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.
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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.

 

Healthy Living: Adding and Not Subtracting

I caught a blog title on MFP today that talked about adding rather than removing. It’s so true! This past year was all about losing the weight. Reducing bad food from my diet. And shedding the old me for a new me. Instead, what if I had taken another outlook which was about gaining?

Now, the 5 suggestions are pretty basic and I’m sure geared toward those getting ready to embark on the obvious New Year’s resolution of getting back in shape, getting healthy, and shedding pounds (drink more water, get more sleep, eat more fiber, add in healthy fats. It was the last one that peaked my interest – try a new workout.

It was timely. Except for a day of skiing, my workouts consist of treadmill runs. Too cold for SUP – we were at 9 degrees today. Same for hiking. I want to go ice skating at city hall, but again, its frigid out there. I keep thinking I’ll hit a gym and then I can’t get my butt out of the house to sign up. So, if I can’t do that there isn’t much chance I’ll go.

What I did do without prompting from that article is pick up my body bars the other day. I have 5, ranging in weight form 5 pounds to 14. I grabbed the 10 pound one and did squats and arm exercises after my run. It doesn’t take more than ten minutes. Though, it does give me a workout!

Arms do okay as I will pick up my bars and do arm work after runs a couple times a week. It was the squats that awakened some muscles I forgot I had. I have no idea what you call this muscle, but it is in the back inside of my thigh. It is stiff, and sore, and kept me from keeping up with Tom at Target today. He had a grand old time speeding up as I walked faster and faster until I realized he was messing with me. The only good thing was that I had to really open up my stride which helped stretch those muscles and make them feel a bit better.

I’m not sure how working these muscles will change my legs. I’m only hoping that muscle is attached to my butt and it takes out some of the old lady sag. I’m also wondering if this will help my skiing even thought this isn’t a muscle that seemed to be challenged after the other day.

Anyway, I added squats. Not a big thing. Just something to say that its no longer about giving something up but gaining something back.

 

The Christmas Skinny

We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and it’s always filled with food, drink, family time around a movie and puzzle, and of course the bag and stocking of gifts. This year, my oldest son Chris spends Christmas with his significant other’s family, and I miss him dearly. But, Emily is home from college and Matt has shed a bit of his teenage ways and is hanging out with us. With dogs at our feet and cats in our laps, it is still a family affair. Add to this some snow falling outside, and it’s pretty perfect.

The season is different for me. I’d normally be sampling everything, baking up a storm, and crashing full on the sofa with lots of naps. This year I am getting my workouts in and I even kicked things off with a demo day at the local ski area. My gifts were all about activities: skis (love those Volkl Flairs), ski boots (my Atomic Hawks ULT 110s hug my feet), and Leki poles for hikes and snowshoeing. I returned the favor to Tom with a Santa bag full of backpacking items and gift card for a new backpack. Or course I’m going to go with him!

Eating has been curbed and not because I’m watching it that much. I’m just busy. I also get full very fast and don’t even try to stuff it all in.  I passed on the potatoes because my mashed cauliflower and parsnips and mashed butternut squash was where my Jonesing was. I did grab the spiral cut ham and had a regular sized slice of pear pie. Oh yeah, can’t forget the handful of caramelized popcorn. Today was Christmas breakfast smorgasbord – waffles, bagels, lox, berries, sponge cake, pear pie, ham, eggs, latkes. Later we’ll head out for my Jewish Christmas and have Chinese food at Sichuan Gourmet (the best Chinese food outside of Chinatown – IMHO). Normally we’d see a movie too, but this season is a complete bust. Oh well.

The scale has been kind this season, staying at 108. My doctor gave me a clean bill of health except for a vitamin D deficiency, so I’m taking a prescription tablet for eight weeks. Can’t understand how that is considering the fish and mushrooms I eat, but I’m not outside as much since it got cold, maybe that is it.

Binging on Create now and seeing every variety of mulled wine and cider imaginable. I think I need to get my game on there. Merry Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukka and Happy Holidays to everyone.

 

 

 

Buddy Up For Fitness

frog fitness

I’ve never been one to exercise with others. I like to run alone.  If do hit the gym with a friend we go our separate ways. I need to get in my zone.  So when my husband was watching my progress and saw how the weight was coming off and my body was remolding itself to “human” from “blob”, it incented him to get on MyFitnessPal, buy a Garmin watch, and a Garmin Scale. A month later, he’s down 6 pounds and toning up.

To be fair, he wasn’t dealing with more than the Holiday ten pounds. He was never really chubby but his frustration was he was getting a dad body. He always moved about 5 pounds over the holidays, and to be honest, I liked snuggling against him in the winter better than the summer when his body was hard and bonier. But, Tom wasn’t happy, so power to him to join me on the program.

Now, this has its positives and negatives. The positive is that it actually is motivating me more. My competitiveness kicks in and if Tom has days with more steps, more exercise time, and more intensity it drives me crazy. This make me push myself a bit more. For example, today I got myself to find a way to stay on the elliptical for 30 minutes at high intensity and then move to the treadmill with a high incline and faster pace for an hour.

On the other hand, Tom eats into my treadmill time by getting on himself for 60 – 90 minutes about the same time I would. I have to share, which kicks in my childish self that pouts grouchily as I need to work around him. “You could get on the elliptical when he is on the treadmill,”  you say. And, you are right. But, that means there is someone distracting me from my zone (which is a big reason why I even hate going to the gym).

I just need to get over it. The best thing is that the two of us are going to be ready for the warm weather when we can go out for bike rides, hikes and runs. Toms keeping an eye out for a day to hike Mt Monadnock. We talked about a hike up Falling Water trail to Lafayette and Haystack then down Bridle Trail, taking pictures of us in the same spots from 25 years ago. I’m looking forward to some morning jogs along the beach together and then jumping into the ocean to cool off. And, the thought of hitting the slopes next winter isn’t causing anxiety but rather joy. In the end, the positives of doing cool stuff together are definitely better than my petulant child alter ego.

BTW – here’s the eclectic playlist that finally got me over my elliptical hump to drive my intensity to 90% and HR to 154 for 30 min.  I also hit 10650 steps before lunch today. This (chubby)girl will be road ready in no time!

Rooster – Alice in Chains
Spoonman – Soundgarden
Wherever I May Roam – Metallica
Break On Through To The Other Side – The Doors
Silent Lucidity – Queensryche
Lights – Journey
Rock and Roll Never Forgets – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
New World Man – Rush
Here By Me – 3 Doors Down
Even Flow – Pearl Jam
Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden
She Talks To Angels – The Black Crowes
Welcome To The Jungle – Guns n Roses
Turn the Page (Live) – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Don’t Fear The Repear – Blue Oyster Cult
Don’t Tread On Me – Metallica
Only The Young – Jouney
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Turn! Turn! Turn! – The Byrds
Black – Pearl Jam
Love Her Madly – The Doors
Burning For You – Blue Oyster Cult
Hard To Handle – The Black Crows
Rockstar – Nickelback (even for the Nickelback haters you need to end on this!)