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Wellness Cards

Friday, November 16, 2012

There are so many things we can do to stay physically and mentally healthy, but I feel like there's not enough time in the day to do them all, and there are a lot of things I could be doing for myself that I forget to do.

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So I made myself some 'Wellness Cards'. They're for my personal use at home (where I currently spend most of my time, looking for work and studying for the CPA exams) and they're basically for any time I want to take a quick break from what I'm doing, or when I have a few moments and want to do something healthy for myself.

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There are four categories I've come up with (I've color-coded them in case I want to find a card for a certain category): fitness, nutrition, physical relaxation, and mental/emotional health. Most cards take about 5 minutes to do, never more than 20.

I have 37 cards so far, and here's what they are. (Keep in mind that they're specifically for me, so some of them might be different than what other people might do.) A few of the ideas are adapted from an article in the November 2012 issue of Shape magazine; I have them starred*.

--Fitness-- emoticon

+Do 20 push-ups right now. (2 sets of 10)

+Do 30 jumping jacks right now.

+Put on your sneakers and do 5 burpees right now.

+Go outside and jog down the street. Then turn around and jog back.

+Do 20 squats right now.

+Do a modified plank. See how long you can hold it for.

--Nutrition-- emoticon

+Drink a glass of water.*

+Eat an apple (or another piece of fruit) right now, or have it as the next food you eat.

+Eat a carrot right now, or have it as the next food you eat.

+Look in the fridge and decide which veggie (or fruit) you'd like with dinner tonight. Think about how you'll prepare it.

+Remember to take an Omega-3 (fish oil) supplement at your next meal.* (If you don't eat a lot of fish, it's important to get your omega-3's. It's recommended on the bottle to take 3 supplement capsules per day. It's also supposed to improve your mood after 2 weeks.*)

--Physical Relaxation (or release of tension)-- emoticon

+Take a couple of minutes to do some yoga poses. (My favorites: Warrior, Tree, Triangle, Seated Twist, Bridge)

+If it's not too cold or precipitating outside, grab a lawn chair and sit outside for 10-15 minutes. Take a book/newspaper/magazine with you, if you want. (No electronics.)

+Do a 10-20 minute meditation (guided or on your own).

+Do a breathing exercise for a few minutes.* (Close your eyes and focus on your breath.)

+Brew and drink some hot tea. (My favorites: oolong, white tea, Lady Grey)

+Do a forward bend.* (Stand with feet apart, knees bent slightly. Lean forward, then grab opposite elbows. Let head hang. Hold for 1 minute.)

+Take a 20 min. nap.* (Set a timer.) (The magazine suggests 45 min., but I read in another article from another source that napping for more than 20 minutes can leave you feeling groggy instead of refreshed.)

+Jump up and down (for joy!) for a few minutes like a kid.*

+While sitting, slowly contract and relax each part of your body, starting with your arms and legs.*

+Light or sniff a candle.

+Lie on your back (on bed or couch) for 5 min. Just let your back muscles relax (but try not to fall asleep).

+Take 10-20 minutes to play with/cuddle with a pet.*

--Mental/Emotional Health-- emoticon

+Read today's comics in the newspaper (or online).

+Read 1 full chapter of a book of your choice.

+Listen to at least one song on your iPod. (No multi-tasking allowed for the first one, unless you're singing along or dancing.)

+Draw/sketch a quick picture.

+Mentally list 3 things you are grateful for, today or in general.

+If you're on the computer, if possible, switch to another task/activity that doesn't require the computer (for at least 30 minutes).

+Do your next one-handed task with your non-dominant hand.* (Studies show this way of breaking a habit increases self-control.*)

+Think about a goal you achieved, and how you felt when you achieved it.*

+Take 10-20 min. to worry "about everything that's bothering you. Make a quick list, and list some possible solutions." *

+Take a few minutes to write a short journal entry. (1-4 pages.)

+Take a moment to think about and anticipate the next thing (event/holiday/activity/plans) you're looking forward to doing.

+Read a verse of the Tao te Ching. (Take a few minutes to reflect on it.)

+Mentally (or physically, on a piece of paper or in a journal) list 3 things you like about your personality. Then list 3 things you like about how you look. Finally, list 5 people who love you.

+Start a task you've been procrastinating on. (If it's small, finish it.)

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If there's anything that SparkPeople has taught me thus far, it's that even taking small steps to fitness and wellness can make a big difference.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUDYHELP 11/16/2012 9:44AM

  emoticon for sharing that. I use to do something like that w/my daughters spelling words. (jump up/down 10 times spelling the word) This I might have to try again. You've picked some great things to do. Continued success on your journey. Enjoy the "wellness cards" again thank you for sharing. Have a great Thanksgiving!!! emoticon Judy

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Joining a Different Gym to Try Something New

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I've always liked Planet Fitness. From the machines and facilities to the yellow/purple motif and tootsie rolls, it was a place I enjoyed going...when I could get myself to go. I've never been consistent, but working out at PF has definitely helped me to achieve my current weight. Unfortunately, it might be time for us to say good-bye.

I saw my dietician Lise a few weeks before Christmas, and we discussed a few different things. How much weight I'd lost, how I should focus on eating more seafood and whole grains, and of course, the big problem for me: exercise. Lise prefers to say I need "to move" instead of "to exercise", but for me, it still means the same thing-getting off my butt and somehow burning calories in a way that doesn't bore me to tears. No, I don't mind the actual exercise so much any more, but no matter how much I tell myself I love the treadmill, or how easy it is to use, or what music I choose for my iPod....it's still walking. And it's still kind of boring. Not always, but for five days a week?
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So we talked about how I could divide a thirty-minute workout among three different machines, and that sounded OK. Then somehow, "Zumba" came up, so we talked about that for a little while. I've kind of secretly wanted to try Zumba for a while. It sounds like fun, and everyone I know or have heard of who's tried it seems to love it.

So a few days after Christmas I decided to look into Zumba classes- see where they were in my area, and how much they cost. They're pretty expensive! I'm looking for a full-time job right now, so I really don't want to pay $35-50 per month for a class. Then I decided to look at The Edge, a fitness center which is only five minutes away from my home. You have to be a member to take the classes, but for the first year, it's only $19.99 a month--and not only do you get unlimited Zumba classes, but you can take other types of classes, too--spinning, yoga, kick-boxing, etc.--plus there's the gym itself, where the treadmill and I can resume our love/hate relationship.

I decided it was too good to pass up, especially when sign-up is only $12 until December 31st. It is a little sad to leave my other gym, though. Not only did I really like it, but I only paid about $10/month (another reason I loved PF). But you can't judge a gym solely in terms of $$, the same way you can't judge your health only by what you read on the scale.

So I signed up for The Edge today, and without missing a beat, I also reserved a spot in tonight's Zumba class. (Some classes require reservations, some don't.) I'm really hoping I enjoy it, and that I can keep up OK. If I like it and would do it again, I'll officially cancel my PF membership tomorrow.

I was telling my mom about The Edge, and she seemed pretty interested. She was saying she might think about joining, too! Not that she has pounds to shed--she's very lean--but of course it would be healthy for her to exercise (or "move", as Lise would say). I don't think she's too crazy about the Zumba idea, but maybe we could do cardio machines or a Yoga class together? I like doing things with my mom, so if she joined me at the gym, that would definitely be an added bonus.
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Clearing up Obstacles

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I have three weeks and three days until my next appointment with my dietician, Lise. Why am I so focused on seeing my dietician? Two reasons: 1) I've been maintaining my weight but haven't lost any in a month or so, and 2) it seems like I get complacent with myself, but I feel accountable toward someone who's trying to help me. Which probably isn't good, because I should be working toward my goals because it's healthy for me to do, not just because someone else expects me to.

I've cleared up a few obstacles, though. First of all, I'm sure everyone must have one food that they just can't resist. Mine is almond butter. Don't ask me why, but it's the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. My dad got me a jar because he knows that I like and he thinks that it's healthy (and it is okay, in small amounts). But I finally/already finished the jar, and I'm going to have to ask him not to buy it for me anymore, even though I appreciate the gesture.

I've also been studying the Tao a lot lately, which is helping me to get rid of some negative energy and feel more peaceful. When I feel good, and feel good about myself, I can get more in the mood to exercise. I finally got back on the treadmill yesterday, and I felt so good afterward! I'm definitely going to try harder to keep it up.

I'm not exactly looking forward to Thanksgiving, food-wise. My family has a big dinner with lots of dishes. Not to mention the pumpkin cake and pie at the end (yes, we have both) and some years even a pumpkin cheesecake as well!

But I'm going to take Lise's (dietician) advice, and load up my plate the way I normally would at dinner. A "palm" of protein, a "fist" of starch/grains, piece of fruit if possible, and as many veggies as I want (not including creamy casseroles, of course). So for example, I might take a little bit of stuffing and a little bit of mashed potatoes (together equaling a "fist") for my starch. Depending on what time we eat, I might also allow for extra calories (about 200) that would usually be my afternoon snack.

Then, if I feel good about the amount I ate, I'll allow myself one slice of one dessert. I mean, it is a holiday after all. :)

So hopefully with these changes in place, I'll be able to "shape up" in time for my next appointment, and after that, I'd better be accountable to myself and keep working toward my goal.

  


A Visit to the Dietician

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's been a while since I last posted, but things are going really well. In my last entry, I had some ideas about how to re-approach weight loss, but it happened differently than I expected.

First, I found out I had another vitamin deficiency this year. Long story short, I started taking some Vitamin D supplements as directed by my doctor and I've been feeling back to normal for a few months now. emoticon

Then in May, I tried doing WeightWatchers for a few weeks. The first week I lost a few pounds, the next week I gained it all back, and by the third week, I couldn't stop eating over my points allotment, even with the extra weekly points! I was convinced I was hungry all the time. It was so frustrating- WeightWatchers is supposed to work for most people, and it's supposed to be more effective than other weight loss plans. emoticon

The point was, I needed more guidance than a daily points allowance. So I finally did something I'd been planning to do for a long time. I made an appointment with a dietician.

I got a recommendation from my doctor's office for the dietician at Bridgeport Hospital. I met with her about two weeks into August. Her name is Lise Sanchez, and she's very nice. I'll go more into depth about what she told me to do in another blog entry, but basically she told me my "numbers", outlined how I should eat each day, and gave me a daily meal/activity log to fill out. emoticon

That was August 13, and today is September 22. So it was about one month and one week ago, and I've seen her a second time since then, about two weeks ago.

As of this morning, I've lost a total of 13.5 pounds since I first met with her. I feel like deja vu, because that's the same amount of weight I lost in the summer/fall of 2010 last year. So for now, I'm back at the same weight I was then-195.5 lbs. emoticon

I'm really glad I lost the weight last year, though, despite gaining it back. Thanks to SparkPeople, I gained the motivation to accomplish something I wasn't even sure I could. So even though it seemed like on the scale, I was starting all over again, I already was encouraged by the fact that I had already done it before, so I knew it was possible for me to lose the weight again.

This time, though, I'm going to keep losing weight. Even if I get stressed out and end up eating, say, a burrito from Taco Bell, I can still re-adjust and bounce back from it. (And I already have, because that's exactly what I did the day before my first CPA exam.)

I'm doing pretty well with the eating, so there are just two other issues I have to face. First, I need to exercise more often. I was doing pretty well, but I've been lax about it lately, so I have to put more effort into that, since it's really important and will help me get in to shape. emoticon

The other thing I have to face, which I can't really control, is the occasional nightmare I have (really!) in which I somehow get a hold of a lot of candy, and I either start eating it or am tempted to. Imagine my relief when I wake up and realize, 'There was no candy! I'm safe!' :D emoticon

So I'm pretty happy right now, and I feel like I'm just getting started. :)

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHIEF_GEEK 9/22/2011 3:15PM

    That is outstanding! Keep up the great work.

I know what you mean about the candy. They should outlaw the stuff so its not even on the store shelves. If its in the house, I can find it.
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A Visit to the Dietician

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's been a while since I last posted, but things are going really well. In my last entry, I had some ideas about how to re-approach weight loss, but it happened differently than I expected.

First, I found out I had another vitamin deficiency this year. Long story short, I started taking some Vitamin D supplements as directed by my doctor and I've been feeling back to normal for a few months now. emoticon

Then in May, I tried doing WeightWatchers for a few weeks. The first week I lost a few pounds, the next week I gained it all back, and by the third week, I couldn't stop eating over my points allotment, even with the extra weekly points! I was convinced I was hungry all the time. It was so frustrating- WeightWatchers is supposed to work for most people, and it's supposed to be more effective than other weight loss plans. emoticon

The point was, I needed more guidance than a daily points allowance. So I finally did something I'd been planning to do for a long time. I made an appointment with a dietician.

I got a recommendation from my doctor's office for the dietician at Bridgeport Hospital. I met with her about two weeks into August. Her name is Lise Sanchez, and she's very nice. I'll go more into depth about what she told me to do in another blog entry, but basically she told me my "numbers", outlined how I should eat each day, and gave me a daily meal/activity log to fill out. emoticon

That was August 13, and today is September 22. So it was about one month and one week ago, and I've seen her a second time since then, about two weeks ago.

As of this morning, I've lost a total of 13.5 pounds since I first met with her. I feel like deja vu, because that's the same amount of weight I lost in the summer/fall of 2010 last year. So for now, I'm back at the same weight I was then-195.5 lbs. emoticon

I'm really glad I lost the weight last year, though, despite gaining it back. Thanks to SparkPeople, I gained the motivation to accomplish something I wasn't even sure I could. So even though it seemed like on the scale, I was starting all over again, I already was encouraged by the fact that I had already done it before, so I knew it was possible for me to lose the weight again.

This time, though, I'm going to keep losing weight. Even if I get stressed out and end up eating, say, a burrito from Taco Bell, I can still re-adjust and bounce back from it. (And I already have, because that's exactly what I did the day before my first CPA exam.)

I'm doing pretty well with the eating, so there are just two other issues I have to face. First, I need to exercise more often. I was doing pretty well, but I've been lax about it lately, so I have to put more effort into that, since it's really important and will help me get in to shape. emoticon

The other thing I have to face, which I can't really control, is the occasional nightmare I have (really!) in which I somehow get a hold of a lot of candy, and I either start eating it or am tempted to. Imagine my relief when I wake up and realize, 'There was no candy! I'm safe!' :D emoticon

So I'm pretty happy right now, and I feel like I'm just getting started. :)

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MUMMYUK2 9/22/2011 12:32PM

    Congratulations on a great job, keep up the good work emoticon

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