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Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

Well, here I am, at month eleven of my weight loss blog … and it has been three months since I updated my own ‘progress.’

Sigh …d999b4880f53376b2d4549f2a2fac09a-1

Well, at Christmas time I was down twenty-four pounds, and feeling like I could take on the world! Then the New Year rang in, and the scale did not move … at all … despite good efforts! Sadly, when it did start moving, it was moving in the wrong direction. From the beginning of February until today, I have gained back eleven pounds 😦

Ugh!

But worse than gaining those hard fought-off pounds back, is the reality that my head (the most important part of the weight loss process) simply does not even give a rip! I have reached a new low … weight and health related apathy.

Obviously I cannot continue as I have been, so I did the most motivating thing I knew … I re-read the posts that got myself motivated in the first place.

It was in my post, The Fat Came Back, where I shared the event that made me face the hard reality that I had lost my way, lost my focus, and gained previously lost weight back.

The following were my original goals:

* get weighed every Friday, and only on Friday
(I tend to be addicted to the scales, when trying to lose weight, and I need to work on my obsessive compulsiveness)

* use”My Fitness Pal” app on my phone (or website My Fitness Pal)
(this is NOT an advertisement for the app. I have used it before, and it is an easy way for me to know, not just the calories, but also the nutritional values of the foods I eat. When I use it, I find I will look at the minuscule package of ‘healthy’ cookies for 100 calories, and a large fresh apple for the same, and when I see the nutritional values of each, I make better choices for the health of my body, and not just counting calories).

* walking
(still three bigger (one hour or more) walks each week, preferably on my favorite trail, but added to that, one twenty minute walk each day. The beast is starting to show signs of middle age spread … just don’t tell her I told you, and she could use this too)

* abdominal exercise
(I am still not sure what shape these exercises will eventually take, but my bowl full of jelly must be reigned in. I am starting with twenty-five crunches a morning … before coffee … I need to have incentive)

* accountability
(I am planning one letting it all hang out with you, the reader … heck, I’ve been letting it all hang out visually for all around me for

These are good goals, doable goals, and they are the ones I am returning to, not next month, not next week, but today.

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shiloh on dandelionsRecently as I was spending quality time with my beast out on our trail, I realized that there is so much I can learn from her.

She loves to walk! Even though she is my fair weather walking friend, rain will rarely keep her from exercise in the fresh air. I could really learn from her in this. She could be a mail carrier, because neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen my beasty from their appointed rounds an exercise walk. If I was not such a conditional walker, and was more like the beast, I would be more fit, and probably more relaxed.

Then I started to think about other beastly activities and how they reveal her approach to life.

My beasty has herder blood coursing through her veins, and we, her family, are her herd. She follows us from room to room, resting in the doorways of the rooms where we rest, cook, eat and spend time together. She barks when anyone (flies included) steps one foot onto our property. She always lays between us and guests, until she has reached the point that she accepts their presence with us as safe. She struggles to relax when one of us does not return home for the night, pacing from door to door, sniffing the air, and listening with the greatest effort to discover why her person has not come home. I admit that I too easily forget how important time with my herd is, how my presence with them does not have to be about what we are doing together so much as just being together.

From those who adore the beasty to that certain one or two who wish she would go for a long walk, and not be able to find her way home, whenever any family member returns home she greets us joyfully. It does not matter if we pat her head, speak to her, or walk right past her with no acknowledgment at all, she follows us, wearing the look we call the ‘happy dog look.’ If we have been gone for a number of days, she greets us with excitement, pawing and noises that sound like cries of joy. Her love for us is not dependent on anything … not how we smell (and some of us smell), not how well we respond to her needs, not how often we take her for walks. Her love for us is only dependent on one thing …

we are hers, and she is ours.
(sounds like
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”
Song of Solomon 6:3)

That is the meat and potatoes of why she loves us … she is committed to us … it is her job, and she would fight to the death to protect any and all of us.

Imagine how our world would be different if we humans took on that perspective with those who are ours, and whose we are? I think we could all learn from such commitment.

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I do not normally post on a Saturday, but today is an exception.

And since it is also the Easter weekend, I thought I would include a little chuckle (Easter style, to the right) or two, and a reminder that we do not have to eat forty days worth of chocolate in one weekend, if that is what was given up for Lent.0317bcb3d2221a038e2734a25410dfc9

It has been a month of counting days until Spring Break, followed by days of … well of not knowing what day it is!

Since I have been away for the past two weeks … away from home, from work, from schedules (from close-toed shoes 😉 ), from the scales … I have no idea what I weigh! I know there have been good days, and days that were not so great. But, whether I was successful at eating healthy, or not, I kept recording what I ate at 112aa172e046cbeb0c2c54930f697bc0myfitnesspal … and I feel that is really a good habit!

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So, it is now spring, and the days are getting more bright, and longer.

Our moods are boosted, and our bodies are empowered by natural Vitamin D that we are absorbing!

It is a great time for a walk, a run, a bike ride!

I will let you know how my weight loss is going next month … oh the suspense!

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More than any loss of pounds, I am excited about how much more physically active I have gotten on a more regular basis.

I walk at least three times a week, for twenty to forty minutes. Finally, after months of physical stagnation and lack of motivation I have gotten my butt in motion!

So, with all this new-found activity, one would think that I would have lost a significant amount of poundage … sigh …

Well the four pounds that I added in January are gone 😀 . It seriously took until yesterday to finally be able to see it on the scales and declare it. Like house guests who came unannounced, and undesired, I thought they would never leave!

So, now it is on to March, and my five pound loss a month goal.

I am realizing that I am going to have to get really focused, both in regards to what I put into my mouth, and what I do to get active.

images-1Next month I will focus more with regards to the area of food. For now I want to introduce a video. This video is only 15 minutes (truly we all can find 15 minutes each day … or at least 15 minutes three to four times a week). I discovered it on Pinterest,  but it comes from an episode of Dr. Oz.

Shaun T is a fitness expert … and he looks the part (sorry ladies, I tried to find a photo of him wearing a shirt, to no avail). He has two exercise programs, Insanity and Hip Hop Abs. I am not sure, but I believe that he is the male version of Jillian Michaels.

What I loved about this particular video is that it is just 15mins. … a small chunk to get started with.

So, though March may come in like a lamb, I am hoping it (and I) go out like a lion!

Shaun T’s Miracle 15min Workout

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It was a miracle! It was a weekend AND it was sunny and beautiful!

With hubby and all three of our kids gone, and with our two from China opting for retail therapy, the beast and I were free to do whatever we desired on that gorgeous day. So we chose a brisk walk on the trail.

People were out in droves. There were the young teenage couples who couldn’t keep their tonsils eyes off each other, and the older couples who walked arm in arm for both physical and emotional support. There were the single walkers, with or without a beast, briskly marching along, and the families with little ones, walking at a snails pace to take in every bit of wonder around them.

I am never really sure of the real reason that beast loves to go for walks. Oh, she loves the actual walk, but deep down the thing I think she likes most is the people we meet. There is nothing like a comment like, “oh what a pretty dog” to make her ears soar, and then she will prance down the path … head swelling bigger by the moment! If the passing compliment is not enough to excite her, there is also the adoring “puppy!” from a small child! Often we will stop, and allow her adoring little admirer touch and see her up close. If there is a child’s cry or screech within earshot of our beast, I am at risk of shoulder dislocation! She immediately wants to fly into action in the direction of the cry.

For me the walks encompass so much more than just the exercise, which is beneficial, of course. It is the opportunity to be still (I rarely ‘plug in’ on my walks, but I have been known to stop and quickly email a blog post idea to myself) mentally. It allows all of the cells in my body to inhale fresh, oxygen-rich air, that can clear my mind like nothing else. I am enabled by the combination of fresh air, beauty of creation, and physical activity to become more creative, and despite that fact that I have walked this path frequently, these walks “still take my breath away and offers so much scope for imagination!” (Anne of Green Gables)

What a gift the exercise, the fresh air, the sun shining brightly in the sky were to the beasty and I … cheaper and more effective than any other therapy!

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Week number one has now come and gone, and so have three pounds of unnecessary blubber (equal to three pounds of butter)!

It is really near miraculous that I lost anything, as I did not do so well with my goals, but maybe that speaks more to how poorly my eating habits were before this week.

My first two days went very well, as I was busily preparing for our delightful guests, who came to visit. It rained miserably, during their visit, and I failed to be motivated to go outside to walk … sigh! We ate far too well and too often, but exercised our abdominal muscles significantly with joyous laughter.

As anyone who has tried to change any bad habit, the first few days are killer! Not because it is so difficult, but because the habit that you are trying to eliminate, or get a handle on, is all that you seem to be able to think of! I awake and think of food, I eat and think of my next meal. I go to bed, and think about what I want to eat tomorrow!

Habit changing is like an immediate and overwhelming case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder descending upon your brain!

And really, that is the key component of habit changing, the brain. If we can change how we think about food (or cigarettes, or shopping, or whatever our vise may be), we can be victorious over it, rather than it being in control over us.

This week was not a stellar one, for my goals, but, I do believe that I started this process of changing my eating habits in the part of my body that needs to change first and the most, my brain. Although I am dealing with OCD like traits, I am thinking about what I am eating, and that means that I am making conscious choices, and not just letting food ‘happen’.

The goals I had set for myself were:

* get weighed every Friday, and only on Friday
I did it! But oh, how tempting that torture tool (scales) is when I feel like I lost an ounce or two.

* use the “My Fitness Pal” app on my phone (or website My Fitness Pal)
I did use it, but only four of the first seven days … at least two of the days I didn’t use it, it was due to guilt … sigh

* walking
I did not go for one walk … nothing short or long … although I did walk for hours around thrift stores (my friend, who was visiting, loves thrift stores, so we hit just about everyone we could find)

* abdominal exercise
I actually forgot about this goal … but there is always this coming week to get this one rolling!

* accountability
Here I am, letting it all hang out for you to read … you are my accountability partner!

And speaking of accountability partners, let me tell you I was shocked with how many people (women) who have expressed interest in walking this uphill road with me. May our walk be more down than up!

Week 2

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Here we are, Day 1 of the Weight Loss DiaBLOG.

… anyone have some dark chocolate?

Today is not really Day 1, Friday was, but I need to experience it before I write about it, so, here we are at Day 1 +3.

Friday dawned, and I experienced the most dreadful act on Fear Factor, The Diet Episode, I dragged my sorry butt to the scales. What a horrible way to start a day! Rather sadomasochistic if you ask me!

I debated telling you my start weight, but, I know some of you, and the humiliation of having you look at me and guess is bad enough. Once I have lost a few pounds and become more comfortable in my stretched, but shrinking, skin, I will tell you where I started. Suffice it to say, all that had been lost, last year, has been found. And that is a heck of alot of sticks of butter  😦 .

So, here is my plan, so far:

* get weighed every Friday, and only on Friday
(I tend to be addicted to the scales, when trying to lose weight, and I need to work on my obsessive compulsiveness)

* use”My Fitness Pal” app on my phone (or website My Fitness Pal)
(this is NOT an advertisement for the app. I have used it before, and it is an easy way for me to know, not just the calories, but also the nutritional values of the foods I eat. When I use it, I find I will look at the minuscule package of ‘healthy’ cookies for 100 calories, and a large fresh apple for the same, and when I see the nutritional values of each, I make better choices for the health of my body, and not just counting calories).

* walking
(still three bigger (one hour or more) walks each week, preferably on my favorite trail, but added to that, one twenty minute walk each day. The beast is starting to show signs of middle age spread … just don’t tell her I told you, and she could use this too)

* abdominal exercise
(I am still not sure what shape these exercises will eventually take, but my bowl full of jelly must be reigned in. I am starting with twenty-five crunches a morning … before coffee … I need to have incentive)

* accountability
(I am planning one letting it all hang out with you, the reader … heck, I’ve been letting it all hang out visually for all around me for years.)

I am hoping you will interact with me. Tell me about your struggle, your successes, your frustrations. Tell me what works for you, what gets you through the times when the torture device is not moving, or moving in an upwardly direction (I know I will get all sorts of lotions, potions, pills and treatments spam now).

I really want to walk this uphill road with others … I’m gonna need someone to push me to the top!

So, here we go.

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How is it that you can look at yourself in a mirror every day and still not see what you really look like until someone takes your picture?

As I looked at that picture, containing myself, I realized that the image I have been seeing in the mirror for months has not been a true reflection. Although I saw the realities of the imperfections and flaws, my eyes had somehow missed the significance of just how much I have grown (and I’m not talking growth of character).

A year ago I was celebrating the positive changes that I had made to my daily life. I was walking regularly, I was eating more healthily, I was taking the time to fulfill a passion (that would be this blog), and I had lost over thirty pounds of dense, life-hindering fat.

But, the fat came back.

And now I am hanging my head.

I saw the photo that is the outward expression of my failure, and hung my head in shame, and disappointment.

Oh, I was aware that the fat came back, because I have stood on the torture tool that we keep in our bathrooms … the scales. Somehow, although the numbers where the scale would point were indicating that I had gained it all back, the reality of my sins had not become real for me until I saw myself in a picture.

What I saw was that my face was bigger, and my eyes were disappearing into my swollen cheeks. My normally big mamma arms had grown to look like those of a trucker (without the trucker tan). Thankfully I had worn black on black, so I did not have to see my stomach protruding beyond “the girls.” And my best asset (no I am not talking about my rear) was my legs, because I had shaved them, and they were silky smooth … of course THAT could NOT be seen in the photo.

After the tear fest into my pillow, I had a conversation with myself (if you tell anyone that I admitted that I talk to myself I will deny it completely, and I have sworn my pillow to secrecy).

My self said to me, “it’s been a stressful year, Carole. Last year your hubby was on sabbatical, and that eliminated some of the stresses in your life (and he was gone for about two months, which eliminated even more stress … just joking, hubby 😉 … and don’t tell me that you did not benefit from being away from me for two months!). Then, you worked through much of your summer break last year. Then you had two adolescents move into your home and family. Then you started a full time position, for the first time in eighteen years. Then your dad was dealing with health issues, and living too far away to help your parents just about drove you insane. Then there was the ‘normal’ stresses of life; money, work, marriage, kids. Your weight gain is just a reflection of the stresses in your life.”

And my response to myself, MALARKEY!

Oh, it would be far too easy to claim ‘stress’ as the reason for why the fat came back. The problem in doing that is that it removes your personal responsibility for your decisions. And it just does not make logical sense.

If I were to perform poorly at work, would my stressful home life excuse my negligence of my students? NOT!

If I were to have left my husband, because I could no longer handle the stress in my life, would my children be able to understand and forgive me? I DON’T THINK SO!

If I were to have killed someone, would the stresses in my life be a good rational for my crime? NO!

Stress does not dislocate my brain cells. I may have to concentrate more on the decisions I am making, and be more intentional in what I am doing, but I do still have the power to do what is right, and good, and healthy.

Sure, it has been more challenging to find the time to go for long walks. Sure it has been more difficult to force the multitude of things on my mind aside, so that I can clear and renew my mind and heart and soul. Sure, solitary has become almost an impossibility in our home. And, with house maintenance on Saturday, and hubby’s church-related committments on Sunday, there is an absence of a ‘sabbath’ in my life.

But, the fat came back, not because of stress, but because I lifted my hand to my mouth.

It is time for a change!

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Long, long ago, in a nearby land, there was a fair maid and a handsome prince who were very successful in eliminating bad habits, starting new good habits, and shedding the pounds of (many) Christmas past.

They had walked the grounds of their palace, they had wandered through forests near and far, and they had done so with their noble beast at their side.

They became acquainted with the freshest of greens, the purest water of local springs, the most weighted and heavily grained breads, and the sweetest of fruits, from lands near and far. They passed the dainties in the shops, they resisted the flavors of farmer Angus, and discovered that less was more.

Low and behold, an evil demon crept into their kingdom, and their lifestyles started to make slow, subtle changes that have put the health of their kingdom at risk.

Recently the maid and her strong prince hopped on the royal torture measuring machine to see just how much damage had been done in these months of sitting on their royal thrones, and eating at the banquet table in increasing frequencies. Alas, the news was not good. Both the maid and her prince had empirical (actually ‘imperial’, as in the Imperial system, which measures in pounds) data as to why their royal gowns and tights were getting tighter than they had been in the past.

It was time for changes in the kingdom!

Sadly the season of great celebration and banqueting was but around the corner. That most wonderful season of butter-laden delicacies full of spices and herbs from lands near and far. That season of sweets and chocolate fit for a king. It will be a daily struggle for them both! He will sacrifice his love of gravy and sauces. She will sacrifice her adoration for the sweeter things in life. But, they will conquer this enemy … together.

May the prince and his fair maid arise with the sun at the break of the New Year back to where they were months ago, when their lowest was their high point!

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My first thoughts when I awoke this morning were I don’t know if I can walk to the bathroom, and I need coffee. The two thoughts go together too.

Yesterday, for the first time in over a month, I walked my favorite trail … all of it. It took over two hours, and it was great (it was great to be done, maybe not so great while doing it 😉 ). The weather was hot and humid, the trail was full of walkers and bikers, and we did it … my beast and I.

The poor beast was panting hard on the second half of our walk. Just as her tongue was dripping from her hard panting, I was sweating like a stuffed pig on a spit (was a pretty pair we must have been).

On our first half we did take a few breaks, so that the beast wouldn’t collapse on me (of course there was no danger of me collapsing … ). We would walk down to the rivers edge (which was much farther out than a month ago. Heck it was much farther out than I had ever seen it) so that she could cool off in the water, and get a drink at the same time.

There were many people standing on the rivers edge, fishing. It was a day to be out, a day for people to enjoy what might be a last day of Indian summer. A day to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature … the sun, the fresh air, the leaf laden trees, and all of the other beauties outside.

As we turned started our second half, we were confronted by the sign to the right … that did not make for a confident walk back! Seriously, I did not need that! I already have paranoid thoughts whenever I am walking in the wilderness (like down my street) about being chased by a bear … I did not need confirmation that they were actually in the same area that I was in! What made it worse was that, shortly after seeing that bright and foreboding sign, I saw a tail on the pathway (and I am sure that it was not there when I passed that way just moments before). A squirrel’s tail … without the squirrel! I was now in a desperate state. So, I did what any well-adjusted, mature, woman in my right mind would do … I texted a picture of the sign to hubby, so that he would know how I died. And his response … was about a half hour later! I could have been bear poop by the time he responded! So much for sensitive, hubby!

Alas, the beast and I did survive the potential of a bear attack 🙂 .

But then, just as I was feeling as though we were safe from calamity, my beast started making all of the signs of needed to poo. And I, of course, was ready! As she squatted, I untied the poo bag from her harness (I know making her wear her poo bags is the equivalent of me wearing toilet paper around my neck, out in public … but, she is a very self confident dog). And when I started to put the bag over my hand … there was a hole in it … at the end (where my middle fingers would be … yuck). Alas, I was like a girl scout, and was prepared for anything! I had two bags! So, I doubled up, scooped up, tied up and we continued on.

We had a very uneventful second half of our walk (minus the anxiety-provoking sign and hole in the poo bag incidents). I am not sure which of us started to sprint-walk once the van was in site, but I know that both the beast and I were overwhelmingly thrilled to see it. The beast settled into the back seat, and did not move again until we got back home.

And we both slept well that night … with our minds full of the beautiful visions of our walk, and the sense of accomplishment of doing something that allowed us to exercise and enjoy the beauty of creation.

And my aching body … it pales in contrast with how wonderfully my soul feels.

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