DOM da da da DOMS!!

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness? Yes, indeed.

Someday....

Someday….

My Boxing class did a number on my muscles. Pretty much everything between armpit to knees was sore. I say armpit deliberately – my arms, wrists and shoulders were fine. I think since I’ve been lifting some weights, I’ve been using those muscles. Everything else? Yowsa – not so much.

I took care of myself after the class, and I am glad I did. I had thought for one quick minute about walking to the gym, (it’s a 20 minute easy walk from my house,) but I didn’t know how tired I’d be afterwards – which turned out to be a good call. Not only was I a hot sweaty mess with a beet red face, I was so tired I didn’t even want to drive! I just sat in my car with the windows rolled down and sipped from my water bottle for awhile. Thank goodness I hadn’t walked!!

When I finally got home, I took a long shower and then put on some of my favorite summer comfy clothes. I had tons of yard work I wanted to do, but instead I made some great food and relaxed the rest of the day with a good book. I made sure I drank a lot of water throughout the day and even went to bed at a pretty reasonable time.

Every muscle that you use to do a squat? Sore. Inner thighs, glutes, and abs? Sore. Sore. Sore. It’s okay though. It feels like my body just took a highlighter and circled all the parts of me I haven’t been working or stretching enough. As long as I keep moving, (walking the dog, doing things around the house,) I feel pretty good. It’s only when I sit for extended periods that I stiffen up a bit. Unfortunately I have a desk job, so Monday was a little rough.

Will I go back? Of course. I am already signed up the Intro to Boxing Class (the one I should have taken first) for next Sunday!

I can’t wait!

Photo credit: Rikard Elofsson on flickr

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A Different Point of View

Strong by Scott SwigartIt took me a little while to understand why the post: 10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body hit me so hard. I hadn’t read her blog before, I found it on a link from Fit, Feminist and (almost) Fifty on Friday. I’m pretty happy with the way my body looks, overall. So, it wasn’t that I felt particularly close to the author or that I completely identified with her, although like most women, I certainly have things about myself I wish I could change.

I think the reason her post put giant tears in my eyes and made me catch my breath was that it directly addressed something I have been dealing with myself. I’ve mentioned that I gained some weight back in January. I’ve been trying to ditch it, but I haven’t had much success. It’s been really upsetting to me, and I think I am starting to connect the dots as to why. It’s not really about the weight exactly – sure, I wish some of my clothes fit a little better and I liked the way I looked last summer, but a few extra pounds do not look bad on me. I’m upset not about the weight… I’m upset because it is effecting my confidence. I feel like I should be able to just do what I did before and it should come off. But it hasn’t.

This probably wouldn’t be a big deal, except that I have gone through several confidence busting incidents in the last few months. When you start to feel like you can’t even control your own body the way you did before, it eats at your faith in yourself. My weight loss and fitness was something I have been rather proud of, and lately, it’s been slipping. It’s hard when other things in my life are in the same boat. There is a lot of “what is wrong with me??” kind of thoughts going on.

But Andrea turns it around, she celebrates all the things that her body can do that it couldn’t do before. And seriously, look at some of the amazing things she can do! She is a badass!!I mentioned I just achieved a personal record in weight lifting the other day, and honestly, I feel like I have a lot more in me. What if I relax a little and instead of beating myself up, give myself a little credit for all that I can do now – and for all the goals I have in the future? How would that feel?

I think I’ll give that a try.

 

Photo credit: Scott Swigart via flickr

New Starts

bird on a branchI’ve been a little trepidatious about starting Stage 2 of my New Rules of Lifting for Women plan. There are two things making me nervous: 1) I’m not familiar with some of the exercises and 2) I’m not sure how long the routine is going to take, so I am not sure how to plan my morning. So, I did a “practice run”! I chose the lightest weights possible (an empty bar, for example,) and just ran through the motions. I did the full sets so I could see how long it took. I gave myself a half hour and I ran out of time. I’m sure I will be faster once I have done it a time or two, but that is all good to know. I’m always such a Nervous Nelly, but it is better that than not being able to lift because I pulled a muscle doing something stupid!

My doctor’s appointment is a week away. I’m hanging in there, but I am really looking forward to getting this process going. I am just so sensitive to everything. Someone asked me a question the other day – a perfectly innocent question with no negative connotations meant – but it spurred a long crying jag. I’m so tired of feeling this way.

….AGH! While in the middle of typing this, my doctor’s office called. They wanted to reschedule my appointment out to July 15th! Apparently my doctor is going to be gone next week. (I’ve decide to believe that she has an emergency trip to some disaster stricken location to provide aid to people in desperate need, because if she is rescheduling for a vacation I’ll scream. Doctors should know their schedules in advance.) I pretty much lost it on the phone with the receptionist, who fortunately, understood. She talked to the doc and managed to squeeze me in the following Monday at 7:45AM. She apologized for it being early – heck, I don’t care if it was 3:00AM if it meant I could start getting some help.

Okay, time for some chamomile tea…

Over the last week I have been doing an online health coaching dealie-do that my insurance company offers. It’s surprisingly useful, but some of the suggestions about eating habits and exercise make me grin. Things like “Try just going around the block once a day,” make me I giggle. I know it is really helpful for many people, but it is definitely a suggestion from a computer. C’mon website dealie-do – don’t you remember 5 screens ago when I filled in that I walk an hour a day 7 days a week? …and this is why computers will never replace human therapists.

 

 

 

 

You Are Not Alone

SunriseIt’s interesting what happens when you talk about your problems. It doesn’t take long before you find out you aren’t alone. I talked to a friend about my anxiety and setting up an appointment with my physician to get some help, and wouldn’t you know – they are going through almost the exact same thing. The reasons are different, but the feelings are very similar. The same thing happened when I went through a rough patch following my divorce a few years back. I made the decision to be open about how I was struggling with the whole thing – financially and emotionally. I was amazed at the outpouring of support and the number of people who came to talk to me privately and to say, “I’m going through something similar…”

Truthfully, I already feel a tinsie bit better. Just making the appointment helped. Talking to my friend also really helped. Plus Julian and I took a vacation day recently and actually relaxed. (So often I use my vacation time for things other than vacationing.) We spent time in our state’s beautiful parks, we grilled food, we looked at the water, we even took naps. It was perfect. And I did something else that makes me happy:

I signed up for a boxing class!

I’ve been wanting to learn how to box for awhile. I have some of the equipment and a lovely heavy bag, but I’ve wanted some actual training. I found out recently that a local fitness center has a boxing classes and heard two glowing reviews about the place, (one from one of my friends who does not mince words when she doesn’t like something!) The Center had a Groupon for 50% off drop-in classes recently so I can check it out with a minimum of risk. You have to take their basic boxing training class before you can go to the regular classes, so I signed up for one on the 15th!

I also have a friend who is teaching some hooping classes. I would love to figure out how to get to those as well. I just need to figure out if I can make the times work.

I’m hoping some of the changes I am choosing to make will help. I feel like part of my life is in a rut and I don’t know how to get out. Actually, take that back – I know exactly how to get out, I just don’t have the energy, motivation or confidence I need right now. Hopefully, however, I am on the right track of getting it all back.

 

 

Asking for Help

Iblue stars really liked this article on GoKaleo about weight loss and self compassion: Self-compassion: an Excuse to be Fat? No. It fits in with some things I’ve been thinking about myself. I’ve mentioned a few times over the past couple of months that I’ve been under some stress. After a gentle nudge from my boyfriend, I think it is time to do something about it. I set up an appointment with my doctor. I am hoping to get a referral to a therapist so I can work some of this stuff out.

I’m a pretty introspective gal. I’m not afraid of the long look inward, but sometimes it is good to have a guide. I was in therapy once before and it was incredibly helpful. I am good at asking myself tough questions, but the beauty of a great therapist is that they ask the questions you never think to ask. They challenge your beliefs, sometimes in ways that seem so obvious (in retrospect) that it is annoying, but usually really helpful.

I’m feeling a bit stuck in my life, like certain parts are in a rut. I know what I have to do to change those parts… and yet I don’t do them. Something is holding me back. I feel weighted down, and this weight is keeping me from moving forward. (Or moving forward at a glacial pace.) It’s causing anxiety and frustration.

I’ve been trying to get back to my healthy eating and exercising, and that does really help. As I type this, I am munching on a simple salad made from organic lettuce and greens plucked straight from my garden. I spritzed on some lemon juice and it takes like summer. These simple pleasures feed my heart, belly and soul. Lifting weights (hit a new personal record last week!) gives me added confidence and assurance. I’m not running off the rails, I just need a hand with my map.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Lake Dreams

lilypads

Dreaming of the lake

Last weekend I went up to the lake. I have a small cabin there, not much of a place – one bedroom, one bath, but all mine with 80′ of shoreline. It is, in a word, heaven.

Here is a breakdown of my typical day last weekend:

  • Get up at 7:30AM. Dress in walking gear and grab the dog. Hike a nearby rail trail with him for an hour.
  • Get home, eat breakfast.
  • Change into swimsuit and shorts, go take the kayak out before the lake gets too busy.
  • Get home, change into comfy clothes and take a nap.
  • Get up, grab a cup of coffee and read an old fashioned murder mystery while sitting by the lake.
  • Put on work clothes, clean up sticks and rake leaves for 45 minutes.
  • Back into comfy clothes, take another nap.
  • Get up, have lunch.
  • Back into work clothes, another 45 minutes doing yard work.
  • Head in for a glass water and a snack, then go sit by the water and read.
  • 6:00PM change into walking gear, take the pooch out for another hour hike on the trail.
  • Change back into swimsuit and head back out on the kayak once the “no-wake” time starts at 7:00 for a final quiet paddle around the lake.
  • Get into comfy clothes, make and eat dinner.
  • Have a glass of wine while reading more of my murder mystery.
  • 11:00PM go to bed.

When I am at the cabin, I change clothes a lot. I reuse them – I only have one pair of old jeans and a t-shirt for raking the lawn, one swimsuit for kayaking, and so on, but there is a lot of switching of clothes.

I also get a lot of sleep. I usually stay up later than I do when I am home, but I also get up later (as long as Hermes lets me. Sometimes my pup doesn’t quite understand weekends.) I always manage to get several naps in. There is something about laying on that couch – windows open, breeze coming in of the water… it is just too perfect not to nap.

A mayflower on the hiking trail. Hermes in the distance.

A mayflower on the hiking trail. Hermes in the distance.

Most importantly, I am active. It wasn’t always this way. I used to get there and my only movement was from the couch to the lawn chair and back again. But now I find I want to do things. I love being on the water and hiking with Hermes. It seems like this is the kind of life I should be living. Oh, I know I have to work in there somewhere – the bills won’t pay themselves. But now that I have more things that I like to do, and I have more energy to do them, it feels right. I makes me happy.

There is another side to all this, though. I call it “re-entry.” Eventually I have to come back to reality. My life is very, very good and I have many things that I love here, but there is also all the stress and problems of everyday living that pop up. Suddenly I have to check my email and return phone calls. There are angry customers and annoying coworkers to deal with. There is a distinct lack of a kayak. I am very hard to live with following a cabin weekend. “Grumpy” is probably the kindest word I can use.

It eventually passes, but it is a good reminder of what I need more of in my life. I don’t need a big house, fancy gadgets or a nice car. I need a spot on a lake, a boat to paddle around on it, and a good place to walk my dog.

 

How You Eat

CabbageI just read this article over on Vox: So much for the Mediterranean diet — Greece & Italy have the world’s most overweight kids.

Personally, I think dieting is like exercising. What exercise is the best? The one that you do. What food plan is the best? The one that works for you. I’m still working on that for myself.

There are things I know I like –

I like eating locally grown or sourced food. I get the double win of delicious food while I’m supporting my local economy.

I like eating organic. Not all my food is local, (in the winter that would make for mighty slim pickings,) but I do try to make sure the majority of it is organic.

I like eating as close to whole foods as I can. I’ve never been a big fan of pre-prepared foods, but there were some that I ate regularly. Those are becoming less and less. I don’t make my own yogurt yet and I’ve not tried cheese making (although I would like to!) but I’m trying to get back to basics as much as I can.

I’m making a conscious effort to avoid grain based foods. I can’t say “carbs” because I eat boatloads of fruits and veggies – and those are carbs. Mostly I am avoiding breads, tortillas, rice and so on. I still eat them, but in very small quantities. This is probably the biggest change I have made in the last year or so.

I’m also trying to eat a lot more protein in the beginning of the day and eat lighter in the evening. I feel better when I eat this way, but due to cultural norms, it isn’t always possible.

What I am looking for is a lifestyle that I can maintain that makes me feel good – both physically and mentally. So in addition to these little rules, I like letting go once and awhile – valuing meals with loved ones over counting calories, relaxing on holidays and just embracing the joy of food. The trick is finding the right balance.

Photo credit: Ben Hosking on flickr

 

Weights

Weight lifter by Rennett StoweWhen I stopped working out, I started gaining weight. Not surprising, but it didn’t happen the way I thought it would.

It started when it got cold, really cold. We had the nastiest winter we’ve had in decades. Slowly my motivation for outside activities died. I thought I would spend the winter snowshoeing or cross country skiing, or even the crazy of all crazies – winter running. I forgot a very important piece, however: Newton’s First Law. “An object at rest tends to stay at rest.” True for physics, true for my butt on the couch. The couch seemed like such a good option, especially after the morning I was walking the dog and my eyelashes froze together.

Yes, I kept walking Hermes. Thank heavens I have a pooch – and a pooch that loves the snow. He is the one thing that kept me moving. Even as my running shoes collected dust, I added cleats to my winter boots. I upped our walking from roughly an hour a day to an hour and fifteen, and for the most part, kept to it… but that was all I kept up on.

I had planned to keep lifting weights, I mean, why wouldn’t I? It wasn’t like I do that outside! Except for something I did that was fairly smart when I started lifting: instead of relegating the weight bench to the basement or spare bedroom, I put it in my library. Most people would call my library a living room – it has books, of course, but also my big comfy couch and my television. It’s the place I hang out in the most, and since I have always wanted a library since I was a little girl, (and never dreamed about having my own living room) it’s the library. And that’s where I put my weights. I see them every single day.

Until Christmas… because the weight bench sits in my bay window, which the same place I put my Christmas tree. Out went the weight bench to the front room. It’s kind of a formal parlor and unheated in the winter, but I made a really great work out space in there, complete with a space heater. No go. The minute the bench was out of site, it was out of mind. I moved it back in January, but by then the routine was broken. It sat, gathering dust, (along with those running shoes.)

Here’s the interesting thing – I was able to maintain my weight beautifully through Christmas without running, biking or kayaking. It was when I stopped lifting weights that I saw weight start to come on. Not a lot, not all at once, but it steadily creeped up. Finally I had enough and in April I started lifting again. The weight isn’t off, but I feel so much better and I can really see the change in my appearance. My jawline is tightening and the cheekbones are starting to show. I’ve come to the conclusion that my body is telling me that it loves when I lift weights.

Now all I have to do is listen to it.

 

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe on flickr

Why, Hello Again.

This photo of my dog in the tulips is for no particular reason other than cuteness.

This photo of my dog in the tulips is for no particular reason other than cuteness.

I was going to write a long post about why I disappeared from blogging, but every time I sat down to write it, my heart sank. It just seemed so boring to write. It finally occurred to me that if I am bored writing it, it would be even worse to read it. So, in the words of the great Inigo Montoya, “Let me explain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

I stopped working out, so I stopped writing.

Not my proudest moment, but there you go. Now I am working out again, I have the energy and motivation to write. I have a ton of blog posts in my head and hopefully now that life is settling back into its groove, I won’t fall off the cliff again. No promises though – it’s my blog and I can not write in it if I want to.

For now, I am lifting weights again, walking my dog and trying to eat healthy. I am also trying to make some changes in my career and around the home, (like I said, I have a lot to write about.) I am also planning on getting back to reading all those wonderful blogs that I’ve been missing. See you around!

 

 

Mamma Got a Brand New Hoop!

Guess what I bought myself?

A custom made hoop!

This is my new beauty, outfitted in the “peppermint” color scheme. I purchased it from the same lovely lady I took the hoop workshop from this fall. Last night I gave it a whirl. (HA!) I promised myself I would spend at least 10 minutes practicing. To make sure I didn’t give up too early, I set the timer on my phone for the 10 minutes. Not only did I not give up, I went on for another 10 after the timer went off!

At first I dropped it… a lot. After a bit though, it started coming back to me. At the end of 20 minutes I was ready to start trying to take steps while hooping.

Miserable failure. Once I shift my hips to take a step, the hoop hits the ground. That’s okay, it’s all part of the process. My hooping instructor could walk all around the room, keeping the hoop going the whole time. I am sure that in time, I can take a step or two!

I also ordered a new pair of ice cleats. I lost both of mine in snowbanks this last month. I’m determined to get back to exercising, at least a little every day. I need to keep moving!