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.

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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.

 

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.

Keeping Track of it all: Accountability

Accountability is a huge thing in being motivated to continue something you may not really want to do. I’ve tried writing food and workout specifics down in notebooks, printed journals  and different online sites. I think that sometimes I get too technical for my own good in recoding things so that it becomes a burden rather than just a journal of achievement.

But ‘writing’ it down does work so I will be starting to keep track of things here. Please feel free to comment and critique as well as offer advice–I know a lot about food and nutrition, and I think about the basics of exercise but by no means am I an expert. Research constantly changes what we know about food and nutrition so it is an ongoing process of learning.  I am not a trainer, although it may be a path I choose down the road, but there is much to learn before that time.

How do you keep track of eating and activity?

Keep making Smart Choices–Janice

Yes, I CAN eat that…but is it worth “the price”?

Its really amazing what can happen when you think about things differently! Living a Healthy Lifestyle is not about restrictions but about balance. You can eat anything but it all has a price.

Granted there are some foods that are better for you than others. The thing I’m learning though is its all a matter of balance. Sometimes it IS worth the Price to have that piece of cake or candy instead of the ‘healthy’ stuff. Sometimes it is what allows you to stay on track the other 80% of the time. Deprivation is not required for healthy living.

So what is “the Price” I speak of? Something that recently occurred to me is that all our actions–eating choices, activity choices and our ‘mental game’ all give us credits or debits in our Healthy Living bank accounts. I’m sure you’ve heard that to lose 1 pound of weight you need to eliminate 3500 calories either by cutting back on food eaten or through increasing exercise/ activity. To maintain your weight you need to balance calories in with calories out. Simple enough. SO–that Price is determined by what you have in your account–do you have ‘extra’ credits to have that piece of cake? Can you balance your account if you have it? Exercise should not really be used to counter a bad balance but to help create a positive one. To build the credits needed to splurge on the high calorie (high cost) items you can be more active on a regular basis, thus adding to your account for special times, or choose to really eat well to account for the high spending. Either way, to maintain or lose you need to keep your account balanced. Healthy Living does not have “charge accounts” to offer.

Sometimes the best way to keep your Healthy Living bank account in the ‘black’ is to plan ahead. If you know you have a special event or social activity where you may be tempted to splurge you can eat “cheap” for several days ahead or bump up the activity you do normally to create a surplus in your accounts. One great way to do this–prep your food, especially fruits and vegetables, so it is ready to grab when you may otherwise choose something quicker and easier. Lately I have been cutting up and storing carrots, red and green peppers and celery to grab with single serving containers of humus. While my hubby munches on chips or other snacks I am able to get my veges just as quickly and suffer no “overdraft” fees for choosing to go the easy (but more expensive) route. And you know what? I don’t feel deprived because I like veges and humus. If its not your thing, find something that works. My daughter opts for Greek yogurt, nuts or fruit.

Choosing to live healthy is making the most of what you enjoy, not what you think you ‘should’ have–its about versatility and balance and just having fun being healthy.

Best wishes for Smart Choices, Healthy Living! ~Jancie

Disclaimer: Images are from Google Images–my thanks to their creators!

You’re ready when you are ready….

Its funny about wanting to be healthy–you can wish for it all you want but until you are really ready to make the changes-and stick with them-it just won’t happen. 

I had this epiphany last night–I was laying in bed reading  a book I had bought a while ago…Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. My regular doctor had decided to leave the practice and I was being given a new associate.  She was very enthusiastic and actually discouraged medications in favor of food, exercise and vitamins. Wonderful you think…but I was not ready for it or in the correct frame of mind to appreciate it.  I did buy the 2 books she recommended but only read about 30 pages each before sticking them on my shelf.

Fast forward to now–I am very much into reading more information about the process of how food is being produced, how others are controlling what we get to eat and actually growing some of it myself.  I am much more pro-active with my healthy habits in terms of eating, being active and doing what I need to do to be optimally healthy. Although I am not a vegetarian I am inching closer to that idea based on what I’ve read and how I feel.  I try to eat a “cleaner diet” whenever I can; by this I mean less processed ‘food’ and more real and fresh food. I am much more active but not always the kind you think of for a gym. I am human though and the dedication and commitment vary based on sleep and outside commitments. I am still learning how to make it the priority in my life.

One of the biggest things I have to accept and keep in mind is that not everyone is ready to think this way or can even see the benefit of “all the extra work” of being healthy. There are times I have to remind myself that we each must decide when (or if) they are ready to make this journey.

My own home is a great example–my oldest daughter became a vegetarian in December 2011; she almost goes to the extreme in healthy eating by weighing and measuring everything and only eating things she deems to fit her idea of being healthy. I had tried to discuss things with her but she was not ready to talk with me about ‘possibly’ being too thin. At her college physical my doctor made sure she (and I) knew she needed to gain 8 pounds to be a healthy weight for her height. She and I had a very candid conversation after that and she is slowly increasing her calorie intake to gain about a half pound a week. Something she can live with.

My younger daughter has not made a 100% transition to eating healthy but is getting there. She will only eat chicken and turkey (in terms of “meat”) but does make an effort to get in some fruit and vegetables and tries to keep portions moderate. She now goes to a gym and is working on building strength and learning to pace herself at running (she is more of a sprinter). She still drinks soda but now it is more socially than every day.

My hubby, well–he is a snacker; he often eats in front of the TV (from the bag and not a bowl). He often misses meals or eats a granola bar at his desk. Aside from OJ he does not normally does not get any veges (and no fruit) except for what I serve at dinner. He will make an effort to exercise at least several times a week but his job often interferes with a normal schedule. He understands the rationales of eating and being healthy but I’m not sure at what level of healthy eating he will achieve. If he could abstain from working and had someone preparing all his meals…I think he would be fine (enter real life).

So the point to my tale? When you are ready you will know it; it will sound normal and reasonable instead of something impossible to achieve. In the mean time, try making small adjustments to your eating and activity habits…sometimes all you need is a little motivation to steer you toward the Healthier Path.

Best wishes for making Smart Choices ~Janice