Monthly Archives: December 2012

Maybe I Don’t Completely Hate Jogging

Twice a week, I volunteer as a music teacher at my children’s school. I often have some time between classes, so in order to get in some exercise in those days, I’ve been taking a walk. There’s a great hill near the school, with an elevation rise of 600 ft. in about 1.4 miles. Definitely gets my heart working hard. The problem is that on the way back down, another 1.4 miles, I can’t get my heart rate up by just walking. So, I’ve started jogging back down most of the hill.

On Christmas day, the gym was closed but I still wanted to get some exercise in to make up for the excess to come. We have the Christmas tree in the middle of the living room, so Zumba on the Xbox is not an option at the moment. So, I decided to try out jogging again. Turns out, I don’t hate it. I think what I really hated was when I was doing the Couch to 5K program, I felt like I had to jog the entire 5K without stopping. Then when I finished the program, I still felt like I had to jog the whole time without stopping. When I went out for my Christmas jog, I let myself switch to a brisk walk when I felt like it. I enjoyed it so much more! I went for another jog/walk today, about 4.5 miles, and enjoyed it again. My husband points out that I never like “have to’s”, and jogging had become a “have to”. Now that it is a “want to” I kind of like it. Don’t know what that says about my personality, but there it is.

What’s Stopping You?

I was thinking lately about the fact that I am 44 years old, and have finally gotten around to getting healthy. Why did I wait so long? Then I remembered all the “reasons” I had for why I wasn’t going to start exercising or eating better.

1) I believed that I really hated exercise. I thought that some people liked it (those crazy people), but not me. What I hated though were some forms of exercise. I hate treadmills, ellipticals, and weight machines. I absolutely love to dance, and always have. Back in March, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed BodyPump and Cardio Kickboxing (tried that recently, very fun!), I had to get my endurance up a bit before attempting those. Zumba was the start for me, on my Xbox in my living room. I slowly increased my cardio endurance until I was ready to hit the gym and try other things. If a hatred of exercise is what is stopping you, I suggest trying lots of different kinds of exercises, until you find something you like and will continue doing. Start very easy and build up slowly.

2) I believed I already ate healthy, and since I continued to be overweight that must just be the way I was supposed to be. I almost convinced myself of this. Almost. I would hear about all of the unhealthy things I shouldn’t be eating or drinking, like fast food, and soft drinks, and I never ate or drank those things. I ate lots of vegetables, and I was still overweight. The thing was, I also ate a lot of pasta and bread, I used a lot of mayonaise and butter. I just ate a lot more calories than my body needed.

3) I thought that if I changed how I was eating to lose weight, I’d be hungry all the time. I thought I would have to “diet” and end up hungry and deprived most of the time. However, I never go hungry. I just choose healthy foods–mostly vegetables, some lean protein–when I am hungry, and fill my plate with lots of vegetables at meal times. If I am hungry between meals, I grab a snack. Most often it is a piece of fruit, or some vegetables and lean protein like cottage cheese or greek yogurt.

4) I believed I didn’t have time for exercise. I started on a lot of exercise routines, and always let other things become excuses for why I couldn’t continue. I always got “too busy”. I finally realized that my health has to be among my top priorities. My taking the time to get healthy may sometimes take some time away from my kids, but the time with the kids is so much better now that I have the energy to really play with them. I am lucky, since I don’t have a full time job (outside of being a mom, that is) and I know it is much harder to make the time for exercise when you work 8-9 hours a day or more. However, your health and well-being has to be worth finding a way to make the time.

So, what’s your reason? If you know you want to live a healthier life but haven’t started yet, what’s stopping you?

Tilapia with Garlic Lover’s Rub

 

We had a great dinner tonight, made with Garlic Lover’s Rub from EatingWell.com. I used the rub to coat tilapia filets, but I will definitely be trying it on other meats, like chicken breasts, in the future. I used whole grain dijon mustard instead of the stone ground in the recipe, I’m not sure how that might have affected the taste, but it was great.

I coated the tilapia filets with the rub, then started some Israeli couscous. The way I make Israeli couscous is to first lightly sauté an onion in some olive oil, then add the couscous and toast that up just a little. I used a mix of whole wheat and regular couscous. Then I add twice as much chicken broth as couscous (so tonight I made 2 cups of couscous and 4 cups of chicken broth). This is more liquid than the recipes usually call for, but my kids like how tender the couscous turns out. I cover the pan, and simmer it for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Of course, as with all starches, portion control is important with Israeli couscous.

I cooked the tilapia very quickly over medium high heat in a little olive oil in a nonstick skillet. After the tilapia was finished, I left all the bits of garlic and spices in the skillet, and added some broccoli and romanesco cauliflower to the pan. I put in a little water (about 1/4 cup) and covered the veggies for a few minutes, until just tender. Then I removed the cover and cooked off any remaining water. I had a little of the rub left, so I added that to the pan, and cooked the veggies for another minute. It was very tasty, and will definitely be added to our repertoire of recipes.

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Over 70 Pounds Lost, and a Couple of Great Podcasts

I’ve now lost over 70 pounds, and have less than 35 left to get to my first goal. I’m not sure if that is my final goal, however. It is at the very top of the healthy BMI range. Depending on how I look when I get there, I would probably rather get to somewhere in the middle of the BMI range so I don’t have to worry about gaining 1 or 2 pounds and being back out of the healthy range.

I have recently found a couple of really great podcasts. They are both free on iTunes, though you do have to listen to some short ads in the podcast. They are part of the Quick and Dirty Tips series, so they are each very short, but full of good information. The first, and my favorite, is the Nutrition Diva. She is full of great, practical nutrition information. She had a recent episode, “How To Lose Weight Without Dieting”, which is a great summary of the philosophy I have had throughout my lifestyle changes. The other podcast is the Get-Fit Guy. He has great exercise advice, and one of his podcasts I listened to recently, “7 Ways to Burn Calories By Standing More”, explains why I haven’t been as good about updating this blog recently. I have been making a serious effort on making the lifestyle change of sitting a lot less. On the positive side, my house is starting to get a lot cleaner and more organized. On the negative side, I am not writing as much in my blog. I am going to try to find the time to at least sit down and update the blog more often, as it is good for my motivation, and hopefully helping others as well. In the future, I may find a way to set up a standing workstation at home.

I Love to Exercise! (How Crazy is That?)

Seriously, I used to listen to these people who claimed that they liked to exercise and thought they were nuts. Who would want to huff and puff, and yuk! all that sweat! How could anyone think that was a good time?

Now I have become one of those crazy people. It all started with Zumba. That was my gateway exercise. I still love Zumba, I take a class anywhere from 2 to 3 times per week, and would go more often if I could find classes that fit my schedule. Definitely still my favorite. I also take a couple of dance aerobic classes, which are more choreographed and have a bigger learning curve–and not as much hip shaking. Also fun, but not as fun as Zumba. I now also love BodyPump, a crazy body sculpting class where you work out with a barbell, doing about 800 repetitions in a 60 minute class. By the end, my whole body feels like jello, but I am so proud and feel so accomplished every time. If I can ever get it to fit my schedule, I also want to try the cardio kickboxing class. That one sounds like it could be fun.

There is still some exercise I dislike. I don’t think I will ever enjoy jogging. I really don’t like any of the machines at the gym, not the cardio ones, and not the weight ones either. For the most part, I don’t do the things I don’t enjoy. There are plenty of things I do enjoy doing–the group classes and hiking with friends–so why do the things I don’t think are fun? One of my friends wants me to try a group cycling class with her, but that one doesn’t sound much fun to me either.

We just went on a quick vacation, and I did use the elliptical machine in the hotel each morning. Mostly that was because I now just feel better if I have gotten some exercise, so it was worth 30 boring minutes on the machine to feel better the rest of the day.

Somebody asked me how I was feeling after losing so much weight. I said that of course I feel wonderful. How could you exercise every day and not feel great? I really think that is true. The amount of energy and just general sense of well being I have gained through regular exercise is simply amazing.

So, if you are one of the people (as I used to be) who thinks I am crazy, maybe just start with some small exercise that you think is really fun, like a dance class, taking a walk with friends, or kickboxing at the gym. Maybe it could be your gateway exercise to becoming crazy like me.