Monday, November 29

Sweating Out the Turkey

After a few of days of nothing but turkey, yams and apple pie, I figured it was probably time to get back into the workout groove.  Luckily, when I woke up this morning I was full of energy and ready to go, so I ran with the feeling and popped Denise Austin's Fat Blasting Yoga in and pushed play before I had a chance to talk myself out of it.

Even though it's been a while since I last practiced any yoga poses, my body fell right back into it as if it hadn't taken a break at all.  I couldn't believe that I had enough energy and strength to complete the first segment, let alone all three, but here I sit an hour later with every muscle stretched and pose completed (except for the one where you sit cross-legged and push your body off the floor with your hands - that is just crazy talk).

When I first purchased this particular workout DVD years ago, it came with a 21 day challenge.  "In 21 days, you'll see great results," Denise promises at the beginning of the program.  So, what the heck.  I haven't done a fitness challenge in a while so I think I'll give it a go.  I've got nothing to lose but inches 'round the middle!

Fat-Blasting Yoga

Wednesday, November 24

Thanksgiving Thoughts and Reflections

It had been my intention to work out every day this week to get back into the habit of posting on this blog frequently.  Sadly, the plan got de-railed Monday when Mr. Kawaii and I had to make the difficult choice to lay our sick kitty to rest.  The event has thrown a wrench into all of our holiday plans, and has given me a chance to reflect on the things that are most important in my life.

It is easy when we are committed to trimming and slimming our waistlines to become so focused on ourselves that we loose sight of the world around us.  In the past, I have spent the holiday season analyzing every ounce of turkey, gravy and sliver of pumpkin pie in an effort to not gain weight, and although my intentions are always good it causes me to see the season through a filter of longing, faltering willpower and inevitable regret.  In the end, what really matters isn't so much what we put in our mouths at holiday parties and gatherings, instead it is that we are surrounded by people (and animals) who love us wholly and completely as we are - whether we lose that next 10 pounds or not.

This year, I'm going to take a deep breath and eat what I want the first time around, skip the second helpings and just do my best to stick with exercise whenever I can fit it in.  In the end, I know that if I stress too much over little things like rogue gingerbread cookies and attacks of marshmallow snowmen, that I'm going to miss the point of the season.

To everyone who has cheered me along on this journey, thank you.  I sincerely appreciate your support, and hope to see you out and about next week when we are all working off that little bit of stuffing. :)

Sunday, November 21

Weathering the Wii

It was too crisp and chilly outside this morning to convince anyone to head outdoors for an early morning stroll, so instead I grabbed Mr. Kawaii and we worked up a sweat battling each other on the Wii.  5 rounds of tennis got our hearts pounding, and then a set of bowling helped us to cool down.

It's great to have options like Exercise TV, the Wii and workout videos to keep us moving even during icky weather.  It certainly helps me to feel like less of a slouch!

Wii 5-In-1 Fitness Bundle Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board

Saturday, November 20

2 and a Half Mile

Well, it's not as rugged and gritty as Eminem's 8 Mile, but the walk around my neighborhood after a few days of a flu/cold bug brought me back to life.  I've been feeling really sluggish and tired because of the sickness, and I hate that feeling of a shower and a fresh set of clothes taking all the energy I can muster for the day.  Hopefully, that sickly feeling is gone for good and I can focus the next few days on having family over for Thanksgiving!

Luckily, even though I haven't been really active this week I managed to make it through without gaining any weight.  I think my metabolism has finally found a happy place and that is certainly something to be thankful for!

Monday, November 15

Rooftop Chores, Chutes and Ladders

Today's calorie burning adventure took place on the roof of my house.  As I was checking the mail a few days ago, I happened to look up and see that the entire north side of the roof was sprouting moss by the bucket load. Leaves were peeking out of the gutters, and the house magically added "home maintenance" to my weekly To Do list.

Mr. Kawaii and I headed up the ladder this afternoon when the sun peeked its head out from behind the fall cloud cover.  After a couple of hours of bending over to scoop sloppy leaves from the gutters, traversing the incline to sprinkle moss-killer across the shingles and hunting for loose or torn shingles we were left sweaty, soggy and proud that our rooftop is heading into winter prepared for Mother Nature's worst.

As much as I enjoy hitting the gym for a focused workout, I prefer the opportunity to burn calories while I work on an physically demanding project.  It makes me feel more accomplished, self-sufficient and proud of my own abilities.

So, how's your roof looking? ;)

Moss Out For Roofs - 4#

Friday, November 12

A Return to the Living Room

Although I have it on my "Things To Do" list, I haven't yet called the good folks at Oregon Athletic Club to find out about their memberships (Mr. Kawaii was a doll last week and got me an "in" with one of the staff there for a tour and a spin on the treadmill).  I'm hoping to get to it later today, but I just never know what I'm actually going to accomplish in a given day.

I was up and raring to go this morning though, and so I decided to pop in the trusty old Denise Austin Fat Blasting Yoga DVD and give it a whirl.  I haven't visited Digital Denise in months, and haven't been practicing much yoga at all recently and it showed within the first several seconds of the workout.  I hadn't realized how tight my body had gotten until the first downward facing dog when I realized I had to really work to touch my toes!

I pulled through the end of the DVD, barely managing to bend myself into some of the poses, and decided that I need to bring yoga back into my workout focus at least a couple times a month to keep things limber.  I'm probably also not stretching enough before or after my other workouts, so I'm going to work on focusing on that as well.  Hopefully I'll be able to bend into a pretzel by Christmas!

Thursday, November 11

Chasing the 4:35 Train

Adding some oompf to an otherwise computer-keying day, I decided to take a walk through the neighborhood to the local grocery store this afternoon.  On my way back as I crossed over the train tracks I noticed the afternoon train coming down the line.  I decided to try to beat the train through the neighborhood (the tracks run parallel to the road that I walk to get to my house) and held my giant bundle of toilet paper and brownie mix tight against my chest as I hoofed it across the concrete.

The train probably moves at 4 or 5 miles an hour, which is still slightly faster than I can walk and so I really had to push myself which is surprisingly difficult with 12 rolls of toilet paper filling both arms and a sack of boxed goodness pounding against your outer thigh.  The people in the neighborhood all looked at me in confusion as I peeked between the houses to see how I was progressing and trying to stay in front of the nose of the train.

Sadly the train beat me to the end of the street, but only by a nose.  I was even with the conductor's window at the end of the "race".  I take a proud second place though, realizing that the conductor has thousands of tons of steel, fuel and momentum keeping him moving and all I've got are a pair of New Balance shoes and the promise of frosted brownies in my future.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Triple Chocolate Semi-Sweet Milk, Bittersweet Brownie Mixes 6 Batch Brownie Mix

Wednesday, November 10

Recognizing My Own Success Story

I realized this morning that I have been blogging about my exercise adventure for just about 6 months now, and what a journey it has been.  I've seen my share of highs and lows over the last six months, have been witness to great changes in M and K, and even a few in myself.  I spent the morning on a 2.5 mile walk with Pooch, and we spent our time out on the sidewalk reflecting on where I've been and where I'm heading.

When I started this blog, it was with the idea that if I had some outside accountability that maybe I'd be able to stick with the whole "lifestyle change" concept long enough for it to start working.  Work it has, although not in the way that I had expected it to.  I was seeking instant results on the scale, expecting to drop 40 or 50 pounds within six months and be back to a size 8 before Christmas.

Although those aren't the results that I've seen so far, I am confident that they are on the horizon and I am taking one step at a time in the right direction.  Unfortunately, in my past I have done a number on my body through 10 years of binge eating and starvation topped off with 4 years of eating fast food roughly 12 times a week.  Because of my past diet insanity, my body is still afraid to let go of the pounds although it has started shifting things around and transforming some of those former lumps into muscle that are so real you can see and feel them lurking under my skin.

All those trips to the gym, laps around the track and yoga sessions in the living room have given me results that are frequent and substantial enough to keep me going, and through blogging about the craziness of trying to jog with a dog who wants to paint fences every 50 feet and being attacked by flora and fauna in equal doses in the back yard, I have been able to share my experience with others.

This experience has reminded me that sometimes we just have to recognize our own success story instead of comparing ourselves to others.  We might not all be millionaire-triathlete-raceway-superstars, but we are all treading the paces of our own journey to shape who we will become in the years ahead of us.  And while yes, it is great when there are enthusiastic people like M and K to encourage us along the way, there will always be those days when we just have to get up and be our own cheerleader.

So, in the spirit of cheering for myself, here are my awesome results that have stacked up over the last six months:

  • Gone from barely being able to zip up my size 18 jeans to comfortably fitting into my size 16 jeans and size 14 dresses.
  • Lost 3 pounds since starting this blog, and 6 pounds overall.
  • Have traversed the gap in my belt, going from barely able to get into the last notch on the belt to now being 4 notches in.
  • Discovered that I have "tank top arms" for the first time in years, with muscular shoulders and emerging biceps.
  • Went from walking a 22 minute mile to being able to walk/jog a 16 minute mile.
  • Have slimmed to a point where my fingers are thin enough to wear my wedding ring every day, even to sleep.
  • Can see my wrist bones for the first time since 1997.
  • No longer feel like I am "spilling out" over the edge of chairs, car seats or benches.
  • Have more energy than I know what to do with some days!

Sure, I haven't met my goals of losing 40 pounds and dropping to a size 8, but look at all the things I HAVE done!  Most of the things I have achieved are things that I never even thought of as goals, but they went ahead and showed up anyway.  The proof is in the fat-free lactose-free sugar-free pudding, and I know that as long as I continue avoiding the drive-thru lane and keep finding ways to be active that I will continue to inch my way towards the smaller bottom of my dreams.

Nearing the Finish line at the 2010 Great Columbia Crossing
October, 2010

Saturday, November 6

Walking, Housework and Herding Cats

Today is already shaping up to be a very active day.  I got up and outdoors this morning with K for a two mile walk around the track.  I just love the fall weather we're having and although I know the rain is just hours away from starting up again I am content with enjoying it as much as I can today.

Now that I'm home though, it looks like there are some household chores that need tending too inside as well as out.  Both of our maple trees have shaken off the last of their leaves all over the front lawn and driveway, the house needs a good once-over before company arrives tomorrow, and Dummikins the cat is intent on forcing me to finish doing my dishes so he'll be less tempted to hang out in the kitchen sink.

The good news in all of this is that the laundry list of to-do's has started seeming less and less daunting as I gain more energy and "oompf" to tackle daily projects.  Sleep, exercise, daily vitamins and non-greasy foods are all doing their part to keep me moving!

Ooh, and just a friendly reminder for those of you who are planing on rising early to hit the gym: daylight savings time falls back an hour at 2a.m..  Don't forget to change your clocks!

Gears of Time Sculptural Wall Clock

Thursday, November 4

It's Summer in November!

How strange is it to have such beautiful weather in November?  Just last week it was freezing and wet, and suddenly it's warm enough that I'm considering turning on my air conditioning.  It's beautiful, and I'm not complaining... even though all my neighbors are out working in their yards cleaning up leaves and I am guiltily hiding out in my home office.

I did make it outside to enjoy the beautiful weather though when I walked to the gym and back earlier this afternoon.  The warm sun feels amazing, and so I left the car in the driveway for another day.  I hit up Anytime Fitness for another free day of sweat and progress, and tried out a couple of machines that I'd never tried before (both for the abs, and both suuuper effective within 10 reps).  I also spied a new addition to the gym that tickles my fancy; a rowing machine that is just begging to be given a try.  I woke up with a pain in my shoulder this morning, so I'm going to have to put off the rowing machine until tomorrow, but you can bet I'm going to give it a shot before my free 7-day Anytime Fitness pass is up.

One thing I noticed when I was trying the ab equipment is that my ab muscles have slowly been digging their way to the surface!  I knew they were down there somewhere, but I haven't been able to feel them in a very long time.  Today, mid-sit-up, I noticed my stomach tightening and contracting in all the same places as those "fit" people at the gym and it caught me very off guard.  Could it be that I am becoming one of those people again?

Who knows... maybe next year I'll be bikini ready by the time the kiddie pools are out...

100 Mixed Fall Colors Silk Maple Leaves - Great Autumn Table Scatters200 Wedding Silk Fall Autumn Leaves Petals100 Mixed Fall Colors Silk Maple Leaves - Great Autumn Table Scatters

Wednesday, November 3

Tightening My Belt

Before I went walking with K last night, I realized something pretty cool.  A few months ago, I bought this amazing zebra-stripe belt that I absolutely loved at the store.  I was between belt sizes when I bought it, barely able to force my way into the first notch on the belt.  Of course I bought it anyway.

Yesterday, after a couple of months of not wearing it because let's be honest; nobody likes to wear clothes that don't fit, I put it on and was able to pull it down to the fourth notch.  That's progress!  I'm beginning to see the results of working out and eating right more frequently, and there's nothing better than that for the self-esteem.

There have been several moments in this workout journey when I've been ready to give up, and I'm glad I've stuck with it anyway.  It isn't always easy, but it's always good for me.


Monday, November 1

The Price Is Right!

This morning marked day 1 of my free 7-day pass at Anytime Fitness (Pick yours up by clicking here) and through it, I discovered the magic of TV during a workout.  Anytime Fitness has attached mini-TVs to their treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers, and some of these TVs only work while you're moving on the machine.  Although there are always big screen TV's on at most gyms, I've never paid much attention to them.  But today as I sat down at the stationary bike I thought I'd plug in my headphones and give the television experience a whirl.

What started out as a 10 minute bike warm-up soon turned into a 30 minute ride through the entirety of a "fat burner" workout as I got sucked into The Price is Right.  I just couldn't stop - I had to know who was going to walk away a winner!  The addition of TV to the ride made sitting on the stationary bike bearable far beyond what I normally would do which was a good and bad thing.

The good: I find myself thinking I could hang onto the elliptical for hours and hours, burning calories all the way, if a marathon of Desperate Housewives or Swords was on.  The bad: I found myself 30 minutes into the hour I had scheduled for the gym today with only a leg workout to show for it.  That only left me 30 more minutes to do abs, shoulders, biceps, back, chest, etc.

Maybe someday when I'm rich and famous I'll build an entire gym around my home entertainment system.  Then my family and I will try to escape the Pirates of the Caribbean whilst rowing away on a stationary row machine, run from the Walking Dead on the treadmill and race down the highway with the Flintstones on our stationary bikes.  Hmmm.... I wonder if there's a good way to convince Mr. Kawaii that this is a good idea.

Motus USA M660BRL Recumbent Exercise Bike with Fully Integrated Samsung LCD TV