Tag Archives: healthy-living

How I Find Training Motivation: Fear

I don’t know what I did to make Janet angry, but it must have been a doozy.  Janet signed us up for a 35 mile bike ride through the beautiful hills of Forest Grove, Oregon and I’m scared to death of how I will feel after: will I still be alive? Will every cell in my body scream out and do the hokey pokey? I don’t think the end result will be pretty…if we make it to the end.

Thirty five miles might not sound like a lot, to a select few of you, but I can tell you Janet and I are far from being in the kind of shape needed to pedal a bicycle. It must have sounded like a great idea to Janet, a couple of months ago when she signed us up, but now that it’s 2.5 weeks away I’m thinking of having her tested for the crazy bug.

One thing this impending doom of a race has done, besides scare me silly, is to realize how seriously I take exercising and eating for fuel now that a deadline is quickly approaching. I have exercised more (jogging, walking, biking), eaten better foods (superfoods, fruits, veggies, lean proteins), and drank more liquids (water, Gatorade, beer) in these last couple of weeks than I thought possible. I really don’t like any of these things…except for the beer, of course.

Janet and I must be delirious from the endorphins from working out because we’re talking about signing up for a series of three 5ks in Seattle starting in September. The goal of the timed 5ks, staggered four weeks apart, is to see yourself progressing in your endeavor to become fleet footed. That shouldn’t be hard for me: I’m currently jogging at about a 23 minute mile pace. That could be an exaggeration, but it might not be.

Did I ever write about the time I took up jogging in Fort Worth, TX? I’d been jogging for about a month, I felt pretty good about my progress, when I came upon a little old lady speed walking. I was jogging along at a nice pace when this speed walker blew by me. She was a little gray haired, cane using, hearing aid wearing octogenarian in a track suit who went by so fast I thought I was in reverse. True story. Needless to say, there’s room for improvement in my timed runs.

We must be drowning in too many vitamins and minerals, from those fruits and veggies, because we’re also talking about running a 10k in December to finish the year out. What is wrong with us? Have we finally turned the corner on our lazy habit of sitting around watching TV while eating cheeseburgers and milkshakes? That’s one possibility. I’m thinking it’s the beer buzz, though.


ps. Our Boston terrier, Roxy, is the funniest little creature. I’m pretty sure Boston’s were bred to be ratters but Roxy thinks she’s a herding dog. Whenever she wants me to go anywhere, she gets behind me and stares intently at my legs like she’s willing me to move with her intimidating stare. She lowers her head and goes into a trance like state. It’s the funniest thing. It never works, but she’s trying to perfect her awesome mind control over me. You must move this way, Momma!

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The Key to My Weight Loss Success

I really wish someone would create a magic, natural, healthy pill to miraculously melt away my body fat. If only that person was me I could become a deca-billionaire, or worse! Since neither I nor anyone else has created said magic pill, I guess I’m on my own with losing weight. I’m really too lazy to lose any serious weight, although I think I’ve found something that works well for me.

It really boils down to shame. I have to shame myself into eating right and exercising. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean serious shame, I like myself way too much for that, I mean more along the lines of ‘really? You’re going to put that into your body? Do you know how many calories are in that pie?’ The only way for me to do this is to keep track of everything I eat.

It’s embarrassing to see exactly what I eat on a daily basis. Keeping a food journal is a humbling experience. Did you know one pop tart has two hundred calories? And who can eat just one? I can forgive Grapenuts cereal for not having much flavor once I realized how much good stuff was packed into those tiny morsels. Add a few blueberries and nonfat milk and I have a great start to the day.

There are quite a few apps for food journaling and through trial and error I have chosen MyFitnessPal as my embarrassometer. I like MFP because not only does it keep track of your food and water intake but your workouts as well. So, you start with a given number of calories, mine being 1530 (because I want to lose about a pound a week), and the more you exercise the more calories you ‘earn’. I love it! If I go out for a jog, I can have that second pop tart!

At the end of your eating day, when you’ve tallied all your calories, you scroll down to the bottom and hit <complete this entry>. If I’ve been good it says, ‘If every day were like today, you will weigh five pounds less than you do now in five weeks!’ If I’ve been bad it says, ‘you will weigh a lot more if you don’t gain a few more IQ points!’ Okay, it doesn’t say that, it just gives me a number I don’t want to see.

Along with food journaling, I realized a few months ago, I must move more. I spend a lot of time on the computer, writing and researching, and not a lot of time moving around. So I did the one thing that seems to be helping me more than anything else, when it comes to movement: I adopted a dog, Roxy the Rox Star. I live in a condo so I can’t just open the back door and let her run free. I have to put my shoes on and walk her around the block.

Before Roxy joined our family, I used to go out for jogs or walks once a day and then sit around the rest of the time. With Roxy, I go out and walk several times a day and the difference is noticeable. Since I adopted Roxy, sometime in mid-February, I’ve lost six pounds. Almost a pound a week and I feel much better about my energy and activity levels.

At the beginning of the year I weighed about 185 pounds. When I brought Roxy home I weighed 180. Today I weighed myself at 174 and my clothes are getting annoyingly baggy. For those of you who think 174 doesn’t sound like a lot of weight: just know I am very small boned and I could easily lose another thirty pounds. For those of you who don’t think losing eleven pounds in three months is a big deal: I could’ve just maintained my weight or even gained a pound or two. Any weight loss is good at this point.

I credit Roxy and MyFitnessPal with keeping me aware of my surroundings. I absolutely have to know what is going into my body and I have to move around, revving my metabolism up, several times a day instead of just once. I view food journaling now the same way I view taking Roxy out for walks: I have to make accountability more than just a habit. I have to make it something I just do because I don’t have a choice.



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Fat, Crazy, Not Real Bright, and a Weenie

I went to the doctor the other day and you know what she told me?  My blood pressure is too high.  Who?  Me?  I was surprised because, in my younger days, my blood pressure was so low several nurses tried to resuscitate me, vigorously, before I could convince them I was indeed still alive.

My doctor is a very nice woman who states things in very kind terms.  When she asked me if my blood pressure had always been high, I said no, not at all.  She said, “Sometimes, when one’s weight is proportionate to one’s height, one’s blood pressure goes back down into the normal range.”  Awwww…isn’t that a sweet way of telling me I’m fat?  I thought it was.  I even said, “that is so sweet,” whereas she looked at me like I was a little crazy.  Great, she probably thought, fat and crazy.

It appears I have to work on my fitness levels, and apparently my weight.  I get tired of working on my yearly goals with the same ol’ ‘let’s lose 20 pounds’ goal.  Janet told me, “Hey, instead of just writing it down in our 2013 goals, why don’t we actually lose 20 pounds?”  Hmmmm.  Interesting.  I thought Janet’s statement was incredibly supportive:  if Janet lost 20 pounds she would literally be skin and bones.  I’m thinking she would have to give up a kidney and maybe a lung to lose any more weight.

So, in 2013, I will endeavor, not only to lose those ubiquitous 20 pounds, but to increase my fitness level so I can walk up a couple of flights of stairs without wheezing, increase my fruits/veggie consumption from 1-2 a day to 6-10 a day, and to significantly increase my intake of whole grains and lower my white sugar intake.  Don’t worry: these are tears of joy on my face.

When I told my doctor I was thinking about doing a triathlon this summer, she said, ‘I don’t want you running or lifting weights.’  Really?  That’s wonderful!  Sorry, Janet, no can do, doctor’s orders!  Imagine my heartbreak when, after she paused, she added: ‘until we get your blood pressure down’.  Crap.  Here I thought I had the golden doctor’s note; the one which got me out of gym class for life.

Now, Janet and I are registering for a 5k on March 3rd.  Granted, it’s the Hot Chocolate 15/5k, but I don’t think that’s the only reason Janet picked this race.  The Ronald McDonald House is the charity involved and I can’t think of a better charity for donating time and money.  I’m starting off slow, with my training, and hope to be able to run the whole thing by March.

When I told my doctor about the triathlon, I told her not to worry:  it wasn’t an Ironman, it was just a baby triathlon.  She looked at me and said, “There’s no such thing.  That’s like me telling a patient, ‘you just had a baby heart attack.’”  Oh, doctors and their funny sense of humor.  Then she gave me that look…so now she thinks I’m fat, crazy, and not real bright.

This triathlon, Eppie’s Great Race, is a 5.82 mile run/12.5 mile bike ride/6.35 mile kayak.  That sounds like a lot when I read through the website.  I’m hoping I can be ready by July and if I start now, I will be.  If I have goals (and actually spend money on something) I will treat it like something I have to do and not something I’ll do if I feel like it.

Another thing Janet and I signed up for is the Moon Joggers challenge.  You can sign up for the privilege of jogging/walking 1000 miles in 2013.  You can join as an individual or as a team.  I joined as a team of two, I wasn’t sure I could walk/jog 1000 miles in 2013, by myself, depending on my blood pressure issue.  Great, so now I’m fat, crazy, not real bright, and a weenie.  No, seriously, I’m taken already, people.



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My Big Lazy Butt

To say I’ve fallen off the exercise/eating healthy wagon is putting it mildly.  I’ve fallen off the wagon and rolled down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Trust me, it’s a long and treacherous descent filled with jagged rocks, pointy plants, and miles of doughnuts and cheeseburgers.  Luckily, I am not alone at the bottom of my self-created abyss:  Janet is here keeping me company!

I think Craig, our (former) personal trainer, has disowned us.  I think his eyesight’s too bad for him to see us in our giant hole.  I miss him telling us what to do, how to do it, and how many.  Not too many people can do that with tact and underlying sensitivity.  I’m sure there are people who would like to tell us what to do and where to go, though.

For the moment, we are staying on the third floor and are located right next to the stairs.  The way the floors are set up, it’s too hard to walk to the elevator to get to our car; trust me, I’ve tried.  The first time we walked up the stairs, I was winded and I can’t honestly say just a little.  My clothes are becoming dangerously tight and I’m tired in the afternoons, almost tired enough to take a nap.

So, Janet decided we needed to get off our big, lazy butts and started up a walking/cardio/fruits & veggies challenge for us to do with our friends.  It’s not going well.  We are in week two and I’m having a hard time with the fruits again.  I just don’t like fruits and veggies and I don’t know how to incorporate them into my diet while not tasting them.  Anybody have any suggestions?

I find exercise more enjoyable than eating healthy, although that’s not saying much.  Actually, I don’t enjoy the act of exercising.  I just enjoy the feeling of when I stop.  I feel terrible in the middle of jogging, or moving off the couch, but I feel pretty good when I sit back down.  The couch is still there, waiting patiently for me.  I feel really good after I stop sweating, usually only 30 or 40 minutes later, and I can take a shower.

Has anyone created a pill for memory loss during exercise?  No?  Get on it then.  I would love to take a little pill in the morning, come to at lunch and have Janet tell me, “Wow!  I’ve never seen you so energetic!  You mowed the lawn, dusted our house and the neighbor’s, ran a marathon, and did our taxes.  Good for you!”  That would be wonderful.

Until I find that little pill, and yes it must be legal, I guess I’ll try and figure out a way to motivate Janet and myself.  It won’t be easy:  our favorite meal is dessert; our favorite outdoor activity is going to a park and watching Jessie run around; and our favorite rainy day activity is sleeping until it stops raining.  Good thing we live in Seattle.

We definitely need some baby steps, I can’t all of a sudden be super active like I was a few months ago.  I need to slowly get in motion to stay in motion and use little things to motivate us to get off the couch and eat better.  I think I’ll start in my closet.  I have a pair of pants in there I like to call my ‘five pound bag pants’.

These are pants, way back in the day, which used to fit me very nicely.  At one point, they were actually loose fitting.  When I try to put them on now it’s like trying to stuff ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag: s&!t falling out all over the place.  If that’s not motivation to lose weight I really don’t know what will work.


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Be Honest: How Would You Describe Yourself?

Janet and I were talking the other day about the sometimes unpleasant side effect of increasing a person’s daily fiber intake.  It takes your intestines a while to adjust from squishy white bread to sprouty grainy healthy bread.  It takes your taste buds even longer.  I won’t bore you with the details just know it takes your stomach AT LEAST two weeks to adjust.

Coincidentally, Janet and I started “Karen’s” second challenge a little over two weeks ago and one of the challenges was to increase our whole grain consumption.  If it wasn’t for Sun Chips and Frosted Mini Wheats, I don’t know how we would get by.  I think this is Janet’s least favorite challenge but I still have to say the fruits and veggies challenge is my least favorite.  I can hear the “healthy people” really laughing at us right about now.

So, Janet and I were talking about the consequences of our eating actions and I thought it was the funniest conversation.  If I was sitting at the next table over at Starbucks listening to that conversation I would think, “Those people should be thankful they have each other, I can’t imagine anyone else could love them, let alone be in the same room with them.  Hmm…what’s that smell?”

Anyhoo, it started me thinking.  I am grateful Janet loves me because I couldn’t imagine anyone else putting up with me.  What if I had to put a personal ad out there, looking for someone to date me, and what if I had to be honest?  What would that look like?

Middle aged woman looking for a little loving!  But not for too long…menopause is just around the corner.  I’m only middle aged if I make it to 86 and at my bodies rate of deterioration I don’t see that happening, sorry.  I’ve adopted a healthier lifestyle; one which makes me fragrant and a little crampy.  I’m sure that will pass though.  Literally.  One of my best physical features are my feet.  Did you ever watch The Flinstones?  My feet look just like that.  Yeah, like Fred’s!  Although, they do differ in the fact I don’t remember Fred’s as hairy as mine.  A great trait, out of many, is the inability to remember things.  So, if you want someone who’s flaky, who MIGHT remember to pick up your dry cleaning; I’m the one for you!  Life with me would be adventurous: I might be there when you get home…I might have wondered off!  Who knows where I might be!  And the best part?  I can only see me getting better as I get older.  What was I talking about?

Wow, when I put it like that, I’m not surprised I have a death grip on Janet.  What crazy person would answer that ad?  Of course, if it were truly an ad we could doctor it up.  I could just say something about my being a healthy middle-aged woman with an adventurous streak who resembles a famous person.  That’s not too much of a lie.  Not too much of the truth, either.


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