Vacationing Abroad: 8 Tips to Myself On Maintenance

Maintenance is hard, even with  my extreme paranoia. I actually got up to 112 on the scale, gaining 5 pounds from my lowest point and 3 pounds more than I feel comfortable at. So, the past two weeks I’ve upped my activity and watched more closely what I was eating. I’m down to 109.7 today. Not bad, but still only a few ounces shy of my max desirable weight. Especially with what’s coming up. I need all the wiggle room I can get.

I am 6 days away from our 15 day European vacation. Traveling on my own I can be more in control of my schedule, activities and eating. Traveling with Tom, that’s another story. There are so many things we want to do that fitting in my runs and eating healthy will be interesting. Add in the fact that Tom can eat anything and not gain a pound is just the opposite of what happens to me.

Last summer our RV road trip was a bit easier when I had my kitchen traveling with me. Every meal wasn’t at a restaurant. This year is different. Hotel breakfasts. Beer gardens. Restaurants. Ruin Bars. Rib sticking Austrian, Czech, Hungarian and Slovenian comfort foods. Oh yeah, and the wineries!

It’s been a while since I traveled and had a formal attack plan either to lose weight or stay on track. So, was going back through my blogs and diaries to see what might help me this time around. I think I have a plan:

  1. Come prepared to run: Every trip I pack my running clothes. For two weeks with little access to laundry, I need to be more prepared. So, my carry-on is going to be my running locker. Shoes, socks, shorts, shirts, bras, flip belt, and huge playlist.
  2. Have maps ready: I normally just go up to the reception desk or concierge, even in Europe, and ask for running routes. While I could do this, in the interest of no excuses and being prepared I’m printing maps out and highlighting the routes and mileage.
  3. Hike, hike, and more hiking: A key activity on our list is hiking through the Alps. On these days I’m not going to run (unless on the trail!). My hope is that I do enough that it makes up for and then some of the activity time my running would normally account for.
  4. Local markets: One of the things I love in Europe, the farmer markets. You can always find stalls of fruits and vegetables. Some will sell wine, cheese and breads. There isn’t any need to always eat at restaurants when you can pack a canvas bag with fresh produce and picnic on the Danube.
  5. Go vegan/vegetarian: I’m not at all vegan or vegetarian. I love my meat, eggs, cheese. But, keeping my waist in check means upping my veggies. The good thing is I’ve found there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes on restaurant menus in the European cities.
  6. Make Tom my tourist running buddy: Tom and I get out every other morning together to run some of our local trails. He is way faster than me. But, I run farther. This weekend he ran side by side with me for 4 miles (still short for me) rather than his typical 3 miles. And, he like it. Me too! So, I am taking some of the maps and looking at routes where we can do a fun run past local sites to scope out our surroundings.
  7. Bikes!: My mother went on a tour where the group got out in a couple cites where they picked up city bikes and cycled around. There are tons of bike trails in Vienna and city bikes available. I’m scoping out the kiosks/bike dispensers so we can go on our own bike tours.
  8. Just relax: I’m going to have a few bad days. There is going to be some amazing food. There will be lazy days. There will be our visits to the beer gardens and ruin bars that add empty drinking calories. But, that is what vacation is for. Tom is planning on gaining some pounds. I’m planning on holding the line. Ultimately, I don’t want to obsess but enjoy. Gluttony on a few days, just not everyday.
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Summer time!

It’s been months, I know. So busy. But, it’s finally summer! And boy am I taking advantage of it.

The weather finally turned into warm sunny days and I’ve been able to take out my paddleboard a few times. It was a bit frustrating to have to wait for Tom before I could go because he has the roof rack on his Jeep and there is absolutely no way at 4’11” I can lift my board up onto the rack, even with a step ladder. So, as an early birthday present, he got me a rack for my car and yesterday I assembled it, put it on, and loaded on my board. I grabbed Emily and we went for a paddle at Hopkinton State Park (her first time – she loved it!)

This past week we spend July 4th in the White Mountains. A scenic drive with stops at the rivers and dips into the waterfall at Silver Cascade kicked things off. A hike up to Lonesome Lake and back was day two. While we were going to swim in the lake, leaches were visible and the lake was no longer inviting. But, Cascade Brook was and we put our feet in, sat in the natural spas, and overall enjoyed the cold water after a hot and humid hike. Day three we hiked up Liberty trail, which felt like 4600 feet of stairs, only to be socked in. But, coming back down and then handing out at a fire in the evening was perfect. Day 4, Tom went up to Artist’s Bluff in Franconia Notch while I hit the bike trail and ran down to The Basin where Tom picked me up. Why I thought running 5 miles after two days of hiking is beyond me, but it was awesome, especially when I was able to put my feet and stiff calves into the cold mountain water when done.

 

Tom and I are running together every other morning on the bike trail. I made a personal best of avg. 8:56 min/mile on a 5k. That beat Tom by 1 second that day. Since then I’ve taken a more leisurely pace while Tom pushes past 8:30. No races planned, but a friend of mine is doing couch to 5k training now and I just might convince her to do a race with me in the fall.

I did gain 3 pounds since March. A bit annoying but totally my fault. I’m still very active but I let eating out get the best of me for a while. I also was incredibly sick with the flu in the spring and stupidly tried to run a few times which made things worse. And, then there was a week where I barely did any exercise. So, for about 3 weeks I was a mess. I did lose  a pound just by going back to my routine. The harder part is that I actually like how I look now compared to being at a slightly lower weight. My knees don’t look like elephant knees anymore. And my stomach is a bit smoother rather than saggy. The only thing I’m not sure of is if less sag is the 3 pounds or because I’m more muscular under my saggy skin. My tummy is also getting a workout from paddling and SUP yoga. I was sore the first few times out. All in all, clothes still fit nicely and haven’t gotten tight at all. Still working off the 3 pounds, but not going to obsess.

It’s our last weekend before our anniversary trip to Europe. Can’t wait for the hikes in the Alps, spas of Budapest, beer gardens, ruin bars, and historic sites. I’m already looking forward to adding more runs to my international collection. I’ll post while galivanting so you can come along.

7 Tips To Overcome the Yoga Pant Wars

I love yoga pants. I loved them as a chubby girl. I love them even more now. That sentiment can also be extended to my skinny jeans, jeggings, and leggings. When you’ve worked hard getting in shape, are getting close to the 50, and your legs just look good, go for it. If you are chubby, so what, enjoy them. Wear thosWalmart Man in Yoga Pantse yoga pants!

Unfortunately yoga pants have got a bad wrap. We are yoga pant shamed by old men, airlines and now a New York Times reporter who thinks you shouldn’t even wear yoga pants for yoga. Really? What next, no bikinis at the beach?

I’m going to go all JLaw and say, I can wear what ever I want.

Okay, within reason. No one really wants to look awful and shamefully wind up on the People of Walmart site. (Although, I’m beginning to think the picture feed is starting to fill up with those that want 15 minutes of fame rather than this is really how they shop.)   There is a right way to pull off yoga pants and a wrong way. While we shouldn’t be judged by what we wear, we are. And, let’s be honest, when we get dressed in the morning or are getting ready to go out, we play by the rules most of the time to dress in something that makes us feel good about ourselves. Or, if we don’t, we most likely know we are a little down, not feeling well, or are getting ready to clean out the garage and garden.

Here are my rules for yoga pants that you may or may not agree with. But, they do keep me out of trouble with those side long glances and sneers most of the time – except the times when it comes from jealousy which I actually find amusing.

  1. Athletic yoga pants are for exercise. Those mesh cutouts and athletic pants are for running, skiing and the gym. I tend to not wear them any other time because I’m more concerned someone is going to think I’m covered in dried sweat and smelly than if they don’t like a little butt jiggle.
  2. Leggings, jegging, skinny jeans are best worn tastefully. I don’t wear sneakers but rather pair with boots or ballerina flats. It dresses them up and makes me look less like a teenager. My legs are in good enough shape that I will pair with a waist level cashmere sweater. But for work I keep it professional with a silk blouse and blazer. No over the knee boots for this 48 year old – then I just look like a couger.
  3. Get the right size. You wouldn’t buy a bra that was to small so it looked like you have 2 pairs of girls instead of 1 pair. Same goes with these skin tight pants. In the right size, you won’t create bulges. You won’t accentuate that cellulite in your thighs. You won’t see those panty lines. They don’t fall down. If you are a little on the cubby side, there are great yoga pants and leggings with a wide control top to help shape your curves.
  4. Throw out the pilly pairs. The great thing about yoga pants, leggings and jeggings is you can get them really cheap. But, they only look good for a few wears. When you see pilling and they are stretched in the knees, time to throw them away. There is no reason to wear them out and about when they look like the rag you wash your floor with.
  5. Leave pajamas at home. There is nothing worse than the loungewear look outside of your house. This is where many of you are probably going to roll your eyes at me. But, it goes back to what I said in first point. Don’t look like your rolled out of bed when you go to the store, restaurant or on a plane/train/bus. You look like you didn’t shower and probably smell. As you can see, I have a hygiene thing. Be gross at home, that’s your thing. You don’t need to share with me. Besides, it says something about how you respect others by how you respect yourself.
  6. If you don’t like them, that’s okay too. I was brought up to always put yourself together when you go out. Dress appropriately. Be proper. Dress your best. Follow the dress etiquette. Buy quality. My grandmothers would be rolling in their graves if they caught me in these pants. I can hear my mother in my head every time I put them on. I get it. It was a different time and compared to most, a different culture. But, be respectful and unjudging. If you don’t follow my rules, so what. I’m still going to be respectful and kind. I hope you can too.
  7. Be a rockstar. There will be one outfit that will take you a little out of your comfort zone but still makes you feel amazing. Mine is a pair of real black leather skinny jeans, suede tan calf skin halter top and a white fitted long sleeve tee. I put on a pair of Steve Madden cutout western ankle boots. I look hot and I know it. It is at once my rebel outfit and at the same time my, “I did it!” outfit. Everyone needs to look like a rockstar once in a while.

New Running Shoes

The weather has held up allowing me to get outside and run. Being down in Naples, FL this week also had my inner kid screaming, “Outside!” Which, of course I did, and was successful in getting rid of my pasty white body.

Getting my outdoor runs in has let me go from 30 minutes on the treadmill, grinding through every minute of a 3 miler. To bounding up and down hills, greeting fellow runners, and wondering how I could have finished 5 miles in under 50 minutes and wanting to keep going.

What kept me from not going further was the aching knees and hips, a sure sign it was time to turn in my old running shoe friends for a couple new pairs. I’ll miss my Mizuno Wave Riders that saw my first running steps last May. I bid farewell to my Saucony Ever Run Ride 10s that got me to my personal best time overall and 5K race. It breaks my heart a bit, but there is something awesome about a new pair.

My running and needs are different than they were last year. I was just happy to get a 5K under my belt in under 30 minutes. This year I have a 10K, half marathon, and if the half goes well a marathon in the fall on my running bucket list. That’s a lot of running. Not knowing a thing about running shoes, what are best for what I want to do, and which are best for my level of ability, I headed to my local running store. 45 minutes later and 7 pairs of shoes tried on and jogged in, I settles on a pair (New Balance 880v7) for my long runs with extra cushion and support and a pair or light fast kicks (Mizuno Wave Shadow) for my 5Ks and short runs.

Wasting no time, I got home, threw on my running clothes, pulled on my Mizunos, forced Tom to do the same, and headed out to the bike trail. What a great run it was. I pulled a 9:32 min/mile feeling the slight rock of my toe box giving me the added incentive to push of my toes. That is down a full minute from my run yesterday. I also finished four miles and only stopped because Tom was finishing his cool down; I could have kept going.

It’s been a couple hours since we got back and I’m still beaming, as you can probably tell. That runner’s high is that much better without the muscle and joint tinge from over-used shoes. The goal of a half marathon doesn’t seem as unattainable physically, I just need to get over the mental hurdle of running for a couple hours.

Here’s to kicking off 2018 and the outdoor run!

 

Finding Inspiration In Tucked Away Places

I posted the other day on tips to healthy living. A theme in the post was about finding your motivation. I was amazed by the number of people that liked the post. For a year I quietly posted on my blog as a way to stay motivated myself and if someone came and read it, great. If not, that was okay too.

To be fair, I’m a lurker. I quietly check out a few links, maybe I’ll comment, and there have been a couple followers that have commented back. But mostly, I just diary my days. It isn’t that I’m not interested. A better explanation is that I’m of the introvert type. Happy in my quiet space. Finding inspiration often in my quietest of times.

Thus, it was today that I was jumping through all your likes and inspired by your own journeys and POVs. In particular, there was one post I checked out from a visitor – Brett. In my notification of his like I saw a link and caught the words, “…winter on the prairie.” I clicked through to William Kurelek and Winter on the Prairie.

While I like art, I’m not a passionate follower of artists beyond my freshman year of college art history. So, I had no idea who William Kurelek was nor had I ever heard the name. But, sometimes that doesn’t matter. Art inspires, and his work inspired me.

Each painting, except one, showed a fun cheerful scene where instead of winter being an enemy, it was a friend and playground. Skating, sliding down snow embankments, skiing, and overall just having fun rolling in the snow put a smile on my face. It reinforced how getting through winter doesn’t have to be a hardship with the right mindset.

Thank you to Bret from our neighbor to the north, Oh Canada, where he shows winter is a way of life and not an interruption.

7 Tips To Healthy Living “I did it!”

Does it ever feel like getting healthy is more about cutting things from life rather than gaining? In the beginning of your healthy journey it is one of the biggest hurdles. It’s not fun to avoid those cookies and ice cream. Fitting in exercise means cutting back on what you have to do and what you would rather do – even if that is to just sit and watch your favorite show. It’s really about finding your motivation to get you into better habits and maintain your results.

My motivation was being able to do all the outdoor activities I did before and not have my body hold me back. By doing those activities I would be able to spend more quality time with husband where we could share experiences and not just count time we’d been together.

The result is that this year we did a big hikes through the White Mountains, day long bike rides, paddling on rivers, marshes and lakes, 5Ks, and best of all, hitting the bumps on the ski slopes. Yes, you heard me. At 48 I was bounding through the moguls all day yesterday and I’m both alive and my body, and knees aren’t  complaining today. That’s me on Angel Street on Loon Mtn. Don’t be fooled by the picture, those bumps were 1-2 feet high on an ungroomed black diamond trail.

There are lots of advise lists on how to get to your goals. I’m going to share what has worked for me that isn’t what you may always read. Maybe it gives you some added inspiration as you start your journey, hit a plateau, or are getting discouraged that this might be too hard:

  1. Do something fun. The secret to getting yourself to be active is just getting active. Find things to do that you want to do and require you aren’t sitting. Just wandering through a museum adds steps to your day. Do a little gardening and mulch your own beds. Play in the snow with your kids or take a walk like you did as a kid after the fresh snow. The point of doing this isn’t to lose weight, it is to have fun.
  2. Celebrate progress. No, this doesn’t mean having that extra bowl of ice cream. It means that you give back to yourself. Figure out what progress means to you. Is it weight lost? An activity you can now do? Or a personal best in your favorite activity. Get a mani/pedi. Get a massage, Get a memory bracelet and add a charm or bead for every 10 pounds you lose or inch off your waist.
  3. Move until you can’t stop smiling. Runners know this; it’s the runners high. But it happens for any exercise. After awhile, you just feel good and you will find there is this big goofy smile on your face. You might even start to giggle. That was me yesterday in my last mogul runs. I got that way when paddling. I end my 5Ks that way. No matter how hard the exercise is, even if your are gritting, there is the high that comes and brings a sense of joy and accomplishment. It keeps you going and gets you to do it again.
  4. Have a sweet everyday.  I don’t advocate big sugary deserts. However, for those of us that use food as a reward, or comfort, that is a habit that is just hard to break. What I found, I could swap out that cookie, brownie or sundae for a touch of sweet. I have hard candies, jelly beans, chocolate squares, gummi bears, and frozen fruit and chocolate bars. I allow myself something bit sized (less than 50 calories). Or, I plan in being able to eat a sweet under 100 calories. I never felt deprived.
  5. Challenge yourself. There are tons of challenges in your fitness apps. You can compare yourself and your progress to others through those apps to. Or, you can set goals for the day, week or month. Tell yourself, “I wish I could [fill in the blank].” Make it reasonable and small like you will add 1000 steps to your day. Or, take a look at your exercise progress and compare that to a training plan for a race to see if you can do a 5K, 10K, or even a half marathon. Tie the activity to a good cause and it helps you and someone else. What ever you choose, give yourself something to move toward other than a drop in pant size or weight lost.
  6. Brag. Notice what I did to start this blog? I bragged about my skiing progress. I did something that is hard and maybe even a little crazy to some. Use your accomplishments as a way to celebrate yourself and maybe it also inspires others. This isn’t to say you become obnoxious – strength is quiet. But your healthy journey will begin to show not only in how you look but also by what you share about the new things you can and are doing.
  7. Help others. When you start to make significant progress, it will show. People will start asking you what you are doing. Embrace it. Tell them. It’s not about the 10 point plan to healthy living, but boil it down to your own simple principles. Invite those that are interested in your progress to do something with you – take a walk at lunch, help them run a mile, get together and cook healthy meals, or invite them on an outdoor adventure. If they are serious about making changes, sharing your simples or inviting them in will make you feel good too.

Ten Tips To Stay the Exercise Course in Winter

By now you’re a month into your weight loss resolution, working on getting through your first winter of maintenance mode, or you’re a seasoned healthy liver and the winter doldrums are kicking in. I hear your pain. I’m right there with you. A little honesty, I’m sitting in my hotel room killing time before heading to my meeting and didn’t follow through on my plans for an outdoor run (or any run) this morning.

To be fair, I did go to the fitness center after I checked in to the hotel last night. I even kicked my husband off the phone because talking to him was starting to give me an excuse not to go for my treadmill run. He’d already talked me out of an early evening run through NYC mid-town even though there are a ton of people out and about, perfectly safe, but not to him.

When I get stuck, in a rut, negative, or defeated, I turn to my internal motivation list. Thinking you could use the encouragement too, I’ll share my tips that help me move on and start moving on these short cold winter days.

  1. Create a habit: I have two habits that keep me running. When working from home or at the office, I go to the gym and hit the treadmill before I eat lunch. When I’m traveling, I check-in to the hotel, drop my bags in my room and throw on my running clothes and hit the gym. These habits are working as I can get in 3 of my 5 running days without too much thinking during the week.
  2. Set the right bar: Let’s face it, running outside can be more interesting as you can take in the scenery, especially if you trail run. I can easily run an hour. But, the treadmill is much harder for me as I can only stare at the wall with my music going or watch a TV show. It’s just not enough. So, I reset the amount of time I spend running to a minimum of 30 minutes. I may do more, but I won’t do less. I run slower on days I’m sore or tired and I push hard when my energy is front and center. I listen to my body and mind.
  3. Rest days are okay: In the warm weather I was exercising in one way or another every day. Sometimes I was running in the morning and paddling in the afternoon. Very active.  Winter, completely different. I have a 5 day rule and work at not losing it on my two rest days. It’s hard, but using machines just seems to cause me more aches and pains than outdoor runs and activities. Maybe it’s the cross training. Whatever it is, my two days off works to get my body back and make it easy to keep up my workouts without the excuse that I hurt.
  4. Clean those closets out: I have an enormous walk-in closet. I have years of clothes in all sizes and styles. My bathroom closets and linen closets are full. My storage closets and rooms are piled with old toys, books, furniture and things I never knew I had or wanted. I have spent hours cleaning house on the hoarding. All that walking back and forth, bending, climbing and lifting gives me activity/move minutes. It’s as good as walking to get my steps in and I am getting more organized by the day.
  5. Eat right: If you are slowing down activity wise, the worst thing you can do is increase what you eat or eat more unhealthy food and meals. If during the warmer months I had an especially large meal (my guilty pleasure is the Chinese buffet with dumplings) then I could always go for a trail run or bike ride and feel like I was burning off my gluttony. Keep up your healthy eating program so you don’t sabotage yourself during the slow activity period.
  6. Find a new activity: Never a fan of exercise classes, I did see a couple that looked like fun. No, I haven’t done it yet. But, I am considering hauling my butt to the gym for one of those HIIT workouts. Even if I don’t, I’m still thinking about mixing it up to hold back exercise boredom.
  7. Make a friend pact: I haven’t liked it in the past when Tom would get on me about exercise and eating right. But, that was when I was chubby and in denial. These days, with both of us on the healthy living program, its easier to prod each other if we see slacking. Tom’s even said to get on him. I am ambivalent, but we agreed how he could tell me without me getting annoyed. If it’s not your SO, get your besty or sibling. Healthy peer pressure is good for the heart.
  8. Get outside: I know, its cold. There is ice. While I’m not interested in running outside below 40 degrees, I do love to ski, snow shoe and ice skate. The difference with these activities is that I dress appropriately and don’t get cold because I’m moving. I won’t do this everyday or even every week, but it does break my sulky winter mood when I can get fresh air and a little winter sun on my face.
  9. Research races: Sometimes I just need something to work toward. My inbox started filling with announcements of races in the spring. It got me looking at what would be my first race. It also got me thinking if I could run a 10K or even a half marathon. I don’t want to “train” in the literal sense. But, as I looked at how I exercise and compare that to the training programs I could see how ready I was for these races. Turns out, that 10K isn’t going to be a big deal. That half? I just may be able to check that box this year.
  10. Talk the talk, walk the walk: The more I relate to other runners or tell my story to friends and acquaintances the more it drives my accountability to keep it up. It would be more than horrifying to have done all this work to only turn back into the chubby pumpkin by the spring.  Talking and sharing makes me more accountable.