Exercise for Life

One habit I’ve tried to maintain since my school years is physical activity. To be clear, I am not a health nut. I eat too much chocolate and desserts. I used to be addicted to soda. I love juicy hamburgers. My Wii Fit character is, ahem, chubby. But, I do exercise and have regularly done so since my youth. I use 5 lb. weights in some of my workouts. I love aerobics that make me sweat. I love it when it’s over.

There are so many health benefits in exercise:

  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • Helps you lose weight.
  • Creates muscle and  builds stamina.
  • Gives you energy.
  • Releases stress. (Nothing like kickboxing when you’re angry! Not that I really know…*cough cough*)
  • Releases endorphins – “the feel good” hormones.
  • Helps prevent back and posture problems.
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • And, my favorite: It enables you to eat chocolate with less guilt. 🙂

My goal is to exercise at least three times a week. Most weeks, I make this goal. When I want to lose weight and push myself (which is about once a year) I workout everyday of the week, except Saturday and Sunday, for three weeks.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite workout DVDs. I also enjoy using the Wii Fit, when I can get a turn. 🙂

Denise Austin is my favorite workout trainer. She is peppy and encouraging and the music is peppy without being too loud. I like her moves, too. She picks hard moves, but just when I’m about to pass out – she stops. Most of her newer DVD’s give the option of having her instruction or just music.

Denise Austin’s Get Fit Daily Dozen – 12 exercises in 12 minutes. Choose from five different workouts, two cardio, 2 strength training (one legs, one arms) and one yoga/Pilates. If you’re short on time, just do your daily dozen! I love it! I often do two a day, which is still only 24 minutes and I get a great workout. I also like the variety.

Denise Austin’s Blast Away 10 lbs.  – One of her older DVDs, but does the job just fine. If you need to get into shape quickly, do this workout five days a week for three weeks! You will shed the sweat and inches. It’s a kickboxing workout with lots of jacks, jogging, and plyometric exercises. I love the punches and kicks, but there is one part at the end that I dread. She has you jog really, really fast, barely moving your feet up and down for what feels like forever! When I’m done, I feel like a champ though! And I’m sweating. Profusely.

Denise Austin’s 3 Week Boot Camp – My sister told me about this one, so I gave it a try. If you follow the plan the way she recommends on the DVD, you will see results! I’ve heard of people using P90X – which is an hour a day for 90 days. I cannot possibly devote that much time of my life to working out. This Boot Camp DVD is a nice “medium”. It’s an intense workout, but doable. You start with the first segment – 20 minutes a day of cardio – and do that four times that week. The next week you do the second segment – also 20 minutes, but it is a strength training/kettlebell inspired workout – four times. The third week, you do both segments (40 min.) four days that week. To maintain, she recommends doing the full 40 min. workout three times a week. I like variety, so I spice it up with other workouts. I have maintained the weight I lost doing this routine (we won’t count Thanksgiving week). I need to lose more so maybe after the new year I’ll give it another whirl.

I’m wanting to try her newest release, Sculpt & Burn Body Blitz, just for variety. I’ll let you know what I think if I do it.

Before you exercise, remember to get your doctor’s approval. Start slowly, building five minutes at a time till you reach 30 minutes a day. Walking is a great exercise! Start there! If you can do it with a friend, even better. I know that exercise doesn’t guarantee a long and healthy life, but it doesn’t hurt. Denise Austin often says, “God gave you one body, take care of it.” I agree. This body is His temple and I want to care for it. No, I’m not going to ever be a super model, nor do I want to be. I may never even lose this last 20 lbs. I gained after my fifth baby. But I want to keep moving. If God sends an illness into my life, I want to be in good shape to fight it. This is a realistic goal. Being a size zero isn’t.

Do you have a favorite exercise? I think everyone should choose to do something they enjoy! 🙂

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The Challenge

I have really been enjoying perusing Pinterest. It’s opened up new worlds for many of my crafty friends. (I mean that in the nicest form of the word, by the way.) I am currently working on a project – my first – that I found on Pinterest. Homeschooling, home-keeping, child training, and church work keep me busy all day everyday, but someday, I plan on trying all of the ideas and recipes I’ve “pinned”.

I’m getting started today on using an idea from Pinterest. (Oh, boy! Two in one week!) It’s a graphic that my friend, Ava, pinned. It’s simply called “The No Junk Food Challenge”. Here it is:

That’s it. It’s not a “diet”, just a “skimming down”. Which, I hope, will help me do some “slimming down”. Most of us know that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. And, that’s my goal here, to create some new habits.

I am going to tweak the rules just a bit. For instance, I’m probably going to allow myself a bit of peanut butter now and then, I like PB & J sandwiches for lunch. I only use about a tablespoon though, and it contains protein, so it’s not bad. If you’re careful. Also, real life insists that we eat out occasionally. If I’m in a position where I have to eat out, I will, but I’m going to choose the healthiest options available. Also, it’s not on the list, but I think that “No soda” should be added. I managed to kick this out of my diet back in June…the 14th to be exact, but who’s counting? And I’m so happy that I have! It’s really helped me to lose some pounds and keep them off.

I already exercise three or more times most weeks, but eating is my downfall! I am hoping this will help me to pay attention without stressing about points, calories or fat grams.

This challenge ends on December 21st. Isn’t that convenient? Just in time for Christmas! Perfect for enjoying all the benefits of the season: chocolate pecan pie, apple dumplings, cheesy corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing…okay. I better stop before I give up on day one!

Oh, and one more thing! I’m thinking of keeping track of my eats online at some place like Fit Day. Not sure if I will, though. If you’d like to join in, or have any thoughts to share, leave me a comment!

I hope you all have a wonderful December!

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Taking It Easy

Do you ever stress out about details? My husband and I are quite opposite on this one, which is certainly a blessing! I am very detailed, he is very relaxed. Together, we strike a good balance. I am  very talkative and expressive, he is very quiet and composed. Again, it’s a nice balance…most of the time! lol!

Lately, I have found myself with a full plate of life and a clouded mind from lack of sleep, due to our sweet newborn. And let me tell ya, it’s not a good combo! I have been working at losing weight since having Matthew nine weeks ago, but since coming home, I’ve only lost three pounds! That’s right, I maintained again this week, so no loss.

I have had some minor health problems this past week, which threw a wrench in my weight loss efforts. I was really stressing about it, while my husband was, well...not stressing.(Gasp!) I have been placing  imaginary pressure from him on myself. I felt that he wanted to me to be right back to my old weight within something like 24 hours after delivery! Did he say this, you might ask? No. Did he imply this with his body language? No.

So…I don’t know why I think this.

Tonight, I decided to ease up on myself. I’m going to try morphing into my husband, to some degree. 😉 I’m going to like the way I am right now while striving to become healthier, even if it means I must maintain this current weight for six months! {shudder} I will walk when I can, and when I can’t, I won’t hate myself. I will eat right, but if I don’t stay exactly within my Points range, I won’t cry.

Last time I checked, my husband liked me the way I am. He is happy to have the five children in our lives that are the reasons for the extra 20 pounds I carry. He loves me. What a thrill!

I can relax. I can relax. I can relax. Sorry, that was just me trying to convince myself. 🙂

Enjoy your week!
Valerie

Fitness Fridays: I Gotta Be Real

If you have read any of my Fitness Friday posts, then you know I try to be fun loving and lighthearted. I guess that’s who I am most of the time. I have lots of “down” days, but I really try to hide those times. Whenever I have let that “down” side show, I’ve had more ladies than I can count tell me that I am looking on the negative too much; I need to trust the Lord; I need to just be grateful for what I have, etc. They’re right! I do need to be positive, trust the Lord and be grateful! Sometimes though, I need a friend. I’m thankful for all of you who read my blog. But most of you are in another state! Some of you, I’ve yet to meet. Sometimes, I need a friend with a face. Proverbs 25:20 says As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart . I understand that. Have you ever mixed vinegar and baking soda? Try it. It fizzes and makes a great spewing volcano for a science project. That’s how I feel when I try to share my burdens with certain folks. Instead of understanding, I get an outline on “how to be happy during the bad days.” Or as the verse says, I get a rendition of “Smile A While”. To be honest, I got a little sick of it. And these were fine, godly ladies, by the way! I still love and respect each of them. But are you tellin’ me that they never get down? They’ve never had a burden so heavy that they needed to share it? If they have never been low or even mildly depressed, then I’d like to shake their hand! I sure have had my share of valleys. Some of the valleys I’ve shared on here. Some I can never share with anyone. I’m sure you know what I mean. I understand that these women were possibly trying to “cheer me up” or maybe, they were afraid if they gave in to my outpouring of grief that they were feeding the monster of negativity in me. If that happened, then I would have the pity-party of the century, or so they may have thought. Who knows what their reasons were.
What’s really scary, is the thought that maybe I have told someone who’s sharing their heart with me to smile and “put on a happy face!!”, making them feel the same way. Ouch. I sure hope not. If so, it wasn’t intentional. Therefore, that may not have been the intention of the ladies who spoke with me. So, I’ll cut them some slack. But just this once. Just kidding.
Because I am so afraid to open up to anyone, except the Lord and my husband, about certain things, I tend to do something else. I eat. Whenever someone snaps at me at church, I bite my tongue until it’s bleeding and then I go home and eat. I know, you’re appalled. I’m sorry to have appalled you. I hope I haven’t lowered my image in your esteem. What? It wasn’t high to begin with? Oh good! No harm done then!:]
Something very minor happened to me this past week. It wasn’t a big deal. Looking back, it seems silly! Most of my feelings could’ve been related to hormones or emotional instability or lack of spiritual stamina, or all of the above! I didn’t scream at anyone, or cry, or even get angry. I just felt a deep, stabbing pain inside my chest, and tears started to come, but I held them off because there were people around. I went home and started to go through my change to scrape up enough money to get a thin mint blizzard from DQ. I wanted to eat an entire tray of Sesame Chicken but I didn’t. Panda Express was closed already. Something also stopped me from going through with the blizzard idea. That something was that DQ was closed too.
As I went to bed that night, that deep, stabbing pain came back. You know what I mean? There was no food to quench it. There were no people around. So I cried. I cried and prayed and went to sleep.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized what I had started to do. I started to turn to food for comfort. I’ve done it before. Oh yeah, baby. I’ve eaten more than I’d care to admit here just when I felt sad! Afterwards, I feel guilty so I eat lighter for a few days and I try to workout consistently. Soon I forget about it. Till the next time. The result is that I’ve lost four pounds over and over. I can’t get back to my goal weight because I keep gaining, and then losing, gaining and losing, and on and on. I need to stop this vicious cycle. I need to stop making food my friend, and looking forward to food as my only thing to “live for”, which is another thing I often do. (When Terry tells me he’s taking me to Olive Garden, I highlight the calendar and make a paper chain to count it down. Okay, I don’t make a real paper chain, but I count it down in my head for weeks!)
This is my new goal: stop making food my best friend. That’s the role that Jesus should fill! I turn to him for other things, I need to turn to him now. After all, once I consume the blizzard, it’s gone, but Jesus lasts forever!
I am not going vegan. I am not even going vegetarian. I still plan to eat another blizzard someday. But I don’t want blizzards to be the thing I live for, or turn to in times of heartache. That’s what the Lord is there for. The song says “He’s all I need…” and that’s so true.

Fitness Friday (or Slim Down Saturday): Feet, Our Foundation

Those of you who are faithfully checking in on me know that this post wasn’t published on Friday. It’s really Saturday. I cannot post a “Fitness Friday” when in reality it is Saturday. Therefore, I have sub-titled this post “Slim Down Saturday” in order to keep things honest and real.
We are busily preparing for our vacation, but I’m taking a few moments to post. I’ll be gone about two weeks! I’ll be having “blogging withdrawals” by the time I get back! However, I should have TONS of new photos to post, [I just finished emptying my memory card on my camera to make room!!]and lots will be happening, so when I do get back to my spot in cyberspace it should be interesting.

For my Fitness Friday, um, (clears throat) I mean Slim Down Saturday, I wanted to post about our feet! After all, our feet are the foundation of our bodies! If you’ve ever stood in Super church on tile floors for an hour or more wearing two inch heels, then you know how important your feet are. If you have ever broken your little toe on a ceramic toilet in the dark, then you, my crippled friend, really know what our feet mean to us! Yes, I’ve lived through both experiences. Feet are important. They are everything!! Think of it like this: Sore feet = Sore attitude. Well, that’s true for me anyway.
I recently purchased brand new tennis shoes. Or sneakers. Whatever you call athletic shoes, I bought some recently. I couldn’t believe how pitiful my old shoes looked. I had bought them back when Clinton was in office. Yes, it was definitely time to get new ones. I bought them in the spring of 2000. Eight years ago. My goodness. And, amazingly, they really don’t look as bad as you would think eight year old tennis shoes/sneakers would look. They had seen me through many a Denise Austin workout, and many a long walk. They are good friends. In fact, they would make a good commercial for Nike. But, all sentimentality aside, I had to retire them.
This time, I bought New Balance.They are a half-size larger than my last pair. I have used them for about a month, and I am a very satisfied customer.

NIKES, circa 2000 model. You were a good shoe.
Off with the old and on with the New Balance. Much better. (And I really love the pink and gray combo!)
After I bought my new shoes, I was telling my Mom about how much better my feet felt while exercising. She told me that she purchases a new pair every year. She’s read that every 500 miles you should buy new tennis shoes/sneakers. She walks two miles a day, so the “once a year pair” is just right for her. Mine were a little over that, but hey, better late than never.
I hadn’t realized how uncomfortable my old shoes were making my exercise until I used new ones! The difference was amazing! Unless you’re a swimmer or skier, then your shoes can make or break your workouts. And walking is a workout! Be sure your footware is foot friendly. Buy a new pair every year.
Feet are so important that legendary basketball coach, John Wooden ,(formerly of the UCLA Bruins) taught his players how to properly put on their socks before he taught them a single play. After all, what good is dribbling and shooting, if your feet hurt so badly you can’t even walk?
Remember, if you take care of your feet, your feet will take care of you!
Here’s this week’s funny! Have a great week!!

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Fitness Fridays: Your Help is Needed

Yay! We made it to another Friday! Congratulations everyone! This week, I really need some help. I get in a rut eating the same snacks, and sometimes, a healthy snack is nowhere around, so I’ve either been hungry and miserable, or I indulge in the “not so healthy” choice.
So, how ’bout it? Do you all have any favorite low-cal treats or sweets? I’d love to hear what you make or buy that satisfies your cravings. Email me or post it here.
Thank you so much! Oh and happy Friday!! :]

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PS I’m dealing with a bout of poison ivy on my hand and forearm…I have no idea how this got on me. Anyway, if you have any help to offer with that, I’d appreciate it. I’ve been using Caladryl.