Thursday, November 17, 2011
When you're having a so-so week and can't figure out why, this is what you should remind yourself:
Such wise words. I immediately feel better. Tomorrow I will give more. More effort, more love, more energy, more happiness. I bet I'll get something in return.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the balance between nutrition and exercise. I wish it were as simple as: calories IN, calories OUT. It's not. I wish the elliptical at the gym or the fitness tracker on Spark told me an accurate number of calories I burned. But they don't. There is so much guess work in this whole weight loss thing. It's frustrating. It's obnoxious. It's a different scientific equation for each individual. It's not fair.
I work out a lot. And I work out hard. I vary my workouts to keep my body guessing. I eat whole grains, I don't drink calories, I eat very few processed foods, I get way more than 5 servings of freggies a day, I have a list of the superfoods on my fridge, I skipped out on the staff potluck for dinner last night, I passed the cheesecake in the lounge today. I'm doing the work. I am not losing weight. So what gives?
Food. It's all about the food. I don't track food daily. It makes me CRAZY! I do my best to follow my hunger instincts. Intuitive eating is the nutrition jargon, apparently. I feel I have a solid enough background in nutrition to make smart choices for my body. I'm learning more about what runners need to fuel. I understand that not all calories are created equal. But I'm clearly human and make mistakes. And too much of good-for-you food is still too much.
Here is a little experiment I just played:
Chicken Breast, no skin, 1 unit 78 calories
Sweetpotato, fresh, 1 5" long 137
Chicken stock, home-prepared, 0.5 cup 43
Apple, 1 large 125
Apricots, dried, 0.25 cup 78
Almonds, 20 139
This is what I had for lunch. (No greens. I'll get those in tonight.) This is fairly typical lunch for me. Notice that the almonds are the highest calorie. I usually don't count them out exactly. I just grab a handful and throw em in a tupperware with some dried fruit and that's dessert.
Now here's a very similar meal with crazy different results:
Chicken Breast, with skin, 1 unit 150
Baked Potato, with skin, 1 large 278
Apples, fresh, 1 large 125
Almonds, honey roasted, 20 337
Dove dark chocolate, 6 pieces 220
509 calorie difference! That lunch does not sound all that bad. It is shocking how quickly calories add up.
On Tuesday I ran 4 miles in 36 minutes. Spark says I burned 420 calories. Just for perspective. I need these reminders.
And just for fun, even though I said I don't drink my calories... (I do spurlge on a latte once a week.)
tall non-fat latte, 12 oz 100 calories
vanilla latte Nonfat Tall , 12 oz 170
Tall Vanilla Latte Whole Milk, 12 oz 240
I feel fine with the 100 calorie drink. I actually feel better about that than a 0 calorie diet soda. But think how easy it is to throw in a shot of vanilla and tell yourself, "I got a non-fat latte." 70 calories here and there adds up. I need to cut out the little add-ons.
Exercise makes you hungry. It also leads to excuses for me. Oh, I can eat that, I worked out this morning. I need to stop that. Right NOW!
I keep reminding myself of something JENSWIMS wrote last week in a blog: It's easy to eat 4,000 calories. It's really hard to burn 4,000 calories.
Time for a full weekend of honesty with myself. I'll check in on Monday. Happy weekend Sparkers!
Monday, November 07, 2011
I've been going to Bodystep for about 5 years. It's a Les Mills program, like Bodypump. It's obviously on a step, but this is not your mother's step aerobics, I promise. It is serious HIIT. There are 4 releases a year and there has been a big change recently. Much more athletic and I love it!
I've talked to a few of the instructors about teaching over the years. But then I got pregnant. We talked again. And then I got pregnant. That's the easy excuse. The real truth is that I never felt like I was in good enough shape to do the routine AND talk at the same time. Now, thanks to running, I know I can handle it.
This past weekend I was at a Group Fitness Instructor Development Clinic. long way to say: lots of lecture, some motivational speaking and major fun workouts. On Friday night we did Bodypump (60 min strength endurance class using barbell). On Sat. there was some yoga and Turbo Kick. I finally get why so many of you are Chalene fanatics. Turbo was awesome!!! The instructor is a regional director and has quite the reputation. Then we also spent some time practicing our own choreography. Holy fitness minutes!
There was lecture on basic anatomy, nutrition and exercise science. Boring, but good info. We had to take a little multiple choice test to get our certification.
whew, I proved that I know the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise, exactly why no-carb is bad and some YMCA history. And I unfortunately was told by several trainers that yoga is not enough for ST. I need to pick up the weights. OK, OK, fine. (Yes, Jan, I know you're smiling right now.)
Sun. morning started with 60 min Bodystep and 45 min spin before lunch. My legs were dying. DY-ING! But then it was time to practice our routines again before auditions for a panel of group fitness directors. Not scary at all, right???!
I was super nervous, but felt good the minute I got to put on the fancy pants mic headband. It is so much fun! Granted, the participants were all cardio dance girls like me so they were really into it. Energy galore! I know it won't always be that easy. And I only had to do 10 minutes, not 60. I got to be a participant for Zumba, Latin Hip Hop, Hip Hop Hustle, and Turbo Kick. Tons of fun programs out there! Try something new. And give it at least 3 chances.
I got good feedback from the directors that evaluated me. Now I wait for all the paperwork to go through some national certification board and then there is an interview process. I am in no hurry. I will still have to take a Les Mills workshop, which will be another whole weekend sometime this winter. For now, I'll just live on the high of this weekend.
Here's my favorite quote from one of the speakers:
I only exercise on days when I want to have more energy.
I only exercise on days when I want to be more creative.
I only exercise on days when I want to sleep better.
I only exercise on days when I want to feel more attractive.
I only exercise on days when I want to have more confidence.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
I'm 33 today. I don't feel old or young or anything really significant about my age. I just feel content. I went to a 6 am yoga class this morning and it was the best gift to give myself. That hour of calm and quiet is exactly what I need in my life. I am a go, go, go person and I need to force myself to slow down. Yoga has helped with this. So have my Spark blogs. They make me reflect, which is important to do, but I rarely take the time for it. So this is me being calm and reflective.
One year ago I was overdue, crabby, exhausted, excited and anxious. Oh, and overweight. When I think about what has happened in the past 365 days I am overwhelmed with happiness. I could gush with cheesiness because I truly do feel that good. Running has strengthened my marriage in a way I never could have imagined. My energy bounces and I tumble & play with my kids in new ways everyday. I am joyful WITH them, not just by watching them. I feel active and alive.
When I got home from the gym my DH had a candle in my steel cut oats and the 3 of them sang to me wearing silly birthday hats. Is that not the cutest gift ever? And then we also had cupcakes. For breakfast! See? Life is good.
Before you eye roll and think: make me puke, she's one of those perky/happy/my life is perfect girls, please know that it hasn't always been this way. 3 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter, we were living in a 1 bedroom condo with our dog. Units around the building were foreclosing. There was no way we could sell. It was financial hell and I cried a lot. I went to the gym a lot too, but I also ate tons of crappy diet food and ice cream. Not smart. I was not mentally or physically all that healthy.
10 years ago I was probably in a bar. I worked out then too. But I ate even more junk. Drank way too much and basically acted like I was still in college. I would have laughed if someone would've told me that I'd run a half marathon someday. In my early 20s I thought I had all the answers even though I was making horrible choices daily and involved in an abusive relationship.
And today, life still isn't perfect. I guess I have learned to roll with the imperfections and make the best of what I have right now. Of course, I have some stressful moments, but I tend to look at things as glass half full. I know I have it pretty good and I want to be mindful and grateful.
I am healthy. My family is healthy. I have finally figured out what a key role nutrition plays. I have found new ways to exercise and make it a part of daily life and something I can do with my whole family. All of these are factors in why my life is good today.
I hope I wake up and go to yoga when I'm 53 and 73. I want to run with my husband the day I turn 43. Possibly, I'll cuddle my own grandbabies in my 60s. Who knows? One thing I do know: life doesn't go according to plan. So I better me fit and ready for whatever lays ahead.
My wish for myself this year is to continue to make choices that are good for me. I want to challenge myself mentally and physically. An action research project, marathon training, and group fitness instructor training are all on the calendar. These will make me be a better person, a better mom, a better wife, friend, sister, teacher, etc.
Make a good choice for YOU today. It ripples onto everyone around you.
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