The Philosophy of Being Healthy, according to me…

I spend so much time thinking about being healthy and eating well. Literally. All the time.

I’ve come a long way in how I approach food. When I first did WW so many years ago and then did 21 Day Fix last year I literally planned out every bite I would take, what exercise I would do and approached weight loss as a General planning an attack. Even if I did not feel like eating what food I had planned I still had it because that was what “fit” for that day. I analyzed each food for calories, fat, fiber and nutrition. I was so regimented in my eating that I forgot to enjoy food and being social (!) and was pretty miserable.

I have to say I really have come to dislike (okay, hate) the words Rules, Off limits, Diet, and No. To my mind they represent restriction and hardship. Food and eating better should not have to be fraught with all these issues. Food is food, some of it better nutritionally than others but it’s just food. We need food to survive.

Exercise was often engaged in as a “payment” for eating; if I eat this then I have to walk/run/bike etc to balance it. I exercised to the point of being exhausted and sore for days. I have so many videos and all kinds of equipment that I could have a personal gym. We need to move in order to keep our bodies moving well but it doesn’t have to be hard every time.

So, my Philosophies on being healthy.

I’ve come to believe in being Practical and Simple.

No “Rules”. No guilt. No crazy planning.

These are my Guidelines:

* I try to live by the 80/20 principle: if you choose more’nutritionally dense food’ (further said as healthy/healthier)  in both type and portion you can splurge or choose something less healthy the other 20% of the time. Life is about balancing the two.

The same can be said for being active. I used to run, a lot. But it became less fun and injuries occurred and I just kinda stopped doing it. I love to walk (and hike) and I have a really fast pace naturally. I love walking with other people; conversations and sharing ideas happen so easily when you fall into the rhythm of moving. Most of the people I  walk with just are not as fast paced as I am.Just saying, but I am okay with that because I also reap other benefits of relaxation, breathing deeply and just enjoy moving. Could I focus on it not being a ‘high intensity’ workout? Sure, but why? I could force myself to do a HIIT workout and be so sore that I am unable to do it again for several days or I can just enjoy moving. I’ve come to realize that there are so many options to being active that to force myself to endure something I dislike just to burn a few more calories is absurd.

*No guilt about my choices. I could drive myself crazy thinking about every bite of something I ate that might not be the best for me or guilt myself for not exercising for 2 days but it serves no purpose. For most instances I find that guilt backfires: it leads to more of the same and suddenly you just give up and go back to old habits. Instead use it as a learning tool to see where you might change the circumstance (if you can). Most of our “bad habits” are just that–a learned reaction to a stimuli. Stressful situations often lead to just grabbing what is handy instead of a better choice (nutritionally). It happens. Maybe something that can avoid it is to keep a snack (granola bar or similar) in your bag. Super busy? Sneak in moving by taking the stairs, parking farther away or anything that makes you move like walking while you are on the phone.

*Being Prepared is half the Battle! While I no longer plan every bite I do try to food prep every week so I have healthy/ier options available. I cut up veggies, make brown rice and often precook chicken for salads. I make sure I have yogurt available.  Having these  things available helps to avoid choosing the other options that don’t keep me healthier. Helps, but everyone slips up especially when busy or tired.

*Make time to reflect and see the Big Picture. So often we get so caught up in living and working that we forget to have a life. We dream about what we would do ‘if we just had the time and money’ but rarely do anything to get there. I’m learning to simplify and have been getting rid of material possessions that I don’t need to that just add clutter. I feel calmer giving things to people who can benefit from them. I am being much more selective about what I purchase. My husband and I discovered kayaking this summer and started doing a lot of research. For what we want in terms of function and size it will run about $2000 for 2 kayaks, gear, travel stuff and little things. We could have put them on a credit card but we decided to save until next year and decide if it is truly something that will bring us joy and an opportunity to be together (or alone) in Nature or if it is just  a spur of the moment interest. So what does this have to do with being healthy? A tranquil mind often has a trickle down effect into eating well and being active because we are not trying to find a substitute for being happy in either food or drink.

These are my big guidelines. Am I a perfect example of a healthy person? No. Am I making progress? Yes, definitely. One day at a time.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings.

Kindest regards,

Janice

 

 

 

 

Ephiphany

Sometimes one unplanned workout makes the best leaping off point.

I realized yesterday that I was doing the interval runs because I felt that was the next logical step in fitness…but then I realized why it was not working: I don’t have a goal to run a 5K, half or other races. Why was I putting myself into such a funk about running (and not really wanting to) when there are so many other options?

I felt I really needed to do something–anything= to keep myself from becoming inactive…so the treadmill. Ironically, I really enjoyed the “mountain walk” program on the treadmill yesterday because it so resembled my hikes. I LOVE being outside and being in the woods! Granted I am not a hard core hiker but it really is my favorite form of exercise.

So, the point? With so many options for being active, choosing what I love to do makes so much more sense than making myself do what I don’t enjoy and in all likelihood will not continue with.  I’m going to plan on the hiking prep and railtrail walking. If I happen to break into a run (just because it feels right) now and then, so much the better.

Kicking the “old me” down the stairs….

I met the old me in the kitchen today–she was busy cleaning and doing laundry and whatever she could to avoid -err, delay–actually exercising. “I’ll exercise in the afternoon” was the rationale. To tell you the truth, she really annoyed me!! So I kicked her down the stairs to the basement…where the treadmill is. The really weird thing–she liked it down there. I cranked the music up since no one was home to object–heavy on percussion and she just zoned out and it was over before she realized!

Alright, so seriously–despite my good intentions it was just a bit of a mental challenge this morning but I was really glad I was strong enough mentally to see it through and do the right thing–the Smart Choice! I chose a Podrunner called “Restless” at 139 bpm which for me works out to be a 4.0 mph pace. Brief warm up with intro at 3.5 mph/ 2% incline and then got right onto the 4.0 pace, with and without incline. I set the time for 40 minutes but I really did zone out to the beat and movement and honestly lost blocks of time since I was so “in sync” with my body today.

I followed with the abwork, changing it up just a bit. I have to admit it–they were tough today! I felt every crunch-especially #10-25!

So the stats:

Podrunner “Restless” 139 bpm

Treadmill time :40 minutes

Pace 3.5 (warmup ) then 4.0 mph

Incline 0-2%, alternating

Distance 2.653 miles

Caloric burn: 307 (per treadmill)

Ab/core work:

Crunches with ball–1 set 25 reps

Reverse curl with ball–1 set 25 rep

“rope climb”-1 set 25 reps

Standing side bends with weight (10# dumbells)-1 set 25 reps each side

I have to say I can’t wait until Saturday!! I may just walk again in the morning I feel so motivated–going to blow the 100 minutes out of the park!

I won’t be home on Saturday so I am packing my gear including my Forerunner305 which is now fully charged and my ipod nano (the old kind!) so I can stay on top of stats….looking forward to beach walking and around the gorgeous riverfront properties…

See you tomorrow for updates and motivation! ~Janice

 

Countdown to 48

It occurred to me the other day–I have about 5 weeks until I turn 48. Not so old really, but I am using it a motivational goal–to consistently eat better and exercise to enter that year as my healthiest yet.

So starting tomorrow I will be posting daily thoughts and actions on the blog as a “Countdown to 48″….join me by sharing your thoughts on the blog—keep me motivated/ hold me accountable to do this awesome thing: give myself the Gift of Health!

 

I actually started yesterday so I will count it toward my goals……

This week:

Tuesday/ Thursday / Saturday–minimum 30 mintes fast pace walking plus minimum 100 ab repetitions ( combination of 4 @25 rep each)…this should work out to about 100 minutes of exercise this week.

Tuesday–DONE!

I took a pre-work nap and then got up and hit the treadmill:

30 minutes of active time  with a warm up at 3.5 mph/1% incline and then worked at 3.8-4.0 mph/ 0-1% incline.

1.94 miles / 216 caloric burn per machine

Podrunner “Easy Does it” at 139 bpm

 

Abs–with Bender Ball:

crunches with ball under / at base of spine–1 set 25 reps

reverse curls -squeeze ball between knees with ankles crossed–1 set 25 reps

“rope climbs” (Does anyone know the real name?)–lay on back, legs up/feet flat and reach up to outer edge of feet with opposite arm while squeezing ball between feet–1 set 25 reps

obliques–ball under side of ab and do oblique crunches–1 set 25 reps

 

I have to confess–my outer glutes are sore today!!  I also walked a lot at work last night and use  Reebok Easytones as a RN to keep my feet comfortable–double workout!

 

So–motivation and accountability are welcome. Feel free to offer advice, suggestions and thoughts!! I’ll try to get some pictures done so you can see the progress and results!! ~Janice

The Smart Choice Method-Guideline #1: Focus on health and feeling good

Ok, if you read the intro for this post you already know what I am talking about. For those who skipped that one–I was questioned about how I lost weight ie what diet plan I was using. The funny thing is I’m following my own plan and these Guidelines will expand on what I did to get healthy AND lose weight as a side effect.

Guideline #1: Focus on the Healthy reasons you want to lose weight and not the weight loss itself.

I think this is the biggest factor in maintaining the desire to keep eating healthy and increasing/being active. There are a million little ways to evaluate feeling better and making healthy progress than the ones you see on a scale.I’ve read a few articles that also reinforce this point. “Dieting” is usually seen as a short term goal and often for an event like a wedding or reunion where you are looking to impress someone else. When you change the focus of WHY you are looking to lose weight and be healthier (ie feeling better, lower blood pressure/ blood sugar/ cholesterol) you actually put more effort into attaining that goal rather than just looking to lose weight (an ambiguous social driven goal).

I had faced the possibility of having to take blood pressure and cholesterol medications last December and I persuaded my PA to give me an opportunity to work on it with diet and activity. Less than 6 months later I had taken my blood pressure from 140/80-90 to 100-110/60-70 and my cholesterol had dropped about 50 points–all through simple dietary changes and increasing my activity. I did not do anything drastic, I did not starve myself or exercise like crazy.

I cleaned up my diet and started walking. Its that simple. Before YOU make any changes talk to your doctor. Have them get some baseline labwork and maybe even an EKG. We all have different levels of health status so you should work from that point to improve your health.  Most doctors get very little training on nutrition and exercise so you may have to do some research on your own to improve your health but always get them on board for any monitoring you may need.

There are many “unseen” benefits of focusing on health–the “non scale victories” that make a bigger difference in your life rather than a half pound weight loss.

Non-scale Victories (NSV) include:

* your clothes fit more comfortably-waistbands are looser and you can breathe!

*you can walk farther without getting out of breath

*you have more energy naturally and can cut back on coffee just by drinking more water

*you get a healthy ‘glow’ to your skin (people will ask you if you changed makeup!)

*you can take the stairs–because its more activity to count

*you sleep better at night (and maybe even snore less)

*you actually look forward to being active and getting sweaty

*you make new friends who are also health conscious

These are just a few of the many ways being healthy makes you feel better than just losing weight. Oh–and most people who do lose weight–they usually gain it back and then some. Focus on healthy and the weight will come off naturally.

So– are you focusing on healthy living? Is it time for some simple changes? Check in tomorrow for the next Guideline…

Guideline #2: Get as natural as possible with your food (eat as close as you can to its natural state)

Make Smart Choices~~Janice

The Smart Choice Method of Healthy Living

I’ve always believed that it is not the person with the loudest voice that gets heard, but the one who quietly shows others by example.  The person who lives what they say actually speaks the loudest of all.

I’ve really been focusing on living healthy, not dieting, for the last 8 months or so. I’ve developed my own eating plan, not liking any one “diet plan” enough to ‘name’ my way of eating. Its a kinda  “modified clean eating- almost vegetarian-make ahead-portion aware-no rules” way to eat. I guess the biggest thing is that I don’t like absolute rules for eating  because rules lead to cheating and cheating leads to guilt.  Confusing maybe, but its been working for me.

I had someone ask me this morning “where to find my diet plan” since she decided she needs to lose weight.  She had overheard a conversation where another person had asked me how much weight I had lost and I had to reply I didn’t know, I had been focusing on eating healthier and lost the weight as a ‘side effect/benefit’. When questioned further I emphasized I had cut out processed foods and focused on fresh foods, pretty much the basis of my focus.

As we talked this morning it got me to thinking and I offered a few quick pieces of advice to get her started but it made me evaluate my own Guidelines for Healthy Eating…..and I started working on this blog–only to find I had way too much to say for one blog. So, this will actually develop into a series of posts about how I’ve gotten more healthy and lost weight along the way.

Lets call it  The Smart Choice Method of Healthy Living. Each of the next posts will focus on and explain one of these things that has guided my sustainable healthy life.

 

I exercised …but I didn’t like it

There are just times you know you are not going to have a great work out but you talk yourself into it anyways…..yesterday was one of those days!

My daughter and her boyfriend wanted to go tot he gym after school and I said I would take them, even though I didn’t feel like going. Well it makes no sense to go to the gym and not do anything, right? SO I got dressed and hopped on the treadmill–the kicker? I left my ipod at home on the charger but I had the headphones …into the TV it was (I watched House). Not even 5 minutes into the walk my foot started to kill me–I have this issue with my ‘big toe joint’ on my left foot (it isn’t gout, or a fracture or anything we/I can figure out) and I toughed it out for 22 minutes and decided it was enough. I switched over to the recumbent bike for another 15 minutes (my daughter was done).

Am I glad I went? Yes. Would I do it again that way–I am really not sure. I do believe in pushing your body a bit but to exercise in pain? Yea I don’t think so– on those days I think I would stick to the bike and weights.

Thoughts? Do you exercise in pain or push yourself when you mentally are not in the mood for exercise?

What are your ‘talk yourself into it’  conversations like?

Trainer session and Express

Ok–so I am a little bit behind on posting since this actually happened on Friday (9/7/12) but…hey Life happens.

So I got there just a bit early for my trainer appointment so I hopped on a treadmill for 15 minutes to warm up and managed 1 mile/100 calories by walking at 4.1 mph after I warmed up at 3.6 for a minute or so.

Today was my “DYO” appointment. It stands for Design Your Own (workout) which is kinda a misnomer. While you do meet with the trainer to fine tune it based on your needs / condition, desired results and experience it was already a pre-planned action plan (ie on a laminated card you copied to your own).  I did like that the trainer asked in depth questions about what I really had time for and we worked out a plan to fit my time schedule: one upper body, one lower body and one “Express” if I came a third time to the gym (in a week). Warm up for 5-7 minutes before weights and then for 30-45 minutes after to deplete muscle reserves and burn  fat stores.  Although we did not go over what weight to start with we did set a plan for a little less weight and more reps to tone rather than ‘build’ muscle. Sounds good to me!

He also showed us 2 different kinds of elliptical machines-a traditional one and one that turns into a stair climber when you adjust the settings.

After the session I was on my own and opted to do the Planet Fitness 30 minutes express.  This time I had already written down the circuit and kept track to see where I was starting at and to track results.

Station 1-Leg press–1 set 25 reps @85 lbs (just a little too light)

Station3-Leg extension-1 set 20 reps–@ 50 lbs–>40 lbs (need to build right knee up)

Station5-Verticle Chest press-1 set 20 reps @ 20 lbs

Station7-Seated Row-1 set 25 reps @40lbs (next time @50)

Station9-Lateral Pull down-1 set 20 reps @ 50lbs (next time@ 60)

Station11-Shoulder Press–1 set10 reps at 40 (started off time and babying my left shoulder)

Station13-Bicep Curl (preacher curl) 1 set 12 reps @30 lbs

Station15-Tricep extension-1 set 20 reps @30 lbs

Station17-Ab curl-1 set 20 reps @60 lbs (next time @80)

Station19-Back extension-1 set 20 reps @80 lbs (next time @90)

In between stations I did the cardio portion with the ‘step’ and tried to varying how I stepped up and down (kinda boring). I finished today’s visit with another visit to the treadmill and did another 20 minutes at 4.2 mph for 1.5 miles and about 150 calories!

 

Yardwork kicks butt!

Well it does! Just ask anyone who works outside, whether a job or ‘hobby’–yard work IS exercise!

Yesterday I just couldn’t figure out what video I wanted to do and then it dawned on me: why am I exercising inside when it was nice outside? (Plus then the dog gets exercise too) I need to clear an area in my yard big enough to transplant a whole flower bed or two and had decided earlier in the year to move it to the area by my bird feeder. At that point I moved all the flat stones I had used for a bed I had torn apart last fall to get a perimeter to work on.

OK–so this was the Spring–its grown alot since then–I mean really alot–some of the wild flowers and weeds are over 3 feet tall. So this has been my project to remove it all and add soil to raise the bed up higher. I don’t have a working rototiller so this has all been done with either hand tools (like a ‘Garden Claw”) or just pulling them by hand and carting it away in a wheelbarrow.

                                                                                   It is hard, sweaty work!

But I digress–so for 45 minutes in the heat and humidity I pulled weeds, tilled and carted. It is about halfway done, thankfully!  I have to say when I plugged it into MapMy Run I was pleasantly surprised–I had burned approximately 279 calories! I can verify I was sweating and my heart rate was up (I had on my monitor) in the 130s so I know I was working hard–but just knowing I had burned off that much will make me more apt to do it again.

Just for a quick comparison–these calorie burns are based on a 30 minute time frame for someone weighing about 150 lbs–kinda cool, huh?

So tell me again, still think “yard work” doesn’t burn enough calories? My loose shorts beg to differ.

So many choices, so little time!

Isn’t that always an issue ? We have so many choices that we fail to make one….which is my dilemma today. Over the course of the summer I acquired all these exercise videos so I have a bunch to choose from to prevent boredom. The problem? I don’t know which to do first!

Help me choose!!

Exercise videos–which to choose?