Monday, December 17, 2012
This Christmas, hubby and I decided to try to put more emphasis on helping those in need instead of buying too many gifts, that we don't really need, for each other. We adopted two angels from the Salvation Army Angel Tree at the mall. These are children of all ages who have gotten caught in the middle of an economic down turn and who are too young to be able to fight their own way out. We have given money to those without, bought breakfast for the elderly who had trouble paying their bill at a restaurant and helped those who couldn't take care of themselves. Meals on Wheels did a collection for poor, elderly or disabled, housebound men and women in our area. Over this past weekend, hubby and I made up six boxes of personal hygiene items - three for men and three for women. The fact that these individuals have difficulty preparing meals and taking care of themselves saddened me greatly. I wish we had the means to do more; maybe someday we will. Today I drove to a neighboring town to deliver the six boxes. My elderly neighbor went with me and the feeling of thankfulness and joy affected him too. Later, this afternoon, I took him to the doctor. He was thrilled to have me go with him to his appointment. Even though it meant that I would miss my exercise classes, he needed me, and I felt happy to help him. I can go to the gym to work out tomorrow, but he needed me today!
Throughout all of these activities, I have experienced an increased awareness of the meaning of Christmas. I can actually start to feel the message of the season begin to take hold in my heart. There is a smile on my face and my friends have commented on how happy I seem. They are right, I do feel happy and thankful for all the gifts that I have in my own life. This inner happiness (my inner spark) stems from the joy of giving to others and the hope of a brighter tomorrow. I've read Spark People articles about being thankful and how it can affect your mood and outlook on life. I can tell you now, from personal experience, that being thankful and caring for others can make you a much happier person. I have always been a fairly happy person but assuming an attitude of thankfulness and giving to others has brought me a sense of peace and purpose. We may have taken the opportunity to give to others this season but we were the ones who received the biggest gift of all. We received the gift of joy in return.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I was so active today that I earned 9 activity points on my ActiveLink. For those of you who don't know what that means, earning 9 points means that I met my baseline goal and increased my activity by 9. Since my baseline is high due to the fact that I tend to move around a lot, earning 9 points means I was almost overly active today. I started my morning by taking the dogs out and walking them around twice. I then packed my gym bag, got dressed and fixed breakfast for hubby and myself. After breakfast I loaded my exercise gear into the car and drove to the gym.
My first water class at the gym, was a 45 minute Aqua Fit class. I tried to do as much of the aerobic part of the class as possible by treading water. I used water weights during the latter part of the class and again tried to tread water whenever possible.
The second class is stretching and strengthening the back, legs and shoulders. The instructor lost control of the class from the beginning and rather than get frustrated, I moved to the deep end of the pool and did my own 45 minute workout. When I do my own workout, I tend to get a very vigorous and aerobic workout. Today was no exception. I felt energized and ready for the third and final class.
The third class is the Deep Water Aerobics class. This is my favorite of the water classes. The workout is very aerobic and challenging. Since my core has gotten stronger, I no longer wear a floatation belt during the class. The entire class is done by treading water in some form except when we use water weights and noodles. The water weights act partially as floatation devices and at the same time offer resistance as you move your arms through different exercises. It is important to maintain proper posture during the whole class to avoid injury. That is why I took the class for over a year before I could do it without wearing a flotation belt.
I felt like I had a wonderful workout today! I showered, dressed, drank a small box of muscle milk light, ate 2 tangerines and drove to the mall after the classes were over. At the mall, I took my car to a place to get an alignment. While my car was being worked on, I did some shopping. I decided to power walk as I walked from store to store. I was surprised at how quickly I could walk since my muscles were already warm from my workout. Before I knew it, over an hour had passed and my car was ready. I felt myself start to tire so I knew it was time to go home.
On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store to purchase a few items. I'm happy to report that all of them were healthy. I figured why not? So I power walked through the grocery store as I shopped. I got some smiles and hellos from the staff so I smiled back and continued on. I'm a regular customer at this store and I think they are used to seeing me rush through the store like a bat out of a hot place. I have to wonder if the smiles were just friendly or if they were thinking, "Here comes that wacko, compulsive exerciser again!" Either way, I smiled back and plowed on. LOL
I was pretty hungry by the time I got home, so I had about 2.5 cups of romaine lettuce topped with one cup of light cottage cheese and a cup of herbal tea. Once I sat down, I immediately felt exhausted! I'm normally very active so I didn't think too much about it. I read the paper and watched a little bit of television until it was time to make dinner. Later this evening I plugged my ActiveLink into the computer and went through and named all of my water workouts and power walks. When I was finished, the program did an adjustment for the water workouts and 9 activity points popped up on the computer screen.
Oh my, am I ever going to be sore tomorrow. Tonight I just feel a little tired but tomorrow I fear I'll be stiff as a board. Oops! I did notice that Saturday's deep water class is cancelled due to a swim meet. Perhaps that is God's way of slowing me down. I will do my usual 2 Aqua Fit classes again tomorrow, but I will force myself to operate at a more cautious pace. Maybe on Saturday I will go to yard sales and finish up with last minute shopping. Hubby can take a walk with me (since my regular deep water class is cancelled) and I'll promise him that I will walk at a reasonable pace. Power walking will not be an option when hubby is with me. Well, it's off to go to sleep now!
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Last week I decided that I was going to try to use only my regular daily Weight Watchers points and try to avoid using my weekly 49 flex points and my accrued activity points. I have had a very difficult time meeting that goal. So I decided to take a closer look at which behaviors might be responsible. Those of you who know me, know that I'm really into taking a step back and analyzing my own behavior. When I was growing up, I was the "Why?" child and as an adult I still like to find reasonable explanations for things. (Even though things often don't have reasonable explanations)
I am so glad that I track my exercise, water, sleep and food! The trackers enabled me to have some additional information as I looked for reasons why I couldn't meet my set goal. Two things absolutely jumped out at me from the very first look. The first thing was the huge amount of daily exercise and activity that I was doing. There were several days when the SP exercise tracker said that I burned 1700+ calories! My Weight Watchers ActiveLink logged 9 activity points for one day. Wow! No wonder I was so hungry. I decided to increase my intake of protein, increase my water and replace any foods with added sugar with additional grains. I also chose the goal of eating a fruit or vegetable with every snack. So, if I eat a diet ice cream bar, I have to eat an apple, carrots or broccoli etc. along with it. The same thing is true if I eat a protein/nut bar after exercising. Today I had 2 tangerines along with my Aloha Almond Bar. I was instantly satisfied. Amazing!
The second thing that jumped out at me during my analysis is that I was getting very tired from all of my daily activity. Instead of going to bed and sleeping at night or taking a short nap during the day, I was trying to push my way through it. We all know what happens when you get tired. Your decision making skills take a big hit with fatigue. Instead of trying to squeeze one more task into my day, I have decided that with the first few yawns, I will head for a comfortable place where I can rest my body. I can't believe that I let my quest to finish my "to do list" get in the way of my sleep. Last night I only slept for 5.5 hours! I did sleep soundly but that just isn't enough sleep when I am so active. Starting tonight, I will go to bed as soon as I feel tired and I will not push through my fatigue.
Already, I am seeing results. The snack that I ate this morning, 2 tangerines and an almond bar, kept me from being ravenous at lunch. In fact, I had to force myself to eat a romaine lettuce salad with tuna and an apple. I had a huge glass of water (20 ounces) along with it. Since I often get tired when I don't eat enough protein, I am going to add 3 egg whites to my breakfast of oatmeal tomorrow. I've already boiled a dozen eggs and they are sitting in the refrigerator ready for my breakfast tomorrow morning. I will also decrease my exercise time if I am going to be active later in the day. I will rest during the day if I need to and go to sleep at night at a reasonable hour.
I am so glad that I took a step back today, to look at the big picture. The trackers can really give us valuable information but only if we use them. By tracking my sleep, water, exercise and food, I can use the collected information to address my issues and to find ways of dealing with them. I now have a plan in place to help me be more successful!
Saturday, December 08, 2012
The other afternoon I stopped in a store that was having some serious sales. I had a coupon, of course, and I decided to use it. The coupon was for $10 off a purchase of $25, and I decided to reward myself for all of my hard work. I put about 5-6 items that I wanted to try on, in my cart . (I was trying on tops and capris that were smaller than my current ones.) Every item but one that I tried on fit. The top that didn't fit was a smaller size but still way too big! Since I do have a budget, I chose 2 tops that matched shorts that are "hard to match" colors. One top is a light metallic purple and the other was an odd shade of lime green. The exciting news is that the green top was a size extra large and it was only $8! It has been about 14 years since I wore a size extra large! How exciting is that?
I'm learning to appreciate and celebrate new, non-scale measurements of progress. My clothes are getting looser, my lab numbers are improving, I'm feeling stronger with more energy and I have more confidence. As the new and improved version of me begins to emerge, I am getting excited about my future. I feel that every day is filled with blessings and opportunities to rediscover my inner spark!
Friday, December 07, 2012
It is official! Today I got my 15 pound award at Weight Watchers. So far I've gotten my 5 pound award, my 5% body weight award and now my 15 pound award. It is so motivating to have the Weight Watchers leader announce your achievement and have everyone clap and congratulate you. It makes me want to be more diligent in my efforts to stay with my plan. The old saying, "Success breeds success," is really true.
I'm going to join SLENDERELLA61 and start a streak of days when I stay within my range. I think my first goal is to see if I can have a streak of 7 (or perhaps more?) days straight between now and Christmas. I chose 7 because I know that there may be a time when I'm faced with holiday goodies between now and then. I do have 49 flex points but I'd like to see if I can go a whole week without using any of them or any of my activity points. I know I can do it.
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