Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Something About This Rubbed Me The Wrong

I'm not sure if it was the fact that this was posted on a group facebook page for the gym I frequent by a man.

I am not sure if it was the fact that only one type of body shape/fat percentage is consistently being exalted on that group page. 

I'm not sure if it was the fact that it undermined the fact that she obviously was in shape  and eating healthy prior and during to her pregnancies.

I'm not sure if its the fact that it undermines the trade-offs women are free  to make and the personal preferences each woman has regarding her appearance

It was probably a mix of all these things....


The picture features the beautiful Maria Kang - entrepreneur, fitness instructor, and mom. I googled her name and interestingly enough I wasn't the only one who felt that way...I don't necessarily agree with all of the points below but I found them interesting:

http://jdeneen.com/2012/09/17/maria-kangs-photo-on-facebook/
http://chocolatecoveredmutterings.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/whats-your-excuse/
http://melaniechisnall.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/the-enough-campaign-a-time-for-women-to-reclaim-their-beauty/

But others loved the image!

I went to her blog to her website to learn about her. She seems to have a caring heart - dedicated to her husband and kids - dedicated to stay healthy and fit. She says she didn't mean to cause such a stir....she hoped to be an inspiration.


She posted this updated picture..I think it catches her hopes better.

Do pictures of other fit ladies inspire you? I'm careful of the images/women that I pick to inspire me. I like to know that they are consistently eating well and working out.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Day I Broke Scale

 
I replaced my scale today. I've had it for about 3 years.
 
But, I had had the one before that for about 5 years. And one Sunday morning about 3 years ago, I stepped on the scale - just knowing that I was going to see progress after weeks of stalling - I was doing all I could and them some - but the scale hadn't budged.
 
I was so frustrated I stomped on the scale - really hard. And, the scale broke.
 
So...I went out to get a new one and I found a taylor scale that also measured body fat. Which I would now recommend to anyone...I really could see my progress as I got more toned in terms of body fat although the pounds may not always reflect a change. I could also better see how fluctuations happened with my hydration levels.
 
The body fat and water percentage functions on my old scale stopped working - and the height/age function started showing the wrong numbers. I began to worry that the weight would also be inaccurate too. I also replaced it with a new taylor scale that measures body fat. My new scale shows me 2 pounds heavier... :( Come on new scale...Couldn't you do make me lighter? ;)
 
Do you weigh yourself at home? Do you use a certain type of scale? Does it have a body fat function? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Blog Regularly In My Head

I've written dozens and dozens and dozens of posts in my head...

I don't seem to get those thoughts to "paper" (electronically) as much as I would like.

Maybe I should use the voice memo function on my phone more often to capture my thoughts and then transcribe them late?...


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Light At The End of The Tunnel

Friends...

I haven't blogged in forever.

Have been incredibly busy with work, work travel....and physical therapy :(

Yes. This DANG ankle just wasn't getting better on it's own.

I finally got in to the see the doctor the 2nd week of August and she ordered x-rays and then, when that didn't show a fracture, an mri.

After several stressful days of worrying that it might be the worst case scenario of the ones she mentioned, she confirmed that the mri showed scar tissue consistent with a sprain and that she recommended several weeks of physical therapy.

I was diagnosed with weakness of the ankle and tendinitis. Which I googled - apparently it's very common to develop after an ankle. Tendinitis is incredibly uncomfortable and painful.

We spent several weeks doing treatments to help calm it down - ultra-sound and stretches. And, now we are working on getting back to where I was before I got hurt.

I'm almost back to normal as far as strength, movement, and function with the ankle. But, I am definitely not where I was before as far as cardio.

A few more weeks and I should be back to normal and in my heels!!!! It's been a long, long summer without them...

I've got about 3 - 4 more pounds to lose to get back to where I was. I've lost about 4.5 to 5 pounds. I cut my calories down to about 1200 to 1300, watched my carbs count a bit more, and now that i'm feeling a bit better I'm walking a mile/two or in pt or taking a weight lifting class. 

In a few weeks, KC is hosting a 5k/half/relay/marathon. It's a great race with really good turn out and enthusiasm. I should be able to walk/run it! :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Like a sprained ankle, boy, I ain't nothing to play with

As I was working out, this line in this song stuck out to me...It's from Drake's song "Forever".I don't know if I've ever "heard" that line before.

3 months after spraining my ankle, I am finally feeling like I'm almost back to normal. A sprained ankle is NO joke. I can't believe how incredibly painful it can be. I can't believe how limiting it can be either - it's so hard to get around. I've read and been told that a sprained ankle can be more painful and longer to heal than a broken ankle ---- now I know how true that is!

Obviously, that line was written by someone in the know....

It's been a long hard recovery. I feel like I missed out on most of my summer...

I missed hitting my workout goals thanks to having to sit out several weeks altogether or reduced workouts. I wasn't able to teach several of my Zumba classes and I've put on a few pounds....I seem to do something to re-aggravate my ankle right as I felt that I was getting better about 3 or 4 times. In retrospect, I think even though my doctor gave the okay to teach classes after I tripped and fell on the sprained ankle I should have stopped teaching altogether (although I wasn't going full out and I had about a 2 weeks off after the fall) and cut back on my physical activity. It's a hard balance to figure out - resting helps you heal but so does movement and activity. 

I look forward to starting my workouts back to normal next week. I am determined to get back to where I was in March - in terms of strength, endurance, and pounds. My birthday is coming up in 45 days and I want to feel as great as I did for my 30th!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Drumroll Please...

Saturday marked the 3rd year of this blog! So, I decided to give it an updated look! I love the final results and I really enjoyed working with Jen at Just Foolin Design. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An Update

I'm only 5 1 and 1/2....All this time, I thought I was 5'2 and am actually a inch shorter. Thanks to the insistence of a nurse at my doctor's office - I assured her I hadn't grown since I was in the 6th grade (and Jennifer Rankin and I were the tallest girls in our grade....By 7th grade, that was a different story). But she could not be appeased otherwise and I had on some very minimalist sandals...

In other news, this is to be my last week wearing the air splint and on the prescription meds...YeeHaw! This week marks 9 weeks of the sprain and 5 weeks of slipping and falling on that sprained ankle :( I'm feeling much better. I am thinking that in another week or two I'll be fully back to normal. My doctor thought I should be better by now...but I think 5 business trips in 7 weeks has slowed my progress...I probably came back a week to early teaching Zumba...but have had about 4 weeks altogether of not teaching and 2 weeks of teaching an abbreviated schedule.

I've put on some weight but honestly am not sure just how much....I think it's 5 pounds. The scale isn't very reliable right now...in between my cycle, the medication, the extra sodium from meals in restaurants. The measuring tape says I'm about where I was at the beginning of this year...except there are a few areas that are smaller. But, I'm thinner than I was last year...Better toned then I was at the beginning of this year....

I'm exhausted too! The heat doesn't really help either. I've been VERY busy with work - 5 trips in 7 weeks and 7/1 is one our busiest seasons. I've been crazy busy with a few projects around the house...But, the medication I am on -- has a known side effect --- drowsiness (not to mention bloating :( ).

I've definitely lost aerobic capacity. I'm hoping that with a month of focused work I'll be back to where I was before I got hurt. I'm thinking about doing two days when I get back to feeling better.

Honestly...I just feel off my game. Next week, I have the whole week off from work. I plan on vegging out, getting in the extra workouts (ankle willing), and relaxing. I think that'll make me feel like I'm back in it to win it...

Monday, May 28, 2012

3 Year Healthy Anniversary & 200th Post!!!!

So, I was cleaning out a desk drawer at work and came across some of my weigh-in and measurements sheets through the years. My work has a small gym staff with a staff (who have fitness designations) and various fitness classes and challenges. The staff provided free customized workout plans. Until 2010, it was free to use - so I used to took advantage of the services but worked out at 24 hours - which had more convenient hours and more equipment. 


My weigh-ins varied from 136 to 155.

October 2005
MeasurementsYour Results
Weight (lbs)

146
Height (in)

62
Body Mass Index

26.7
Waist / Hip Ratio

0.00


Lifestyle FactorsYour Results
Cigarettes (per day)

0
Eat High Fat Foods

1-2/Wk
Alcohol (drinks/week)

0
Aerobic Fitness Level

Excellent
Perceived Stress

Moderate
Energy Level

Moderate

March 2006

MeasurementsYour Results
Weight (lbs)

135
Height (in)

62
Body Mass Index

24.7
Waist / Hip Ratio

0.00

Lifestyle FactorsYour Results
Cigarettes (per day)

0
Eat High Fat Foods

3-6/Wk
Alcohol (drinks/week)

0
Aerobic Fitness Level

Poor
Perceived Stress

Moderate
Energy Level

Low

March 2007

MeasurementsYour Results
Weight (lbs)

147
Height (in)

62
Body Mass Index

26.9
Waist / Hip Ratio

0.00

Lifestyle FactorsYour Results
Cigarettes (per day)

0
Eat High Fat Foods

3-6/Wk
Alcohol (drinks/week)

0
Aerobic Fitness Level

Good
Perceived Stress

Moderate
Energy Level

Moderate

March 2008

MeasurementsYour Results
Weight (lbs)

155
Height (in)

62
Body Mass Index

28.4
Waist / Hip Ratio

0.00

Lifestyle FactorsYour Results
Cigarettes (per day)

0
Eat High Fat Foods

1-2/Wk
Alcohol (drinks/week)

0
Aerobic Fitness Level

Excellent
Perceived Stress

Moderate
Energy Level

Low

Through those years...I just couldn't quite figure it out...the balance of healthy eating and exercise that I needed to maintain my weight. Some weeks and months, I would be very dedicated to it - 4 to 6 weeks of exercise - skipping unhealthy meals. Other months, I would nail the exercise part but not the eating. Other months, I wouldn't focus on either.


It wasn't to 2009, I hit my highest weight - 160 - that things changed.I started to work on losing the weight again - working out and watching what I was eating. Honestly, I am not sure when exactly during the weight loss that I realized that I needed to do things different.


Perhaps, it was because it was a lot harder to lose the weight that time. Perhaps, it was having to reach out to a dietitian and a trainer for help. Perhaps, it was my rapidily approaching 29th birthday ---Which got me thinking about my 30s and my later years too... 


But, whatever it was...I was determined not to gain the weight back again. I was determined to get healthy and stay healthy. I desired to eat better. I desired to stay active.


As I lost the weight I read any article I could find on weight management and permanent weight loss. I found two books...Thin for Life and Refuse to Gain...solely dedicated to the topic and read it. I found that many - if not most - plans and programs were relatively or very quiet about this subject.


After that....I decided...


1) To keep active (a mix of cardio and strength) 5 to 6 days a week - every week. Figure out activities that I would enjoy and mix in variety to keep it interesting. In the past, I worked out by maybe 2 days one week - 5 the next - nothing for a week or two - 3 after that. 


2) To eat better. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, yogurts, and lean proteins. I learned about new types of food and combinations of foods, portion sizes, and more.


3) To figure out how to balance fitness and healthy eating with a busy schedule, family responsibilities, and a social life. I had to learn how to make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas with out gaining 10lbs. I had to learn how to keep my exercise schedule even if I traveled to another city & state for work. I had to learn how to attend a birthday party without overindulging. 


4) To figure out how to indulge wisely. Enjoying a few tasty treats at a barbeque, taking my nephew to get ice cream on a hot summer day, enjoying a steak at a business dinner...I wanted to be able to have my cake and eat it too BUT fit into my jeans.    


5) To keep myself motivated. I started to subscribe to several health magazines and blogs  and regularly purchase health and fitness books.


6) To weigh myself regularly and stay with an acceptable weight range. I weigh myself regularly - everyday. I gave away all my clothes I used to wear when I was heavier. If I find myself at the upper limit of the range or beyond, I work to slim back down...


It was on this day 3 years ago...that I made a decision to change. I had just gotten back from a GREAT trip from Memphis. Good food, good music, and good times. I got home and looked at the pictures in dismay...this couldn't possibly be me and what I've become...Then, I step on the scale...it said 160 - a new high. I changed my clothes and hit the gym and never looked back....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tripped & Fell On My Sprained Ankled :(

Last Monday, I tripped last week and fell and landed on my side with my spained ankle as I was rushing out to meet a client for dinner. 

I was starting to feel better - almost normal. My ankle swole up again, was painful, and I got a new bruise. I spent the next few days at a conference educating and entertaining clients along with the rest of my team. By Friday, the swelling and pain hadn't come down so I went back to my doctor. He examined my ankle, prescriped me a 800g of ibuprofen (which I am to take every 8 hours), and a air splint for a month. He then sent me off for x-rays. The x-ray technician was so kind as to have a doctor in the office look at the x-rays and tell me the results before I left (since she knew I had fallen and we were approaching the holiday weekend - she wasn't sure when my doctor could reach me) - no fracture :) So thankful!!!


The airsplint looks like this. I had to be customed fitted for it.

I'm still in a considerable amount of pain and discomfort, but I am moving around pretty well. I'm frustrated that I can't fully workout or prepare for teaching class or even get around like I want to...I've gained a few pounds. I know that I have lost some of aerobic capability and some muscle tone.

But, injuries and set backs happen to everyone at sometime. When I was in my second round of physical therapy for my knees 2 years ago, my physical therapist was talking about drive and focus and working hard and how as an athlete I have that to move forward and I would need to dig deep in it to keep progressing...I remember thinking I am not an athlete - anymore (I used to play in junior high - volleyball and basketball and intramural leagues in college - soccer, basketball, flag football). And before I could say anything to the contrary (he must have seen my face)...he begin to list the reasons why I was one. Something he said really registered with me and I put my game face on just like I used to - this time I was competing to get better. About a year later, as we were rounding out hour 6 of an 8 hour Zumba Instructor Training at the Zumba Convention Tanya Beardsley (Zumba Education Specialist and Superstar) told us to dig in - you are athletes too she said - work hard just like any other athlete would. And then, I re-read Refuse to Regain earlier this year...Dr. Berkley encouraged readers to view and outfit themselves as an athlete. She defined athlete as someone who consistently enjoys physical activity.


I am an everyday athlete. I compete against myself to make myself better. And, when I felt (feel) frustrated about this injury - I remind myself that sometimes setbacks happen to athletes but nothing is stopping me from moving forward.

So...I'm out of the game for a few weeks. But, I am determined to come back to game better than when I left it. Honestly, it's gonna be hard not to overdo it when I come back...I feel like training as hard as can as fast as I can as much as I can. But, I don't want to re-injure myself or a new injury so...I'll work to be smart about adding in extra activity.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This I Believe: In Calorie Counting

This I Believe is a great series on NPR. It's based on a 1950s radio program (with the same name) and features people from various backgrounds and experiences sharing personal philosophies and core values that guide their daily lives. This week...I'm gonna my own health focused version of "This I Believe"....

I believe in calorie counting (or weight watching point or the plate method). I believe in recognizing how our bodies convert these unit of energy into fuel. I believe its an important tool in losing excess pounds and maintaining a healthy weight. It provides prospective about workouts and meals. I believe that it teaches portion control. I believe it helps with dedication to healthy living through journaling.



Through calorie counting, I learned how much calories I expended throughout the day through sleeping, work activities, and exercise. I was amazed to find I only expend a few hundred calories even after a rather intense exercise session. Through calorie counting, I learned the value and importance of structuring my meals to be as effective as possible (otherwise known as volumentrics...). I could have a class of orange juice or eat an orange for about 100 calories. I learned over time to choose the orange - it provided more fiber and nutrients - making me fuller and stronger. Through calorie counting, I learned how to be even more selective. I am picky eater...I have always been. If I truly didn't like something or it look unapetizing, I wouldn't eat it. But, calorie counting, also made me consider those things that I really was just so-so. I focus on eating the things that are really good - tasting and good for me. Through calorie counting, I learned how to indulge. When I first working with my dietitian, the plan we followed allowed for about 100 to 200 treat every day. Somedays I wouldn't need or want a treat...maybe I wanted a larger piece of chicken. But, other days, I would...I would get a jello pudding cup or chocolate mint rice cakes or a frozen yogurt or whatever. Through calorie counting, I truly became aware of all that I was eating and drinking through out the day.


I now define calorie counting broadly. Counting calories is staying within a set number of calories based on your age, sex, and activity level as well as vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, and protein. Paying attention to all the nutrients that you put in your body is critical. I could eat 1500 calories a day of snickers, coca-cola, and cheetos and lose weight. But, I would look or feel as good if I eat 1500 calories of well balanced lean meets, veggies, fruits, and whole grains. What's more a diet of snickers and coke isn't maintanable.

The last few years there has been great debates about calorie counting and it's effectiveness. Many feel that its cumbersome or outdated or overly simplistic. A Kansas State University, only a few hours away from me, professor famously lost 27 pounds on the "twinkie diet". He ate twinkies, nutty bars, and powdered donuts every three hours. And then, we he needed variety he added doritos chips, sugary cereals and oreos, too. Not only did he manage to lose weight but he dropped body fat and cholestrol too. Calorie counting in its simplist mode is about limiting portions...but if used properly as a tool it can be so much more.

The first time I lost 25 pounds I counted calories. The fitness center consultant provided some basic tips and I researched more about it in magazines or the net. But, I didn't follow calorie and nutrient counting like I do now. I did eat more fruits and veggies and dairy and some whole grains but not with the variety and extent that I do now. And, I now see how that made it difficult to maintain.

I think like any tool, calorie counting, should be used as long as it is effective...I have used calorie coutning to help me learn portion control and eat w/i all the necessary food groups. When I lost 30 pounds a few years ago, I counted for about 6 months. For the next year, I didn't. When I wanted to drop a few pounds last year, I went back to calorie counting...And it was a wake up call...My eating was mostly of healthy items but my portion sizes had grown. I am back to calorie counting for the time being but I now more for the consistency of journaling and capturing of my meals and food combinations.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This I Believe: In Doing Exercise You Enjoy

This I Believe is a great series on NPR. It's based on a 1950s radio program (with the same name) and features people from various backgrounds and experiences sharing personal philosophies and core values that guide their daily lives. This week...I'm gonna my own health focused version of "This I Believe"....


I believe in doing exercise you enjoy. I love Zumba, Running, Walking in the Park, and HIIT workouts at UHF. I also love 24 Lift, Pole Fitness, Chair Dance, and World Beat Dance. I don't care for body bump, yoga, kickboxing, or softball. So, I don't do them....no matter how great of a work out it maybe.


I don't think that being active should be a chore or a punishment. I don't think exercise should be something you have to force yourself to participate in. I think exercise should be something you look forward too and have fun at times during (notice I didn't say throughout the whole time...I think no matter what there will be parts of an activity that may not be "enjoyable" or as "enjoyable").

I seem to read stories or read blog/facebook posts every week about someone who is forcing themselves to become a runner or do insanity or some other workout that they don't care for because they've heard that its a 'good' workout or because xxxx is doing it and looks great or because xxxx is recommended it. Often, I find that they don't stick with it or don't give it their best effort because they don't.

There are so many things one can do to stay active and enjoy themselves...hiking, biking, swimming, kickball, volleyball, dancing. It doesn't have to be a group x class or a machine. In college, I did intramural basketball, soccer, and flag football. I wouldn't mind finding a flag football team here to play around.

I've been running since I was very small...I've never stopped (with the exception of the time off due to the knee rehab). I love that natural high that you can achieve by pushing yourself to another level. I enjoy walking - usually at the park. I love getting some sunshine and fresh air and being able to clear my head.

It's clear that I have a blast with Zumba. I've been taking it on and off for nearly 5 years and started teaching it about a 1 year and 1/2 ago. Participating in Zumba may have caused me to realize that exercise should be fun and to do the activities that I found enjoyable or make activity enjoyable (like walking with friends or running in 5ks). I don't I fully realized that before - I just think I gravitated to those things naturally. But, certainly, after that realization I only participated in activities I liked - No attending a class or doing a routine just because I couldn't find an alternative.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sprained Ankle: Week 3

Well....I'm feeling a lot better but my ankle is still tender and bruised. Last week, I traveled out of state and I think all of the walking I had to do through the airports and being cramped in the plane slowed recovery. I taught class on Monday and Tuesday....Although, I made it clear that I was still recovering and didn't do any jumping and taught songs that were easier on the ankle while encouraging them to put forth their max effort.

Interestingly, enough....sprained ankles are the most common sports energy (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/health/28brod.html), but often those with sprained ankles don't seek proper treatment. And, sprained ankles take a bit of time to heal (depending on the severity - perhaps months instead of week). I was surprised how much it hurts and how long it's taking to bounce back.

I probably came back too soon to teach. But, I don't have any subs at the gyms I teach at and initially I felt good, but after Tuesday's class my ankle swole up considerably. I won't be teaching next week as we have a key client meeting next week and I will be hosting representatives from my states to dinners - so that'll help with giving my ankle a break.

It's been tough not to be active. I enjoy going places and seeing people and trying new things on top of working out. I'm a bit frustrated that I haven't been able to finish out the last few weeks of the 6 week bootcamp session my friends and I were doing. I'm concerned that I am losing my aerobics capacity and endurance. I disappointed that my progress has been slowed. I miss my heels and I am wondering how long it will take this bruising to go away.

But, I am thankful that I wasn't more seriously injured and that I am moving forward...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A good day after all....

Things have been very hard lately (honestly things have been hard for a while, but they had been improving since the Spring). Spraining my ankle made things challenging. I haven't been able to teach class or workout as well as partake in other activities or chores. One of my clients has been RIDICULOUS lately. Demanding, un-understanding, pushy, and unreasonable.

And just as I thought things couldn't get more complicated, I spilled soup on my work laptop last night after I brought home work to complete two important projects. My laptop crashed moments later. So, instead of starting the morning ahead I was desperately behind.

I rushed to pick up my nephew after a long, stressful, tense, difficult day at work. 'I just love you, Auntie, ' he said as I buckled him in his seat. :) We got some ice cream cones and headed to the park....A good day after all....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"30 Foods For a Better Body".


A few weeks ago, my dietitian held a great class "30 Foods For a Better Body". One of my friends joined me and we had a blast. The class was only $10 and then they gave you a $10 gift card for the grocery store that hosted it. I was fully expecting we would receive a few handouts and maybe a sample or two of few items. Instead we received a packet full of coupons and healthy eating tips and suggestions along with the "30 Foods For a Better Body" handout and we sampled 12 items and recipes. And, she showcased about 10 or 12 other possible products for us to checkout.

Here's The List of Foods:
1. Spinach
2. Chia Seeds
3. Broccoli
4. Kiwi
5. Berries
6. Dark Chocolate
7. Skim Milk
8. Sweet Potatoes
9. Green Tea
10. Tomatoes
11. Eggs
12. Fat Free Greek Yogurt
13. Nuts
14. Beans
15. Peppers
16. Cinnamon
17. Squash
18. Avocados
19. Pomegranate Juice
20. Acai Berries
21. Salmon
22. Cranberries
23. Apples
24. Oatmeal
25. Barley
26. Ginger
27. Edamame
28. Quinoa
29. Buckwheat
30. Kale

We sampled chia seeds, brocoli slaw (a slaw made with brocolli stalks, cranberries, almonds, and mustard - it was good AND I DON'T LIKE BROCOLLI), strawberries to go along with amazing dip made from avocado, dark chocolate, and maple syrup (this was SOOOO good - I don't like avocado - but you'd never know it was an ingredient), sweet potatoe chips, baked chile sweet potatoe (sooo yummy - this was a simple 3 ingredient recipe), dark chocolate roasted almonds, cinnamon baked tortilla chips w/ an chunky apple salsa (delicious!), pomegranate juice (that was the only thing I didn't care for), pomengranate juice infused cranberries (sooo good!), dried edamame, and baked kale chips. After class was over, I didn't need dinner!

I already eat Spinach, Berries, Eggs, Fat Free Greek Yogurt, Beans, Squash, Cranberries,
and Apples - almost daily or several times a week. But, one thing I love that she did in class was that she found recipes that combined as many of these foods together as possible. I also loved that she showed us how to simplify making the recipes by using readily made items. So, I'm gonna try to do the same over the next few weeks in particular - but in the future overall. I eat nuts, sweet potatoes,  peppers (usually mixed in w/ another vegetable), quinoa, and edamame dip several times a month. So, I like to increase eating more of those and eating more cinnamon (which I like anyway), oatmeal (I like oatmeal but I've gotten out of the habit of eating it regularly), chia seeds, and kale.

I loved this class! I needed some ideas to add some more variety to my 'diet' and I definitely found them. She's hoping to have a few more classes this year and I hope to make all of them....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fit vs. Fat: Does It Matter If Your Trainer Is Overweight?

I stumbled upon a Washington Post article about Black Women & Body Image about a week ago although it was published months ago..Michelle Gibson is featured in it. Michelle is a size 14+ full-time fitness instructor. One reader comments stood out to me..."I remember a trainer at a gym I belong to who looked similar to the women in the post. Honestly, she would be the last person I would ask to help me train."


(Here's a photo of Michelle)


The trainer I worked out with was 40lbs overweight. I never second guessed working with her because of her size. I chose her because of her energy and professionalism. I lost 25 pounds working with her (and of course eating right). She created a workout plan for me to follow on my one after an intense workout session. We updated the plan every 4 to 6 weeks. I also did several one on one sessions when I wanted to kick up my progress before a trip to Miami. 


My trainer pushed me to give it my all in my sessions and encouraged me to eat well and stay active outside. In fact, I think the fact that she too had to work hard to keep her weight in balance made her all the more relate-able to me. Her struggle - similar to Ms. Gibson's - was eating.


So...should it matter if a fitness professional is at an ideal weight? 


That comment got me thinking about another one I saw a few months ago on a blog post about trainer Jeanette Jenkins & Destiny's Child Kelly Rowland's new workout video. "I'm personally not interested in the DVD because neither one of them have a frame like the average woman. Both are very athletic shaped. Kelly has never been thick or overweight and Jeanette looks like she played sports in high school…(Beyonce's) workout tape would interest me more ONLY because her body frame is average. Physically fit yet curvy, voluptuousness and feminine."




So...do we need more instructors who have softer features? Ones that shows that no matter what you weigh you can be active?


Fitness instructors/trainers are almost damned if they do...damned if they don't. If they're too fit, their bodies aren't attainable...If they're overweight, they're a poor role model or ill-equipped. I have taken classes where the teacher didn't look like she stepped out of Fitness Magazine but gave me a GREAT workout and vice versus. One of the best Zumba instructors I had lost 100 pounds and still have 60 to 70 more to go, but, she worked us out! She taught Zumba, Zumba Toning, and ran (including a half marathon).


Ideally, I would think an fitness professional would showcase progress not perfection moving towards a well balanced life including exercise, nutrition, rest, and stress management. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Now You Can

I am a HUGE fan of West Side Story. I love, love, love this musical! The stage production and the movie. I have the soundtracks to both versions and the dvd.So I was thrilled when I stumbled upon this article about Rita Moreno, star of West Side Story - both the broadway play and the movie picture, starring in an exercise video at age 58. How cool is that? 

"When keeping in shape is a struggle - too little time, too little energy, too little enthusiasm - it helps to know that not every celestial Hollywood body has always sported flat tummies, incredible triceps and rounded bottoms. In fact, 58 year-old actress/singer/dancer Rita Moreno believes she looks better now than she did when she performed in "West Side Story." As she puts it, "I was a little dumpling back then. Being a small boned person, it's just as serious for me to gain four pounds as it is for other people to gain ten. I'm essentially a pear-shaped person and I have to really watch it."


I love that she worked to get even better physcially later in life... 
"In fact, Moreno did not begin exercising until eight years ago. "I had begun to resurrect my nightclub act and I was terribly out of shape. After one flight of steps, I was breathless. And I said, wait a minute, my body is a temple and it's the only one I have. So I started to take exercise classes. The other thing was I had a terrible menopause. One day when I was feeling particularly awful I decided to try an aerobics class. After ten minutes, I was feeling better, after 20 minutes even better and by the end of the class I went out skipping. It's true what they say about endorphins."
I wish I could find this video!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Freedom of Choice

"Freedom of Choice: Lastly, healthy eating should be a choice. You shouldn’t eat healthy because you have to eat healthy, it should be that you want to eat healthy. Choosing to eat right is a lifestyle. It is about optimizing your diet. It is about sustainable eating."


http://www.sheerbalance.com/brettsblog/2008/04/07/healthy-eating-diet-or-lifestyle/


WOW...I love this. How freeing is it to thinking of eating healthy as an opportunity rather than a prison sentence? I choose to eat well because I want to feel great - body, mind, and spirit. I feel best when I optimize my diet. I can choose to eat otherwise but I don't.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is Perfectionism Killing Your Success?‏

****I love this article. Sometimes, I don't make progress or as much progress as I can because I would like everything to be just right.

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/todays-meditation-is-perfectionism-killing-your-success-509808/;_ylt=AhnIRxyO66otknKfmVmItFRqbqU5

By Jane Powell - http://www.meditationsforwomen.com/

"Action, not perfection, creates results."

When you start something new, don't worry about doing it perfectly, initially. Just start and recognize that adjustments will need to be made along the way. In other words, take action!

It’s easier to take action when you don’t expect perfection. Obstacles don’t intimidate you and adjustments are seen as part of the learning process. Expect them and be ready to reach into your tool bag for a solution at any moment.

Action, even imperfect action, will bring results, and, eventually, perfection may follow

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Did You Know That I Once Had Thirty Extra Pounds of Fat On My Body?

There comes a point in this journey, when you will meet friends and colleagues who didn't now you when. When you are heavier...When you are thinner...


Those who didn't know you when you were heavier...don't always recognize how hard you work to stay the weight you are at now. You obviously seem to have a handle on things...so why wouldn't you want to indulge in a piece of cake or join the weekly outing to eat a barbeque lunch? You work out faithfully each week...couldn't   you slow down a bit or miss a session to attend a happy hour or a movie premier? 


AND YOU'LL WONDER....Should I tell them so they can understand....Did You Know That I Once Had Thirty Extra Pounds of Fat On My Body? 


Those who didn't know you when you were thinner...don't always understand the desire or need to get back to where you were. You dress well and look good....you don't need to lose a pound to be attractive.You already exercise a few times a week...it's clear you already understand the importance of fitness. Just how thin do you need to be? - You're accepted and loved by your friends and family just as you are...


AND YOU'LL WONDER....Should I tell them so they can understand....Do You Know That I Have Thirty Extra Pounds of Fat On My Body? 


I read this article months ago...Weight: Why One Size Doesn't Fit All by Kristen Houghton and it immediately registered with me. In it, she describes how she and husband are having dinner with friends. One friend was newly single. Another friend saw a single and charming friend that would be great for him to meet...when he suggested introducing them...The single friend frowned...The possible match was "fat". Kristen had too been "fat" but had lost the weight in college and never looked back. Her husband reaches for her underneath the table to give her an understanding squeeze of support....

Depending on the situation, I have shared the fact that I did indeed lose Thirty Pounds...Twice (OK - Technically, 30 lbs once & 25 lbs once). AND, that's why I am so very focused on keeping it off and staying healthy. The last time I did was a few weeks ago with a co-worker who was on assignment from Switzerland. His observations on American cuisine and activity levels were so interesting and at times enlightening. I was surprised to see his reaction - he had a hard time believing else-wise. People are really supportive and understanding. OR sometimes, I share that fact with people who seem to need some encouragement that healthy changes are possible... 

But, when I was working on losing the weight....I got a mixture of reactions. Some were really supportive - whatever I wanted (I think especially since I was working with a dietitian and trainer) was right for me. Some were supportive to a point...once they saw I thinner and more active (especially around the 15lb mark) they didn't necessarily understand or support my move to lose more. A few didn't see the need at all....Depending on the situation, I shared the fact that I wanted to lose thirty pounds to get back to where I was and in the end all were supportive and understanding.

Then, there are those you've known when you were thinner and thicker.AND YOU'LL WONDER....Should I tell them so they can understand....You Know That I Once Had Extra Pounds of Fat On My Body and I Don't Want Them Back.   

For about 4 years after grad school, I had varied from 0 to 5 to 10 to 15 to 20 to 25 to 30 pounds overweight. I spent most of the time at about 10 to 15 pounds over weight. But the second time I was 30 pounds, I determined to get there again or any where in between for that matter. 

It's people in the group who's known me thin and thick that I found it's hardest to share my resolve with. As time goes by, they feel that I must have this down and don't need to worry about indulging or skipping a workout. Or, they seem to be surprised to seem me living a life in balance - an indulgence here and there is okay - in the midst of healthy meals and continued workouts. They don't get why a 5 pound weight gain is a big deal. They didn't see a need to lose the weight in the first place - a girdle would have worked just fine. They don't get the needs for all the work outs. But, depending on the situation, I just may share, I do all of this because....I Once Had Extra Pounds of Fat On My Body and I Don't Want Them Back.   

Monday, May 7, 2012

Colon Irrigation: My Colonic Experience

Today...Living Social had a deal for colonics and it got me thinking about my experience with one.






So....In January 2007, I lost about 10 or so pounds (I had been in the mid to high 140s). It started after a very tough broke up with an ex (who at the time I believed to be the love of my life). I tend to lose my appetite when under extreme stress or heatbreak. Unattentionally, I lost 5 or 10 pounds. Then, I got a terrible bug from my nephew and a few more pounds.  Before I knew it, I had slimmed down - 137 lbs.


For months, I maintained that by doing something I had never really done before "dieting". I didn't quite know how to diet - I didn't read any magazines or books for a plan. I just kept my meals healthy and light as possible and small. Yogurts and/or granola bars for breakfast, baked potatoes and salad for lunch, salad for dinner. No snacking. By the end of the spring, I was sick of that....So, I started to go back to my normal eating. I gained a few pounds (about 140 or so) but that was it...


I met with my doctor for my annual check up. She encouraged me to get back to 137 or lower - because that was in the healthy range for my height. (I of course don't mention that the reason I got down to that is because I was on a diet of tears and heartbreak). I tell her I really don't know what to do to get there...Essentially, I had gone back to my old ways eating and hadn't had too significant of weight gain. I was doing Zumba a few times a week. I can't specifically recall but I may have been hitting the weights once or two a week too...One thing I knew I needed to kick was coke a cola habit. She gave me a plan for that as well as 8 things to do to stay healthy...Except for vitamins, prayer/meditation, and exercise, I really didn't tackle the rest. She also counsels me to be aware of the risk factors that may impact due to my father's health history (my father died after a battle with a cancerous growth on his colon when I was 17).


Fast forward to the summer...my girlfriend I decide to go to Miami for the first time. But, by then I am back up to the mid 140s. I work hard...really monitor my meals...salads and lean meats. I'm losing weight but I not close to 137. I bump up my exercise. Still not there.


My doctor practiced more holistic care. She encouraged you to work to stay healthy as opposed to not taking care of yourself and then needing to medicate. She also encouraged some "alternative" health options like massage or herbal supplements. She had partnered with an alternative health care clinic to offer non-traditional hormone treatments for menopausal women. I started subscribing to that clinics newsletters.They were interesting articles encouraging you to eat more organically (before it become so popular to do so), seek stress free scenarios, and alternatives to Western medicine.




One of the articles talked about colon irrigation. It talked about how irregularly most people were now, the importance of bowel and colon in good working condition, and how healthy and energized one could feel. I had heard my doctor recommend them before. I wanted to keep my colon as healthy as possible especially since I had a family history otherwise. So, I started researching...Although there were articles that said it was unnecessary and some warnings about safety (I wasn't overly concerned about the clinic I had selected as my doctor frequented there), I was convinced I should do it. AND BONUS: as I researched, people were able to lose weight too! It seemed like a win - win - win for me. A healthly colon, more energy, and weight loss!


So, I signed up for an appointment. It was relatively expensive - $75 (insurance didn't apply) for one visit. The procedure was uncomfortable - not painful or terribly unpleasant - but awkward. The staff was very friendly and tried to be helpful. When it was over, I was a bit light headed and slept the rest of the day. I don't particularly remember my bowel movements vastly improving or energy increase and I didn't lose any weight!


Granted, the specialist recommended that I come back for additional treatments...at least 3 or 4 more - once a week. And, then come back every 2 to 3 months for a treatment. She also recommended that I stop eating meat, gluten, diary, and stop eating so many "sugary" fruits.  

WHAT I REALLY WISH IS THAT I HAD BEEN TOLD, take that $75 and go work with a dietitian. They can help you figure out how to best eat a true balanced eating plan that naturally includes fiber - from fruits, veggies, and whole grains and plenty of water. You'll be regular, feel healthy and energized, and lose weight. You won't worry about how your colon is doing and if it's strong and active. You won't need any foreign assistance. 


AND SO, time to time, I read an article or blog about the resurgerence of colonics. I read one a few days ago that this is becoming a more mainstream spa option (but I can't remember where - or I would link it). I never really see these articles address the concerns on why people seek them in the first place. There's not a month or two that goes by when I don't see a blog post about cleansing (juice cleansing or some type of detox). Everyone great once in a while a friend may mention it....I tell them from my own personal experience and articles I've read over the years. Regular consumption of water, regular consumption of foods with fiber, regular exercise ---- will keep you regular! And will provide you with a myriad of other benefits...like energy, clearer skin, better fitting jeans, and more.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Controversy

So...the owner and fitness professional of the gym I work at set off a controversy the other day when he posted this picture. 



 "One of my fitness friends from Canada. See, when girls come to my classes wanting to get "fit" and lose weight... this is the type of body I envision women getting into. This takes true dedication and commitment. This body doesn't come overnight... months and years to get. If you won't commit... good luck. If you wanna make it happen... Let's do the damn thang!!" He posted.

And...that began a series of comments and responses....Girls who found the picture motivating. Girls who didn't. Girls who felt that the owner was speaking to their lack of commitment or progress.

I immediately started to think about the body's that I found inspiring...Like Michelle Obama's or Venus and Serena's or Ernestine Shephard's. And, I thought about why I find them inspiring... because they worked hard, because they focused on eating well, and because they still had curves. And, then I thought, actually, my body at about 134 (plus or minus a pound or two) through dedicated workouts and healthy eating...is a body that I find both satisfactory and inspiring. It's a body that didn't come overnight...but took months and years to get. I was just getting ready to post my response - that commented about taking in consideration various body shapes, genetic make ups, and personal preference...

When...the owner posted an updated response "Every body is different and each has their own goals. Do the best for you and do better every day. You know that as long as you push every session inside and outside our training, i'm proud of you and you're better than most people out there. Better. Every. Day".

I realized that what he was really wanting was to encourage us to work hard - week after week - month after month - year after year. You don't get the body above by going on a 5 week diet and fitness challenge.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Weight Loss Problems

I stumbled across this tongue in cheek tumblr page that lists "problems" that come with losing weight...I experienced all of these things working to get healthier, but I take them any day to feel like I feel now and look how I look now! Here are few of my favorites....Real situations I went through...


Grocery shopping doesn't take as long anymore, but I definately take the time to read them for anything new that I buy.



Plateauing sucks! Shaking up my routine to lose the weight. Closely watching everything I was eating. Working out even harder. It can almost drive you batty. 


My floor is known for the sweets and parties and celebrations we have. In fact, when one my co-workers moved to our floor - he gained 5 pounds before getting his sweet tooth in check! Our administrative assistant organizes a food day at least once a quarter - a potluck with enough food for three tables. People bring in donuts and cakes for any reason - birthday, anniversary, a sale...It's hard to resist temptation when it's always in your face. But, now, most folks know I'm skipping the fattening treats. 



As exciting as it is to get new, better fitting clothes...It can also be expensive and time consuming!



This wasn't actually all that challenging...I would just sneak in the healthy snacks. Getting busted was. I actually got in trouble once for bringing in a healthy snack to a bowling alley.




 


I actually skipped one party when I just couldn't figure out what to eat healthily at the restaurant before hand (no menu was posted) and it was an unique cuisine (Jamaican) I could find healthy options online for. But, later I learned to eat very well the week and day of - eat a healthy snack before and eat as healthily as I could there - starting with a soup or salad before the main dish.




They feel you are being anti-social or a health nut...



 This is a BIG deal to me...Even though I know that no machine is "my" machine. I go to the gym at less busy times on purpose so I don't have this problem....





This one was a bummer - but was unavoidable...I had to give away so many favorite, fabulous things...But, replacing them has been fun!



It's embarrassing where and how you can sweat sometimes at the gym. I developed this crazy rash in between my breasts thanks to the boob sweat. More embarrassing was having to talk to my male dermatologist about it to get the problem taken care of. 


 




I found this hard to deal with at first - what do I say? what do I explain? should I elaborate? are they going to make light or belittle my decisions or reasons? could you not draw so much attention to my meals? Then one day my trainer pointed out that people were just trying to figure out how a real person makes healthier eating choices...


okay...this hasn't happened to me...yet :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Busy Person's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss

I found some great deals on health and fitness books in the clearance racks of TJ Maxx and Marshalls. When I saw this book had been marked down to $3 I snapped it up last year. It's a good read. I recently re-read it. It was broken up into 7 sections - basic principles, customizing the guide for you, meal ideas, exercise strategies, behavior tips, real-world challenges, and maintenance tips. There's appendices with protein bar chart, 5 ingredients recipes, shopping lists, and journal and worksheets.






I really enjoyed the book. She encourages each person find their unique niche following a basic framework...3 basic principles - nutrition, exercise, and behavior. The principles she gives are not set in stone but are guidelines.


Here are a few of my favorite points....


1) "Some obseity experts now believe its not the quantity of carbohydrates that should be addressed for weight loss by the quality..." She is not one of them....She believes that both quantity and quality matter. I completely agree with this thinking! 


2) Build Activity into you life - Permanently. Exercise plays its part in weight management by maintaining your muscle mass and metabolism. In addition to exercise, endeavor as much as possible to increase the number of calories burned through lifestyle activities (like the stairs instead of elevators and park at the back of the parking lot to walk into a store).


3) Ditch the all or nothing attitude. "Just try to make the best choices you can, the majority of the time, and get back on track as soon as possible if you slip up for a meal, a day, or even a week".


4) Always Have a Plan. "This means not only planning for healthy eating, but also planning for indulgences too. If you plan for them correctly, they wont' derail you..."


5) Determine Your Readiness To Lose Weight. "While you may have the time, you may not have the mental capacity or be in the right environment to lose weight. It will take a little thought, planning, and organization (not necessarily time) to figure out a system that works for you".


6) She recommends a diet balanced with whole grains, low fat dairy, lean proteins, fruits, and veggies. Her approach was very similar to what was recommended to me by my dietitian. It's practical and doable. And she has a section addressing people who may be suffering from metabolyic syndrome and need to more close watch their carb intake...on how to make more tweaks.


7) Great Travel Tips. I travel ALOT with work...She recommends not taking the airports moving sidewalks - get the extra steps in! Window shop or walk laps while waiting for a flight. Bring healthy snacks with you. If possible, ship some healthy foods/snacks to your location. Drink extra water...Indulge a little but reasonably. Continue to get physical activity in (although it be limited). Most importantly getting right back to your fitness and nutrition plan when you get home.


8) A section dedicated to weight management. I don't really read diet books - I've never tried various diet plans but I dont' think this too is common. She recommends 1) build a lifestyle that allows you to enjoy life & maintain your weight loss, 2) weigh yourself regularly, 3) get back on track if you start to gain weight, 4) be consistent, 5) don't ditch the veggies, 6) de-stress regularly, and 7) do keep paying attention to what you eat and how much you exercise.


The books full of good tips! It was a good refresher...