Did you know that about 90% of Americans eat more salt than recommended for a healthy diet? Learn more from this great infographic by Million Hearts, a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. They bring together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke.
- Killed it on the AMT this evening.
- Did strength training on an annual leave day. An annual leave day I was taking to go to the beach.
- 12,000+ step day
- Stopping at the Myrtle Beach Wal-Mart on a tax-free day to get light soy milk and other healthy options for the APWA Conference
- Wen you’re thrilled to find a seafood restaurant with a peel and eat shrimp option amongst the 100s of other fried options…
- …and actually ordering it…
- and really enjoying it better than the fried stuff everyone else ordered.
- Bringing your own honey to sweeten your coffee at a conference breakfast.
- Resisted lure of Sesame Chicken, instead had Garlic Green Beans.
- When no suitable sweetener was offered at coffee break, I had coffee with no sweetener. (Gasp!)
- Refusing a small glass bottled Coca Cola when you are deathly nauseous, especially when you were brought up believing that really was the only thing to cure an upset stomach.
- Getting an evening beach walk in to boost daily steps even though my feet hurt and I was exhausted.
- Starting using my old school Fit Bit again so I could measure steps and track sleep.
- Shopped for healthy smoothie ingredients the day before endodontic surgery
- Knowing that sometimes, only every once in a while, it’s okay to have Easy Mac and frozen mashed potatoes. (like after endodontic surgery).
- Bought an XL t-shirt and it was too big
- For the first time in a while, bought something new and healthy to try: kefir.
- Tried a delish new smoothie recipe.
- That moment when you realize that you’d really rather just have water. And that’s what you get!
- Did my first post-endodontic surgery cardio this evening, 15 minutes on the AMT. It made my surgical site throb, so I cut it short, but I did it.
- After yesterday’s AMT workout made my mouth stitches hurt enough to take a pain pill, I did 30 minutes on the bike tonight. And I forgot that you can indeed break out a sweat on the bike!
- Third evening cardio this week.
- The regular Sprite that Mom bought when I was sick? Going to someone who actually drinks them at the office. Never opened one.
- Survived vacation and the dental debacle with no extra lbs.
- Trying a new workout schedule that will allow me to both fit in my training and cardio while also giving me a little more time to get stuff done. (Fingers crossed!)
- Cooked like a fool; freezer full of individual meals
- Used artificial as a “treat” in my a.m. coffee and realized that, meh, not so much a treat. Didn’t even drink all of it.
- First really good cardio since my medical break + first “official” Tuesday after work cardio
- Made a new smoothie today. LOVE freezing them to eat as a sweet, cold treat later. Keeping me away from the ice cream.
- Survived my first full week back at the gym after my medical leave, as well as the first week of my new workout schedule.
- Took a fruit salad to a cookout, which offered me a great alternative to the other side of hash brown casserole
Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Using that definition, my morning workouts have become a little insane, and it’s time to make a change.
In September, I will have been at Doctors Wellness Center for three years. Most every week during that time, I have been there early three to five days a week. Early like the alarm goes off at 4:24 a.m. so I can get there close to 5 a.m. early. And until recently, it’s worked for me. But now, not so much.
Over the past four months, getting up early has been more difficult. For a lot of reasons.
- My sister/roommate has a new job, one that has some crazy hours. Many days, she’s just getting a good start on her job about the time I get home and start winding down. On the flip side, when I leave at dark o’thirty, she’s just starting to hit REM zzzzz. I wake up when she comes home, and she wakes up when I get up for the gym. That and I really miss chatting with her during the week.
- My sweet Moon Pie has become an anxious dog. She’s been barking a lot lately. Hears an owl, barks for 30 minutes. Hears cicadas and frogs? Barks til they stop. (Which is never.) Every ten minutes I’m up past 9 p.m., I stress about getting to sleep so I can get up. And anxiety only begets anxiety, and I’m often awake longer than I sleep.
- My schedule has changed. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty constant work schedule, but these days, it’s more than just the gym and work. There’s the gym. Again. A few evenings a week, I’ve been helping out at Doctors Wellness Center. I love it. It’s my happy place. I see friends, meet others making positive changes in their lives and get to listen to non-stop 70s and 80s satellite radio. But with a few evenings a week away from home, combined with early mornings and 40 hour work weeks, I’m feeling a little spread thin.
Starting today, I’m testing a new work out schedule. On Mondays and Fridays, I’m still planning to go in early and train with Daniel. But the rest of the week, I’m going to do my cardio while I’m at the gym after work. Either 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after my front desk gig. It makes sense. If I’m going to be at the gym those evenings anyway, I may as well kill two birds with one stone. The new schedule gives me a little more flexibility in the evenings. I can watch Under the Dome without worrying about sleeping in on Tuesday. I can join friends at Thirsty Fellow Trivia Night, like I am tonight. And when Sister comes in at midnight, I can still chat with her a bit before we both turn in.
Arnold Bennett said that any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. I’m excited about a more flexible schedule, but I’m also nervous about committing to evening cardio. I also love the early morning peeps at Doctors Wellness Center, and I’ll miss seeing them. I REALLY love having my cardio done and over by the time many of you get up. And I love the energy of a morning workout.
Nothing is set in stone, but I figure it’s at least worth a shot. If it doesn’t work, it’s easy enough to change. If it works, I may get a little more done and have a little more fun.
Stay tuned! This could be interesting.
Recently, I came across 15 Signs You’re a Health Junkie (And Your Friends Aren’t), and I literally laughed out load. Since adopting a new healthier lifestyle nearly three years ago, I often feel like the “odd woman out.”
Of the 15 signs, I can relate to many, including:
- Have Blender, Will Travel: Especially when I was first trying to add more vegetables to my diet, I did indeed travel with a blender during business trips. Ask my friend Keith about the time I nearly lost a finger in a Magic Bullet incident in Kansas City. (He was staying across the hall and came to my rescue.)
- Workout Shoes Over Heels: Not only when traveling, I have more running and training shoes than heels these days. And there’s nothing I love better than new workout shoes!
- Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia: Buy chia seeds every week for my wonderful overnight oats recipe! They’re also great in Greek yogurt.
- Rise and Shine: I’m not a runner, but I give up many a social engagement to turn in early for my 4:14 a.m. gym alarm. There’s nothing better than an early morning workout, and for me, nothing worse than having to get it in after work.
- I DO say “No, seriously, it tastes better than it looks”: I say this most often at work, and I say it about many things, especially my green smoothies, anything with tofu and soy milk.
- Map It Out: When traveling, I do find the nearest Whole Foods or similar healthy grocer. Not only that, I also seek out healthy grocers who deliver, and often have fruits, veggies and soy milk delivered to the hotel upon my arrival.
- You Ordered What?: This actually happened at a staff meeting this week when I walked in with a diet Coke.
- Swap This: If you knew what all was in some of those restaurant foods, you’d custom order, too. For instance, did you know that the “egg white” featured in many fast food sandwiches actually contains 15 ingredients? YUCK!
- Weirdo: Most of my friends and co-workers do think the food I eat is weird, especially green smoothies and anything with tofu. And especially at work, they don’t hesitate to tell me.
If this were my list, I’d add at least two more:
Need Food, Will Travel: You go to at least three grocery stores a week to get your favorite healthy foods and ingredients. (Tips: Neither Trader Joe’s, nor Fresh Market carry light vanilla soy milk. Kroger has the very best frozen blueberries, and unlike Publix, their frozen cherries never have pits. Publix, though, is the only one who carries my favorite frozen corn, a delightful yellow and white corn mix.)
Go Real or Go Home: I recently had a baking emergency and needed a quick shot of vanilla extract. I almost fainted when my mother brought over her bottle of imitation vanilla extract. I used it in a pinch, but the next day, I purchased two bottles of pure vanilla extract, one for me and one for Mom.
What are the sure signs that YOU’RE a health junkie?
I’ve had a rough go of it lately, and I as hopefully leave those days behind, these are the takeaways:
- Cardio workouts are noticeably more difficult with extra lbs.
- Except for a very few meals and snacks, the food that caused me to gain this weight was NOT worth it. I remember the fab sandwich and cheesecake at the Carnegie Deli, the sure enough NY pizza and Magnolia cupcake. Not so much Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, extra cup or two of cherries or deli sandwich at the work meeting.
- You can make time if you want to do it bad enough. That includes workouts, green smoothies and preparing meals a week in advance.
- Energy begets more energy. On the mornings I do cardio and/or train, I am more active the rest of the day. Not because I’m trying to be, but because I have more energy and feel better.
- Exercise is a fabulous “drug.” After a workout, especially a morning workout, I face the day with a wider smile, a better attitude and loads of energy.
- No matter how difficult it is to get up or how bad I slept the night before, a morning workout is always worth the extra effort.
- Had nausea and dizziness on and off all day, but didn’t use it as an excuse to drink Coke and eat saltines. Felt unable to exercise, but otherwise, ate clean and healthy.
- Didn’t have a perfect day by any means, but didn’t let imperfect become disaster. I ate a few too many calories, albeit healthy ones, but didn’t give in to the “now that I blew it, I may as well really blow it” mindset.
- I can’t remember the last time I used an Equal or Sweet n Low.
- Given a lot of choices in front of me, I not only chose water, but I wanted water.
- Cleaned out and majorly reorganized our pantry. Now intimately know what we have, what we need and what I need to use.
- Stopped at Chick-Fil-A with Sister for a pre-grocery shopping diet lemonade. She decided to eat. I strongly considered a little something, but chose not to indulge.
- Cooked healthy stuff all morning for the week ahead, including two casseroles, 64 Greek meatballs, eight mini-pizzas.
- Added spinach to my mini-pizzas, voluntarily.
- Realized that I was burning the candle at too many ends and asked for a reprieve long enough to catch up and even get a little ahead.
- Overslept a bit, but got up and worked out anyway. And you know what? I was there in plenty of time to do cardio and train.
- Starting using my Fitbit again today, and what a difference it makes motivation-wise.
- Completed a training session that I didn’t think I would be able to complete.
- 13,000+ steps
- Prepared for deluge of food at work shower by eating healthy lunch beforehand. Did allow myself a small piece of cake, but resisted the “all or nothing” meltdown.
- Had a lunch meeting planned, but brought a lunch just in case. And sure enough, the lunch meeting was rescheduled, and I was prepared.
- Completed one full week of being back on My Fitness Pal.
- Despite how large I feel, a 14w dress totally swallowed me.
- Found a bathing suit that not only works, but looks great.
- Worked out although I hadn’t planned on it.
- Kicked up the ATM a notch or two, voluntarily.
- Ordered grilled salmon and green beans instead of the sesame chicken I considered.
- There is ice cream in the freezer that I have not yet touched. (That is a miracle these days!)
- Passed on mini Snickers.
- Felt absolutely fabulous after this a.m.’s strength training.
- Missed morning cardio and MADE myself get it in after work, even though I had 99 reasons not to.
- Overslept this a.m., but made it up to the gym for training instead of rolling over and blowing it off
- Took four flights of stairs up to Finance, even though I was wearing “cruel shoes“
- Did you know that shins sweat? Mine were during this week’s training session – while I was doing leg presses.
- Something is happening. My legs constantly feel like I’ve just walked up 99 flights of stairs.
- Made it to morning cardio!
- 12,000+ steps
Back in April, I lost my mojo. April 28, to be exact. I was on a roll, training for my first running 5k. I was eating perfectly clean, working out every day and motivated. I met up with a group for a practice 5k, and about three-quarters of the way through, POP, there went my mojo. Actually, it was my hip – what turned out to be a strain of the gluteus minimus and medius – but the injury and recovery period, and a few other odd incidents, just drained my enthusiasm, drive and motivation.
The past three months have been tough. I’ve struggled to get up for my early workouts, and when I did get there, I dragged. While I didn’t fall too far from the clean eating road, but I did hit a pothole or two. My sleep schedule hit the skids, and I’ve been lucky to get a scant five hours. Roll all of those variables together, and you get a big knotted ball of BLECH!
Cue to this morning. I hit snooze three times, dressed for my workout and laid back down for five minutes. I made it to the gym late, but I had time for training. Danny started me on the rope, and he told me to give it “holy fury,” I think. I looked over at Warren and grumbled that I didn’t have any holy fury in me this morning. Next was the sled. I strapped the belt on my waist and dragged out the sled. One lap down, I grumbled and slowly dragged on.
Halfway through the second lap, something happened; it was almost electric. I straightened up, looked ahead and moved that sled with a kick in my step. Back upstairs, Danny assigned me to weighted squats, and I smiled, “Eight pounds? I can do twenty!” And while today’s training wasn’t necessarily an easier one, I had my spunk back!
Who knows what’s going on. Perhaps it’s just cyclical. Or maybe it’s the visions of my upcoming beach trip dancing in my head. Maybe my subconscious has been processing stuff at night. I can’t really explain what happened dragging that sled, but it appears to be sticking. When I got home from the gym, I made my first green smoothie in a while. I did squats and push ups while waiting for my lunch to heat. I stood a little straighter and smiled a little bigger all day. Will it last? Yep, I got this!
Twenty extra lbs., fair warning. Your days are numbered!
Sending peace and love out to NPR’s Scott Simon, aka @NPRScottSimon, who lost his mother to cancer last night. I don’t know Scott, but I’m one of his 1,254,897 Twitter followers touched by his ICU tweets. And while we have never met, we are now inexplicably connected by these 140-character messages sent by a child losing a parent.
(If you don’t tweet – even if you do, I suppose – you might be taken back by the thought of someone tweeting from their mother’s deathbed. Please put those thoughts aside and click here to see the piece from Today this morning.)
To credit Scott Simon for changing Twitter goes without saying. @SCLegislator, an tongue-in-cheek political tweeter, said it best last night when he tweeted, “I do think when the history of Twitter is written, @NPRScottSimon gets a chapter. It’s been that good, revealing what the medium can be.”
It was Saturday morning’s tweet that caught my eye, “@NPRScottSimon: My mother: ‘Believe me, those great death bed speeches are written ahead of time.’” I visited his timeline to see his previous tweets, which brought me up to speed on his sad situation. From that moment on, he and his mother were on my mind. It was a busy weekend, but I checked on his Twitter feed frequently. When too much time passed without an update, I worried. When he tweeted her advice, I held on to every character. And when he so poetically announced her passing last night, “The heavens over Chicago have opened and Patricia Lyons Simon Newman has stepped onstage,” I cried.
Today, I bought a sympathy card for Scott Simon, someone I’ve never met. I sent my condolences, and thanked him for sharing his mother and himself with us. All day long, my heart has been heavy, and I’ve checked on Scott’s Twitter feed to see how he is doing.
A self-professed social media geek, I am not as touched by what Scott Simon did, but how he did it. In the seemingly impersonal world of “friends” you don’t know and messages limited by 140 characters, Scott Simon made a personal connection. He touched parts that all of us – all 1,254,897 of us – know: the love of our parents, the love for our parents, the wretched inevitability of one day losing them.
I have had the unfortunate situation of losing two loved ones in the last few years, most recently my father. When it came to the final days, I was emotionally unable to do what Scott did. I stayed at the house, and I visited his bedside often, but I couldn’t bring myself to stay by his side during those final hours, those final minutes.
Scott’s 140-character lessons of love – along with a couple years perspective – made me see those final hours and minutes a little differently. I can’t get a do-over, but as overwhelming as it is to think of inevitably facing moments like those again, I hope to be able to face it as unselfishly as @NPRScottSimon.
I haven’t been as faithful to the blog lately, mostly because I haven’t been as faithful to myself. Without getting into the reasons and/or excuses, I haven’t been nearly as focused on my healthy living goals in the last few months. I’ve been mad and disappointed in myself. I’ve gained some weight, and I’ve been feeling bad about myself.
Have I totally undone the progress I made? Not by a long shot. I’ve been a little laxer on working out, but despite missing a few days here or a week there around some injuries, I still strength train twice a week and get three to five sessions of cardio in. I’ve allowed myself a few more treats, especially ice cream, but otherwise, I’m still eating clean. No processed and/or fast food, just too much healthy food. Those size eight skirts don’t fit right now, but I’m still five sizes below where I started, and I’m still in the petite section. Still, I have been feeling pretty darn bad about myself.
Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how losing the weight was so much easier than maintaining it. During my time in the Doctors Wellness Center 12-week program, I really faced some challenges. Dad was ill and passed away. My beloved dog, Winston, had to be put down suddenly. I lost my cat, Duchess, to cancer. I traveled a lot for work. Yet I was still able to do quite well making some significant lifestyle changes.
I’m sure part of it has been transitioning from seeing Traci each week and having a thirty minute accountability session with her. There were weeks we didn’t talk about food at all, but about an issue I may be having at work or at home. She helped me think out possible solutions and challenged me to implement them vs. drowning my troubles in food. She was a weekly touchstone for me that I don’t have now. It’s probably totally normal to experience some changes as I learn to face my new lifestyle “on my own.”
Another part has probably been finding my bearings as a healthier, thinner person. Until recently, I wasn’t necessarily trying to lose more weight, and perhaps allowed myself more leeway when it came to portion size and treats. The past year has brought a few extra lbs., but it has also brought me knowledge of what I can and cannot handle in terms of staying healthy and at a desired weight.
I talked to Paul, who runs Doctors Wellness Center, and he suggested that a small weight gain after leaving the program is normal and not something to feel bad about. He says that my weight may’ve gone up, but that soon things will come back into balance and the weight will come back down.
Long story short, things started falling back into place the first week in July. I realized that the year was halfway through, and it was time to quit the pity party and move forward. I know what to do, and I have the tools and the support system.
Last week, I returned to journaling my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal. Every day wasn’t perfect, but I recorded everything, even the excesses. I also got my fitness mojo back, completing two strength training sessions and did cardio more days than I didn’t. I also started wearing my FitBit again, and it has motivated me to increase my steps. Finally, I packed up my size eight clothes that have been taunting me from the closet and pulled out ones that fit a bit better. (That alone has been a huge boost.)
This week, my goals are to continue recording every day, increase my cardio a little more, do at least one vegan day and work on keeping my portion sizes what they should be.
My overall goal is to do my best one day at a time, but I also hope that I can get down 25 lbs. between now and the end of the year. That won’t quite put me at my all-time low, but it will put me in a good, happy place.
So, how have YOU successfully dealt with a setback, health-wise or otherwise? Any special tricks or tips to help get you through the rough spots? What has helped you get your “mojo” back?