Sunday, June 15, 2014
Ahh, summer. When the sun is shining and the days are long. Plenty of time to get in some exercise! My weekly exercise plan for this challenge is
1. Walk 30-40 minutes twice a week before work
2. One upper and one lower body strength workout (30-40 minutes)
3. One long (30+ miles) bicycle ride or one long hike (6+ miles)
I'm becoming more consistent with the early morning (5 a.m.) walks and have a friend who will join me beginning tomorrow. That should really help with consistency.
The challenge starts June 21 and I'll be getting a head start on the 20th with a 3-day, 25-mile, backpacking trip with 7 other women. The first day we'll hike between 6 and 9 miles. The 2nd day will be 10-12 miles and the last day will be whatever is needed to get us back to the cars.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Plateaus. You know what those are. Those flat places where nothing seems to be happening. There are all kind of plateaus: Sometimes they are a speed bump--you just can't break a 10-minute mile pace on your runs or you can't quite move up into that next bike speed classification or you're having trouble moving to a 15 lb. dumb bell from 12.5 lbs. But the plateau that is probably most annoying and most talked about is the weight loss plateau.
You've been tracking your food, staying away from sweets, getting in more exercise or exercising at a higher intensity and for weeks on end the scale refuses to budge. This is where so many just throw in the towel and say the heck with it. I know how frustrating they are. I've been there many times, and I'm just now learning to appreciate them.
The last two weekends I've been cycling and in search of some big hills or small mountains to climb to test my mettle and improve my fitness. I've never been a good climber, but I'm determined to get stronger and to learn to love the challenge. I slowly climbed the hills, sometimes so slowly I was afraid I'd fall over, and many times, just when I thought I'd have to unclip and walk the bike, I'd come to a plateau so small or short it was hardly visible. But as soon as I reached it, my tired legs would get a brief rest. Sometimes for as little as 3 or 4 pedal strokes and sometimes for longer periods. But those brief respites were just enough that I could gather my strength for the next push up the hill. Every time I came to one of these plateaus, I would be so relieved. If it wasn't for the plateaus, I would not have made it up the hill/mountain without walking.
And then I had one of those a-ha moments. Plateaus are a good thing! No matter what type of plateau, our bodies have been going through many changes as we work to lose weight, run or cycle faster or further, lift heavier weights, etc. All of it creates a little wear and tear. The plateaus are there to give our bodies a chance to rest, to become adjusted to the new us, and to store some energy for the next push. The plateaus give us time to look back at where we've been and re-assess where we're going and how we're going to get there.
I'm going to embrace my next plateau instead of complaining and worrying about it. I'm going to use that time to evaluate my progress, figure out what works best, and to rest up 'cause there is always another hill or mountain to conquer in the journey to being fitter and healthier.
Can you embrace your next plateau?
Monday, May 05, 2014
Today we put our beloved dog, Daisy, to rest. I remember the day I first laid eyes on her at the Humane Society. She was 9 weeks old and was the smallest and quietest of a litter of 7. The entire litter was in the middle of the room crawling over one another and all of them but Daisy crying "Pick me! Pick me!" Daisy was a lot more subdued and looked a little overwhelmed by all the noise.
I picked her out and took her over to the quiet room to gauge her personality. She was a very timid dog and easily frightened, but also very affectionate. The sign on the kennel said that the dogs were purebred English Springer Spaniels and if it hadn't been for the little boy pup who clearly had a lot of collie in him, I would have believed the sign. But I wasn't at the Humane Society to find a purebred. Heinz 57s, in my opinion, made the best pets.
I put a deposit down on her and they tied a small piece of light blue ribbon on her so that I'd be sure to get the pup I selected when I returned to pick her up the following week. I had to wait until they did a background check on me. Except for the little boy, all of the other pups looked almost exactly alike.
Daisy and I bonded immediately, though we had a few skirmishes during her first three years. All of them my fault for not putting things away where she couldn't cause trouble. There was my favorite pair of green suede shoes that she chewed. I didn't close the closet door tightly and she nosed her way in and routed around all of the boxes of shoes until she found my favorite. Then there was the day she found the blue gel ice pack and chewed off a corner and drug it across the brand new off white carpet leaving a trail of blue gel everywhere. I had to get new carpet after she located a small worn part along the seam of the old carpet and chewed on it until there was a large hole. And she cut her teeth on the leg of an antique sideboard. We still have it with all the chew marks.
She had a favorite toy when she was a pup--a little pink rabbit that used to be my son's. Daisy would carry it when we went for her walks. She loved to carry huge sticks--some were the size of small logs--when she walked in the woods. They were heavy enough that sometimes she would almost tip forward from the weight.
I remember the day I "taught" her how to swim. A friend and I were camping at a lake and had taken Daisy with us. She loved to go camping. I tried to introduce her into the water, but she was afraid of it. So I waded into the water and called for her. She was very hesitant, but finally waded in and eventually swam to me. She never went in the water on her own, but she could spend hours swimming after her favorite toy when I would throw it in the water. She did a funny little dance when she came out of the water, wagging her little stub tail while doing a funny little sidestep. Everyone was entertained when she did this.
I was single when I adopted Daisy. When Greg and I got married, it was with the understanding that Daisy would share our bed. Lucky for me, Greg loved her every bit as much as I. I used to call her the "little romance wrecker". She insisted in sleeping in the middle of the bed stretched across it so that Greg and I were hugging our respective ends of the mattress. We were not sorry when in her old age she preferred her own bed.
Daisy was the ultimate chow hound. She would eat everything and anything. Her favorite food was tomatoes. Every once in awhile she would escape out the front or back door. If it was summer, the first places we would look for her was at our neighbors who had vegetable gardens. We'd always find her pulling the tomatoes off the vines or eating the dropped ones. If it was winter, she'd head for the neighbors who had open compost bins.
She loved to be held like a baby while I watched TV. I would rub her belly and whisper sweet nothings in her ears. She would lay in my arms for hours in a trans of pure bliss.
She was my shadow, always just a step behind me. Especially when I was in the kitchen cooking. She would sit or stand right behind me and stare at the floor by my feet. She knew that sooner or later something would fall from the counter and she could grab it before me if she stared at where it would land rather than from where it was falling from. That little trick earned her a trip into surgery. I was making chocolate chip cookies and a piece of the cookie scooper broke and fell to the floor. Daisy ate it and the dough before I could reach it. The vet tried to get her to throw it up, but no luck. We gave it a week and it never passed, so she had to have surgery to remove it.
Daisy was a very smart dog. About 4 years ago, she learned how to pop open the door to the lazy Susan cupboard where we stored cereals, grains, pastas, canned goods, etc. We came home from work to find just about the entire content of the cupboard spread all over the kitchen floor. The pasta, dried beans and noodles, and cereal packages were all pulled apart with a good bit of their contents in Daisy's stomach. From that point on, we always had to put a chair against the cupboard so she wouldn't break in.
Daisy had the sweetest personality. She literally danced with joy when we came home from work. She loved us unconditionally and we returned that love every day. It's amazing how such a small dog could fill up this house. It feels so empty and quiet without her.
But Daisy is in a better place tonight, and I know she will truly never leave us. She will live on in our memories, our dreams and in our hearts forever.
Good night, sweet girl.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Dear Mr. Scale:
It's time we had a little talk. Or rather, it's time I talk and you listen. For years now, you've ruled my life. It's been a long and unhealthy relationship. I let you control my emotions, my sense of value and worth, and my actions. When you "blessed" me with a reading of a 0.5 lb weight loss, I loved you and did a little happy dance and walked through the rest of the day literally feeling lighter and very proud of myself. I doubled my efforts to exercise and count calories. But when you would turn on me with a reading of 0.5 lb weight gain, I grew angry and frustrated and sometimes threw my hands up in defeat and said to hell with it; it's hopeless. But no more.
So, Mr. Scale, here's the way it's going to be from now on. Pay close attention:
I am the boss of you. You are an inanimate object. You do not have super powers. You cannot control my feelings. You cannot determine my value or worth. You cannot control my actions. You are not reliable. You are not to be trusted or depended upon. You are not very smart; in fact, you are outright dumb.
Sure, you can show whether I gained or lost some weight. But you don't know if I'm healthier, and that's what this game is all about. It's not about whether you go up or down. You can't see the gap between my waist and my jeans. You can't see the muscles beginning to show in my triceps. You don't know that the reason my jeans are too tight in the legs is because my muscles are bigger and stronger. You don't know the difference between gaining a half pound of muscle or a half pound of fat. You don't even know the difference between a few ounces of water or fat. You only know your numbers. And the numbers mean nothing without knowing me--and that is something you will never know.
So, sorry Mr. Scale, but our exclusive relationship is over. I made a pledge to my Spring 5% Challenge Team to celebrate non-scale victories. That means I'm no longer doing a happy dance when I lose some weight, and I'm no longer giving in when I gain some weight. You are just a number. I'm hanging out with a new crowd now. They're called the Non-scale Victory Gang and, man, are they are fun. I've never met a more positive group. They'll find reasons to celebrate. Don't believe me? Well, maybe this will convince you:
Passed up Whoopie Pies at the office
Increased weights for lunges and squats
Week 1 Ripped in 30 completed
12 pull ups (with a weight offset) on the pull up machine
Exercised early in the morning 3 days a week
Did not munch while preparing meals
Oh, yeah, baby! We are going to on!
I'll still stop by and visit once a week, but I'm calling the shots. Get used to it.
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