Mamavation Monday: bounce


Wow… I look a little weird in that video, huh?  I was tired after a long, humid walk.

bouncing basketballI’ve got to tell you, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself this week.  After Saturday’s HORRIBLE eating, I was expecting the typical cycle of guilt and embarrassment.  I’m not going to say I wasn’t at all guilty or embarrassed, but it was different this time.  Of course I wish I hadn’t done it, but for the first time… maybe ever… I was able to walk away from those bad choices like they didn’t matter.  I was able to say with absolutely certainty that this was NOT the beginning of a backslide into bad habits.  I knew without a doubt I’d get back on track, and within 24 hours I was eating healthy foods and walking three miles.

I bounced back with a vengeance, and in some ways this has made that unhealthy, vicious splurge of a day into a positive.  In some ways, Saturdays string of bad nutritional decisions has become a bigger victory than falling numbers on the scale or smaller measurements or more time logged in exercise.

Finally, this is about the journey.

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More from me:

Truly, Madly: why I refuse to stop being a newlywed

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Couch to 5K: Quitting is possible


Natalie Dee - Healthy living is for suckers...source

I wanted to elaborate on last night’s post, but first I want to take the chance to say thank you to everyone who commented.  No matter what your advice was, and no matter what I end up doing, you should know that your support and the time you took to come by and show it was more than a little appreciated.  I feel like I’m having a Crisis of Fitness (like a crisis of faith, but healthier and less philosophical… but only slightly) right now, and advice from friends and people who have been there is what will pull me through.

So I wanted to go into more detail about why I am thinking about quitting, and what has stopped me (so far) from actually doing so.  Why I want to quit:

  • I loathe going out to run
  • Since I started running, I am MUCH more easily injured.  Workouts that used to be fine for me have me sore for days (see last week’s power circuit adventure) and new workouts like this weekend’s step class leave me with severely aching tendons around my ankles and calves that feel like they are cramping.
  • Once I get past the first minute or so of each run, all I am doing is waiting for it to end.  I’m fighting with my body to maintain something resembling proper form, struggling (sometimes desperately) to breathe, dragging my legs and feet along beneath me, and praying for the end.
  • Ever since week 4 began, I no longer feel good after my runs.  I feel totally spent, worn out, and often sick.  I’ve tried a variety of different prerun fuels, stretches, and workouts to no avail.  We don’t run until close to sunset, so I’m definitely missing the hottest parts of the day.
    After this weekend’s BodyStep class, I realize that running is not necessarily the most efficient calorie burn…. which is why I started doing it in the first place.
  • Since I have no indoor workout options, the weather (which is quite rainy lately) can throw a wrench into my plans whenever it wants.  If I don’t run every other day, I really lose momentum and it’s ten times harder for me to get back out there.  Feeling that need to be out there every other day makes it really stressful for me when I miss a day thanks to weather or something else outside of my control.

Why I haven’t quit yet:

  • I “shouldn’t”
  • Other people are counting on me and expecting me to finish
  • I hate quitting, especially since I’ve been on here talking about running a 5K.
  • I will look like a loser.  I said I would do it, and now I am going to back out halfway through?  People will think I’m ridiculous!
  • I do genuinely enjoy the feeling of being able to say I did it.
  • I keep feeling like the difficulties I am having with running are my own fault somehow… bad form?  Too fat?  Poor technique?  Not hardcore enough?  And so I keep pushing, because I can’t quit something if it’s my fault it sucks, right?
  • Other people really, really seem to enjoy it.  I want to be like those people, don’t I?  They’re all so fit…
  • I love the time with my husband and daughter, and specifically I love getting out and doing something healthy with them.

Wow… not a very inspiring list for either one, is it?  I do want to be clear about something though.  Unlike the beginning of the year, and for most of my life before this year, I do not hate exercise.  In fact, I really enjoy my morning walks with my daughter.  I love yoga and Pilates.  I had a great time in that BodyStep class.  There are several workouts I do here at home that I really enjoy, even during the parts where I’m huffing and puffing and hoping the workout ends soon.  So it’s not like I just hate working out.  I really, really don’t.

Another thing that’s stopping me from quitting so far?  I’m worried that this lack of motivation/energy/determination is my own fault in a very specific way.  I’ve always thought I was just “not a runner,” and when I started this whole C25K adventure, I was still thinking it wouldn’t go far.  Despite that, I was surprised by how very, very difficult it was for me, which just confirmed my suspicions that running and I will never be good friends.  So sometimes I worry that I’m just one big self-fulfilling prophecy, that I jinxed myself somehow.

In the comments, someone suggested skipping this week entirely and just trying to move to week 5.  That’s definitely an option.  I am also considering replacing my C25K efforts with something like 30 Day Shred… although I would still want to go out with the family for long, brisk walks.  I like our time together so very much.  I’d also love to replace this with a whole string of BodyPump, BodyFlow, BodyStep, etc… but that will have to hold off until I can afford to join the gym.

Anyway… this far too long posts essentially sums up all of the thoughts that are bouncing around in my head about C25K specifically and about running in general.  Thoughts, comments, and advice are welcome and appreciated.  Thanks again for being here for me!

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More from me:

Eat food, not too much

Tasting a new Greek dessert wine

Albarino/Alvarinho: same grape, two countries, two wines

BodyStep and Back


I’m feeling a little tightness in my lower calf/Achilles tendon today and I think it’s from the BodyStep class.  I still feel fantastic and really glad I went, but I’m definitely going to need some extra stretching before I go out tonight to begin C25K Week 4 Version 3.

I’m hoping that the relatively cool temperatures today help the run a little bit.  It’s been really, really tough the last few times I’ve gone out to run and I feel like if it doesn’t get MUCH better I’ll never get past this week of C25k.  Honestly, if I have to repeat it too many more times I am really going to feel like giving up…

In food news, a friend of mine passed along a recipe that I’ve been playing with and want to share.  You mix 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and 3 tbsp of honey, and mix with 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt.  It’s even better if you add fruit.  She recommended sliced strawberries, but I only had bananas, so I cut up one banana and threw it in.  It was GOOD, but I actually think I would cut the honey down a little bit.  Maybe 2 tbsp…  This afternoon I mixed 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder, and 2 tsp honey into the yogurt… and it was alright.  I wanted it to be richer.  It was very thick and weird.  I’m thinking I might try the same mixture again but add some oats or something crunchy.

I bought a huge bag of frozen turkey meatballs from the store… mostly because it’s the only significant protein source I can get my daughter to eat.  It’s also a super easy meal though, so last night I tried to make my own version of grape jelly meatballs.  The idea is to combine grape jelly and chili sauce and simmer the meatballs in the mixture in a crockpot.

Since I had neither the ingredients or the time, I put 1 cup of raspberry Polaner all fruit spread, 3/4 cup ketchup, and 2 tsp red pepper flakes into a saucepan.  I stirred the mixture over low heat for about fifteen minutes until it was nice and mixed.  In the meantime, I defrosted 20 meatballs in the microwave and then added them to the sauce.  I let it all sit on low heat for ten minutes or so, until the meatballs were heated through and the sauce was thicker.  It turned out GREAT and both the husband and daughter loved them.  So I’m pretty sure you could add just about any fruit jelly/jam and ketchup (or chili sauce, if you have it) and it would make a super easy meatball sauce.  We had ours with a giant spinach salad, and the recipe made enough meatballs to feed all three of us for dinner last night and then again for lunch today.

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More from me:

This weekend’s sweet Greek wine selection

C25K Week 4: New Shoes?


I managed to get through another day of C25K week 4, and it was actually easier than the first day.  So yeah, it does get better.  I will definitely be repeating this week though.  The second five minute run pushes me to my absolute limit and I don’t think I could finish a longer run at this point.

Unlike Monday’s run, I actually felt pretty great when I finished this one.  The husband and baby were able to come out with me, which helps a lot in terms of motivation, and I like the time with them.  It was funny though, because at one point I got heckled by a couple of guys drinking beers on their porch.  Apparently they though it was pretty ridiculous (hard to say how serious they were) because my husband was pushing the stroller instead of me.  So only women can push strollers, I guess?  When I yelled out that I was DYING (just finished the first five minute run) they just kept up with the heckling.  I was tempted to challenge them to get out there and run too, but was afraid they’d turn out to be oddly healthy and totally show me up…. so I just kept moving and put them out of my head.  By the time the next run came around, I’d already forgotten them.

Last night was a great time to run thanks to some cool breezes and a little less humidity.  I’m usually the first to complain about unseasonal weather, and it is tough to know how to dress when the weather is super hot one week and pretty chilly the next, but when it comes to running, I am LOVING the cooler weather.  The breezes and the lower temperatures make it a lot easier to run without feeling so heavy and disgusting like I do on hot and humid days.  I also drink less water, which helps me not to feel nauseous.  Sometimes the feeling of the water sloshing around when I run really does make me feel like I’m going to be sick.  Yesterday I also discovered that the smell of food cooking (since we run in the evening’s we’re hitting a lot of dinner times) makes me totally want to barf when I’m full on running and really pushing myself.

It’s interesting, because I’m getting some really good times (for me.)  This week I’ve been averaging 32 minutes for the 2.25 miles, putting me at about a 14:00 mile.  For me, as a beginner, this sounds SUPER fast and I’m really pleased with it.  I’m hoping it’s a pace I can hold on to and bring to my first official race. I’d love to be able to say I finished with a 14:00 mile time.

So now I’m looking for some advice from other runners.  How often do you buy running shoes?  The ones I have now are older shoes, but I never really used them before this whole C25K adventure… so they’ve only been getting regular use (maybe 6 miles a week) since March.  When will I need new shoes?  How will I even know that I need them?  I have intentions of buying new shoes for myself when I finish running my first 5K, but now I’m wondering if I should get them before that so that I will have new shoes for the race.  And don’t worry, I know better than to run in totally new shoes.  I promise to break them in first.

I’m starting to think of bigger and bigger running goals, which surprises me since when I started this whole thing I was really just thinking of it as a better weight loss tool and not a goal for its own sake.  But now I am thinking about the Disney Princess Half Marathon, or the new Wine & Dine Half.  I wonder if I’d be ready to do one of those next year…  I think it would be amazing to compete in a Disney race, plus it has the added benefit of being close to my family.  I am actually thinking about waiting to do one of those races for a few years, until my daughter is old enough to enjoy Disney and we can turn it into a family vacation.  What about you?  What are some of your favorite events to walk/run/bike/watch?  What  makes a good race?  What makes a bad one?

Skinny Sushi: the Healthy Ninja.


Making sure I get my workouts in is becoming more and more important.  First of all, I’m seeing real results that make me feel good about myself and excited to keep this journey going.  Secondly, I really want to sign up for a 5K in September, and if I let my C25K runs fall behind I might not make it since it looks like I’ll end up repeating every week.  So this weekend I will be juggling out of town guests (my mom & dad, YAY!!!) and a first birthday party, but no matter what happens I WILL be running tonight, and out there again on Sunday.

It would be easy to let this weekend throw me off schedule, and plenty of people would say it’s alright, understandable, even justified.  Those people might even be right, but why let it happen?  Why skip a work out when I can get one in with just a little bit of extra effort and schedule shifting.  My parents won’t even get here until dinner time, so if my husband comes home early and helps me clean up a bit, we can likely get the run in before they even arrive, and then dinner is easy chicken enchiladas that will take very little time and even less effort.

I’m also (weirdly, as I am not a baker) looking forward to the creation of a whole herd of animal cupcakes.  We’re making three dozen cupcakes for the party… zebras, lions, tigers, and monkeys (oh my!)… that will all be created with reduced sugar cake mix and icing (thanks Pillsbury!), reduced fat Nilla wafers, and a handfull of Junior Mints (only the caramel ones, not the minty sort.)  I’ll be documenting the whole process with pics, so hopefully they’ll be cute enough to show off.

We’ll also get tons of walking in at the zoo tomorrow, and I’m excited about that too.  I just hope I can find shoes that are comfortable enough for walking all day but don’t look ridiculous with the dress I’m planning to wear.  Wait, what?

That’s right, I’ll be wearing a dress in public, on purpose, even though no one said I had to.  The more successful this healthy journey is, the more proud I am of the way I look.  I want to show off the work I’ve done.  I’m not perfect, and there is still a lot to be done before I reach my “ideal” weight, but I’ve come a long way.  27.4 pounds is nothing to sneer at.  I’ve been struggling a little bit lately with feeling like I haven’t done that much, like it’s not a big deal or the changes aren’t really that apparent, but the truth is it IS a big deal.  It’s a HUGE deal.  I am working my butt off… sort of literally… and I am really seeing results.  My stomach is MUCH smaller, my legs are shrinking, my muscles are more defined.  My body, so unfamiliar in its new post-baby shape, is reshaping again to something leaner and firmer, something that says to the world that I do care, I do take care of myself, and I’m proud of how I look.

Again, I do still have a long way to go.  There are people out there who would see pictures from this weekend’s birthday festivities and undoubtedly think I am still awfully large.  Maybe I am.  Maybe I will be one of the people who sees the pictures and thinks I shouldn’t have been wearing that dress…. the one I bought in the juniors section no less… but I hope not.  I hope I will look back at those shots and be proud of what they stand for.  Me, presiding over my daughter’s birthday party, looking ten million times better than I did right after she was born, and serving healthier cupcakes to unsuspecting friends and family.  Hee hee.  So that’s my goal in life now?  To be the girl who sneaks a little healthy into the lives and mouths of her loved ones?

Sounds good to me.  Skinny Sushi: the Healthy Ninja.

Healthy Holiday Options


Alternate title: How Easter showed me the light… and almost killed me.

I’m the sort of person who looks forward to holidays, and even more so when I am trying to stay healthy.  I have always thought of holidays as an excuse to indulge (ideally within reason) without feeling guilty.  It’s a chance to eat good foods that you don’t usually get to enjoy, snack on candy, and eat more than one dessert.

This year, I was worried about taking things too far and not keeping it under control.  I’ve done so well with embracing healthier eating habits, but since our Easter meal was hosted at someone else’s house, I was scared of going crazy in a house full of “bad” food.  I tried to eat before we left so I was less hungry, but I was still feeling really snacky when we got there.  So here’s how I did:

  • 2 diet cokes
  • 3 small slices of cheddar cheese with 5 pepperoni
  • 3 Cadbury mini eggs
  • 8 orange jelly beans
  • 3oz honey glazed ham
  • 5 shrimp with a teaspoon of cocktail sauce
  • 3 pieces of broccoli
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 deviled egg
  • 2 dinner rolls
  • 1 piece of cake (which I brought, so it was lower calorie)
  • 1 tiny sliver of coconut pie (really, a sliver)
  • 1/2 coffee, 1/2 cocoa

I was SO FULL when we left, and as the night went on I felt worse and worse.  I didn’t eat very much, at least not when you consider what I would normally have eaten on Easter, but I felt awful!  Looking back, I think I had two major problems.  I drank almost no water (and I am used to drinking 1.5-2 liters per day) and I had ZERO activity.  I sat on the couch, I napped with my daughter, and I sat on the deck and talked with family.  The day was lovely and relaxing, but it just wasn’t what I wanted anymore.  I didn’t enjoy the nutritionally neutral food.  I wanted more savory options, more fruits and vegetables.

The biggest, and strangest, eye opener was the Peep moment.  I am a Peep fanatic.  Two years ago, when I was working in an office, my entire bottom desk drawer was FULL of Peeps.  People sent me emails about the Peepshi: Sushi from Peeps article because everyone remembered how into Peeps I was.  When we showed up for Easter this year, there were Peeps everywhere!  I managed to stay away from them at first, but after a few hours, I grabbed a yellow Peep bunny and bit it’s head off.

Photographic proof of my Peep addiction - an office desk drawer FULL of Peeps.

Photographic proof of my Peep addiction - an office desk drawer FULL of Peeps.

Ew!  Seriously, it tasted awful.  It tasted like chemicals and dye.  How did I like those things so much?  Just in case it was a weird Peep, I had Aaron try a bite of it too.  He said no, that’s just what Peeps taste like.  They’re kind of disgusting!  Poor Peeps.  Turns out I just can’t eat them anymore.  Since they are at the least nutritionally neutral (if not nutritionally damaging), I am not particularly sad.  Still, I felt odd to witness such a clear, decisive change in my palate.

I woke up this morning feeling nauseous.  Aaron isn’t sick, so it isn’t a matter of having eaten something bad.  I think I am just no longer well suited to eating the sort of food I used to look forward to.  Instead, from now on I will be bringing my own sauteed veggies, a fruit based dessert, and some healthy snacks for me and the family.  I was actually surprised by my body’s reaction, since I thought I did pretty well with my choices.

So what’s the best way to survive any holiday or family get-together?  Stick with what’s familiar.  If you’ve been eating a low fat, low calorie diet, become a vegetarian, or made any other changes to your diet that no longer quite fit with your family’s habits, bring your own food.  You can frame it as bringing dishes to share, and make enough to do just that, but bring the foods you’re used to eating.  You’ll be happier and healthier, and you may just turn an unsuspecting family member on to a healthier option.

If bringing your own food isn’t an option, try to stick to plain fruits and veggies while filling up on water.  Have small bites of the rest of it.  It’s a fine line, because you don’t want to deny yourself the things you want.  If you really want a deviled egg, have one.  You may, however, discover that they aren’t nearly as good as you were expecting them to be, so start with just one or even half of one and go from there.

If you stay hydrated and try to fill your plate with big servings of fresh, raw foods, you can survive any food centered gathering without suffering the damages.

Indulgent


Since I gave up yesterday, today I am indulging… in fitness.

Seriously, if you’d told me I’d be posting any of this as of a few months ago, I’d have laughed at you.  And yet…

I am now officially registered for the Van Metre 1 mile walk.  Not only does this walk get me out and moving with good friends, but it also benefit Children’s Hospital, who you may remember saved Evi’s life…

May 26, 2009 - Evi at Children's Hospital, still waiting for a positive diagnosis of pyloric stenosis... This picture still breaks my heart.

June 8, 2009 - Evi, looking two million times better less than two weeks after her surgery.

I still get weepy looking at that…..  So obviously, it is SO important to me to be a part of this.

And then I got super motivated.  Since I am officially going to FitBloggin’ now, I’ve signed up for a conference walk hosted by New Balance on the morning of March 20th.  So, for the first time in my life, I will be ringing in a new year of my life with a fantastic collection of healthy events!  I can’t wait to turn 30!