Tuesday, December 17, 2013
So for the past couple of weeks my routine has been more off and on than I'd like. I've been decent with sticking to my food plan, but my exercise hasn't been as consistent. With my new school and work schedule, I really HAVE to get up on time in order to stay on schedule throughout the day. When I get off schedule something unfortunately gets bumped off the to-do list, and unfortunately that something is usually my workout. It's not something I do on purpose, but work for school and work for clients has to be completed by deadlines. When I try to fit working out into an already tight, off-schedule day I usually don't give it my all, skimp and cheat on movements and end up rushing myself because I'm stressed that I won't have time to finish everything.
But I'm on a mission to correct that issue. Tomorrow is my regular weigh-in day, and despite the debacle of last week's weigh-in (both my old scale and the Wii Fit giving me every wrong measurement under the sun), I'm excited to finally be able to get a more accurate measurement and get back on track!
Actually, tomorrow will allow me to take some measurements I wasn't previously able to take, including body fat %, visceral fat level (the fat around the vital organs), skeletal muscle % and even BMR! As an early start to the holidays I treated myself to a few new health & fitness related toys. I figure if you're going to spend money, it might as well be on something to support your health goals right? So I am the proud owner of a new body composition scale, a new digital tape measure (for more accurate measurements of my waist, bust, hips, thigh and upper arm) and the Spark Activity Tracker! I've spent tonight setting everything up so that I can enjoy a slightly more effortless weigh-in and measure-in tomorrow. Everything came just in time too! Tomorrow is the day in the month when I take all measurements, so now I'll be able to start tracking a few for the first time and will be able to complete the process more easily. As tempting as it is to try out the new scale tonight, I will hold off and wait until the proper time tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow is also treadmill day, and I've been concerned for a while that our treadmill isn't accurately reporting the number of calories I'm burning. The problem is that I can't tell whether I'm burning more or less than what the display reports. So it will be nice for the Spark Activity Tracker to figure all of that out! I realize they will still be estimates, but they'll likely be closer than what I was getting before. I also won't need to hold on to the handles as much, so I can get more from the workout!
Super excited about my new toys and excited to take my weight and other measurements tomorrow. I'm not expecting a huge amount of progress as I have been less consistent this past couple of weeks, but if I've lost even 1 lb since last week I'll be a happy camper. I'm getting close to that point in the process where you start to plateau. I'm already working on ways to push through it, but my measurements being off has not helped. At least now I'll have a more accurate picture of where I stand and how much work I need to put in each week to continue seeing the 2 to 3 lbs of weight loss per week I was experiencing before.
So nervous, but also excited! As they say, knowing is half the battle right? :)
Friday, December 13, 2013
I've been on this weight loss journey for about a month and a half now, and while I've started to see some results I've also noticed my rate of weight loss slowing. I have a feeling that is due to several issues (I've been missing out on sleep for the past couple of weeks, not quite making it to 8 glasses of water a day, and experience a little more stress than usual - happy stress but stress none the less). There is also something physical going on that is affecting my ability to push myself further in workouts.
My hips are tight. I can feel it in my everyday movements, but I especially feel it while walking at an incline on the treadmill or doing high knees during my warm-ups. I do yoga, and so have noticed that the Warrior Pose is helping some with this issue. However, it's not helping quite as much as I'd like. I began researching the anatomy of the hip and pelvic region in a better attempt to understand why my hip area is tight and how best to stretch and warm-up this area. What I found is very interesting, and explains quite a lot!
I think it's very likely that I am experiencing what's called anterior pelvic tilt. It is why the curve of your back is too deep and your butt sticks out more than it should. This also causes your gut area to stick out a bit, so that you look too much like an S from the side. Thinking back, I remember someone saying something about this as we stood in line at P.E. class one day. I may have been in the 6th or 7th grade then, and another student made this observation. Of course I didn't think anything about it then. I wasn't even aware of how I looked when standing. Now that I think about it, I have had this issue for quite some time and I think it is the result of compounded side-effects from several different situations.
After reading a bit more on anterior pelvic tilt, I learned that it is most often caused by a sedentary lifestyle in which you sit for the majority of the day. That means that most people with desk jobs probably suffer from this condition to some degree. The fact that I seemed to suffer from it as early as 6th or 7th grade probably has to do with the fact that we sat a LOT as kids in school. Not only did we sit a lot (in every class, at lunch, on the bus, in the auditorium for assemblies and award ceremonies and even sometimes in P.E.), we sat on hard, wooden or plastic chairs or at hard, wooden desks that gave no support to the lower back or glutes. If we weren't sitting in chairs, we were sitting cross-legged on the floor with no attention being paid to posture or the rounding of our spines. So yay, thanks school for ruining my posture and core from an early age! *shakes head*
I was also hit by a car in the 4th grade. I was crossing the street out of getting out of the car to head over to school, and an old lady pulled out of her parallel parking space and picked up speed without paying attention to whether anyone was crossing the street. I fortunately twisted to my left (I'm not even sure how I had the presence of mind to do so, that had to be God and my mother and grandmother as angels watching out for me) so that she did not hit my side. Her huge old Cadillac ended up running over my right ankle though. Since then my right ankle has always been a bit weaker than my left, and my body has been out of alignment. I went to a network chiropractor for a while, and their assessment of my body's alignment issues was enlightening! My shoulders don't sit evenly, one hip sits higher than the other and is slightly twisted (to the left) when I stand tall, and of course the curve of my back is too deep. After I explained the car accident and how my body responded by twisting to the left to protect vital organs, they showed me that my body is still somewhat twisted in that way. I guess physical therapy after the accident didn't do a good-enough job of addressing that issue.
So the combination of being forever out of alignment from that accident, sitting on hard, unsupportive chairs and desks all through school and now sitting for a large portion of the day due to work has aggravated the anterior pelvic tilt that has existed for most of my life anyway. Fortunately (and this is the best part), correcting this condition DOES NOT require doctor's visits, medications or an excessive spending of money! There are simple things I can do right here at home, and even though I may spend a little money in support of what I'm doing, none of it is required and none of it needs to be spent on medicines!
I found an interesting site which explains all of the anatomy related to the lower back, pelvic, hip and upper thigh areas as well as what anterior pelvic tilt is, how common it is, what causes it and how to fix it. If you're curious or feel that you might be suffering from this issue, I suggest giving this link a look:
So, I can do a combination of stretches and strengthening exercises to begin to slowly correct the issue. The walking I'm doing, as well as my attempts to stand more during the day, are likely helping also. However, I know that my sneakers are old and weren't purchased with any expert 's help. They're probably not as supportive as they should be for my particular standing and walking style. So it may be worth it to have my standing and walking style evaluated to understand what type of shoes and in-soles may best support me while I stand and walk. That's probably the extent of the money I'd spend, either on custom inserts for my current shoes or new shoes altogether.
I plan to do the stretches and strengthening exercises twice a day (in the morning and before bed) for the next 2 months in order to specifically address this issue. Hopefully between that plan, getting better support for my feet and being more active in general I will be able to correct the issue and strengthen my core enough in time for summer time. I plan to enroll in a swimming class, but realize that this issue may affect how well I'm able to move in the water. So I want to begin addressing it before then.
It also helps me realize that many of the clients I work with in the future may suffer from the same issue if they sit a lot due to work, fatigue or being overweight / obese. So I'm am beginning some research now to understand how to address this problem in my clients before we begin a full-on fitness plan. It will mesh well with another idea I've had recently, so I can't wait to see how the two will work together!
All in all, I'm just glad that I have a better understanding of why my lower half sometimes can't keep up during workouts, why I start to feel tighter rather than more warm-ed up, and how to fix it without medicating or needing to see a "specialist" since that's usually the recommendation when you go to a doctor for an issue like this. No x-rays, scans, specialists or crazy meds needed.
Other Stretches for Your Hip Flexors and Hip Mobility:
If you're thinking your shoes or in-soles aren't supportive enough, I suggest taking the time to go to an athletic fitting specialist to have your foot size, shape, arch and gait analyzed so that you can get the RIGHT type of shoe. It may be more expensive than just picking up a pair of running or walking shoes from a Walmart or Target, but it will be money well spent when you wear out those generic shoes in a few months of regular physical activity. Check out these 2 types of stores to see if there is something similar in your area:
New Balance Sports
Fleet Foot Sports
***Don't mistake actual New Balance shoes for the ones you can get at any shoe store. They're quite different. At the actual New Balance store, they do a full analysis and measurement of your foot and gait to see if you pronate, supernate etc. They get you in the RIGHT shoes for the type of sport you're doing. They're also much more expensive than the generic New Balance shoes you can buy without an analysis, but the expense is worth it! My fiance used to work at a New Balance store, and those shoes were the best I've ever had for walking. They're quite old now though, so it's time for an update!
Curious, does anyone else feel like this issue may be holding them back in their workouts? If you're experiencing form issues with walking, running or strength training, this might also be why and may help you improve your form and therefore your performance!
Monday, November 18, 2013
This morning I woke up with tons of energy for meeting the day. I was excited about today's workout (it's treadmill day) and was just finishing up my breakfast. But I kept hearing something weird in the family room, like something small kept falling on the floor or hitting the window. So I armed myself with a broom and wasp spray and headed in to check it out.
There was something like a wasp or hornet or yellow jacket (I don't really know how to tell the difference) on the window of the back screen door. So I sprayed it, but had a feeling that wasn't it. I ended up finding one in a window in the same room. I sprayed that one too. Then I turn to get my dog off the couch so he won't have to breathe in the fumes, and see one fly out of the fireplace only to land on my Wii remote. So great, three stinging things in less than 10 minutes, tons of wasp spray all over the place, heavy fumes in the family room (where I use the Wii to work out), and now I can hear them...they're in the chimney! It must be a nest. We see them inside occasionally and I've always felt that they came from the fireplace, but I've never seen so many at a time. And seeing the one just blatantly fly out of the fireplace is proof enough. There's a nest in there somewhere, and it's probably a large one if they keep making their way in this easily. There's no cover for the fireplace, only a metal curtain. So there really isn't a way to keep them out right now. I was going to just empty a few cans of spray in and around the fireplace, but it's gas and I'd hate to be the cause of a major explosion all because I was trying to kill wasps.
Now I'm terrified. I'm allergic to wasp stings, and everything I use to work out is downstairs...Wii (which I use for fitness games as well as the work out videos I purchased on Amazon), treadmill...everything. I can only imagine what might have happened if they'd been flying in while I was jumping around doing my daily exercises. I probably would have received several stings. I had to calm my panic attack enough to grab the rest of my breakfast and my phone and take off for the upstairs where they don't seem to hang out. I'm now barricaded in my room with a towel stuffed under the door. I can see them outside of my window though, and I think I understand how they're getting into the chimney.
*sigh* I'm so frustrated now. I had planned for this to be a great day and to really enjoy my workouts. Instead I'm stuck upstairs in my room, scared to death and jumping at every little sound or every time I think I feel something on my skin. I've also made my poor little dog terrified. I don't think he's ever seen me like this. Dad went on a spraying spree downstairs after I nearly banged down his door. I don't know what the situation is though and now he's gone...off to help my aunt & uncle at a hospital appointment. So until he comes home and gives the all-clear, I'm stuck. :(
Oh well, guess I'll do some studying and reading for my first certification, and maybe do some reading for fun. Not like there's much else I can do at this point...
As a side note, I HATE living in Georgia sometimes. We're past the middle of November, and instead of chilly Fall weather it's sunny and nearly 80 degrees outside. Most insects should have gone into hibernation at this point, but not here. Except for the changing leaves (and many still haven't started to change yet), you'd think it were summer time. If the weather were like it's supposed to be the wasps would probably be dormant right now, but they're enjoying the rebirth of summer. I can't wait to move to a place where the seasons act more like they're supposed to!
Saturday, November 16, 2013
I have always loved cheese! My family even occasionally likes to torment me with stories of how I used to raid their fridges for cheese and cookie dough when I was little. So it's not surprise that I'd LOVE grilled cheese sandwiches, right?
Until recently though, this was always a fatty undertaking for me, to the point that I stopped making them to avoid all of the calories and fat and sodium I felt I was getting. But it wasn't the sandwich that was the problem. It was me, and my lack of portion control. Until recently I was like most people who never really paid much attention to the suggested serving sizes on packaging. I'd just eat or use however much I felt I needed to enjoy my meal. That meant that whenever I cooked with butter or margarine or vegetable spread (we've been using Smart Balance for a few years now), I just slathered on a guestimated amount heedless of the serving size suggestion. I also used to make 2 sandwiches each time, without fail. So of course one of my all-time favorite sandwiches ended up being way fattier than what I needed.
This morning though, I faced a problem. I ran out of my blend of juiced fruits & veggies and am substituting low-sodium V8 juice until I can go shopping for fruits & veggies again. But the V8 is WAY lower in calories than my juiced fruits & veggies (I tend to use higher-calorie but also high-nutrient fruits & veggies like avocado, edamame, bananas, pomegranate juice etc.). So for the past 2 days I've been substituting, I haven' been meeting my calorie goals. Yesterday's total was less than 800! And while I wasn't necessarily hungry, I did feel less energized throughout the day. So this morning I wanted to find a way to add in more calories without being too unhealthy. After reading a few recipe ideas for grilled cheese sandwiches here on SP, I decided to take a look at what's the the fridge to see if I could make it work.
And you know what, I did! I stuck to the serving size for Smart Balance (which proved to be MORE than enough when I spread it directly on the bread before frying), and used 2 pieces of cheese. I had my sandwich with 8 oz. of low-sodium V8 juice, my multi-vitamin, kelp supplement and 3 full glasses of water. My breakfast totals were just fine: 430 calories, 38 carbs, 25g of fat and 18g of protein. I know based on the way I eat that my other meals throughout the day will be lower, so I know already that I'll be within my recommended ranges for fat and carbs.
Turns out this combo may be a great pre-workout meal! I've gotten enough carbs and good fat to perk up my energy level. Then I'll enjoy a meal replacement shake and perhaps some oatmeal to recover after.
I used SP's Recipe Calculator to help figure out all of my totals for the sandwich (turns out you can make a tasty one for less than 400 calories). I've always struggled with how to calculate calories for things I make at home, so the Recipe Calculator is a GREAT tool to help. The next time I pick up my fruits & veggies for juicing, I'll use it so that I know exactly what I'm getting out of juicing instead of just estimating! Either way, I'm so happy now that there's a way to include the grilled cheese sandwiches I so love without overdoing it!
Have you tried SP's Recipe Calculator yet? Will you be using it as you prepare your Thanksgiving meal?
Friday, November 15, 2013
Most people love Fridays because they signal the end of the week, a time where people can finally kick their shoes off, let their hair down and hang out with friends and family without having to waking up early the next day. I like Friday for those reasons too, but there are 2 other reasons that Fridays have become super special for me!
My fiance has to be away from home right now...for a very long time. I won't go into detail (another story I'm not quite ready to share yet), but to make a long story short we communicate right now mostly by phone and email. That's great, and I'm thankful that we can. However, when you love someone and spend every day of 7 years with them, phone and email simply aren't enough. We do get to visit each other, but right now finances will only let us do so about twice a month. So for 2 to 3 weeks out of the month we have to go without waking up next to each other, seeing each other every day or simple things I miss so much like hugging, cuddling on the couch or holding hands.
We will, unfortunately, be in this situation for the next few years. That is a REALLY long time to have to physically be away from the one you love. But that brings me to why I love Fridays as more than just the end of a work week. Every Friday I make it to is one week down on this long journey, and every week down brings us closer to putting another month behind us. Since I started to change my eating habits and lifestyle and joined SP, focusing on my health seems to take up a good part of my day. I work from home, so I also occasionally have work projects to complete. For the most part though, I work out, keep up with my accountability partners and read lots of interesting blog posts, forum discussions and articles here on SP. Then I look up, and nearly the whole day is gone! When every day goes like that, Friday comes up in no time for me, and that puts me one week closer to my fiance being home again for good!
When we can visit, we do so on the weekends. So Friday coming is also a happy thing on the weeks we can visit each other because I know I'll get to see him the very next day, or the day after! So it's not just a time to wind down from the week and relax. It's a happy time where I get to spend time with the man I love and make new memories to keep me going throughout the next week.
I am thankful to have reached another Friday in good health and high spirits. I won't get a visit this weekend, but I'll get one next weekend! So until then I'll enjoy my phone time, and emails and the fact that another week can be crossed off both our calendars! Yay for Fridays!!!
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