Day 5 Putting theory into action

There was a big story in the news this week that exercising at night can help you sleep better and it’s beneficial for weight control/loss as well. I thought I’d put it to the test and today I exercised from 9-10 p.m. I’m sore and not entirely comfortable jumping into bed after exercising, so the jury still is out on this one.

I started with my daughter and did a little P90X – very little.  Not only could I not keep up with the video, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut either.  I tried to tell her that her posture was out of alignment.  That started the quibbling between us, so I returned to my project and later went down and got on the treadmill.

I am ready for sleep, so I’ll keep you posted — Terri

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Day 4 – Leaping

If you notice Day 3 was written Feb. 26. Today is March 4. I’m still calling this post Day 4 in honor of February’s Leap and because it is the fourth day I’ve exercised.  I started this blog to be an inspiration to me to exercise and diet, so I set the ground rule of no blogging unless I had exercised.  I could research and write all day, but it wouldn’t do much to accomplish my goal.

I didn’t do much this morning either – mostly just stretches.  I woke up with a sinus cold Wednesday after sleeping through my alarm and it’s killed me for getting up early and exercising.  I am not a morning person, but I am even more not a person who can go to bed after exercising or with wet hair from showering. When everything is said and weighed, morning still is my best bet for exercising. I’m feeling better, but not quite 100 percent.  I am thankful, though, it’s not worse.  Many teachers and students have been out with flu and flu-like illnesses which have hung on for weeks.  My theory is my immune system is strong enough that the cold bugs just can’t get a hold of me and the worse I experience is sinus congestion. 

It’s kind of the season for feeling yucky.  Everything is wet as temperatures rise just enough to get the underbelly of the snowbanks melting. All the mold, decay and mud streams out from it’s icy jail under the intense blue sky. At night it freezes again and we get dusted with snow or frost-ing,that phenomena where the moisture in the air freezes and falls to Earth  forming a sparkling lace top on the landscape. Then it warms up again the next day. It’s not yet spring, but the wind did blow the south and had a warmth.

I realize we haven’t had winter for that long – our big snows didn’t come until the end of January and after Valentine’s Day. Now we have our 4-foot snow berm on the edge of the driveway where the snow is shoveled off. And now I’m ready for it to be gone.  I think I may have a touch of the winter blues.  I’ll have to make sure I get outside more, which is the best way to chase them away.

There is another way – I pull out a favorite picture of our last summer outings and envision myself there.  I am encased in the knowledge that this time will come again and it gives me peace. Also a little panic, because when it does come again I want to be closer to my weight goal that I am now!

I’ll put up the picture and keep you posted — Terri


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Winter Exercising

My doctor’s office published this page on why it’s important to exercise in the winter and a list of some ideas for keeping the movement going.

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Day 3

Woke up late again, but this time I slept through my alarm. I turn it off in my sleep, but I have no recall of it.  It’s kind of scary, but if I’m that tired then I don’t beat myself up too much! i did get a little exercise in this morning.  I turned on the PBS channel and sure enough, there was an exercise program. Not the aerobic one I remember from my childhood, but yoga.  This one was a difficult position yoga class, so I couldn’t do it very well. It was the stretching I needed after the treadmill work yesterday.  I feel better today after exercising than I did yesterday.

I’ll keep you posted – Terri

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Day 2

It’s Monday morning and I did drag myself out of bed and I did exercise, but not quite as early as I would like, so this will be short. I didn’t feel like exercising this morning and I didn’t get that exercise high once I started.  I’m proud of myself for sticking it out and am hopeful this is an encouraging sign of longevity for my routine!

I did some stretches and then got on the treadmill.  I carried 2.5 pound weights in each hand as I walked/jogged on the treadmill for 20 minutes.  I remember from P90X the leader saying that you don’t have to do his routines, but you can make any exercise an X by adding a second component. 

I worked up a sweat and felt my arm and leg muscles being stretched, so I’m happy with today.

There are two other goals I have for losing weight and getting into shape.  Our family will be attending an awards banquet in April and I would like to be able to fit into one of my nice outfits.  Nothing but my Levi’s are fitting right now and it’s so frustrating. 

The second goal is to be ready to play golf as soon as the weather breaks.  We’ve been watching the Golf Channel, which for us is like being in the middle of your favorite candy store and not being able to eat anything. We’re drooling to be on the tee box!

I’ll keep you posted — Terri

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Making it Work

I made some inspirational posters for the students where I work and for my own children. It is I, however, who is the main benefactor of the words for they continue to roll around in my head.  I found the words in a small book called Teacher’s Inspirations: Motivational Quotes for You and Your Students. I am not a teacher. I’m a secretary, but a teacher/counselor I work with gave them to me because she knew I was mushy like that and would be able to put them to good use.  I hope this counts!

“Keep trying. It’s only from the valley that the mountain seems high.”

I put these words together with a picture taken from the bank of a river with the focal point of a glacier-carved peak.  Living in the Rocky Mountains, I often see this image and I gaze in wonder of it from a distance.  But once I climbed one of Idaho’s mountains and was struck by how it wasn’t.  It wasn’t steep – not as steep as those jagged ice-sliced rocky tops seem from a distance. Sure, I got vertigo when I continued up the foot-width ridge so that I could turn and get a picture of the rest of the group. And yes, I was climbing as much with my hands as with my feet, but it seemed more for support that to struggle up the vertically pitched peak. I was amazed that it wasn’t as hard as it looked from the valley. It was inspirational; breathtaking and breath giving all at once.

I know that’s how I’ll feel when I get back on an exercise and eating plan.  I am in the valley now, but with the inspiration of this next quote I will soon be at my peak.

“The price of success is perseverance.  The price of failure comes cheaper.”

Here’s my new plan: write each day about what I did to reach my goals. This is after all why I started this blog.  And each day I want to get up when my first alarm goes off, exercise for a while and blog for a while.  In all, it has to be done by the time my second alarm goes off an hour later.  That was seven minutes ago!

I’ll keep you posted — Terri

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How the World of Work Wrecks It

Wow – I haven’t blogged for 1 1/2 months! Guess when I went back to work?!? Guess when the last time I worked out?!? OK, don’t – it’s sad.  But I had a good friend ask me it I just wasn’t blogging or if I just wasn’t.  I confessed the latter and she did too. We both promised to get back into it and to help each other with support.  So here I am, resuming my blog and hopefully a workout routine.

We’re almost a year  out. My sister’s birthday is the day before Halloween. It’s her last year in the 40s and as a family the last sibling to face the rising dawn of the 50s. So here’s my new goals:

By THE Birthday this year have an exercise plan in place

By THE Birthday this year have a eating plan in place (I don’t want to call it a die-t. Instead of focusing on what I can’t eat, I want to focus on what I can eat and enjoy eating it. Reverse psychology, I know.)

Starting tonight I want to blog every night.  That means keeping this short and sweet, so until tomorrow night…

I’ll keep you posted – Terri



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Day 455

Today has flown by and this is the first chance I’ve been able to sit down and get on the computer. We started the day at the golf course for our third lesson. Today we worked on chipping from just off the green and from a sand trap. I tried to remember my posture and bellybutton-to-the-spine. It seemed to help, but to tell the truth I was concentrating so hard on doing everything we’ve just been working for two days not to do that posture wasn’t my main priority.

Loved the lesson, though.  Usually when I’m that close to the green I use my putter because I don’t have the control with my pitching wedge. Our instructor taught us how to drop it on the  fringe of the green and let it roll to the cup. My son even put one in!

As soon as I got home, I got after the apples. Our tree was loaded this year. We had a lot of worms, so although I bought a cool food mill, I still had to cut and cut and cut. I got 7 1/2 pints of applebutter and 10 1/2 pints of applesauce. And there are still apples in the tree!

I am sore from standing all day. I feel as if I’ve been doing mega exercising, but all I’ve done is stand. One of the websites – I think it was on the Mayo Clinic site – said standing burns more calories than sitting. After today, I believe it!

Looking back on my notes, it was the Mayo Clinic site. It was a nice section that addressed how to fit in getting fit when there seems to be no time in your day to do so.  Here are some of the tips:

Walk or bike to work. My husband continues to ride his bike to work. On days like today when it’s hot and he’s fighting a headwind, I think he would call for ride. In fact, I get impatient and call him. But he says he’s doing fine and he says the more he rides the less conditions seem to bother him.

If you live too far away to walk or bike to work, then you can get off the bus or subway early and walk the rest of the way.

Use every opportunity to use stairs rather than elevators.

Look for opportunities to stand.

Instead of using intercoms or telephones, walk over to coworkers’ offices to talk with them.

Incorporating the rest of these really depend on your workplace facilities and policies.

Take fitness breaks instead of coffee or smoke breaks. Go for a quick walk, do wall squats and/or gentle stretches. If possible store resistance bands and small arm weights to do reps at work.

Trade your office chair for a fitness ball. Consider a treadmill desk.

Organize lunchtime walking groups or walking meetings.

Whoops – I’ve got to trade out my jars in the canner.  I’ll keep you posted — Terri


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Day 456

Sorry this is getting posted so late in the day. I’ve been baking cookies, picking apples and making applebutter – I love summer! I also love the Olympics, but sitting and watching them on television isn’t doing me any good.  In some of my on-line research I read somewhere that we weigh more than we should because of bad habits – like sitting and watching television. The suggested corrective behavior was to exercise while watching TV. … hmmm, no. I’m not that dedicated to our pact yet! But I may exercise part of the time.

My Internet surfing also took me to the Mayo Clinic’s website where I found some more encouraging information on the benefits of exercise. I think the more I can authenticate these benefits, the sooner I will tell myself “why wouldn’t I exercise with the benefits being so great?” We exercise to reach our individual goals, but in the meantime it is doing so much more for us. How can we not exercise?

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise increases good cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps blood flowing smoothly and decreases risk of heart disease. How we start and stop exercises also effects the blood. We know we’re suppose to do warm ups and cool downs to reduce injury. The clinic says cooling down helps regulate blood flow an stretching increases blood flow to muscles. It suggests if you’re walking to add 5 minutes of slow walking before and after your session to get in that warm up/cool down period. Or doing what ever exercise your planning, but at a slower, stretchier speed before and after you do the exercise itself.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, regular physical exercise helps prevent or manages a wide range of health problems, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, some cancers, arthritis and falls. It also helps improve your mood. Besides stimulating those anti-depressant chemicals, exercise helps us because we feel better when we start to look better. It gives us a boost of confidence and self-esteem.

OK – so, I’m still working on completely submerging myself in the “it’s so good for me, why in the world wouldn’t I exercise” philosophy, but I’ll quit writing about it!

The Mayo Clinic site also has some good information on intensity and interval training. When my daughter and I were doing P90X, I told her I was old and out of shape, so I couldn’t do the routines at the same intensity as she. According to the Mayo Clinic research, I was right – mostly. It seems that it comes down to what you want your exercise to do for you. If you are exerting light intensity you will not be burning calories at the same rate as you will if you’re exercising vigorously. Logical. But to get your body into fat-burning mode, you don’t have to be pushing yourself to the wall. My treadmill shows me if I’m at a warm-up/cool-down speed or a fat-burning speed. The difference is right around a speed of 3.3. But I know as I get more in shape that I will need to increase the speed to enter a fat-burning zone. Even now I can do more than I did when I started without sweating and breathing nearly as hard.

According to the Mayo Clinic, those are clues as to the intensity of the exercise on your heart. Light intensity creates no noticeable change in breathing, and doesn’t produce sweat. You can talk or sing while doing the exercise. Moderate intensity creates quicker breathing, a light sweat after 10 minutes and while you can talk, you can’t sing. Vigorous exercise produces deep and rapid breathing, sweat after a few minutes and you can’t talk.

The clinic suggests that if you get short of breath or experience pain to the point you can’t continue the workout, then you are doing too much for your fitness level. Back down the intensity meter and slowly build up.

One way to do that is with interval training, the clinic says. Interval training is where you do bursts of vigorous exercises buffered on each side with moderate exercise. For example, if walking is the exercise of choice the session would start with stretches and 2-5 minutes of walking slow enough that you can talk – or sing, depending on your exercise partner(s) patience. That would be followed by a session of walking at a moderate pace – so some sweating and no singing. About halfway through the session add a couple of minutes of walking faster or jogging and then resume a moderate pace. End with slow walking and stretching. The clinic says this not only helps to burn more calories, but also improves aerobic capacity and keeps boredom at bay.

So what does all this exercise do? According to the clinic, 150 minutes a week of walking at a moderate pace or 75 minutes at a vigorous pace will maintain weight levels. If you want to loose weight you need to double down. And exercise works more to maintain a weight level rather than to decrease it. Diet, the clinic says, is the key to losing weight.

Diet has a stronger effect on weight loss than physical activity, it says. One pound equals 3,500 calories, it says. So to lose 1 pound a week a person would need  to eliminate 500 calories each day – seven days times 500 calories not consumed equals 3,500 calories not consumed that week.

Not the best news for me. I can get into exercising much easier than I can get into dieting. I guess that will be my next Internet search!

I’ll keep you posted — Terri

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