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Moving: Day 12

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Well, moving may be making it difficult to find time for my regular exercise regimen (though I did work out again on Monday and am working out out how to find time tomorrow...) but moving is a lot of hard work. First I was painting and then I was moving stuff and now I'm either carrying boxes around (mostly books, so they are heavy!) or I'm going up and down ladders figuring out how to fit our books on shelves. We have well over 2000 books, and we're tight on shelf space, so I've been moving the books around a lot.

I'm soooo sore. I can barely walk when I get up in the morning or if I sit down for a few minutes. After this, my normal work out routine will probably seem like a piece of cake! emoticon

I bet if I had managed to eat better I would have lost a lot of weight, but oh well. I've been working out (on top of moving!), drinking water, trying to get enough sleep and everything and still get everything done on schedule, so I'm not doing too badly. Especially considering how much eating out we've been doing.

We really need to get some kitchenware to the new apartment, though, so that we're not eating out all the time while we're here.


Day 5 of Painting

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Today was day 5 of painting the new apartment and I am beginning to wonder why I ever thought that color was worth all this effort. Grin. It will look great though when it's done--and I'm so tired of institutional white. Though at the moment, I'm just really tired and sore in general, and we haven't even started moving anything really!

I'm really hoping that all that working out has meant that I'm less sore than I would have been otherwise. It's likely, actually. Because I've been constantly, though gradually, adding or changing my routine, it's really hard to see any real progress in terms of fitness, but the very fact that I've stepped up the routine means that I've made progress, right? If so, I would really hate to know what I would have felt like if I had pulled 5 days of painting without it!

I did, at least, get my regular anaerobic exercises in on Monday, sore or not, and while I could tell I was tired I did alright. Today I went for a walk exploring the new area--it's a good place to walk and it looks like there's even an organized community walk I can participate with in the mornings after we're finally moved in. It was a beautiful day for walking, too--warm without being overly hot, and sunny with a hint of breeze. Unfortunately, I ended up cutting my walk shorter than planned because I gave myself really nasty blisters. Note to self: next time wear better shoes!

It's really hard to eat healthy, though, while working on the new apartment. We don't have any kitchen supplies over there--just some plastic silverware, plates, and cups. There's a fridge, but no microwave, and we been working for 10 or more hours every day, so we haven't really had time to cook even if we had pots and pans. But eating out is just killing my diet. Even when I don't load up on fats, I'm getting way too many carbohydrates! Not to mention way too many calories.

Fortunately, tomorrow is the last day I will be spending the whole day there for awhile, and before the next phase we'll hopefully be able to get some basic kitchen supplies over there.


Feel-Good Moments

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I'm really sore today. I wish I could say I was sore because I worked out, but no, I'm sore because I've spent the last 3 days painting--10 hours of painting. But the new place is starting to look nice and so far at least we're on schedule.

But despite the fact that I ditched my normal workout routine for hours of painting, it was a good weekend for health and body awareness.

1) I got to talk to my dad for quite awhile about health related stuff. He's always been pretty in to physical activities and working out, much more so than I am, and he's done a lot of research so he was a good person to talk to. Also, he's offered me free weights that are a little heavier than mine. Free is good! And talking to him was pretty self-confirming. We talked about sparks, and he gave me some advice on things I can try, and it was generally a really positive experience. AND he says that I'm looking better than I was around Christmas--this coming from the man who at Christmas commented on my face being fatter than he remembered (um, thanks dad.) So for him to comment that I was looking better--thinner, fitter, and generally healthier--well, that was encouraging.

2) I saw a really good friend of mine who I don't get to see very often because she know lives out of state. I hadn't seen her since Christmas, and she too commented that I was looking good and asked if I had lost weight. I hadn't, to the best of my knowledge, despite 3 months of working out, but she said I look thinner and generally better. And that was also very encouraging!

I know, intellectually, that muscle weighs more than fat and so if I work out and build muscle I may not actually lose weight for awhile, but that the muscle will be better for the long run than just losing fat. But it has been frustrating to be working out as regularly as I can (which isn't always as regular as it should be, but I'm trying and that counts for something) and to see little or no discernible differences--certainly I haven't lost any weight according to my scale! So it was definitely positive reinforcement to have two people on the same day comment that I looked better.


(I wish sparks had an icon for Happy Dance, because today was really a Happy Dance kind of day. Grin.)


Carrots, Not Spurs: the Importance of Mini Goals and Rewards

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I posted yesterday about struggling to balance my life (school, family, friends, domestic responsibilities) with a regular, MWF work out routine, and stressing when I couldn't get them to mesh. I even posted on one of the message boards asking how essential it was to work out consistently--is it the dire if I miss a day or push the routine back a day or something, or just a minor set back?

This morning, I read a spark article about the importance of rewards as motivators. The article talked about how a lot of us motivate ourselves in negative ways--by criticizing ourselves if we mess up, or feeling guilty if we skip a work out day or go over our calorie limit. The article said that this is not a good long term solution because we'll just end up frustrated and discouraged; instead we should focus on what we DO accomplish, and reward ourselves for the mini-mile stones. If we reward ourselves for our small victories, we'll be more likely to make the big ones. And, as I wrote earlier, small victories are important.

And I realized that I had been focusing on the negative--stressing out because I wasn't able to focus on the rigid MWF schedule and discouraged because, realistically, life isn't always going to cooperate with my routine. And I realized that what I need to do is focus on the positive. So what if I'm not able to work out this Friday (or at least am not willing to get by on 3 hours of sleep and wake up at 3 am to do so). I mean, yes it would be better if I could make it work (AND get sleep) but that's not going to happen. Instead I need to focus on getting back on the wagon on Monday, and reward myself when I do things right.

So now I need to brainstorm so mini-goals and rewards to go with them.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAASHA17 4/29/2009 1:08PM

    I did just that!! i didnt workout monday and tuesday..i was frustrated but it made it worse so i pulled myself together and went to workout today and i feel better...gud going!!i am glad u did that!!
Take care

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Help! Balancing Fitness with Life

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm having a hard time balancing the Sparks exercise program with the rest of my life. Actually, it's not really sparks' fault--I have been struggling with this issue since I stepped up my exercise regimen back in February, when I went from my more informal--and much more flexible--program of trying to get a little exercise every week to trying a more formal program.

I did a lot of research (my way of approaching any problem) and then tried to design a program that was both effective and balanced. It also includes not only warm ups, strengthening exercises, aerobics of some kind, and stretches, but also my physical therapy exercises. I'm told that consistency is important and that you should allow a day between anaerobic exercises to give your muscles time to recover. So once I had a plan in place I've tried hard to implement it every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and if I worked out between those dates I tended to chose aerobics and stretches. Sounds good, right?

The problem is time--realistically, it eats at least 2 and a half hours out of my day if you include everything, and sometimes it feels like a lot more than that. And while some days that's doable, some days it's really, really hard to find that time. Some days it feels like instead of exercising so that I can better enjoy my life, it has become my life. How do I balance that?

The problem is aggravated by the fact that I'm about to start moving and so routine is pretty much thrown out the window. Take Friday, for example. I'm supposed to get both aerobic and anaerobic exercise on Friday. But Friday morning I need to leave here no later than 8 am in order to make the meeting to sign our new lease, and once that's done we're going to paint all day. Once the painting is done, we're meeting with a friend to go to a book signing. I will have things I need to arrange before I get up that morning to leave, so even without exercise I'll have to be up at least by 6 am if not earlier, and I'm not going to stop moving until probably 11 pm. Dedication is all well and good but I draw the line at getting up at 3:30 in the morning so that I can work out. Nor can I just push my work out onto Saturday, as I've been known to do in the past, because the entire weekend is absolutely booked already. To be honest, I'm not sure I'll even manage to get any exercise tomorrow, either, or at least not anaerobic. I can at least go for a walk or something, even though we don't live in a very pedestrian friendly area, but there's very little space at the moment because of all the boxes. There's barely room to walk at the moment.

Now, moving is not a normal situation--I haven't moved for years and I don't plan to move for at least a few more years. So maybe it's no big deal if my routine falls apart and I miss some days in the next month as we work on the new place, box everything up, move it, and then unpack. But my life is pretty chaotic even on a normal basis, and it's not that uncommon that I just don't have time or space to work out. When is it okay to make exceptions? When do exceptions become the norm? How do I balance this?

I know that one common bit of advice is that you incorporate exercise into your life--taking stairs, for example. But I've done that for years. Back before I damaged my hip, that was enough; I didn't think about thinks like weight training or getting in at least 20 minutes of aerobics. I was also younger then, and more fit. But now that doesn't seem to be helping by itself, which is why I started more serious, formal exercises in the first place. But while I know it's important to find time, I also don't want it to take over my life, overwhelming everything else.

Maybe it will be easier at the new place. It's a great place to walk, ride your bike, or roller blade, and there are tennis courts (yay!) and swimming pools nearby. There's also a small fitness center near by--it's not very big but it has the basics, which is all I need for now. All of this is very conveniently located, which hopefully will make it over all much easier to get into and stay in shape.

But in the meantime, I'm really struggling at balancing exercise with everything else--time with friends and family, my school work, housework, and so forth. How vital is consistency? Will I eventually learn how to strike a balance between the two? I'm just starting to feel like I'm making some progress; I don't want to lose that as we start moving. But I also don't want my life to take a back seat to working out.


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