doctor to tell a patient, when in the same sentence he basically told me to lose a few pounds. 

So what's a great way to expedite weight loss?  Exercise.  I want to make exercise my new hobby.  Gardening is my summer hobby, but I don't have a winter hobby.  I'm thinking that exercise could be it.

Now, I know that hobbies are supposed to be fun, and that most people don't consider exercise to be fun.  I don't really either, especially when I'm trying to dig up the motivation to take off my warm clothes on a cold, cold evening to put on workout clothes.  But, once I'm there, it's really not so bad.

There are 2 obvious reasons why this will be a great hobby if I can make it happen.
1. It's good for me - I need to lose weight; exercise can help me achieve that
2. It's cheap - Hobbies can be expensive, but I already own two pieces of expensive exercise equipment that can make it all possible, and even if I didn't, walking or running outside is totally and completely free

And for Christmas I received 2 additional gifts that directly support this new "hobby" mine.

Workout clothes:

Perhaps self-portraits will be my next new hobby.... 

And a heart-rate monitor:

The watch... 

And the chest strap. 

Now, I don't intend to wear the work-out clothes every time I run on the treadmill.  Those are - instead - for workouts that require me to leave the house, such as a Zumba class or going to North Park to jog with Dave (something that we hope to do in the spring.)  During my fall semester Zumba class, I felt so ratty in my baggy t-shirts and over-sized mesh shorts or sweatpants.  Part of feeling good about one-self includes looking the part, and I certainly didn't look good or feel like I looked good.  Hopefully this will help.

The heart rate monitor is something that I've wanted for some time now.  Over the years, I've browsed through many discussion boards on MyFoodDiary and noticed that when people were discussing how many calories they burned during a workout, most people who weren't exercising on machines referred to the calories burned as reported to them by their heart rate monitors.  Even a large majority of those who worked out on machines still referred to their HRM to report calories burned, since the machines usually don't take factors such as height, current weight, age, activity level, resting heart rate and maximum heart rate into consideration when determining the number of calories burned.  HRM's do all of that.

I intend to use the HRM for more of my outside workout sessions in the spring, but I have used it a few times indoors already to get a sense for how it works.  It's programmed specifically to my specifications and beeps softly when I'm in my target heart rate zone to encourage me to stay there.  I believe that the calories-burned count is more accurate than it is on the treadmill, but it's definitely more disheartening that I had ever imagined.  After reportedly burning 360 calories on the treadmill, the HRM was only reported 240.  That's a HUGE difference.  But I know it's more accurate, and so I know that if my goal is to burn 500 calories in a workout, I need to burn more like 750 or more as represented on the treadmill's counter.  Sad, yes.  But, it will hopefully help me to achieve my goals more quickly.

Monday night was the start of my new hobby, and so far, so good.  If I can just get through my birthday without gaining much weight, I should be good!


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