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Hiking is not for wimps

Saturday, May 26, 2012

This morning, I got up, drove to a park 20 minutes away and joined my meetup group to go hiking. It was a diverse group of 25 men and women; most of us appeared to be in our 40s and 50s. We were white, black, asian and latino. One young man had just retired from the marines. All of us showed up because of our interest in hiking.

The park included a marina, lake, playground, swimming hole and paved, mulch and grassy trails. Our group hiked on an uneven, rocky and sometimes muddy trail that snaked deep in the woods adjacent to a stream, through a clearing, around the lake and then back to the parking lot. The entire hike took just under two hours.

Unlike walking, you really are picking through challenging terrain. You're jumping, scrambling, and hopping around on mud, moss-covered rocks, dried creek beds and tall grassy areas. I enjoyed every second of it. Especially this one moment when we encountered a huge swarm of butterflies and were surrounded by them during the hike. That was almost magical.

When I returned home, I discovered to my horror that my body was COVERED with ticks. Ewww!! I nearly freaked out. I did a THOROUGH mirror check and scrubbed myself in the shower. Sooo, if I fall out in a couple of days, I'll know what's up.

Despite that hazard, I plan to go hiking about once or twice a month until winter returns. I had an absolute blast with the group laughing, talking, and joking around.

According to my fitness tracker, I'm supposed to be doing strength training today. I think I'll do that tomorrow or monday because I'm beat.

Onward and downward.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIBANANA 5/26/2012 8:22PM

  So glad you found a group to hike with! That's a lot of people!

Be careful but enjoy

Diana

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FLEURGARDEN 5/26/2012 8:03PM

    That's great that you enjoyed the group. I've looked into a meetup group near me, but the closest one is over half an hour away and they meet really early in the morning. Maybe one of these days I'll give it a try.

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MDWSTRNR 5/26/2012 6:30PM

    Glad you had a good time. Sorry about the ticks. I'm not really pro-spray, but I've found that a good insect repellent on the cuffs of my grubby hiking pants cuts down the numbers somewhat. Hike on!

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WRITINGBLUEHAWK 5/26/2012 3:40PM

    A crazy person in the woods?! OMG, BarbaEllen, that's an incredible story. @Daizystarlite and Ivabru--It really was lovely and the workout was amazing.

Comment edited on: 5/26/2012 3:41:23 PM

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BARBAELLEN 5/26/2012 3:26PM

    I always loved hiking, but I've become a wimp. My most recent organized hikes were not in parks, but in deep woods. The first time, we had to step over a couple of big dead raccoon bodies (gross) and then make a U-turn (back over the raccoons again) because of rattlesnakes. The next time, a professor lead a group into the wilderness and a crazy person came out of the woods and beat the professor unconscious with a shovel. I decided to try again this Fall on a hiking trail around a beautiful Catoctin lake. This year, new posters were up every couple yards with instructions on how to back up slowly if a bear was coming toward you. I was OUT OF THERE!

Maybe I need to try again, like you, in a civilized park setting! Sounds like fun!
emoticon

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DAIZYSTARLITE 5/26/2012 2:48PM

    I LOVE hiking!

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IVNABRU 5/26/2012 2:43PM

  Wow that sounds like such a beautiful place! Enjoy your time next time you go!

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Apologist for getting healthier??

Friday, May 25, 2012

The last few times I've met up with my girlfriends for dinner, I've found myself almost apologizing for making healthier choices. It's become obvious to everyone that I've changed up my eating habits. In one situation, a girlfriend wondered aloud if I was getting enough food. When I responded, I almost felt like I was confessing; "I'm trying to avoid diabetes." Usually, they nod and it's done with. No big deal, right?

The question I have, is why do I feel like I need to explain anything? I don't say anything to them about what they choose to eat. Can you imagine me telling them, "Oooooh, those fries are full of transfats, I wouldn't eat those if I were you."

I'm not upset about it, but curious about this dynamic. I've been in three situations and three times, I've had to explain why my food consisted of chicken and vegetables instead of fried this or that.

I have made a concerted effort not to be obnoxious about my changing eating habits. I don't make any grand announcements about being "on" or "off" any diet. I don't bore friends or family with talk about calories and fat or working out, etc. In the past, I've been around people who do, and it's extremely boring and annoying.

Last weekend, I attended a relative's high school graduation, which was held in a building where you had to climb two flights of stairs to go into the arena. One of my family members declared, without a hint of sarcasm, that I would not need to workout that day, because going up and down two flights of stairs should count. Seriously?! It took all the discipline I had not to respond.

I don't mind spreading the Spark to people who are ready to hear about what I'm doing, but people who are observing my eating habits with a freakish curiosity, aren't ready to listen to anything I have to say.



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUSSELLORAMA 5/27/2012 12:08PM

    I don't know why this dynamic happens either. I don't say much about my changes in eating but it is annoying when everyone is all in your plate criticizing your food. Kudos to you for the great attitude!

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MRFUZZ 5/26/2012 11:20AM

    It seems the od saying misery loves company is still true. I'll hear things like , "you've been so good. You can have a cookie.". Etc. Well, thats what got me into this mess, too many cookies,etc. I think people are just trying to justify to themselves that their own habits are ok. Mine are getting better.

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LEMALONE1960 5/26/2012 5:29AM

    LOL- you should try living with my MIL...I'm constantly having to explain why I wont eat the grease laden foods she makes about once a week.
And I agree- altho i DO announce to everyone that I'm eating healthier- but I dont apologize for it. I just let everyone know- and be done with it. if they like it fine- if they dont and say something snarky, I just look at them and tell them that what they put in their body is THEIR bussiness and what I put in mine is MY bussiness. After a couple of times telling someone this- people will leave you alone.......unless they're your MIL, that is!!
;-)
Hang in there- and dont feel like you have to explain-or apologize- its YOUR life and HEALTH you are looking out for. emoticon

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MDWSTRNR 5/25/2012 11:13PM

    It sounds to me like your friends are worried that, now that you're making healthy changes, you're judging them and their (less healthy) choices. Hopefully if you stay mellow about it, they'll settle down.





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SONYALATRECE 5/25/2012 10:40PM

    Been there. Done that.
Keep progressing anyway.

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LILSHINE 5/25/2012 4:25PM

    Great blog and attitude. I'm sure one day they'll be asking questions on how to get started on a healthy lifestyle. Keep up the great work

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My First Spinning Class

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yesterday, I did an excellent job of sticking to my eating and exercise plan. It was truly an A+ day. I got off work in time to attend my first spinning (cycling) class. There were 10 of us, including the instructor who was lean as a piece of gristle, a woman so grotesquely thin I wondered if she were anorexic, another woman who was what Iíll call ďfit-fatĒ. She was 5í6Ē and about 240 lbs, but firm and in shape. The group was all female and ages ranged from about 23 to 50. I was the only black woman, which only mattered because I admit I was concerned about sweating my hairstyle out.

If youíve ever attended a spinning class you will already know that itís done on stationary bikes and the instructor offers you guided imagery over a din of high energy music. Thank goodness I like rock music, because the instructor was playing stuff like Guns ĎN Roses, Van Halen and Poison during the class.

The class was intense, but I kept up with the group while maintaining my own pace. By the time our 45 minutes was over, I was drenched in sweat and my hairstyle had called it quits. I wondered if I would ever return not because of the intensity and my hair, but because the dang cycle seats were so hard and uncomfortable. Also, I have to warn you that if you've ever had knee problems, this is probably not the class for you. I'm grateful that I haven't, but standing up while pedaling is tough.

As I was driving home, I felt this twinge of self-pity as my inner voice unleashed a barrage of thoughts:

Why is getting healthy such hard work?
Why am I working so hard to drop one measly pound?
Why must this take so long?
Is a workout this hard worth the effort?
How am I going to do this the rest of my life?
Why did I let my weight get to the point where I would have to work like a dog to take it off?

My conclusion is that, for me, spinning is not going to be a class I take often, because it seemed more like work than fun. I think Iíll stick to group classes like Zumba or step aerobics.

Saturday, I am slated to go hiking with a meetup group I just joined. Iím looking forward to the experience because most of my friends are older and inactive, so I don't have anyone to workout with. Iím hoping that through this group, Iíll be able to go hiking more often. Maybe by joining groups that like outdoor activities, Iíll find a way to have fun while Iím active.



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TACONES 5/25/2012 10:25AM

    emoticon

Those seats are really hard. emoticon

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EXQUISITEDEE 5/24/2012 11:24AM

    Keep up the great work!!!



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FLEURGARDEN 5/24/2012 11:16AM

    I drip sweat too when I ride on the stationery bike, but I haven't been brave enough to attend a spin class yet. That intense of a workout and standing up while pedaling just doesn't appeal to me. I agree with you that we need to find activities we enjoy so we will continue doing them for the longhaul and it won't seem like so much work to maintain our weight loss when we get to our goal weight.

Keep up the great work!

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Jumpstarting the more nutritious habits

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This morning, I got up and fixed my spinach and strawberry smoothie and two slices of turkey bacon for breakfast. At work, I'm drinking a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. For lunch, I packed a flatbread sandwich with spinach leaves, turkey and guacamole, baby carrots and hummus, and watermelon slices. For dinner I plan to have a leftover chicken breast and a salad, plus a skinny cow for dessert. I am snacking on pistachio nuts, a habit I attained from doing the South Beach diet two years ago.

This evening, I will go to the gym. If I leave work in time, I'll drop in on a group exercise class, maybe cycling, step aerobics or zumba. If not, I will do 15 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the stationary bicycle. Then, I'll go home, shower, chill and get ready for another day.

For me, planning is critical. I'm the most disorganized, unfocused person, so it's a victory if I know exactly what I'm going to do each day. Plus, the thought of eating the food I've planned doesn't fill me with dread. I happen to LIKE the foods I'm eating and would eat them whether I'm on SP or not. I think that's critical to staying on program. Also, being willing to try new stuff like my spinach and strawberry smoothie. And finding ways to include your favorite foods in your plan. For example, I love guacamole. By using it as a condiment on my sandwich, I get the taste I love but the calories are controlled. Adding spinach leaves to my sandwich gives me an extra kick of vegetables and I'm not sacrificing taste.

There are also some compromises I refuse to make. I don't like black coffee and I'm trying to reduce my intake of artificial sweeteners. I also don't like fat-free cheese or salad dressings. I just count the calories. Each of us will have our own ways of making this work, these are mine.

I had set a goal to drop 20 lbs by August 31st. I have 16 lbs to go, so it's all good. Even better, I have no idea how much I weigh right now because I put the scale away until June 9th.

Onward and downward.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADRIENALINE 5/23/2012 2:42PM

    I really like the way the way you think. I lose some control because I have a family to think about but I can plan bkfst and lunch for myself and just that and my additional fitness efforts have made me successful. A much better way of determining if you are losing weight is to pay more attention to how your clothes fit rather than to worry about what the scale says.

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BUTTAPECANB 5/23/2012 12:00PM

    I really wish I could toss my scale. Im addicted to still trying to find out whether what im doing works. After coming off my TOM, im hoping this friday will give me atleast a pound. Im trying to not get discouraged but lets hope for the best.

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BUTTAPECANB 5/23/2012 10:52AM

    I really wish I could toss my scale. Im addicted to still trying to find out whether what im doing works. After coming off my TOM, im hoping this friday will give me atleast a pound. Im trying to not get discouraged but lets hope for the best.

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My first homemade smoothie

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last week, I met with a nutritionist to learn more about how I should be eating if I want to lose weight and reverse my prediabetes. Many of the tips she provided were familiar, but there were several I had never tried such as fixing smoothies for breakfast. She highly recommended a morning smoothie because it was an efficient way to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet.

This morning, I woke up and threw the following into my blender:
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup skim milk
4 oz vanilla yogurt
1 c. fresh, sliced strawberries
1 c. fresh spinach leaves
1 T flax meal
1/2 c frozen banana slices

I got a 20 oz smoothie for about 320 calories. It was a ghastly color, but really delicious! Not good for a snack, but perfect for a meal. Plus, the prep and cleanup didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. I love the idea of chopping everything first, putting the solid ingredients in a container and just pouring it into the blender in the morning. That will definitely save time.

It's not even 9am and I've already had 1 serving of vegetables and at least two servings of fruit. Nice!

Onward and downward.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIRENNEA 5/24/2012 12:49PM

    Stealing this recipe for my *book* and thread on my team! Thanks!

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LILSHINE 5/23/2012 8:31PM

    I've been green smoothing for the past 3 weeks. I drink either as a meal replacement or as a snack. I feel so much better since I started doing this. I use spinach, whey protein powder, peanut butter, banana, skim milk. I add a lot of spinach so it's mainly green but it taste aww sooo good. I've tried a few other varieties with pineapples, mango and also beets with carrots, apples and kiwis. Mix it up I've been told you'll be glad you did. So far I have been. I have lots more energy and the weight loss has been great too.

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SLFGOLF 5/23/2012 1:01AM

    I really need to start having something for breakfast. That has been my weakness all along. Smoothies might be a smart way to go. This sounds like a great recipe. I'll have to give it a try.

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JAZZEJR 5/23/2012 12:10AM

    Ummmm, yummmy. Did the spinach & strawberries make it burgundy colored? :)

ButtapecanB, I like to juice spinach (a fistful), carrots (1 lb), a couple of celery stalks, and an apple. It's good!

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SONYALATRECE 5/22/2012 7:23PM

    Sounds tasty!
I love smoothies for breakfast, too.
Win-Win all the way.

~Sonya

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BUTTAPECANB 5/22/2012 10:04AM

    I want to try something similar like this with juicing. Not exactly sure what to add though...any suggestions?

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