Backyard Coffee Talk #1

Hello People!

Yep, it’s me.  After a super long time of disappearance, I have resurfaced from the ashes.

Rather than go into a long explanation here, I’ll let you view my video and hopefully that will answer any questions. Since I made the video (about 2 weeks ago) I have been staying on track and doing well.  Hopefully, you are too.  If you are new to my blog, welcome and please join me on my weight loss journey to lose weight once and for all.  My intention is to inspire healthy habits for everyone.

Exercise Plan

Exercise Monday: My Current Exercise Plan

Hello People!

I wanted to update you all on what I am doing in the exercise department.  I told you a while back that I was doing an 8 week challenge series that was really toning up my body.  I finished that one and am on to the 2nd one and love it!  It is by FitnessBlender and here is a video showing the results of people who participated in these programs:

Basically, it is a lot of strength training and cardio alternating days with different body parts.  They include about 3 days worth of high paced interval training (hard!) and alternate with days of not so strenuous stuff, like, standing abs, or kick boxing routines.  It has really changed the shape of my legs and butt as I can see in the mirror and the fit of my clothes.  I have not lost weight doing it, that is my fault – not theirs, but if I had, my body would be smokin’!  It is average about 5 days on, 2 days rest, although they give an alternate 6th day of pure cardio.

Also, I have not been walking my dog as much due to the extreme heat of the summer lasting well into the night (he has a weak heart and gets overheated easily).  But I did add walking myself at night briskly for one hour.  I usually do this on days I’m not doing the FitnessBlender workouts or if I am up to it, I do it in addition.  That was the summer though, and I was not working as much as I am now, so that may change soon.  Time will tell.

I am not disillusioned to the fact anymore that exercise will keep my weight down.  I have written numerous posts on why that is, but the fact is, I love the feeling of exercise and I feel better about life and myself when I move around.  Plus, I love the shape of my body better.  Having more muscle does help the metabolism, but that will not take the weight off – it will be diet alone that does that officially. Remember: 85% diet and 15% exercise is the recipe.

Notable Quotable #1

Inspirational Sunday: Notable Quotable #1

Hello People!

I am following an exercise program (more on that in tomorrow’s post), and daily, I am given a quote to ponder.  I found this one particularly pertinent to me:

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’ “.                    -Unknown

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The program is rigorous. My commitment to keep up the 6 days a week regime at the start, were solid, and then there were snags 3 weeks into it…I got raging sick, twice.  I was working so hard and following the plan so well.  Pictures were being taken weekly for a before and after sequence.  It made me so mad that I woke up one day not able to get out of bed, much less lift a dumbbell.  Not following the program was hard enough, on top of that, when I get sick, for some reason my appetite rages out of control (not surprised, I’m defaulted to overeat by nature; being sick just heightens that even more) making me crave carbs like nothing else.  I suppose this is because of the lack in energy the virus is stealing from me and my body needing to fight off whatever ails me.

Unknown

That Katy Perry song has nothing on me, my “Roar” sometimes is a deeper promise for tomorrow. You know my desire to lose weight has been haunting me for years, I’m not going to now let a temporary sickness get in my way.  I told myself, “take the time to heal, then jump back in full force when you are up for it.”  It took about a week and a half, and many carbs later, but I’m back in the saddle again.

It’s not just the big reasons that make me break my commitment at times, it’s also the small things that come up.  Today, I just had a lack of energy to follow through on what I planned to do this afternoon.  The plans made for the day were put aside just to listen to what my body wanted: rest and relaxation.  I don’t have a good reason why, that is just how I felt.  I did not waste my workout or good eating habits though.  These remain a part of the plan no matter what.  But if I plan a day to garden for 4 hours, but all I want is a nap, then I compromise.  Instead of 4 hours, I did 40 minutes of simple stuff out in the yard.  I’ll make up for those bigger plans another time.  No big deal.  Tomorrow is another day and I can always do more if I’m up for it.

I also want to re-state that old stand-by: Consistency is Key.  It isn’t about just today, it’s about the total addition of day to day, week to week, month to month commitments.  One, two, or even three days out of a month that get “ruined” for whatever reason don’t need to derail one’s plans permanently.  Get back on the wagon tomorrow even stronger than before. That’s my roar speaking in a quiet voice!

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Workout to Lose

Exercise Monday: Workout to Lose

Hello People!

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This is an extension of a post I did recently on my New Year’s Resolutions.  I had mentioned that I didn’t just write down on my resolutions list to “lose weight,” like I had done last year, but also included in the written goal a specific pattern or plan; in other words, not to be vague about my goal, which will lead to near or nothing being done about the problem.  Making the goal have more tangible tasks will get the job done, at least in my case.  I’m not one to be willy-nilly about things.  That type of planning is my recipe to plan to fail.  I need a plan of action that I can follow to the letter.  This is how I work best.  This may not be for everyone, however.  I thrive on being strict; any wiggle room and I get lazy.

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So, to clarify the goal on my list: I not only have written in bold letters to lose 28 pounds (or what remains thereof from my losing weight efforts last year) but what each week needs to accomplish.  My ultimate goal is to lose 1 to 1 1/2 pounds a week.  This is done two ways: eat 500 calories less per day, and burn up to 500 extra calories a day in exercise.  Due to the fact that I will take two days off to “rest” during the week for exercise, I will make up the 1,000 calorie loss on other days doing active things in daily tasks like gardening, walking to the grocery store, etc. and by also choosing cardio workouts that really burn calories.  Some weeks will go as planned, and I will burn a lot of calories through exercise and activities and eating low-cal, other weeks will have setbacks like getting ill and missing a few workouts, etc.  Remember too, I’m not counting calories too exact due to my “relaxed intention” principles (post to come on that later).  I’m eating in the ballpark of 500 calories less than my BMR.

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It looks like this as an example for one day of the week:

Monday – Eat: 1350 calories / Walk Dog: Burn 100 calories / Strength Train Upper Body 20 to 30 minutes: Burn 150 to 250 Calories / Cardiovascular Exercise: Kickboxing 50 minutes: Burn 300 – 400 Calories (tallying approximate calories with a Heart Rate Monitor)

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I am only doing this for a short time.  I want to lose my weight by May and be done with it.  Then I can focus on the challenges of maintenance, which some say is harder than the losing weight bit. It is also important to mention, that for 2013 I had a goal to be more organized with my time, so I’m using that tool in conjunction with this new goal. I am using a day-planner to plan out what and when I will eat and exercise.  It’s almost like an appointment already made that I must not miss.  I spend Sundays creating this list of things-to-do which also includes a grocery shopping list to only buy what is needed for the week ahead.

For the month of January 2014 I want to lose 4 to 5 pounds.  I’ll let you know at the end of the month if that happens!  Here I go…..

Workout Routine

Exercise Monday : Current Workout Routine (Past)

Hey People!

Here with a update on what I am doing to workout.  I change my workouts faster than underwear, well, not really, but almost as fast.  It’s just that I get bored REAL easily.  Not sure what I was doing the last time I posted about exercise, but I usually rotate through things I enjoy.  That is really the key to keeping up with exercise.  You must make it fun (new) and do things your body likes and doesn’t fight.  I know for me, climbing rock/mountains is not an enjoyable act.  So, I’m most unlikely not going to do that activity.  I do enjoy the rowing machine, so perhaps canoeing or kayaking might be fun to try at some point.

In the latest October edition of Shape Magazine it has a little 1-pager on a running program (plus 3 pages devoted to a strength training set).  The article teaser is in the largest font on the front cover: “DROP TWO SIZES! In Just 4 Weeks”  I love how that’s put.  It’s Unknownso…..convincing. We’ll see, right?  Anyways, it talks about increasing your run/jog a little at a time but unlike the other running program I have done it doesn’t go as long, only about 20-30 minutes of total time.  I add a warm-up and cool down, so it lengthens the workout, but that’s my preference.  It seems to be easier and more enjoyable than the other program to my body.

I also supplement with some kickboxing on days I am told to “Cross-Train” and do the strength training workout plans suggested in the magazine, rotating through the three total plans that they have (different ones).  I must say that the plan for those who wear high heels seemed easy as pie doing it, but MAN – the day after I was sore!  Don’t underestimate these programs put together by professionals.  The only caveat is that you must do things with excellent form or you may not be doing the exercise right.  Therefore, I try to do the workouts in front of a mirror to make sure I look like the pictures suggest.

Also, I have been going to a Yoga studio.  I think it is amazing and if you have been on the fence about really going to a proper yoga class, you should definitely go!  It is anything but easy.  And depending on what the instructor has planned for each class, you will feel it the next day.  It is strength training for sure!  Unfortunately, I have carpel tunnel syndrome in my right wrist and even with a brace, I was in pain half-way through.  If this was not the case, I would definitely continue.  However, I don’t want to strain and ruin a part of my body that I really need for the rest of my life (I am right-handed).  Otherwise, I would gladly pay the $15.00 for each class because it is so worth it.  For now, I will continue with my easy DVD yoga practices.  YouTube has some nice routines too if you are interested.

So that’s it for now!  What are you doing?

How Much Exercise is Enough?

Hey all,

So, last week’s post on getting inspired to move was a general push to help motivate those not accustomed to working out to make arrangements to do so. Today’s post is about working out a little more specifically.  Now, I already said before that I won’t ever try and convince anyone that a certain type of exercise is the ONLY way to go.  That is a personal preference and each body is different. You must experiment with different types of activities to find what works best for you. Then, if you’re like me, you will alternate these activities to keep from getting bored.

Yet, the question remains, how long should I work out when I find that activity?  I’m going to say up front that this may depend

this is not a “normal” person

on your level of ability and your convenience of time (not everyone has the luxury of spending 2.5 hours in a gym everyday). So, my answer to this is meant for the average, normal person who has a normal job and normal commitments in life.

First off, let’s talk cardio.  You know, that stuff you do that gets your heart pumping and the blood moving and your body sweating like a pig in heat. Chances are if you are reading this blog, you want to lose weight or maintain a weight loss. This means that you probably need more cardio than say a “naturally” thin person or someone who wants to build bulky muscles. I should also mention that it is well documented that exercise is only about 15 – 20% of the equation in creating a slim/toned physique. Food choices and eating is the real game changer in this scenario. But we’ll talk about that later; right now it’s about the physical aspect. I’m going to now quote from one of my favorite books on the matter of weight loss (a tragedy that you won’t be able to get this as it had a limited printing) called I Can I Will! by G. Barton Payne:

“We have a different objective when we exercise for weight loss. We are trying to increase the rate of our metabolism and increase the number of calories we burn…The ideal commitment for optimal weight loss and increasing metabolism is 45-60 minutes per day, five days per week. You should never attempt to attain this level unless you start slowly and build up your strength, stamina, and flexibility. I do not recommend exercising in excess of 60 minutes per day, 5 days per week. To exercise at that level, you must be in excellent physical condition.  Exercising more than 60 minutes per day produces very marginal additional benefits and significantly increases the risk of stress injury. To put it bluntly, ‘it ain’t worth it’! If you have a tendency to [do] compulsive behavior, this is a good opportunity to demonstrate to yourself your power to ‘be in charge’.”

a “normal” person working out

I seem to remember watching an Oprah episode once about exercising for weight loss and the amount and intensity seemed daunting.  It was like 8 days a week for 2 hours at a time which means you would have to add extra time to a few workouts because there obviously aren’t 8 days in a week. But, maybe that was if you only wanted to lose weight with workouts and the eating factor wasn’t included. For me, G. Barton Payne’s suggestion seems realistic, genuine and do-able. This is the way I prefer to workout, and if I am consistent (because that is KEY) I can feel that it makes a huge difference.

Now, in regards to weight lifting/resistance training, that will definitely vary on convenience and availability of equipment. I’m not sure you are aware, but there are plenty of workouts designed to build muscles and tone without using weights….ever. I can show you some if you would like later, but I enjoy doing a variety of hand-held weight exercises, body resistance, and machines at the gym.  From my various research about this topic, I have decided that for me, this type of training, in

probably wants bulk & bumps

order to have any results, must be done 3 days a week for about 30 minutes at a time. You may need to tweek your time if you want different results. I’m only interested in gaining toned muscles, sleek lines and an overall trim-yet obviously worked out body. If you want bulk or bumps, then that will be a different workout story.

In conclusion, you must do what you can in the amount of time that is realistic.  If cardio for 60 minutes per day,  5 days a week is a no-way situation, you may need to re-evaluate your weight loss intentions. You are trying to lose weight, right? Then you must make the opportunity and not just “hope that it will happen.” It either happens or it doesn’t. It’s that simple. You make the choice.