Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Polar Opposite: In Every Failure there is Potential for Success

I've been familiar with Polar products since I was a kid; my dad regularly trained for triathlons and wore Polar heart rate monitors and other gizmos for his bicycles.

Two years ago I started exercising in an effort to lose weight and get fit. I immediately purchased a Polar heart rate monitor because I wanted to make sure I wasn't wasting my time by not working out in my target zone(s). I settled on an entry-level monitor, the F7 model as it was affordable and fit my needs at the time.

Unfortunately, due to unexpected health problems, I ultimately quit exercising. Sadly, I sat idly by as my weight sky-rocketed from medications and compulsive eating. Eventually, after 2 failed attempts at getting back on track - I succumbed to the false believe that I would be obese for the rest of my life.

 Several months passed before a little spark inside me was ignited. On February 4, 2012 I made a commitment to myself to lose weight and get fit (regardless of how long it was going to take). I refused to accept or believe I would forever be incarcerated in a fat body. That little spark has now grown into an inferno (I've now lost 31.4 pounds in 11 weeks and I've exercised more than 3,000 minutes so far)!

Armed with my knowledge about nutrition and exercise I immediately began to implement positive changes. While I have a few things I rely heavily on (digital kitchen scale, measuring cups, and LOTS of water) - my Polar heart rate monitor has been instrumental in my fitness success.

I started walking around the block while my 3 young kids rode their bikes/scooters. I figured if there was anything to keep me going it would be chasing after my kids. One day, after walking five (sometimes six) days a week for a few weeks, I had a lot of extra energy! I decided to go ahead and jog a little. Although I didn't even make it to the end of the block - I was amazed I could go as far as I did. At 260+ pounds I'm quite confident I looked comical, but I didn't care what people thought - I am doing this for ME!

However, I was most surprised to see how quickly my heart rate increased AND stayed up after jogging. WOW! My heart rate never got that high even after 40 minutes of brisk walking! I was onto something here... Every day thereafter I started jogging, going a little farther, but making sure I didn't over-exert myself to the point of exhaustion.

I've put in the hard work and I've been disgustingly sweaty - but seeing the dramatic increase in calories burned on my monitor has been a huge motivator. I never had any intention of becoming a "runner."  Although, truth be told, I'm still not entirely comfortable calling myself a "runner" given my snail's pace - but day by day, little by little I go longer and faster... many thanks to my monitor.

Unfortunately, here is where my story gets sad... The other day my heart rate monitor started acting up. Fantastic! First my kitchen scale, then my treadmill - now this? I can't say I'm surprised - I knew it was a matter of time because it is a couple years old even though I didn't use it for more than a year and a half; I figured the batteries just needed to be replaced.

Thankfully I could replace the battery in the chest strap myself. The watch, however, would have to be mailed back to the company and I’d have to wait a couple weeks. I went ahead and replaced the watch strap battery since the watch itself seemed to be working fine... Sadly, that didn’t quite fix the problem and I’m really bummed.

I rely so much on this awesome device; I immediately started searching online for a replacement. I've spent HOURS in the last couple days pouring over brands/models, reviews, features, etc... While there are some enticing GPS units available, I kept coming back to Polar - it's a name and quality I completely trust. Of course the ONE watch/monitor I finally decide is PERFECT for me, the Polar CRX3, is not available yet! Apparently the CRX3 was recently and, from what I could decipher online, will not be available until late Spring/early Summer.

Seriously? ARGH! I REALLY need a new watch/monitor - but I don't want to buy something out of desperation when I know the watch that will benefit me the most is out there. I concede, it is way a wee bit out of my price range - but as a stay at home/homeschooling mama of 3 I think I deserve it!  *Innocent grin* 

What do you suggest... Should I wait and tough it out the next couple months without my heart rate monitor? OR Should I pick something else and settle for second best? 

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