When we got our kettle bells, Josh and I looked up a bunch of videos to get started; we figured out proper form, and learned a pretty good variety of exercises, then sort of put together our own personal routines, and have been doing those ever since.
I focus mainly on swings, and try to get in as many of those as I can. I started with 100, by doing five sets of 20, then moved to four sets of 25, and then upgraded to 120 swings by doing four sets of 30. Today I upped the number of swings I do at once to 50. I thought I was going to pass out during that second set! It was intense! I think I'll do one more set of 25, then call it a day. (That's not all I do, though, that's just what I do the most of. I also try to get in about 50 reps of various arm exercises, as well as doing a few non-kettle bell things, like squats, jumping jacks, leg lifts, etc.) Right now I'm still using the 20 lb kettle bell - once I work up to more than 200 swings I plan to move up to the 25 lb one and start back at 100 swings. Or whatever feels right at that time.
So far I've lost 7 pounds. (Well, since I weighed myself and started keeping track. That was on Jan. 14) I think that's pretty decent progress for 5 weeks. I know that it seems slow when I watch people on The Biggest Loser losing much more in much less time, and I know that if I put in the effort and worked out 4 hours a day I might see numbers like that, but I don't want to. I want to focus on a lifestyle that I can maintain for the rest of my life. I didn't gain an extra 50 pounds in 5 months, I gained it over 5 years...and while I certainly hope it doesn't take that long to come off, I think that 10 months to a year is a much more reasonable time frame. I'm not going to stress out over it.
I can feel a change already, in my arms, and in my stomach. My muscles feel more toned, and I feel...taller, almost. Like my arms and legs are longer. I know that doesn't make sense, but it's how I feel. And it feels good!
My lung function is also improving, which is great. When I was a senior in high school, one of the things that happened during The Unexplained Illness was both of my lungs collapsing halfway...leaving me with, essentially, one lung worth of breathing capacity. A few months later, when we moved to Arkansas, I lost my little breathing machine that was helping me improve my lung function, and so I just kind of used that as an excuse for the past 7 years...I can't run because my lungs are broken, can't do cardio because my lungs are broken, and I'm so tired of it! I know very well, and have all along, that I can do breathing exercises on my own to improve my lungs, and that physical activity is good, and also helps, even when it hurts. I've just been lazy and scared of a little bit of discomfort.
I'm finding, though, that getting back in shape after so many years of being out of it, is all about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Pushing your body to it's limits isn't always fun: it's painful, and exhausting, and sometimes even scary. But - it's worth it. It's worth it because the alternative is lying in a hospital bed, sick, scared, dying, and knowing you could have prevented it. It's worth it because the end result is a body that can run, jump, lift, swing, dance, and hike, comfortably.
Anyway, I just wanted to document all of this, because at any other point in the past, I would have already given up by now. I always thought that if I wasn't losing 10 - 15 pounds a month then why even bother. I'd get discouraged, and think that I must just be destined to be fat. I know, I know, but it's true, that's really how I'd feel. This time, though...it just feels different. There's no impatience, no feelings of discouragement because I didn't lose 100 pounds overnight. Even my motivation is different - I don't have any illusions about growing 5 inches and turning into a willowy supermodel. I know that's not how I'm built. Instead, I'm going for fit. I'll always have solid, muscular legs, thanks to both my mothers genes and my years as a gymnast. Might as well make the most of it!
I am not looking forward to going to the doctor