Category Archives: Fitness

Some Thoughts on Fitness

I have never been an athletic person. Even as a child I avoided physical activity like the plague. Gym class was torture, I hated every sport my parents ever signed me up to play, there are numerous pictures of me looking miserable on rollerblades or a bicycle. If forced I would play tag, but only freeze tag where I would immediately try to get frozen which meant I was now able to just stand quietly while the rest of the game progressed around me. I would have much, much rather been alone with a book or my American Girl dolls.

hate bike riding

like let’s not.


It shouldn’t be a big surprise then that working out is a struggle for me. It’s the biggest mental challenge I have on any given day-forcing myself to work out. When I woke up this morning with an achey knee and an overwhelming desire to just sit quietly in my kitchen and write, I was wracked with guilt.

“Just because your knee hurts doesn’t mean you can’t do an upper body workout,” said the devil on my shoulder.

“You deserve a rest day, stop being so obsessive. You work out for at least an hour 6 days a week! Enough is enough!” said the angel on my other shoulder.

Today, obviously, I listened to the angel, because here I am. But I still feel guilty, and I don’t like that.

This guilt isn’t coming from anyone but myself. If I texted my trainer right now she would probably tell me it’s fine to take a rest day and to just make sure I don’t lose momentum for tomorrow and the next day and to not eat like a monster today. She’s not a drill sergeant, she understands life is a thing that happens and rest is important.

The guilt comes entirely from myself and this obsession I have about being a certain weight for my wedding in 38 days (but who’s counting?).

Am I the skinniest I’ve ever been? No. But I am the strongest I’ve ever been. And my wedding dress fits. And I wouldn’t be ashamed to be on the beach with my smaller-than-they-used-to-be stomach rolls. So why am I still obsessing?

I have no idea. But I do know it has to stop. I can’t keep beating myself up about a weekend spent eating off-plan, or a missed workout. I need to focus on what I’m doing right and not worry so much about being wrong. I think if I didn’t have the wedding as such a concrete goal I may not feel this way, but with just over a month left every missed or half-assed workout feels like a gigantic failure.

I do know that after the wedding I need to re-evaluate what fitness really means to me, and what place it has in my life. I can guarantee post-wedding it will not mean working out 6 days a week and spending astronomical amounts of money on gym memberships. I need to find that happy medium where I still feel proud of the things my body can do, but I’m not crazed about hitting that next goal.

The “fit life” might be having a moment right now, but deep down inside I’m still that kid who would rather be laying down in a hammock with her book, and I have to remember that that’s okay.
 

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On Falling Off the Wagon & Hopping on a New One

This summer has been a doozy for me. A lot of change happening, some of it exciting, some of it terrifying, some of it huge mistakes, but all of it at least a little bit stressful. Really, this whole past year has been a roller coaster ride. I’m struggling my way through it, and I know the ride will have to end eventually, but some aspects of my life are taking hits along the way.

Namely, my eating habits.

My eating habits are a roller coaster all their own. I’ve run the gamut from no carb, to low carb, to tracking calories, to cleanses and juices. I always end up back on the “to hell with it” plan, which happens when it all just becomes too much to keep track of and I just want pizza and beer, dammit. Needless to say, it’s a frustrating cycle.

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With how overwhelming this summer has been for me, my eating has really taken a hit, especially in the last month. My workouts are still on point, and I’m still trying to make healthy choices when I can, but I know I could do better.

When life slows down a touch (hopefully in the next few weeks), I’ve decided to try my hand at my next “diet” endeavor, flexible dieting. You may have also heard this called #iifym or “if it fits your macros”. IIFYM in extremely general terms is finding a balance of protein, carbs, and fats that helps your body perform at its optimal level. Your personal macros depend on many different factors. You can calculate your own or have someone who knows about these things calculate them for you. I did some Googling and calculated mine using a combo of http://www.iifym.com and Krissy Mae Cagney. Once you have your macros, you can eat whatever you want as long as it – wait for it – fits your macros. Cookies? Yup. Cake? Yup. Ice cream? Heck yes.

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Of course, it’s all in moderation. You couldn’t actually eat at KFC on the reg and hit your macros. I’m not certified in any kind of way to get into details about any of this, so I won’t, but all I did was Google and do a bunch of reading so if you’re interested I suggest starting there.

While the concept seems simple and the fact that nothing is really restricted is a huge draw, it still has downsides. Specifically, you have to track everything you eat and it definitely involves a certain level of planning. I do find I am at my best when I make a meal plan and prep everything. However, I don’t  always get around to doing that and the past year of my life hasn’t been great for having the capabilities to control cooking and groceries. Once that all changes (soon I hope!) I really want to get back on board.

Anyone out there tried IIFYM? It seems super popular right now and I don’t want to be left out. It also kind of seems like a no-brainer and one of the healthier, more balanced fitness trends I’ve ever gotten on the band wagon for.

 

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90 Days

I have what I like to call Veruca Salt Syndrome. You know, the girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory* who doesn’t care how, she wants it now? Yeah, that’s me. I have a hard time understanding why when I decide I want something I can’t have it right away (i.e. house hunting). I enjoy instant gratification. I want those shoes, I buy those shoes. Very little effort is involved. So when i come up against something I want but can’t have right away, I immediately become frustrated, angry, and sink into a deep pit of despair.

It’s not a good habit. I’m working on it, honest.

It’s a habit that has also made me lazier than I am. And I’m pretty lazy to begin with. When I identify something I want but can’t have right away, or may have to put in a lot of work into getting, or just plain don’t know how to get, I get overwhelmed* and just give up all together. I’ll just stay in this crappy place, thanks, because I’m too lazy to figure out how to fix it. Or if it’s going to take longer than I thought or be more effort than I originally planned, I just end up quitting. I find myself in an endless cycle of try try try! and then give up spectacularly. It’s ding dang exhausting. For myself and for everyone I complain to.

So instead of complaining all the time, and feeling frustrated all the time, I’ve decided to do something about it.

It really all started when, as usual, I find summer approaching and I feel like a pale, jiggly, blob from a winter of staying indoors and eating ginger snaps obsessively (sooo goood). As standard for me, I immediately jumped into a 24 day cleanse, clean eating, continuing to work out at my beloved barre studio, and then burning myself out and immediately dive bombing into a plate of nachos with a side of beer. Thus getting nowhere in my battle against the bulge that is my muffin top. “Why isn’t this working?” I’d moan. “I was sooo good for like, three-ish days this week!” I’m not that stupid. I get that consistency is my problem. I know that one bad meal or a few rest days won’t make me fat and out of shape, but it’s never one bad meal or a few rest days. It’s multiple bad meals and multiple rest days.

So it was time to face the facts. What I’ve been doing isn’t working. It’s time for something new. So instead of making a grand plan for changing my body and my life as fast as possible, I’m taking a new, slower approach. I’m setting relatively small goals for myself and they working on achieving them. Slowly, one step at a time. I am trying to focus on the long game rather than an immediate payoff. It’s more of a mental shift more than anything, and I’m hopeful that it will bring a sense of clarity and peace to my life that I find myself lacking more often than not. It started as a quest to get into shape, but I can already feel it morphing into so much more.

I’ve arbitrarily set a 90 day time period for me to get this endeavor off the ground. That brings me to the end of June, essentially the start of summer, because I want to start my favorite season off in a happy and healthy place. Mentally and physically.

My goal for the month of April is consistency.

Consistently make good choices when it comes to eating, consistently work out, consistently wash my face and floss before bed (I know, I’m gross, but I never consistently do those things), consistently make the choice to feel positive and happy instead of letting negative thoughts get me down. I know we’re only 10 days in, but I’m already feeling good about this. It’s not about being perfect, just about making the best decisions I can every time I have the opportunity. Small steps that will hopefully lead to big rewards.

Also, just because that got a bit too serious for my liking, I plan on teaching myself to juggle this month. Just because I need a talent and I just recently read somewhere that literally anyone can learn to juggle. So there’s that.

 

 

*The original, not the creepy one with Johnny Depp. Sorry Johnny, I love you, but no.

*”I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” “I think you can in Europe.” Name that movie!

 

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Workin’ on My Fitness

For the past three or so years, I’ve been trying to lose weight. But really, aren’t we all? Well maybe everyone except for Skinny E from work. But she’s a runner, so she probably has some crazy fitness related goal like “I want to be able to run 500 miles instead of 400”. Whatever.

Anyway, I used to look like this:

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This was May of 2010 on a trip to Myrtle Beach. I knew when I was on that trip that once I got home something had to change. I was sick of feeling uncomfortable in my body and self conscious all the time. I love clothes and shopping and it was really frustrating to not be satisfied with the way things looked on my body.

So I did a couple things. First, I tried the South Beach diet. I completed the first round, which if memory serves was about two weeks with no carbs. I lost weight. Then I tracked calories using Lose It! and I also did Weight Watchers Online for awhile. I took up yoga and started going on walks. I ended up losing about 20lbs and I’ve maintained that loss for the past couple years.

This is what I looked like in May 2011 (one year later):

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Yes, I DO love this color.

I’ve been lamenting over losing “the last ten pounds” since the last picture was taken. I’ll get on kicks where I’ll track what I’m eating and then someone will invite me out to dinner or a birthday party will come up and I’d un-do all my hard work. It was a perpetual hamster wheel where I was just maintaining. But I wanted more.

Last spring I started running. I  n e v e r thought I would be a runner in a million years. This last December I ran my first 5k. Running continues to be a staple workout and I’m trying to work on improving my speed and distance.

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I am fully aware this is not a good look for me.

A few months ago two of my best friends and I (holler H & G!) sort of stumbled into a major health kick. All three of us track calories, bought heart rate monitors and are working out at least 4-5 days a week. We’ve been sharing successes and failures, cheering each other on when we’re doing great, and motivating each other on days when we just don’t think we have it in us to get off the couch. This support has made a huge difference. Where I was never able to keep myself motivated for more than a week or two at a time, I’ve been consistently eating better and working out for just about two straight months now. I feel fan-fucking-tastic.

I haven’t actually lost much more weight, but I feel stronger and thinner. I’ve gone down a pants size. I feel healthy. And I am loving this feeling. I love my workouts and I HATE having to miss one. I love running now. Lucky for me I live near the ocean and running along the water just does something to my soul.

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And the endorphins! You guys, they’re real! My mood is about 800 times better after a great workout. Hell, it’s still like 500 times better after a shitty workout.

I wish I’d started this sooner. I always thought it would be too hard, or I wouldn’t have time, or living this way wouldn’t be sustainable. Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s not hard, I don’t suffer, and not only is living this way sustainable, I KNOW I’ll never go back to being that unhealthy girl I was before.

I mean, I’m not a psychopath about this. I have dessert. I go out to eat. I just make better choices. I watch portion sizes, I cook at home far more often, and I savor every bite when I do indulge. Like, I went  to Shake Shack last weekend and I  pulled out all the stops. But I also worked out like a mofo last week to prepare. It’s all about balance.

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Worth it.

It doesn’t matter if you want to lose ten pounds or 60 pounds. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to lose any weight at all. Being healthy is just plain good for you. You’ll feel fabulous, I promise.

If you’re on Instagram, my friends and I have started the hashtag #slamminbysummer to keep each other updated (ok, really just to humblebrag like crazy, but still). Feel free to join in on this fitness fun!

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