Saturday, February 19, 2011

On The Road Again… Sort of

We had some warm weather this week that melted the snow and made me eager to get out running again. I’m afraid to run on our country roads when there are snowbanks on either side of the road. If a driver doesn’t pull over to give me some room, there’s nowhere to go. After two days of springlike temperatures, I was hoping that I could get out on Saturday morning. A Facebook friend challenged me to join her “Weekend Warrior” challenge: doing a 5K and holding plank position as long as possible.

Alas, winter came back for the weekend. Saturday morning was cold and blustery, with a frigid wind chill and whiteouts from blowing snow. I didn’t want to give up, though. I’ve been making too many excuses about exercise lately. I finished up some errands (filling the car up with gas, going to the bank and the post office, and getting some deals at CVS… $60 worth of stuff for $20, and $8 in coupons off on my next visit!), then it was off to the church gym for laps. 51 laps is a 5K, so I put on my MP3 player and started running. My previous best time for 51 laps was 48 minutes, so I was hoping to beat that. I was encouraged to see that my time after one mile was 13:09. I don’t think I’ve ever had a mile under 14 minutes before!

I kept hitting the button on my MP3 player to skip past slow songs. I wanted peppy stuff to keep me moving. I was starting to drag a bit at lap 34, but “Running Just to Catch Myself” by Mark Schultz. I love that song. It’s my theme song. That perked up my running speed, so when the song finished, I hit the back button and listened to it again. Good old Mark kept me company for about 12 laps. 12 speedy laps.

I was very pleased with my time: 43:10. I was afraid that I would have digressed with my times, since I haven’t run in several weeks. Before you know it, I’ll be registering times in the 30s!

I got home and made a yummy dinner of chicken fajitas and homemade tortillas. Tasty, healthy, and gluten-free (I’m tweaking a single-serve gluten-free tortilla recipe – Ron and Bethany had regular flour tortillas, although I tossed in some flaxseeds to make them healthier).


                                            The Plank Competition



Once our lunches had a chance to settle, Bethany and I had a plank competition. I’ll admit, Bethany won by a long shot! I only held the plank position for 20 seconds… she held on for a minute.

It felt good to get in such a vigorous workout. It’s a challenge to make time for an hour at the gym with my current schedule, but I’m going to work on doing it more often.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Motivation... in many forms

I've been thinking about motivation a lot this week. One specific event that got me thinking was a crazy-busy day. I worked later than I had planned, rushed home and got dinner together, and rushed back out the door for Open House at my daughter's school. The Open House was over at 8:15, but we had to stay a little later to pick up a bag of clothes from the secretary. Her mother had cleaned out some too-small clothing and thought I might be able to use it. My daughter and I did some shopping, since we didn't have any milk in the house for breakfast the next morning.

By the time we got home, it was 9:30. I was eager to go through the bag of clothes and see what new items I had to add to my wardrobe. The trouble was, I am in the middle of a freelance proofreading assignment for a crossword puzzle magazine, and I needed to do two pages' worth of puzzles to stay on track to be finished by my deadline.

I worked up a plan. I figured out approximately how many answers I needed to come up with for the puzzle assignment, and guessed at how many pieces of clothing were in the bag. I told myself that for every 4 answers I got, I would check out one piece of clothing. That actually worked out quite well. The "study breaks" kept me motivated and provided a nice break. I had fun going through the bag of clothes and found quite a few things that looked like they would fit and be a nice addition to my wardrobe.

I thought about how the plan I worked out, of small goals (4 answers) and immediate rewards (a piece of clothing from the bag) kept me on track and moving forward. I think I need to break my remaining weight loss down into small chunks and come up with some fun and happy rewards to celebrate reaching those goals.

I've been working on more ways to keep myself on track this week. Early in the week, I was having bedtime prayer time with my youngest daughter Bethany (12 years old). I said something about the fact that I still wanted to get in some exercise, but I just didn't feel like I had the energy or the motivation. She said, "You need to do it. You don't want to let Laura down!" I couldn't figure out who she was talking about! She smiled and said, "Laura's Lean Beef! People will be reading your blog and you want to tell them you got in a good workout!" Boy, that kid knows how to motivate! Half an hour later, I was fnished with an intense kettlebell workout, and feeling a great sense of accomplishment!

My helper, motivator & encourager: Bethany

Bethany also came up with a nice way of keeping my goals in front of me on a regular basis. She was cleaning out her closet and gave me a cute little bracelet that says Aloha and has some Hawaiian flowers on it.
15 weeks from now, my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary with a Hawaiian cruise. 15 weeks sounds like a long time away, but I'm sure it's going to fly by (sort of like 25 years have flown by)! I've been wearing the bracelet for a couple of days now, and I admit, it has helped me to say no to some temptations. One day this week, a work crew brought in a dozen doughnuts and left them on the table outside my office. One of them took great pleasure in munching on a doughnut outside my door, saying, "Ooooh, this is sooooo good! Don't you want one?" I almost caved in, but decided to stay strong... I'm not ready to go out in public in a bathing suit just yet!

One last way I've been pumping up my motivation this week was to pull my "goal dress" out of the back of the closet.
I found this dress about 15 years ago at a thrift shop. I've never fit into it. In fact, it still has the price tag on it (it was $8.99, cut down to $4.98). It has a satin underdress with spaghetti straps and a lace overlay. I would love to be able to wear this dress for out 25th anniversary this year. I'm getting closer... at first, I could barely get the sleeves past my elbow, and now they almost fit.
This week has been a good one for getting back on track. It's time for the scale to start moving in the right direction again!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Little By Little...

The children's choir I co-direction is working on a song called "Little by Little". I like the words, because they fit not only for the kids, but for me as I'm making my way through my weight loss journey:
"Little by little, I'm changing, I'm growing.
Little by little, I hope that it's showing.
I'm not who I was, I'm not who I'll be.
I'm somewhere in the middle.
But God is working on me, little by little."

Toward the end of the song, there's a line that says, "Every little step I take, gets me a little bit nearer. I can't wait till the brand new me shows up in the mirror!"

I realized just how true that is. Little steps, little choices, will either take me a step closer to my weight loss goals, or a step further away.

  • getting in 15 minutes of exercise when I don't feel like it will get me one step closer…
  • resisting the urge to give in to a "snack attack" gets me one step closer…
  • sticking to healthy eating gets me one step closer…
  • all those little steps will add up
I've been doing better this week, eating healthier, getting in more exercise, and doing very well on crossing things off my to-do list. Yes, the Christmas present that took up residence in the back seat of my car has finally been mailed. The doctor's visit I've been putting off for months is scheduled. Taxes and FAFSA are done.

Hopefully for my next weigh-in, I won't be having this sort of experience:


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Struggling

It’s been a bad week for me as far as my diet and exercise plans were concerned. Last week, I made big plans to recommit to a detox eating plan, and get back to more intense workouts.  The only exercise I got in this week as an hour of cross-country skiing on Sunday. I started well with my detox diet, but slid into old eating habits by Tuesday, and stayed in that slide until Thursday.

I can see a bunch of factors that contributed to my train wreck of a week.
·        I didn’t make up an index card of weekly goals to help me stay on track. You know that saying, “If you shoot for nothing, you’re probably going to hit it”? That seemed to be my motto for the week.
·        I got into an “all or nothing” mentality about exercise – if I couldn’t fit in an hour, I didn’t do anything.
·        It was a busy week, and I let myself get overwhelmed with a growing list of things to get done. I’m ashamed to say that there is a package in the back seat of my car that needs to be mailed… and it’s Christmas presents. Just finding time to get to the grocery store has been a challenge lately.
·        I told myself I’d take a few days off and start fresh on Monday


Well, waiting until Monday isn’t always a good idea, so I got myself back on track on Friday. On Saturday, I sat down with a pad of paper and started making a list of stuff I needed to get done. I got it on the computer and organized it by day and priority. I printed off my list and I’m working towards crossing off every one of the 30 tasks. I plan on updating the list daily and carrying it with me, so I can make good use of little bits of time here and there.

I also re-evaluated my idea of a good workout. My schedule has changed, and I need to hurry out of the house each weekday morning to pick up my mother and get her ready to go to Adult Day Care. I don’t have time for a long workout in the mornings, and by evening, I just don’t have the energy to put in an hour. I think I need to focus on getting in a few “cardio bursts” each day – jogging a mile around the gym, or an intense 15-minute kettlebell workout. 15 minutes of swings with a heavy kettlebell sure burns a lot more calories than sitting in my recliner, watching TV!

I have a major goal on the horizon. I’m only 12 pounds away from my wedding-day weight. I would love to be back at that weight for my husband’s birthday on March 28th. That would be an awesome birthday present for him. It’s going to take focus and hard work to get it done, but it’s a goal that’s within my reach.