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.

Skiing, Finally!

Just before Christmas me and hubby got out and demoed skis. That lead to the gifting of new skis for Christmas. They arrived, were tuned, and ready to go. Problem was, the weather turned on us. Days below zero, no snow, and warm days with rain killed any hope of a New England ski day.

That all ended today. After a bit of snow during the week and cold days to make snow, we saw a window of opportunity and took it. Up at 5:30a and on the slopes of Loon Mountain by 9:00a, we were in glee as snow fell and blanketed our trails and ice blanketed Tom’s beard.

Another bonus was being able to test out my Garmin Vivoactive 3 on the slopes. It did a great job tracking our runs and my intensity. The issue was that I am in better shape than Tom. He got intensity minutes. I on the other hand was perfectly fine on endurance and couldn’t manage getting out beyond 109 for a heart rate. So, I’m 20 minutes shy of my intensity minute goal this week. But, it definitely tracked my calorie burn and that coincided with the ache and burn in my legs.

But that is the technical piece. The real win was how much fun we had. Yes, the first runs were a bit horrid as I got my ski legs back. Arms flailing instead of planting my turns. Twisting to the point of pulling at my knee. And, leaning back on my heals as I careened down icy spots. But, after a couple runs my form was back and while I still was a bit out of control on the Northeast ice spots, I was in control and attacking the mountain. By the last few runs I was popping over the mini moguls skied up by the other skiers on the trails. I even had a few “woo-hoos” in those runs.

The drive home stiffened up our legs and the chills of being outdoors all day set in. It wasn’t something that a hot Jacuzzi tub, meal and beer couldn’t fix. I sit back now cherishing my day, enjoying my wind burned face and the awesome feel of fatigue after a great day of activity.

Everyone should ski.


When I Just Don’t Want to Exercise

I was so pumped up after this weekend of being able to run outside and now all I want to do is kick back and pop chocolate truffles in my mouth.

I’m dragging from my trip to NYC and the cold weather with snow coming back isn’t doing it for my mood. I did hit the gym when I was away but yesterday I was stuck in an all day meeting and then a rush to the airport. The only walking I got was from hotel to client’s office and through the airport terminals.

Not only did I not run or exercise yesterday, I was so bad when it came to eating. Big everything bagel with full fat cream cheese, large skim latte, falafel and gyro lunch, fried chicken wings with onion rings at dinner. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the gin and tonic on the plane. I came home with a belly ache and bloat baby. Tom even rubbed it. Ugh.

Today was a day for no excuses. But all I could do was delay, delay, delay. The thought of getting on the treadmill was painful. I had no energy. I had no motivation. I had no time – yes I did. I was also going to eat healthy and vegetarian as a cleanse. Instead, I started off the day with an egg sandwich with chorizo slices. Only 340 calories but you can just see the fat dripping off onto my plate. That right there should have been all the motivation I needed to get on the machine.

I completed all my calls by 3p and had an hour and a half before last next client call. As a guilt trip I pulled up Garmin Connect to shame myself into moving. I had barely 1000 steps for the day. I only logged 62 intensity minutes and my goal for the week is 280. I had already had more than half of my calories.

Lazily I headed upstairs and pulled out my workout stuff and put it on grudgingly. I headed down to my treadmill and set up the TV for Stephen Colbert and a leisurely jog. I almost had a meltdown as my Garmin Vivoactive 3 had froze and I couldn’t get to the screen to select my treadmill setting. After 10 minutes of trying to reboot the watch, I was finally able to get going again.

30 minutes later, and slow as a turtle, I got off the machine not at all feeling my runner’s high. Knees ached. Hips ached. My head was just not in it. Completely dissatisfying. Add to the fact that my Garmin said I ran at a 4 mph pace when I know I was at  5 mph (did the math on time and distance) drove me to another level of defeat.

Yeah, I was not into it today. Some days are just like that. Still need to do the work though. Hoping for a better day tomorrow.