Tuesday, August 09, 2011
I had two dogs. They are both old men now, 11 and 12. The younger one, KJ, is a basenji/pitt mix. He was a maniac in his younger years, easily the fastest dog I had ever seen. It took years for us to get into a tolerable groove. This last year he has slowed to the pace of a normal 3-5 year old dog. The older boy, Smokey, is a McKenzie River Malamute/German Shepard mix. Life's a little harder on that old boy. He's been lumbering at a mellow pace for a good 8 years now, and he's ancient as far as his breeds go. He has trouble moving around sometimes and if he tries to get going fast his legs tend to not agree with him. Anyway, it was nice to have my boys mellowed out a bit, it made for a simple day to day routine.
I'm a firm believer that puppies and kittens aren't for Christmas. They're a 10-15 year commitment. I don't plan a camping trip, road trip out of town, etc without taking my animals into consideration. They didn't choose to live with me. I chose them. Therefore, I owe it to these guys to make sure they live the healthiest, happiest life I can possibly give them. Sometimes it's expensive, sometimes it's not pretty (ever had a dog get the flu? It's gross.), but they are my boys and whatever it takes is what they deserve.
Saturday we got a new addition to the household.
My cousin bought a purebred Australian Shepard a year ago. She's extremely curious and ENERGETIC. My cousin also has three children under the age of 10, a full time job, and just got two pitt bull puppies. (We won't go in to how I really feel about that situation.) Long story short, she decided to find a new home for Babe, the untrained Aussie. And she decided that new home should be mine...
This sweet, happy, beautiful animal is amazing and has great potential. You can see the gleam in her eyes, always wondering 'what's next?' BUT, she has NO manners due to unbridled energy and lack of training and attention. Come to find out she's been in a kennel 10+ hours a day for most of her short life. She tries to herd children, nips ankles and arms, and jumps about four feet in the air onto people.
Not cool. Not acceptable. Not her fault.
I have my work cut out for me.
I've had her two and a half days. We took a 2 mile hike up and down a mountain trail yesterday. She probably made the same trip we took about 10 times in the time we did, running back and forth. She LOVED it. She took a nap in the car on the way home, and was raring to go again when we pulled in the drive. (A little taste of what I'm working with. Raw energy.)
Today, I went to a spinning class, then Babe and I spent almost 2 hours working on simple commands. Sit and fetch. She is catching on, the fetch is actually for my benefit :) She has so much energy, she can't focus on learning. I've gotten her to learn to bring the toy back, which is an improvement from yesterday. We spent an hour throwing, running & retrieving before her tongue was hanging out a little and she wasn't acting straight psychotic and nipping at my elbows and heels. (By this time, I was sweating and wanting to call it quits.) THEN we were finally ready to get a "Sit" session in, and even several "Lay downs". She's making slight progress, but it took an hour of excercise on both our parts to get to the training! This is going to be one long haul, getting her manners up to speed.
I didn't want a third dog. I didn't want a working dog. They take a lot of training, time and attention to become those wonderful genius dogs you read about and see on TV. People get these dogs thinking they COME like that. Then (like my cousin) they realize they can't handle the dog, and the poor pooch becomes an ill-behaved, sometimes dangerous, crazy creature. I did this for Babe, not for my cousin. I think I might have gotten her just in time. I think it will be good for her to be living here. And now I see it will be good for me too. I can't skip workouts now. No days off. If I'm going to help her become the dog she deserves to be, I am going to have to get my butt out there and wear her out EVERY single day. Then when we reach that "tired" point, I am going to have to push us both harder to get some actual lessons in.
Babe is going to learn manners. I am going to get mass cardio in whether I like it or not. The winter sports I was debating (but unlikely to) take up, now HAVE to happen. She's still going to need to be worked when the snow flies, so I had better learn how to get out there and burn some energy mid-winter. Her energy is forcing me to match that energy. Fighting energy with energy is an interesting concept I have never been forced to comprehend.
I am not going to let this girl down, which oddly enough means I can't let myself down either. I can't take the winter off to hibernate and build up my Alaskan insulation again. This lifestyle change that I have been working at for the last few months just became a permanent reality. There's no quitting, I just made a 10-15 year commitment that is going to RUN MY BUTT OFF. (Literally)
Maybe eventually Babe will become a lady. Maybe eventually I will become a babe.
Here we go Turbo! Let those fitness minutes roll!
Monday, August 01, 2011
I went to the gym today. Something I have always avoided like the plague. Since I was about 12 my dad's advice for everything (all of life's problems, big or small) has been "Katherine, I'd like to see you do something for yourself. Like go to the gym. I like to go twice a day when possible..." My dad and his brothers are all iron pumpers. My dad is one of the fittest (yet most stressed out) people I know. I know he is disappointed that neither myself or my two big brothers got the gym-gene. We were the partiers and his vice is the stairmaster and free-weights.
I hate the thought of the gym. I feel like a klutz, feel extra frumpy in my ill fitting gym clothes, and sort of just won't go out of spite. There's something about crying my way through a break up or struggling with classes, etc. and having my dad say "the gym will make you feel better" that is anti-productive as far as I'm concerned. The gym can't fix everything, I know that much. But since I am at a point where I'm NOT stressed out, or upset about anything and I'm actually just looking for a good sweat, I think I might be ready. This time I am going to the gym just because I feel like it. (I can't believe I said that)
For the last month I've been bicycling quite a bit and that is my main source of excercise. The last few days have been rainy though and I let myself use that as an excuse not to get out and get active. I make sure I do other things, such as scrub my floors & pull weeds, so that I am not just sitting on the couch watching reruns of Bones. But although my house looks great, I don't feel like I do after some good cardio.
So today I came home at lunch (it was raining), like I always do, and as I was switching my laundry I did something I NEVER do. I packed my shorts, clean tennis shoes (had them two years, bought them specifically for the gym and they are still in perfect condition) and a water bottle in a bag. I caught myself looking forward to using the eliptical for 30 mins after work. I did. I looked forward to it all afternoon. At 5 I filled my water bottle, hopped in my car and bee-lined for the gym.
I only went for 35 minutes (probably could have done more, but this was an experiment of sorts) and did 3.8 miles. I was shocked. All through high school I don't think I EVER ran a 9 minute mile. I was chubby, played the tuba, and I think my personal best was a 13 minute mile. And, while I didn't feel like I overheated or wore myself too hard I was sweatier than I have ever been after a 20 mile bike ride. I was impressed with how sweaty and gross I was (my ponytail was sticking to my neck and I had it pouring off of my forehead. EWWW :D ) My dad would have been proud. This experiment went well. I am going to try the other local gym the next time it rains and compare the two. (See, I'm talking about going AGAIN!) Then, if I'm still gung-ho, I am going to buy a tester-membership for a month at one of them. In the past, I've had high hopes for myself and signed up for a year. That's a sure-fire way to make myself not go again and my bank account gets $300 skinnier... Along with the guilt of not using my membership as I see it deducted every month. (Yet another reason I don't have good feelings about the gym.)
When I stick with it for a while, I am going to let Captain Gym in on my little secret. I'm worried if he finds out now (like he has in the past) I am going to get a phone call every night asking if I worked out today... That always made me feel crappy, because after workout #2, the answer is always "No..." I have a feeling this time it's different, and for once I'd like to impress my dad with something besides being fiscally responsible or good grades. Something Captain Gym will be proud of :)
Friday, July 29, 2011
For 3 weeks I've been eating healthy, drinking lots of water and biking about 80 miles a week. For a self proclaimed, semi professional couch potato I have been LOVING it. I have energy, a tan, and the inches are starting to disappear.
Last night I met some of the girls from work at a lounge near by. I had grand intentions of ordering a grilled chicken cobb salad, and was looking forward to the generous amount of feta cheese they put on that mammoth.
Hey, I've been working my butt off, literally for once. I deserve some cheese. I'd left room for the fat calories in my nutrition tracker. That shouldn't undo all my hard work and good decision making. Right?
If only that were the err of my ways for the evening.
When I got there, they had already ordered IT. The combo plate. My buddies and I have always (lovingly) referred to it as the Deep Fried Magic Platter. They say it feeds two, but realistically it feeds six. There were four of us. Onion rings, poppers, mozarella sticks, chicken strips... Anything in the kitchen, breaded and deep fried is mounded on that plate surrounding a bowl (yes, BOWL) of ranch, served on (get this) a bed of lettuce. The lettuce was still there when we left.
I logged it (and my cocktails) in to my tracker when I got home. I was shocked that I only went about 20 calories over my limit for the day. I guess-timated about a scrillion. I was so impressed. HA combo plate, take that! You didn't ruin my day :) Except for the fact that I planned on a bike ride after dinner, which I didn't do because I felt tired and lazy after dinner. (Wierd right?) I did manage to get some yard work and floor scrubbing in, because I felt guilty about not riding and felt like I should at least MOVE for 30 minutes or so. But the thought of bending over, tying my tennis shoes, and riding 10-20 miles on a bike path sounded impossible.
Last night wasn't a total loss, I still did a lot more than I would have 3 weeks ago. And other than the fried treat bender I did get a few pieces of fruit and 8 glasses of water in my system. But that sneaky deep fried goodness ruined my TODAY. I have NEVER experienced a food hangover. I woke up groggy, nauseous, and in general just feeling like poo. It lasted until well after lunch. I went to a bachellorette party for a friend last weekend, drinking until the wee hours, and I felt better after THAT then I did today.
While I bested the old calorie count (almost), I forgot a very important fact. Food is fuel. I'm targeting 1200 to 1550 calories each day. I had the choice of spending that allotment on high octane premium and I went with cheap sludge. I kept picturing this tank at the trucking yard that the mechanics filter all of the used oil into after servicing the rigs. Nasty, thick, no good, used up, junk. And I gorged myself with a similar substance. I was a sluggish oil drum.
I learned an important lesson today. Food has purpose. It can be my friend, or it can be my enemy. Maybe if I keep feeding my body the fuel it can actually use, it will keep giving me the energy I have been loving to have lately.
It's good I fell off the wagon and this happened. I will never forget this awful deep fried food hangover.
Monday, July 25, 2011
I started using sparkpeople over a year ago. It worked well for a while, then I went back to my old habits. I tried again a second time, months later. Now I am back again and doing better this time. I am still struggling with the same pounds I lose and gain over and over again. This time, I have a different perspective. This time it's not all about losing pounds. I'd be lying if I said that wasn't part of it, but it's not "the big picture" this time. This time I am more interested in becoming more active and being healthy.
A few weeks ago a close friend drug me on a 12 mile bike ride. It began with us meeting for an after work beer, like we do about once a week. He was talking about how he's lost 30+ lbs in the last couple months by riding his bicycle all the time. He puts in about 20 miles each day riding to work and back and also likes to go for a ride in the evening to reduce stress. I commented that I should go with him sometime. He "made" me go, right then and there, refusing to take no for an answer. We went to my house, grabbed my bicycle (3 years old and it still had the little rubber stubs on the brand new tires...) and rode them to return a movie he rented. I didn't hurt as bad as I thought I would the next day, so he convinced me to go again. And again. And again.
I instantly logged in to Sparkpeople that night because I was excited to actually have something to put in the fitness tracker. (The only thing I had ever been able to log in was "heavy cleaning" and "yard work". I'm an expert couch potato.) It was a nice incentive for each ride we took, knowing I would be able to add minutes of biking into the tracker. I've caught myself wanting to go a few extra miles because I could mark 90 minutes instead of 60.
So for the first time in my life, after battling the same "couch pounds" for years and years with diet after diet, instead of being so conscious of watching what I eat, I am concentrating on what I "do". Not something too genius, it's one of those things I've always known, but never bothered to put in to practice. I feel better knowing I got out and did something and I rarely feel guilty when I happen to go over a limit or two in the nutrition tracker. I don't feel like beating myself up over 100 extra calories when I can see that I burned 800+ riding that day.
So, yes my "new" approach is just adding excercise in to my routine. It's working for me too (not a huge surprise, but the first time I've gotten to experience it.). I haven't lost a considerable amount of weight, but I don't feel too bad about that this time either. I've noticed my clothes fit differently, and the weight that is still there has migrated and tightened. These are the effects I was wanting all those years of dieting. Yeah, I'm still about 160, but I've dropped a couple pant sizes and my thighs went from pudding to muscular. My belly still needs some work, but I'm impressed that I can see the muscles in my shoulders and arms again. It's nice to not be hungry and still be disappointed at the lack of movement on the scale. I can feel good about eating and looking forward to getting on my bike and going for a ride. I am aiming to be healthy at this point regardless of what weight I end up at. And once again, it's working this time. And I feel better than I have in years.
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