Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weighing In and Shopping

So much for Monday's being the weigh-in day.  I can't seem to remember to record it!  By Wednesday, however, my head seems to be in the game, so I suppose that will do.

Last week was stagnant, but this week is down 1.6.  I would like more, but I will take it.

I am .8 from another 5 lb threshold, and I am getting closer to the teens, which is closer to the oughts, which is knocking on the door of Onederland.  Like I said, I will take it.

On to Shopping...

So, given that I am down weight from last summer, and my workouts have ensured I am in a better shape than I was the last time I was here at this weight, you would think dress shopping would be more fun than in the past, right?

Umm, no.

I'm not sure if it's the season this year, or what, but I can't find a thing.  Ordering online proves disastrous for me, but there is nothing in the stores that seems to work.  Ah well, I suppose it could be worse...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Yummy New Breakfast Smoothie!

I often like to start my day with a fruit smoothie.

I put just enough quality fruit juice in the blender to cover the blades.  Then a banana, frozen fruit (blueberries and whatever else I have), spinach, flaxseed, and whey protein.  This is Yummy!

But, I picked up some Chocolate Almond milk this weekend, and I decided to use some of that to base my smoothie today.  I threw in my banana, some ice, my whey, flax, and spinach, but then also a scoop of PB2 powder (peanut butter powder).  Ummm. AWESOME!  It tastes like a peanut butter chocolate shake!

If you give it a try, just realize it will end up looking a bit green (with the spinach), but it really is fantastic!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Weekend for Reprogramming

Father's Day is always difficult, because I miss mine so much.  However, this weekend, I was bound and determined to put the good memories to use, and to throw myself into activities that would actually be beneficial.  No wallowing in commiserating misery, and no self-sabotage.

First up, the Warrior Dash.  This is a 5k mudder that includes some pretty tough obstacles.  I had a blast, and made it all the way through the experience!

Then today, just to ensure I didn't allow myself too much down time, I did a couple of classes at the gym and rounded out the day with a 4 mile jog.  A little excessive?  Maybe.  But it was also important for me to create some other ways of dealing with the days that prove to be particularly tough.  I thought of my dad often throughout the day, but I am trying to reprogram myself to honor the memories, even the ones that make me cry, rather than allow them to be the excuse of bad choices.  If I make a bad choice, it has to be because I make it, and not because I am allowing other issues to navigate for me.  That is definitely part of the journey I am still figuring out...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This Week

This week has been one of those kinds of weeks that would have sent me running for the Ice Cream.  And, to a certain extent, it did.  Yes, I've eaten some ice cream.  But, nothing that warrants buying stock in Blue Bunny or Ben and Jerry's...

Illness slams every family, and it seems as though mine is a particularly fun target for life-altering fights.  I am becoming all too familiar with several large hospital complexes in the Midwest...

This summer will be no different.

Like I said, I have been through this before, and that has meant eating through the stress.  While I still have to eat, I have turned to the exercise to move my way through most of my frustration.

I have noticed, though, that high stress means the scale doesn't move.  And indeed, it has remained exactly the same as a week ago.  Not what I wanted, but I have to take it for what it is, and not give it power to proclaim any kind of defeat.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Back, The Workout, and the Furniture.

I am moving SLO-Oh-Ow this morning!  Well, slow for me!

It started yesterday.  I ran my errands, and then headed off to the gym.  I am almost done with the first book of the Game of Thrones franchise, and my plan was to sit on a spin bike and read until Pump started, which I did.  It was great!

Then Pump came about, and I decided I should really push myself with the weights on my squats.  So I did.  By the time we got to lunges (and I HATE lunges), my legs were a burnin'.

Still, neither one of those are beyond the ordinary, and wouldn't cause me to move all that slow.

And then I got home, and decided to rearrange the bedroom and living room furniture and begin organizing for a big Goodwill donation.  That's what did it.  Unpacking shelving units and hauling them up and down stairs, multiple times, alone, well, yeah, that did it.

Now, I will have to say that I used my knees, and kept very good posture while doing all of this (thank you Pump), but I will also say that I'm not 20 anymore, and while I'm not 40, I am certainly within the age that a little IcyHot is good to keep on hand for those times when I forget my body isn't quite as resilient to abuse as it once was!

The plan for today, unfortunately, includes a lot of researching and writing for my grad school stuff.  I have tried to do some of this on the bike at the gym, but because I need to take notes...well, it doesn't quite work.  I like the research, but it's all the sitting, quite honestly.

The plan also includes a change of location, as staying at home usually means I find something else to do instead (like move furniture).  For example, I came down to make breakfast this morning, and a half hour later, I had all the expired and old condiments from the fridge down the garbage disposal, with containers ready to be recycled.  So, apparently I've added "clean the fridge" to this weekend's "to-do". (I did this in college too...finals week before winter break was always the perfect time to clean out, and rearrange, the dorm room...)

Happy Friday all!  I need to get on the move!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lunch and Other Things

I know, a second post!

This won't last, so you know!  I will be a much more regular blogger, but I just happen to have a bit more time right now, and I'm using this as a way to really think about things before the summer gets away from me!

I decided it would be a good idea for me to track my weight with photos.  So, I hopped back on the scale, and it read 227.4!  I test this three times, because it took me that long to get a picture, but still, that's better than the 228 readout this morning (and it was AFTER my breakfast smoothie and a cup of coffee)!

After this, I plan to make Monday's my weigh-in, as that makes the weekend a bit more accountable.

Then, as I have some errands to run, I am eating an early lunch.

This is on a small dish, but it's homemade chicken salad pita pockets with a side of peas and carrots (raw, and the peas are sugar snap).

Homemade Chicken Salad--Quick. Easy. Good!
A while back, I threw about 2 lbs of chicken tenders on the stove and cooked them up.  After they were done, I shredded them, and then mixed about 1 lb. with a jar of salsa and kept the other pound plain.  I divided both of these into single-serving portions, wrapped them individually in Saran-wrap, and then put them in freezer bags, in the freezer.  Then, I can take them out, pop them in the fridge, and in very little time, I have a delicious serving of Chicken for a great meal.

Now, the the Chicken Salad.

1 individual pouch of plain chicken, thawed
As many grapes as you like--really, yum!  Quartered
Dill to taste
Mayo--just enough to put it together--it doesn't take much
Pita Pouch--I had some to finish, but I recommend Joseph's or other low-cal, high quality options

Assembly: Mix the chicken, grapes, dill, and mayo together in a bowl.  Place as much lettuce as the pita will hold at the bottom of the pocket, and then dish in the salad.  Add some healthy sides, and voila!  Yum for lunch!

(I am eating two pitas for lunch, but normally, I would only eat one, and save the other pita and mixture for later---I just know I will be gone for a while, and I don't want to be sucked into unhealthy choices while out.)

If you don't like Mayo, I think Greek Yogurt could be great with this as well.  

Revisiting the First Threshold.

I just read my first post.  It was made in November of 2011, just shortly after joining my gym.

I could look at this in one of two ways:

1) I have had more than enough time to get down into "onederland" and my current goal weight of 175 (which will most likely alter as I get there as I figure out what is actually necessary for my body...hopefully less than that even, but I am not going to let a number become the obsession...too many people get fixated on a number that's not realistic, and when they don't stay at it, they completely give up...not going to be me.  Wow, that was a long, long sentence :).  So, since I have had more than enough time to get to my goal weight, I must have failed.


2) Working out has become a lifestyle that I can't give up.  The diet (or eating lifestyle) needs some serious work yet, but working out---my legs HURT if I don't move them.  While not near my goal weight yet, I have visible muscle in my legs and arms.  My shoulders are also the obvious shoulders of someone who pushes weight.  My cardio abilities have allowed me to just start jogging--for miles at a stretch.

Sure, the scale still has a 2 in front of it (228 as of this morning), and I should, by rights, be much farther along than that by now.

But, if going by thresholds of five pounds, I have passed five of them, and in that movement, I have lost major inches, and look completely different than 255.

So, which do I look to? #2, of course!  It just can't be about the scale.  Yes, I need to get more disciplined about my eating (and no, it's really not about the pigging out...for me, it's kind of the opposite.  As a teacher who does extra duties as well, I can go WAY TOO LONG between eating anything at all.  I also have this thing about washing my hands before I eat (and if you think that's ridiculous, go to a public place and pick out some random teenagers to observe for a few minutes.  Watch what they do...then times that by 100...yeah, you will want to wash your hands too).  If I can't wash my hands, that limits what I can grab quickly between classes (and kids usually have questions, and so, really, it would just sit there anyways).  AND, absolutely no nut products in the school---which axes any of the healthy grab'n'go non-cold items.  That's PART of my problem.  The other part is probably ice cream.  I love it.  Can't help it.  And honestly, I don't want to live in a world without it :)

As I begin my morning (or began it), I am revisiting some old thoughts and goals, and drinking a smoothie (banana, frozen strawberries and blueberries, ground flax, whey protein, spinach, and some fruit juice to the blades to make it spin).  This is a jam-packed, healthy breakfast that is DELICIOUS...especially if you let the blades spin for a bit to make it creamy (if you do, you'll need a fairly big glass, as the air literally whips in and makes it amazing)!  But, I digress.  I am revisiting my goals and planning my day.  While it includes work I need to do for my grad degree, I very quickly realized my brain was orienting all of that around my workout, which will definitely include Pump, but also a bike or a jog.  My brain isn't trying to figure out how to get the workout into my work schedule.

That's progress.  That is not where I was at 255.  So, if I am sitting at 228, but that's my brain's reorientation, I will take it gladly, because I know that the next steps will only improve what I am doing.

Happy Thursday, everyone, and I apologize for the length! :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Jog like you're Alice Cooper

So, I have NO IDEA if Alice Cooper is a jogger.
Here's my logic.

At the end of the day.
We're usually tired.
5 o'clock shadow can certainly stand for more than a man's facial hair.
The last thing we usually want to do is workout.
Or cook.
We have to eat.
We have to move.

So put on the clothes.
And if you're in the clothes, you commit to the effort.
As long as you're going to expend the energy.
Make it worth it.

Make it rain sweat.
Make the mascara run.
(If you don't wear it, consider putting it on, you know for effect :)
Little children should be a little frightened of you at the end.

That's what I did tonight.
I was tired.
Did NOT want to workout. 
Let alone, move.

So I threw on the clothes.
Plugged in the headphones.
And took off.

And when I got home.
I looked in the mirror.
And realized I had rocked it like Alice Cooper.

Happy Wednesday :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Morning Workout...

You know that feeling of just having put head to pillow, and then the alarm is going off?

Totally me this morning.  So, I hit the Snooze.

Then, you know that feeling that you've slept WAY longer than you should have, and instead of hitting Snooze, you turned the alarm OFF?

Yep, me again.

Luckily, "Late" was still 4:50 AM, and I was still able to get out the door by 5, to make it to RPM by 5:30.  It just meant my hair looked interesting, and I had no water...

But, I made my morning workout.  And, you know that feeling when you've been awake for two hours, already gotten a solid sweat in, and it's just barely 7 AM?  Yeah, that was me this morning too :)

Now, for the rest of the day...:)

PS, anybody actually stumbling across this blog?

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Cycling Room

The Cycling Room is full of mirrors.  To the front, the back, and the side.  It's easy to get caught up in the reflection.  The the clothes are smaller than they were a few months ago, they still reveal a body that's not fit.  My cardiovascular health has improved by leaps and bounds, but that's not in the reflection, unless I look into my own eyes, deep into the determination.

It's easy to get defeated by the mirrors.  To glance at the other reflections that reveal the tight and toned shapes I want to claim as my own.  But to be defeated will only move me further from that goal, and so I push on.  I climb.  I attack. I sprint. I arrow in.  I ride.

And slowly, the mirrors fog over.  In the collective drive to push the limits, we all merge into the hazy heat that accompanies every cycling room.  The sweat pours down the face and beads on the arms.  No one is looking at anyone else.  We are all focused on our own goals.

Don't let the mirrors defeat you, and they can, so easily.  Keep pushing.

I had a moment of self doubt tonight.  I didn't get my morning workout in, as I ended up having to go into work earlier than expected, but I did 1.5 hours in the cycling room, and then came home to a gorgeous evening that ended with a walk/jog.

Tomorrow morning is an early RPM.  There, I will face the mirrors again.  But, I will win.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Next Two Weeks

I'm going to pump it up a notch for June.  I have decided to jump into some early morning workouts, dive into some healthy eating, and up the ante on my free time routine (less sitting, more activity--biking, walking, maybe some disc golfing :)

I am hoping to get a jump on the summer and get the scale down a bit heading into the second half of the month!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Life will almost always be Stressful...

It's June, which means Summer.

Summer used to mean days at the beach and hanging out with friends and family.

Life slowed down, and nothing seemed as serious as it did any other time of year.

But then, I became a caregiver to first one parent, and then another, as they battled their individual, yet very similar diseases.  For both, one that they brought upon themselves.  And now, for both, Cancer.

For an emotional eater, their diagnosis might as well have tacked on a side-effect of 'Obese Daughter', because for 3/4 of the caregiving stress, that's exactly what I became.

I'm young.  And ten years ago, I was even younger (I know, right?  Amazing :).  What I mean is that, although I have always been responsible and mature, I have been dealing with life-altering stress since being in the single digits, but even that did not prepare me for the decade+ of handling the illnesses of my parents.

Basically, it is safe to say that I have never had a mindset of putting myself first.  I have always been concerned about others, and especially, about not adding stress to my parents.

When I lost my father in 2008, it was after months of caring for him.  While I wouldn't trade it for the world, it was also the most horrifying experience, because I knew that when it was over, he would be gone.  My whole life had been defined by worrying about my dad in some capacity or another, but the thought of losing him didn't bring relief.  Just pain.

And losing him was awful.  It was worse than I could have ever imagined.  I think about him every single day, and I miss him more than I could ever find the words to express.

I tried to get healthy after he died, and I succeeded for a while, but the grief of losing him took its toll, and, well, my mom had been fighting her own demons during my father's illness, and once he died, I had to turn my attention to her.

A few years later, and she had survived that battle only to face Cancer.  Last summer was the first round of chemo. This summer will start the second.

This time around, however, I am one full year into a solid fitness routine, and I am putting myself first.  I cannot say that I don't have days when I get really down about everything my day seems to demand of me.  To be honest, one would have to worry about me if I didn't have an honest issue with some of the stress somedays.  But, the gym has truly been a stress-reliever for me.

One thing about looking at life from the view of the Cancer Suite is that it is possible to truly see how fragile it all is.  And life is about choices.  Sure, most of what I am dealing with is through no direct choice of my own.  But I have the choice to walk away.  I have the choice over how I handle the daily strains.  

Life is not going to offer a "perfect" moment to get healthy.  It isn't going to stop the stress train any time soon (at least, not my life).  

I have to hold down a job and pay the bills.  I have to care for my family, and I have goals of my own.

Nothing is just going to fall into my lap.  I have to work for it.

My hope for this post is that for anyone who stumbles across it, and is dealing with the stress of life, and wondering how to put health anywhere on the list, you just have to do it.  Otherwise, none of it will matter, and none of it will be done with any kind of justice.  

If you're a busy mom or dad, work it into your family time.  Your getting healthy now may mean that your children will not have to do what I have had to do for my entire adult life---being a caregiver is truly noble, but when it begins in the teenage years, it's not entirely fair.

If you're a workaholic...ask yourself, what are you working for?  If it's any kind of list I think it would be, doesn't health also belong on it?

If you just don't know where to start, take a step.  Then another.  Get off the couch.  Life your knees.  Take deep breaths.  Push yourself until you feel like you're going to die, and then go just a little farther.   Then, eat a vegetable.

"Diet" begins with "Die".  "Lifestyle" begins with "Life".  Make the right choice.