November 19, 2010

I've Moved!

 
No, not to the beach . . . not yet, at least!

But, this site has moved over to a different platform, so you can now find me at:

www.losingmybehind.com

So, just click on over! If you're following this feed via your RSS Reader, please change the URL to what you see above.

Cheryl

October 28, 2010

I Need Balance

Fall seems to be an insanely busy time for lots of people! I've got it going on here too with a new business launch and taking my blog to the next level. I was really hoping that these two things would not collide as they have, but here they are walking hand in hand, competing and demanding time and attention. :-) Sigh.

That, to say that I haven't been spending the same amount of time riding my bike or watching my diet as I was a month ago. I haven't fallen off the wagon, nothing drastic, but my time has been totally consumed with learning so many new technical things and connecting with people who are on a similar journey. It's been a blast, and I wouldn't trade any of it away. But, my numbers on the scale are more than a little disappointing, so I think its time to take a step back and figure out how to bring some balance back in.

Does anyone else struggle, seemingly endlessly, over keeping a balance in life?

I was reading this morning over at Sean Wilson's blog and Ryan Sullivan's blog about how both these guys are busy and passionate about life and family and all the reasons they pursued a healthy lifestyle to begin with. Lack of hyper focus isn't a bad thing, it's actually a sign of a good thing. Good reads, check 'em out if you have time.

So, I see that I'm not alone, and I find myself able to cut myself some slack while being keenly aware that my health and fitness goals and passions, still ever present, need and deserve a bit more attention than I've given lately. The last thing I want is to find success in these other areas only to see that I don't have the energy to sustain them because my foundation fell apart.

Being both a participant and an encourager in the weight loss community, I've observed that incorporating real life into our weight loss journey is essential to long term success. We all think it might be nice to be on the Biggest Loser ranch and be able to totally devote ourselves to our weight loss goals, but I'm seriously beginning to question the wisdom in that.

Maybe a better way or another way to put it is that incorporating weight loss into our life journey is essential to long term success...point is, losing weight is not an end to itself. Gets back to the why....why is it that I do what I do every single day? Piercing question sometimes.

The truth is I do the healthy habit thing because I want and need to be healthy and strong to make a difference, to contribute to the lives of other people, to love well and give generously. I don't want to waste my life away in front of the television because I'm not strong enough to do anything else.

I read because there are just so many things to learn, so many perspectives I've never thought of before, so many beautiful thoughts and ideas to consider!

I write morning pages and blogs and books and in journals because it helps me be connected to myself, to see myself as I really am instead of who I wish I was or who anyone else says I am.

I do it all because this is how I want to live, and being physically, mentally and emotionally fit are just not negotiable.

But, balance....ahhh, its like a slip 'n slide for me.

So, how do you guys keep all the important things in your life in balance?  How do you keep all the balls up in the air without dropping any of them completely? And do you think it's okay to just take one ball, as important as it is, and include it in the rotation a bit less while spinning the other balls fast and furious?

thinking it through,
Cheryl

Photo courtesy of creative commons

October 21, 2010

Are You Serious?

You have brains in your head
and feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own
and you know what you know
And you are the one
who'll decide where to go.
-Dr. Seuss

If you could do just one simple 5-10 minute thing every day that would exponentially increase your chances of getting to where you are going, what would you say?

Umm, yes please!

I am personally involved in doing this, not just for my weight loss and fitness goals, but for my family relationships, my business and for my involvement in the community. And, it works!

It requires only three things:
  1. A pen
  2. A piece of paper (or computer)
  3. Commitment (i.e. being really, really serious)
So, nobody is left out here. I can do this. YOU can do this. Anyone can do this if they want it bad enough.

Here it is. Nothing extravagant or even terribly original, just very simple and extremely effective:

Every night before going to bed,
make a list of the 5 tasks
you will do tomorrow.

That's it. The guiding factor is that you will not go to bed the next night until those 5 things are done. Think of it as your priority list. It doesn't mean this is ALL you will do tomorrow...it's just what you MUST do tomorrow if you honestly, truly want what you say you want. Not that hard. It's the small, consistent actions that all add up to realizing your DREAM!

You will soon find, even if you are not a list maker, that the sense of accomplishment you get will provide the momentum you need to reach for bigger and better things! And, when the going gets tough, you will dig deeper and find a way to accomplish these things. The road to success is not easy, but it is simple . . . it's taking action every single day. Every. Single. Day.

There is something about getting up in the morning and knowing exactly what you are going to do that sets the wheels of success in motion! But, if you find that your 5 are easily set aside for an immediate or short-term pleasure, here's what you do next. Yes, it can be a little scary, but if you're serious about what you want, this works:


Examine your why.

Sometimes we want things for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons. Only you can determine that for yourself, and it takes raw honesty with yourself. If you want to get past all your false starts toward changing something or reaching a goal, you have to get brutally honest about where you are now, where you want to be and why.

Because if your why isn't strong enough,
it just ain't gonna happen.
No if's, and's or but's about it.

Have a little fun with this by making yourself a vision board!  Gather pictures from books, magazines, photos, etc., little representations of your goals. There are tons of helps for this online and you can get very creative or just go really simple. Here are a couple of links to get you started:

Dream Board: Envision Your Best Life

How to Create Your First Dream Board

When your dream board is done, place it in a prominent place where you will see it . . . above your desk, in the bathroom, by the fridge, you decide.

With a daily visual of why you do what you do every day, and your list of 5 things to do today, you will rock your day....day after day after day!!

Are you a list maker? Do you have a dream/vision board? How have these things helped you to stay in touch with your goals and even better, reach them!? Do tell!

Dreaming with you,
Cheryl

P.S. The links provided above are not an endorsement of those websites nor any philosophies represented there. The links are included to give examples of and help for creating your own dream or vision board only.

October 14, 2010

Counting Calories the Bodybugg Way

Calories can be burned by the hundreds 
by engaging in strenuous activities
that do not require physical exercise.

Beating around the bush.................75
Jumping to conclusions.................100
Climbing the walls.....................150
Swallowing your pride...................50
Passing the buck........................25
Throwing your weight around (depending on your weight)...50-300
Dragging your heels....................100
Pushing your luck......................250
Making mountains out of molehills......500
Hitting the nail on the head............50
Wading through paperwork...............300
Bending over backwards..................75
Jumping on the bandwagon...............200
Balancing the books.....................25
Running around in circles..............350
Eating crow............................225
Tooting your own horn...................25
Climbing the ladder of success.........750
Pulling out the stops...................75
Adding fuel to the fire................160
Wrapping it up at the day's end.........12
Opening a can of worms .................50
Putting your foot in your mouth........300
Starting the ball rolling...............90
Going over the edge.....................25
Picking up the pieces after............350
 {Source}

Funny how topics seem to naturally circulate in the blog world...lately I've been seeing a lot about the value VS. the insanity of being a calorie counter as a means to lose and maintain weight. Turns out I've got a little something to add to the chatter.

I'm a proud owner and wearer of the Bodybugg, the armband device that got its fame from the very popular reality TV show, The Biggest Loser. The thing is, I never used to count calories before the year 2010....NEVER. For periods of time I counted points through Weight Watchers, I counted fat grams through Susan Powter's program, and also counted carbs through programs such as Atkins and South Beach. But, never calories.

So, why did I spend the money on a Bodybugg?

Here's why. This year I slammed up against a very big wall when my stubborn body refused to do what it had always done when I attempted weight loss. . . lose weight! For 8 months I was patient and consistent, but I got the feeling that I just didn't have the data I needed to make wise choices with my food. How many calories was I really burning?  It doesn't really matter what diet you follow or how intuitively you eat, calories in and calories out need to be understood and respected so that wise choices can be made.

So, I invested in a Bodybugg, and as soon as it came, I programmed it, got my account set up, and strapped it on my left arm.

And, something seemed to magically happen. No, I didn't lose 10 pounds in a week or anything crazy like that. But, I now had an awareness, the feeling that a set of objective, nonjudgmental eyes were watching me, what I ate, how much I ate, and how much I moved my booty. Not like in a food nazi sort of way....just this keen awareness, ever present reminder of the goals I put in front of me on 1/1/10. From the first day, I LOVED it!

Since that first day on August 15, I have lost a total 19.1#, which is an average of about 2.5# a week! It works, and I happily recommend it to you guys. 

To be clear . . . I am NOT recommending obsessive calorie counting or addictive scale dependence. If you are tied to a number on the scale or constantly thinking about calories all day long, well, that's like trading one addiction (food) for another.

I don't know about you, but I want to be free of all that, live my life pursuing my goals, living my dreams and not take up brain space or spend valuable energy being anally retentive over a measurement of energy!

I don't mean to offend anyone who is being successful losing weight counting calories. Yes, counting those little buggers and controlling how many you put in your body may help you lose. But, eventually, I think we all want to just be free, to have the knowledge and tools we need internalized, and get on with our lives.

Losing weight is about
MANAGING OURSELVES, 
not our food.
We can't make the food behave, 
but we can change the way 
we behave around it.

And, it's work! It takes courage to face why we behave so badly! But, if you are ready to:
  1. Do the work;
  2. Journey through the ebb and flow of motivation and discouragement;
  3. Learn how to plow through plateaus;
  4. And know all the while & BE HAPPY with the fact that you are being good to yourself & kind to your body;
 ...and you need access to the hard data like I did, the Bodybugg might just be for you.

If you wanna learn more about the Bodybugg, just click on the link. Warning: its a bit pricey, going for $175 which includes the armband and a 6 month subscription to the web-based program that you need to use it. But, the device is state-of-the-art and considered to be THE most accurate calorie management technology available other than what you'd get from a medical facility.

That's it for this week...and, oh, I wasn't paid nor did I receive any other kind of compensation for this review. I don't work for Apex Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness. I just own a Bodybugg, use it, and want to pass on what I've learned. The views expressed here are my own, and cannot be bought or sold.

love you guys,
Cheryl

October 7, 2010

Morning Pages


Dreams. Goals. Plans. I sat on my couch this morning, holding my coffee cup, thinking about my life and how utterly happy I am right now. Ever have those moments of reflection when it seems that everything is just as it should be....and even get a little misty eyed as the thoughts pervade?  That was me this morning.

I've also experienced just the opposite sort of days...clutching my coffee cup, feeling like I cannot muddle my way out of my own head enough to make any progress toward my goals. Confusion leads to frustration which leads to fragmented thinking until a good ole' dose of overwhelm begins to set in. And, I don't know about you, but I don't do too well when the overwhelm switch is thrown...I tend to just shut down, withdraw, freeze. And, horrors, sometimes eat.

I want more of the first kind of day, don't you?

A few years ago I did find something that helps every single time when the ugly scenario above begins to play out. It's called "Morning Pages," the brainchild of Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, The Right to Write and many, many more excellent books.

Julia Cameron knows what she's talking about. She's been helping creative types discover and sometimes rediscover their creativity through her classes, and one of the primary tools that she employs is morning pages.

So, what's morning pages? Here's the jist: every morning write three pages long-hand. Just write. No form required, punctuation is optional, spelling never an issue. No outlines, paragraphs, Strunk & White not welcome at this early morning party. Stream of consciousness if you will. And, nobody has to see it but you.

Write what you're thinking, feeling, struggling with, what you want to do, what you have to do, how you feel about it, your weight loss journey, your progress, lack of progress. It could be a prayer to God, words you wanna say to your SO, words you wanna have with your DH. Point is, you write....anything in the world. Just write. Three. Pages.

That shouldn't be hard for us bloggers. Seriously. So easy. But, I warn you...it requires a brutal honesty with yourself if you want it to work.

I learned of this beautiful practice a few years ago in a creative writing class, and in a very Cherylish sort of way (I didn't say childish), questioned the how of it. With all due respect, I told the instructor that I simply could NOT do this long hand, would have to be on the 'puter. She just smiled. I was looking for a debate, wanted her to defend this archaic notion of long-handedness. What I got, tho was just a gentle nudge, suggesting I should just try it. So Julia Cameronish. Sigh.

Anyway, I picked back up my Morning Pages a few days ago. Gotta say . . . it works. Every. Time. No. Kidding.

After writing my three pages, I somehow could think more clearly to make my to-do list. My mind was naturally able to prioritize my day. Ideas started popping like popcorn, confusion faded into clarity, dreams sparkled in the morning light, and plans on how to realize those dreams came floating right on into my brain. Was I ready for the day? You bet I was. And this only took like 20 minutes.

Is there anything else you can do for 20 minutes that offers you that? I can't tell you the science behind why it works. I just know that it does.

I encourage you to try Morning Pages for yourself. If you wanna learn more about it, check out Julia Cameron's website The Artist's Way. I promise you will not be sorry. Because, face it, the weight loss journey can be really really tough and overwhelming sometimes. I think this little, simple tool will help a lot of us keep on keeping on.

Are you familiar with morning pages? If not, are you willing to give it a try, say for a week? If you are familiar, have you practiced it and what were your personal results?

Keep moving forward,
Cheryl

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

September 28, 2010

The Difference Of Just One

 This video has been sitting 
in my INBOX for a couple of days now, 
and once I watched it I just knew 
I wanted to share it with you. 
Just right click the link below,
and open it in another tab,
so you can easily come back 
and read the rest of this post!


 {Reading the rest of this short post now won't make sense 'til you watch the vid!}


The thing is, you never know when you are at 211 and about to go 212! Just one more push could push you over the top, it could send you soaring, it could create the momentum that you've been looking for!

NEVER give up, because you just never know and because what will giving up get you anyway?

With you in the fight,
Cheryl

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

September 23, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I ♥ books . . . that a perfect day always includes reading . . . and that whenever I have extra cash I buy books first and if there's some left over, food and clothing (just like the bag from B & N says that sits on my floor stuffed with some of my favorites).

And, I seriously doubt I'll ever own a Kindle or any other kind of electronic reading device . . . there is just something about holding a book in my hands, the feel and smell of it, the primitiveness of ink on the page that I just don't feel with those modern things. I know it'd be better for the environment (I guess) but I'd be in favor of printing on bamboo paper, and would even grow my own to contribute just to keep the printed book alive.

Just think, if we all grew bamboo instead of, 
say, evergreen bushes.

Back to the topic . . .

My oldest son, Scott, shares this love of reading with me, and recently we decided to read a book together and discuss it by phone (we live nearly 2000 miles apart). The book is Letters From A Skeptic by Greg Boyd, a chronicle of correspondence between the author and his dad that addresses the tough questions about Christianity.  I love discussing tough topics with Scott...he has a really, REALLY great mind and often challenges me on why I believe what I do, so I am sooo looking forward to this!

So, I cracked the book late last week and was immediately reminded why this book will never be purged from my library. You know how it goes, every so often us book-lovers must go through that painful process of deciding which books we can keep, or if we should just buy another bookshelf, or maybe make furniture out of the books we just can't part with but just look so darn beautiful. I've done all three . . . but this book is one of those that will sit in a prime location on my shelf. It's that good.

As is the case with all excellent books, Letters From A Skeptic is chock full of life principles. Here's the first one I ran across:

We become the decisions we make. 

I quote Boyd:  "The more we choose something, the more we become that something. We are all in the process of solidifying our identites by the decisions we make. With each decision we make, we pick up momentum in the direction of that decision."

That means that each decision matters. Each meal or snack we decide to eat contributes to where we eventually end up . . . healthier or sicker or stuck right where we are today. It's not about being perfect and always making the "right" choice as much as it is about realizing, being woken up to the fact, that we hand over the reigns of our lives and our futures every day so easily without even thinking. We let others decide for us.

I see a television commercial and am strangely, suddenly, out-of-the-blue craving ice cream...or potato chips...or pizza. After consumption, I sit and wonder what happened. Seriously? Am I that easily swayed away from these goals that I desperately want to define my life?

If we will just stop for a moment and think, "Which direction will this decision to buy this or eat this or drink this take me? Will I be closer to my goal, further away or stuck in a rut?" It only takes a second. And can make all the difference.  Then, at least if we've thought about it, we'll never have to wonder what happened. :)

How can we keep this in our frontal lobes? What do you do to remember the truth that this is your life?

Cheryl

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

September 22, 2010

You Say You're Going Primal?

I think the only time that is busier and more filled with new goals and re-starts than January 1 is September. WOW, what a busy busy beginning to my favorite season of the year....Autumn!

My husband thinks fall is my favorite season because my birthday happens to fall (teehee) in it. Well, maybe. :) Still, what's not to like about the warm, gorgeous colors to be seen everywhere, saucy dishes to cook, and sweater weather? Makes for some awesomely delicious bike rides, bathing the senses in a feast to be sure!

As many of you may know, hubz and I have embarked on the Primal way of eating. This means that we are foregoing grains of any kind (think bread, cereal, crackers, cookies, cakes, corn, oatmeal) and decidedly are getting our carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. I thought I would really miss bread (has always been my weak point), but it turns out we are eating less food, we are more satisfied, and best of all our energy levels are good and consistent all day long.

There's a new community blog currently in its formative stage that'll be all about Primal eating and the lifestyle that goes with it, the ups, the downs, recipes, etc. And, yours truly will be just one of the awesome contributing authors to this new blog! Stay tuned for more info very very soon!

I got my first jar EVER of coconut oil yesterday, and promptly went to work fixing a scrumptious meal: Chicken Marsala and Roasted Cauliflower served over a bed of spinach.


Chicken Marsala
Ingredients: 
10 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/2 cup medium-dry Marsala wine
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 cup red grapes, sliced in half
Salt and pepper to taste.

Remove all visible fat from the chicken and pound to about 1/2 inch thick. If you get a really meaty breast, it'd also work to butterfly it open.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet on medium high and brown the chicken, about 2 minutes on each side.

Add the Marsala wine to pan and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a plate and continue to simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes to reduce. You should end up with a nice glaze-like sauce.

Add the cream to the glaze/sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Then, add the sliced red grapes being careful not to cook too long so the skins don't come off.

Spoon sauce over chicken, and cover with foil to keep warm before serving.

Roasted Cauliflower With Lemon Mustard Dressing
Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1/3 cup coconut milk or half & half
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil and a little sea salt.

Roast cauliflower until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile toast the nuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes over medium-high heat, shaking the pan often to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, coconut milk and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.

Add the roasted, hot cauliflower, scraping all those luscious oils and browned cauliflower bits into the bowl (best part!).

Add the nuts, pepper and toss to coat.

Serve warm over a bed of spinach leaves.

Bon appetit!

Cheryl

Recipes adapted and modified from Low Carb Meals in Minutes by Linda Gassenheimer and The Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson. Courtesy of Creative Commons are autumn leaves.

September 9, 2010

Coping

". . . Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. . . "
-Robert Fulghum
I’ve been reading a lot lately in the blogosphere about how my friends are struggling, losing their motivation, forgetting about their why, not able to shake the bingy feelings, enduring enormous stress. We have ALL been there. Its been said that we are either in a problem, heading out of one or heading into one!

We sure don’t live on the mountain top, do we? Mostly life is made up of expectations that we must manage, relationships that we devote every nourishing cell in our body to, work that may or may not fulfill, and some joy, pleasure and pain along the way. And, sometimes life is just HARD.

How do you cope when things get tough?

In my younger years I was always active. In college I'd run a couple three miles most mornings, bang a tennis ball against the racquetball court just for the fun of it, and play some one-on-one basketball for, ahem, a study break. If I wasn’t daydreaming or writing poetry in the fold of my Western Civ book, err I mean studying, I was out doing something fun, something competitive, something that moved my body.

I remember one time being really stressed out about something (probably a test) and going out for a run. I ran, and ran, and ran, I don’t know, for a long time, lots longer than normal. The next day I could barely climb the stairs to my classes!

Exercise was just the way I coped with stress. And, it worked. I sometimes got sore muscles, but I was always known as the laid back girl, so relaxed, so easy going. I was that girl.

Then life after college, what they call the REAL world, entered and somehow, someway I let this active lifestyle slip away. I still got work outs in, joined fitness clubs wherever I lived, but the problem was that my eating pace stayed pretty much the same as when I was in college while my exercise sessions were far fewer in number.

Then Mr. Right came along. Love, love, love, all you need is love, right? After a whirlwind romance and a brief engagement, we married and three short years later we started a family. House, family, job, husband, kids, you know, the American dream . . . and STRESS. And, instead of turning TO exercise, I turned away. For the life of me, I don’t know why, but it spelled . . .

D I S A S T E R . 

The pounds piled on. Life became harder than it needed to be. I suffered more than I needed to suffer. And, I missed so much. So much.

Mr. Right became Mr. Wrong, a mismatch that somehow managed to last 17 years finally fell apart. I could blame the marriage-turned-rocky, the messy divorce, the INCREDIBLE kids that I tried desperately not to screw up, the demanding jobs, or the obligations that life is made of. But, it wasn’t any of those things. The fact that I added 100 pounds more than I needed to my frame is nobody’s fault but my own. MY reaction to life. MY way of coping.

My personal trainer once told me that the best thing you can do at the end of a long, hard day is to work out…it’s like salve on a wound. I'm re-finding that tube of salve these days, and coping in much healthier ways.

But, I want to know . . . what have you found to be the best way to handle the ups and downs of life? How are you being kind to yourself? Please share your wisdom in the comments!

With you in the journey,
Cheryl

September 2, 2010

The Back Door to Success

Isn't it funny how sometimes disappointments end up leading us down the road that we really wanted to go all along? Not ha-ha funny, but you know, curious, unexpected, close to being delighted but not quite. Sort of a satisfied, I-really-did-end-up-getting-what-I-wanted sort of funny.

So, I heard about the 30 Days of Biking challenge on the 31st of August, the day before this challenge was to begin, and I immediately wanted to do it. I checked out the link to make sure it wasn't some crazy thing like biking 100 miles all up hill, and when I learned that all it involved was committing to biking every day in September, I signed up. How hard could it be?

The rules state that these daily bike rides can be long, short, alone, with others, an all day affair or even just a trip around the block. The point is to just get out there and be active. And, I've been all about that lately, ever since getting this crazy little electronic thing I wear on my arm that reminds me "I'm watching, get moving!".

Last night was the kick off ride, a community event, which started at Gold Medal Park in Minneapolis and ended along St. Anthony Main...about a 10 mile trek. I've never participated in anything like this before, and really, have only been biking as a form of exercise for a couple of months, so I was kind of nervous about it.

What's to be nervous about, you ask? Well, hills. I don't do so well yet on hills. I'm still carting around a lot of extra weight, which makes hills hillier, if you get my drift. Imagine a normal weight person, relatively fit, riding up a hill...they make it just fine. Now imagine the same person strapped with a 100# weight on their back going up the same hill. Would they make it up?

I don't know if they would or not, but last night's ride ended in me feeling like a failure . . . for awhile at least. I went with a girlfriend of mine, and we started out toward the front of the pack. It was good. It was a gorgeous night, about 75 degrees, blue skies, low humidity. But the riders, about 50 I'd say, we were all sort of clumped together and so it was impossible to get up any sort of momentum to handle the early hills. And, when you're carrying a 100# weight on your back, momentum is really important. Really important.

Add to that the fact that my bike felt heavy and slow...turns out my rear brakes were dragging along the wheel, and my seat kept moving around. Now, Beauty (what do you think of the name? it just sort of evolved, hehe) is not the fastest bike on the road and I knew that, but seriously, she isn't that slow and neither am I. We are really a perfect match because we aren't slow and we aren't fast, we just don't think about it much. It's not really the point, after all. We get each other.

Long story short, my friend and I lost the crowd after only a couple of miles. I was so bummed. Humiliated. I'm not a crier in those situations, I just want to disappear. Thankfully, my friend was so upbeat, totally supportive, and she waited for me, we went at my pace which now I understand might still not be SLOW but its slower than I thought.

Instead of wandering around the city trying to find the group along a prescribed route that neither one of us could remember, we decided to take a ride along the river. It was GREAT! I managed to get my seat tightened and a really nice biker stopped to help me with the brakes. We rode for about an hour, up and down the hills along the Mississippi and at one point we were even up to about 25 mph! Totally fun and wonderful exercise.

We ended the night at a cute little sidewalk cafe, nibbling on a healthy appetizer and enjoying the breezy evening. The point of the evening WAS to participate in the kick off ride, partner up with some other cool people, be a part of the gang. But, it ended up being a really nice time with just my friend and me, riding along the river in what was still a challenging course.

Now, I could stay bummed that we lost the crowd or that I had to walk my bike up a hill, you know, call the whole thing one big #fail. But, you know what? Keeping up isn't the point. It'd be nice if I could, but the point is to get healthy, more fit and to have fun doing it.

Some might call my adventure a fail, but I'm calling it the back door to my success. Success in that I rode my bike on the first day of September, success in that I had a challenging ride, success in that I was with a good friend, success in that I learned something about myself and my fitness level. There's so much more to celebrate than there is to feel bad about.

What do you guys do when you don't measure up to your own expectations? Would you let your inexperience keep you from trying something beyond your ability (I've done that MANY times), or would you throw caution to the wind and just give it a whirl?

Riding still,
Cheryl

August 25, 2010

Stats Don't Lie

The year of 2010 has been all about fine tuning sooo many different parts, BIG parts of my life!

MY TIME ~ I want to be both productive AND to be enjoying myself, because life is just too short to merely endure, and because there is so much beauty that I don't want to miss. Finding that balance between doing and being without guilt, whoa, its been harder than I thought it would be!

MY WORK ~ embarking on the writer life and sharing a vitamin supplement that has literally turned my health around has been so stimulating, stretching and satisfying! With no place to go and no time I have to be there, this new life is both freeing and revealing. Talk about looking in the mirror.

MY MARRIAGE ~ just 3 years old last month, a gift to me that I never expected after my first marriage went south is something I'll always be fine tuning. I'm learning all over again what love is and what it isn't, what commitment really looks like and that when two people work together it's a beautiful thing!

And, of course MY BODY. There was a time when I could lose weight pretty easily. I'd just cut back and the pounds would melt off, but evidently those days are gone. My hormones aren't quite sure what they're doing right now, and everything is in a state of flux. The hypothyroidism plays tricks on me too, and there isn't much I can do about that I guess.

If you've been following this blog, you've heard me talk about my frustrations with my weight loss, everything from hiring a dietitian to following The Zone Diet to the latest two-a-day regimen (still working this one!). It isn't that I haven't put the work in, I have. But with my changing body and health challenges, its been a real balancing act to figure out how much is enough.

To say I've been disappointed in my investments and attempts would be an understatement. Probably the understatement of the year.

I don't blame the nutritionist nor The Zone, and not even my own once-thought-brilliant two-a-day attempt. They were/are all good pieces of the puzzle I can take with me as I keep moving forward. I also don't blame myself because, HONESTLY, I put the work in.

In fact, I stopped blaming anything or anyone for this predicament, and accepted that my body is in a very different place than it was even 10 years ago. It won't do the same things right now that it used to. I am not in the same body as I was in my 20's or 30's. This acceptance was actually a pretty giant step forward.

I don't know how many of my beautiful and brilliant readers are under or over the age of 40, but regardless, this post really is for everyone. If you are under, please know that your body will change as you age and it will be harder to take the same pounds off. Let that motivate you to stick with your plan while your metabolism is on your side.

And, if you are over, you already know this. To say we women over 40 are fine tuning our bodies and our weight loss programs would be another one of those massive understatements.

What is needed most, I think, is just the truth. Data. Personal data. What is MY body doing, what does MY body need?

So, in my quest for truth, I bit the bullet and bought the Bodybugg, one of those armband thingys, ya know the same device that the contestants on the Biggest Loser wear on their arm? With a more than 90% accurate rating for tracking an individuals calorie expenditure through the day, and a web program that offers everything a would-be successful weight-loser needs from tracking software to goal setting to helpful health information, it seemed like the truth I was looking for.

And so far it's working! Last week I lost 4.1 pounds, I'm more active and eating better, and the pounds are coming off. We'll see how it goes . . . we'll see if this is the thing that will work for me. So much of this battle is finding what works for us, isn't it?

I know that a lot of you don't use a device like this. I'm curious, how do you keep going when your body isn't cooperating? Do you ever feel like you're doing all the right things and yet the results are disappointing? What do you do when that happens? And have you ever hit a brick wall, knowing that you simply cannot give up but are also not sure what to do next? Please share. Your comments are always so helpful to me!

your stat-lovin' blogger/friend,
Cheryl

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

August 12, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

Did you know that song was The Beatles last #1 song in the U.S., and their real last single? Yep. I would love nothing more than for this 2010 journey to be my last trip to the Permanent Weight Loss Club, too.


Big SIGH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . But, this whole process of figuring out what works for my body and what doesn't really does have me maneuvering down a twisty, winding path this time around. Getting motivated to get started was a very large part of this fat battle, but staying motivated when my body doesn't work the way I expect or want it to is a pretty big part too.

My two-a day workout plan has not quite worked out how I hoped it would. :-/ I really thought it was realistic, and that's why I committed myself to it and posted it for all to see. Now I see that some adjustments are needed, but I know it's not the end of the world. There was a time when I'd just feel so defeated at this point that I'd give up and go into hiding. THAT'S not going to happen this time.

I will confess that prior to starting this two-a-day plan (as seen on the right sidebar), I was NOT  working out every day or even 5 times a week. But, as I often say to myself when making my new goals:

"How hard could it be?" 

That attitude has pushed me out of my comfort zone many times with some pretty great results, but it wasn't to be this time. For two weeks I did meet my goal of 5 days a week, twice a day with time increasing incrementally. So, yay for that!

The other great thing was that I dropped some weight, about 4 pounds! So, I think this old girl's metabolism was forced to do more, and that's a very good thing. Another yay for that!

I'm also making an appointment with my doctor to discuss going off my blood pressure meds! Yes, that's right, my blood pressure over these last two weeks has dropped dramatically. This is really big and wonderful news! Have to see what he says, but I am very hopeful.

What I didn't count on, tho, with my two-a-day schedule was being totally exhausted. I was so wiped out. I couldn't decide if it was the heat or if I was pushing too hard or if maybe I wasn't eating enough, but I was not waking up in the morning refreshed...in fact, my mornings ended being a total waste because I just could not get moving. I didn't increase my calorie intake, so if my metabolism was indeed fired up, I may need to eat some of my exercise calories to make it through.

So anyway, I listened to my body and gave it what it was screaming for: REST. I took several days off, and now I'm feeling back to normal. I hopped back on the bike today and the 25 minute workout felt fabulous...all sweaty just like it should be! I'm still not sure how to adjust the two-a-day plan except to say that I may need to get some longer, more consistent workouts under my belt before I move to two-a-days. My 25 minute week just didn't happen. :(

So, for this week, I'm playing it by ear. Will attempt a couple of two-a-days and see how it goes and report back to you next week. Feel free to ask me about it if you don't see a post about it soon, ok? How's that for accountability?

I'm wondering, what happens to you when you set a goal and miss the mark? Is it easy for you to evaluate, adjust and move forward or do you get stuck, stall out or quit?

Cheryl

August 2, 2010

Four Easy Steps To A New Life!


The morning after I got my You-Are-Officially-Laid-Off notice from my job, I will admit I felt a little lost. For 5 1/2 years I had gotten up and done the same thing every morning and now, now not only did I not have a job to do, I also didn't have a place to go . . . except my dining room table to eat a slow breakfast, linger over my coffee and meander on over to my computer in my jammies.

Sounds like a dream come true, right? A 2-minute commute in your pajamas? Well, yes and no.

Yes, because who doesn't dream about working in their pajamas? And no, because I hadn't had any time to prepare, really prepare for this moment.

So, I didn't know what to do. And, every day for the next several months I asked myself "How do I do this, what's next, just how do I go about reinventing myself this time?"

This isn't the first time I found myself in this predicament. Like a lot of women who move through the phases of their life, I had several little new beginnings, i.e. having a baby, going back to work after the baby, graduations, etc.

The biggest, most significant start-over I faced, however, was right after my divorce . . . learning all over again how to support myself and now my kids, going it alone in a very couple-oriented place, creating a new normal for me and the kids and eventually moving on with my own personal life...pretty momentous.

And, this lay off, well, it was kind of the same way as the divorce in how life-changing it would become. But, this time instead of facing the next few years with an I-wonder-if-I-can-do-this feeling, I saw a real adventure coming around the corner.

The adventure didn't start that first day at my computer in my pajamas, tho. I had spent time over several years asking myself some questions.

Cheryl, do you love going to work?

Do you truly enjoy what you do with your evenings?

Are you moving closer to your life goals?

Are you living your values?

When you lay your head on the pillow at night, 
do you feel full and satisfied with life?

For most of life, we often just do what we have to do and I was no different. I didn't want to work full time and leave the kids in daycare or to fend for themselves after school, but the budget demanded it.

But now, here I was, at a place in my life where I could do just about anything I wanted to do. Funny thing, tho, what exactly did I want?! It wasn't until I was laid off that I realized I . . .


Here's what I did. It's very simple, but it worked for me.

Step one:  Think of just one thing in your life that you want to change/do. Your one thing can't be to change someone else, it has to be something you have some measure of control over. And, it should be something challenging, something you haven't been able to accomplish yet.

Step two:  Write your one thing down on a piece of paper. Use a sheet of paper that is big enough to add to.

Step three:  Tape up your piece of paper in a place where you will see it regularly.

Step four:  Make it your goal every week to add an idea under your goal of something simple you can do to move closer to what you want, and do it!

You don't have to wait til you are laid off like I did to start this. It's doable no matter what your circumstance. Its all about baby steps. :)

Once I had this simple structure in place, the ideas started to flow. But, something else interesting also began to happen. I noticed that as I disciplined myself to think about my one thing every week, to do something to move toward it on a consistent basis, my life was not only changing in baby steps, but so was I! While I wasn't looking, I was becoming a new woman, inside AND out. I really hadn't counted on that.

So, what one thing would you like to change in your life? Maybe it has to do with your body and/or health, like me. Whatever it is, commit to sharing your one thing with someone significant in your life, and if you are comfortable doing so, share in the comments or via an email to me at {cherylwrites at gmail dot com}.

Whomever you share with just telling another person is often enough to set some things in motion in your heart to spur you on and get the ball rolling!

Cheryl

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons: 
Steps
Leaf
Questions

July 29, 2010

Tell the Truth Thursday

Hey hey readers!

Gonna try something new here on Thursdays for a couple of weeks. Because we are all so busy, sometimes reading full length posts gets . . . well, we end up skimming, right? I know I do.

So, every Thursday, the post for the day will be a quickie...simply what I've learned over the past week summed up in quick, easy to read statements. Or maybe questions. {Because it's true, sometimes questions tell us more than answers. :)} No long-winded treatise or heart-rending, detailed account. Just something short, sweet, and hopefully helpful.

I can't promise it'll always be earth-shatteringly profound, but I can promise it'll be real. I don't know about you, but sometimes I don't share what I'm learning because I think its too elementary, that it couldn't possibly help anyone else. But . . .

We never know how sharing what we are learning 
will impact someone else.

I hope you'll join in the comments with some of your own realizations, lessons, questions. Let's help each other get our truth on, eh? If this strikes a chord with y'all, I'll keep it coming.

So, here's installment #1 of {drum roll please}, Tell the Truth Thursdays.

We are learning a whole lot more 
than just how to lose weight . . . 
we're building and shaping our character. 
No scale or disapproving look can take that away.

Set backs happen.
Plateaus come.
And, we do slip up. 
So what!
This is not a race, it's a new life we're building.

We cannot continue to do the right things
and see no results.  

Consistency is key to growing,
even when,  
especially when
we don't FEEL like it. 

What truths are you telling yourself today?

Cheryl

July 28, 2010

What You Should Know Before You Reinvent Yourself

Earlier in the week I wrote about how
our work,
our eating,
our workouts,
should never be miserable. I believe that if we hate what we're doing, we aren't doing our best. And, that my friends short changes just about everyone I think.

Living and working and reaching our goals should be FUN.

But, there are some things we should know before we embark on change. Call it a nice dose of perspective or reality . . . its just good to know what we are getting ourselves into.

First, this whole business of reinventing ourselves, whether we're talking changing our bodies or our careers or whatever, it is work. Not the kind of work described at the top of the last post, but still, it doesn't come easy.

But, it's not supposed to be easy. 

If it came easy, we definitely would not respect it in the morning. If it was easy, we wouldn't feel pushed or stretched. If it was easy, we wouldn't grow. So let's here it for HARD!

The other thing about reinventing ourselves is that sometimes it doesn't pay the cable bill or buy nice clothes or expensive nights out on the town. It might mean making some lifestyle adjustments. But, really, what would you rather have...a kick-ass day where you love what you're doing, believe in it with your whole heart and feel good at the end of the day OR cable TV?

Reinventing ourselves also takes time. I've never met anyone who truly changed their life that sped their way through it. It takes patience, thought and sometimes some very hard emotional work. So, the choice is, would you like to be ecstatically happy about your life eventually or spin your wheels, get frustrated and end up turning back to continue shuffling along in boredom?

All rhetorical questions with obvious answers. Changing our lives is going to mean some work, it might not make us rich over night and we gotta be patient. But, the upside is INCREDIBLE. EXHILARATING. EXCITING. 

... and SO worth it!!!!

After watching Breakthrough with Tony Robbins last night, and seeing what can be done if we can somehow pull ourselves out of the rut we're resting in, it makes me wanna push even harder to realize my goals.

Today out on my bike (still yet to be named) I rode for only about 20 minutes around my neighborhood. There are some hills...not huge ones, but noticeable nonetheless. I was purposely choosing to not go in one particular direction because the last time I went that way on a bike (last year), I had to walk my bike back up the hill. Humiliating.

But, then I thought about that couple last night on Breakthrough, and decided to go for it. Thinking about Kerri donning a swim suit spurred me on. Thinking about Mary with her open water swims, and I knew I had to try. And you know what?

I made it back up!! Without walking!

I was breathin' heavy, sweat was rolling down my chest, but you couldn't wipe that smile off my face if you dared to try! A small accomplishment? Relatively, yes. Important? Absolutely crucial. Now I can tackle bigger things.

And, about the hill . . . it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. That's the thing about our fears...they are almost always never as bad as we imagine.

So, what holds you back from change, or from trying something you've failed at in the past, or even just climbing out of your rut? How are you short-changing yourself staying the way you are? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Facing it,
Cheryl

July 26, 2010

How Do You Define Work?

How many of us go to jobs we hate, eat food we don't like, do workout routines that are boring simply because we feel we have to? Do you find yourself moving through your days with an "I-sure-hope-I-can-make-it-through attitude, eating boring food or food that doesn't nourish, watching television that fails to entertain?

Somehow this is how we've come to define work. It is no wonder that we dread Monday, fall off the diet wagon and find a million better things to do rather than work out...like watch mindless TV or eat. We are simply bored.

Find something you love to do and you'll never 
have to work another day in your life!  
~ Harvey Mackay

I embrace this quote, I ♥ it! Yet, so many of us never experience that in our lives. My personal philosophy has always been that life is too short to eat food I don't like, and that's how I gained 100 pounds! There is a measure of responsibility to assume, but, really, . . .

Our lives should not be filled with so much unpleasantness!

I'm learning that there are healthy foods that don't pack on the pounds that I actually LIKE. The ones I don't like? Umm, I don't eat them. But, I do experiment.

There is just too much variety, spice and adventure, too many flavors (literally AND figuratively) to be tasted to simply just endure, day after day. We were made for so much more!!! (DISCLAIMER: Okay, don't try ALL the flavors of ice cream here, it's just a picture to make a point.) :)

At some point it's good to ask ourselves why DID we choose this job, house, diet . . . you fill in the blank.  And, if we find that we've outgrown the old reason or it's just no longer working for us, to do ourselves a favor and welcome a little change. Of course not all things can change immediately, but  

There is always something we can do TODAY 
to move toward our best life. 

That attitude alone releases an energy reserve we didn't even know we had.

Since being laid off my 9-5 almost a year ago, I've spent a lot of time thinking about these sorts of things.  In spite of all the wonderful opportunities given to me by my previous employer during my time there, I knew in my heart that some changes in the basic structure of my life were needed. Badly.

So, I decided to take advantage of the new "opportunity" presented to me, {i.e. having no place to report for work!}, and set out to make a new life for myself.  I'm happy to share that things are going real well! Always a work in progress, but . . .

NEW kind of work ~ CHECK!

NEW way of eating ~ CHECK!

NEW way of moving ~ just yesterday, CHECK! Here's what I picked up yesterday, a little dreamy number to work my body in a way that I ADORE!


Isn't she a beauty?! No more staring at the TV monitor as I count down the minutes on the treadmill. No more dreading the dungeon exercise room with body smells from previous users. No more just sucking it up to get through. And no more gym membership fees. NO! I will feel the breeze in my hair and across my skin as I ride this beauty queen!

Work does not have to equal torture. Why do we do this to ourselves? Who are we listening to that we think our only choice is the one that makes us suffer?

I welcome your thoughts in the comments.

Werkin it and still smiling,
Cheryl

July 21, 2010

Two-A-Days Are . . .


This week the hubz and I are on a staycation. :) With a week off work, we're hanging out at home, cooking healthy meals, swimming, staying up late, sleeping in, just goin' and doin' wherever our hearts lead! Gotta say, it's been a blast! Who says you need a lot of money for a fab vacation?

So, not much posting this week, but I have been getting my workouts in. And, for the last couple of days I've been toying around with the idea of shaking up my workouts a little to get the needle on the scale to move. And, by move I mean move downward! After a couple of weeks of icky stuff going on and a few pounds up, things are now turned back around for the good.

While at my chiropractor's office a few months back, he shared with me how working out twice a day for just 20 minutes could really help me. Then, I read the same thing on the Jillian Michael's website today, altho she insisted the amount of time should be more like 40-45 minutes twice a day to make it really worth the while.  

And, I got an idea. Two-a-days that escalate. (hey, that rhymes, it's a sign!)

I thought, how about I start out riding my bike twice a day for 20 minutes each session 5-6 days a week, and increase the time by 10% each week until I get up to 45 minutes sessions? I think its sustainable, and it should help with my metabolism. And it means by October 1, just 9 short weeks away, I'll be riding 49 minutes twice a day!

I threw out the idea on twitter this afternoon and got some great feedback, AND little miss Andrea, aka @celeryinthecity said she would join me! That girl has lost 80 pounds, 80 pounds people! She's working on getting the last 20-30 off and is hoping that this little stepped up workout plan will help her achieve that. You can check out her blog HERE.

Me? I am back on track, makin' tracks, and now committing to doing it twice a day. Starting maƱana!

Wanna join us? Just leave a comment stating you're in, and we'll all cheer each other on! You don't have to ride a bike, but commit to doing whatever exercise you do twice a day.

And, if not, just sit back and watch us whittle our waists and be inspired. :)

Now Riding Twice,
Cheryl

P.S. I've got the progression week by week in the sidebar....always rounding up because it just wouldn't be right to round down. :)

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

July 15, 2010

Give Your Body What It Thirsts For!

If you're a part of the Awesome by August Challenge hosted over at Kat's Adventures in Dietland, you may have noticed that I've decided to contribute a two week supply of VEMMA Thirst. I'm really excited to share this product with you guys!

What's Thirst? It's a re-hydration product manufactured by a company called VEMMA. Real briefly, this company has designed a liquid daily vitamin/mineral supplement that is, literally, changing people's lives. (Go HERE and HERE and HERE to read moi's story!)

And, their latest product is THIRST, which also contains the rich vitamin/mineral formula found in every single one of their products!

As you know, when you sweat you lose important electrolytes and nutrients that are vital to hydration and ultimately affect your performance. Gulping down an over-sugared, neon-colored sports drink can't be healthy, but there hasn't been a better option... until now. (Check out more about it HERE.)

The cool thing is that doctors around the globe are now discovering Thirst and the other VEMMA products, checking it out for themselves, joining arms with this company ... and recommending it to their own patients.

Three years ago, Victor "Vic" Wanner, CRNA from Little Rock, Arkansas added Vemma as an additional dimension to his thriving anesthesiology practice.

And, the more Vic saw, the more he got excited and began sharing this nutritionally valuable product with his colleagues. He made it his goal to persuade 100 physician colleagues in Arkansas to join him and continue spreading the tremendous effect that the VEMMA product line is having on people's health.

Well, the goal has been reached! Dr. Rhonda Henry-Tillman, an Oncologist at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences was the 100th doctor to join arms with VEMMA.

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I hate selling, but I'm having a hard time keeping the lid on this one.

First, Vemma has vastly improved my own overall health, and second, nearly every day I hear the same thing is happening for many others. It's been amazing to see what our bodies can do when given the proper nutritional building blocks, and that's what Vemma appears to do BEST.

So, I really have to ask, what are YOU doing to protect your health? 100 doctors in one state can't be wrong. Add one of the VEMMA products to your daily routine so that you can be at your very best every single day! Thirst would be a GREAT place to begin!

Go here to learn more:  ItsInTheJuice.Vemma.com/Vemma/

To our health,
Cheryl

P.S.  VEMMA is so sure you will love their product that they offer you a no-questions-asked, 30-day, EMPTY BOTTLE money back guarantee. Doesn't get any more confident or better than that.

July 14, 2010

Wet Workout Wednesday

I don't know about you but about the only workout I feel like doing outside today is this one! This last edition of Wet Workout Wednesday features an excellent video that shows a bunch of exercises you can adopt into your own water aerobics program.

Take a look:



No matter what's happening outside, a good, solid workout is always possible. No excuses if you've got a body of water close by! So, if you are one of the beautiful bloggers participating in the Awesome by August challenge, here's just one more option to get your body moving.

Cheryl

July 13, 2010

3 Aha Moments

I'm having one of those introspective, pensive, love-to-think sort of days, searching for and soaking in answers from places where I haven't looked before. This post is the fruit of my day, and as I share what I'm learning I hope there's something you can take with you.

Here goes.
  1. Dieters trust anyone but themselves when it comes to what, when, and how much to eat. Most of us know the basics of a healthy diet...how about we just eat THAT? And, only when we're hungry, stopping when we're full. Period.
  2. Turns out our taste buds are in our mouths, not our stomachs! So, why is it that we gobble our food down like it's our very last meal ever? What are we really feeding?
  3. When we take shortcuts in life, we are voluntarily skipping something, usually what we perceive to be unnecessary for the journey. If you've been taking shortcuts all your life and still aren't where you wanna be, maybe the missing element, the main thing even, can be found on the long way around.
That's it for today. Please share your thoughts in the comments on any or all of these glaringly obvious aha's.

And, I appreciate you guys more than you will ever know.

Cheryl

July 9, 2010

Bob and Weave

It's nearly the middle of July. How are your 2010 goals coming along? Are you checking things off the list? Making progress, taking steps forward? I hope so.

Just in case you've experienced some challenges like I have, this post is for you.

One of the greatest challenges I've had in the last 6 months has been learning how to stay focused on the goal and at the same time be flexible enough to adapt when its clear that this boat 'ain't gonna sail that way. Getting very fixed and even rigid in our belief about how it all is going to play out might very well be the quickest way to sink the ship.

I'm a pretty laid back person, its natural to take things as they come, and I find intrigue and adventure in the unexpected. When I worked in customer service several years back, I never knew what was on the other end of that incoming call...a happy customer, an extremely busy customer, a customer that's demanding or unreasonable...it was the funnest part of the job for me! So, you would think this whole flexibility thing would come naturally, too.

Negatory.

Somehow this year, this goal, seemed way too important for me to just 'que sera sera' my way through it. I felt I needed to really buckle down, make a plan, stick to it, and arrive. If it were only that simple. 

The thing is that I've seen this laid-backness of mine play to my benefit many many times, and I'm wondering if it could, if it would serve me well with my health goals also. You may not agree with me, but for me it seems the more rigid and inflexible I approach something, the better chance I'm going to get discouraged and just chuck the whole thing.

Enter the bob and weave. It's a basic and key defensive move in boxing that has some very interesting parallels for us. Take a look:




What I heard first was about head movement...so basic!! In boxing, you're trying to not get hit while delivering some swift hits of your own. If you stand still, guess what happens?  Moral? Don't get so locked into the route you're taking to get to your destination that you miss your big move. Get your head moving a little. Assess where you're at. Adjust.

We can be so set on taking the fastest route between here and there that we forget about that counter-punch or that right hook. And, before we know it, we're clinching, hanging on the ropes and going down for the count. We've forgotten about head movement.

The second thing is that in boxing, you expect to get hit. It's part of the game. When we expect something, we aren't surprised by it, we aren't discouraged by it, we know it's all a part winning. Moral? Don't let a little pop to your ego derail you from staying in the ring long enough to get the win. Keep moving, don't give up, switch it up, make it fun, don't be so hard on yourself. And, smile. :)

In other words, bob and weave. 

Sometimes your movement will be forward, sometimes backward. Even side to side. Move full speed ahead when the way is clear, but switch it up from time to time. Back off, change canoes, ask for help and learn from others.

Above all, don't be afraid to say "I've changed my mind." Who cares what others say, seriously. Pursue your goals relentlessly but know that how you get there is almost certain to change along the way.

I'm wondering....does this whole idea of bobbing and weaving make you feel kinda free? Or does it just feel to loosey goosey to you? Please leave a comment.

Movin' forward every which way,
Cheryl

July 7, 2010

Wet Workout Wednesday

Hot, hot, hot! We've had great weather here in Minneapolis lately, PERFECT for taking your workout to the water, and I'm hoping you've had the same!  I'm bringing you today another edition of Wet Workout Wednesday....a 4 part series of short videos demonstrating acquatic aerobic exercise that you can take to the water and try for yourself.

If you're looking for water exercises that really get your heart pumpin', last week's edition may have been a bit mild for you. If so, today's edition should remedy that!




What do you think? Try doing that for 20 minutes and let me know how it feels. I'm gonna try this one tomorrow morning and will report back!

What I've been doing whenever I can steal the pool away for myself is to swim laps around the deep end for 15 minutes, take a short break with these aerobic moves, then laps again to finish up. I absolutely LOVE the water, and as one of my readers stated, water workouts are the only exercise where you can get sweaty without, well, getting sweaty!

What water aerobics moves do you know that work your muscles for a low impact workout?

July 1, 2010

What Else Can I Do Besides Run?

Was talking with the hubz the other night about the different things we're both passionate about, and the topic of running came up. If you've been following me at this here blog for very long, you know how I've wanted to, attempted to, and lately have been road-blocked from . . . running.

Now, the hubz isn't a runner and so it was perfectly logical for him to ask 'You are obsessed with running, aren't you?' {Ohhh, an open door to explain it all!} My face lit up and my heart was skipping happily as I reminisced about my old running-at-the-crack-of-dawn days . . .

 In college.

When I had my first real job.

And, as a newly married woman.

It just felt sooo good, the wind in my hair, my muscles waking up, the freedom I felt gliding down the street, and even the deep, rhythmic breathing...EXHILARATING!!

But when I glanced back at him he still sat there in bewilderment as to how any of that could feel good. Like I said, he's not a runner. He is very sweet, but he just wasn't getting any of this!

His crossed eyes looking back at me didn't bother me really, but I did have to admit that this desire to run again is perhaps me trying to grab onto a part of my youth, wanting to somehow hold back the hands of time.

For the most part I don't sweat the age thing, it's really only a number that represents a lot of living, lessons learned and some hard-won wisdom. But, physically speaking? I wanna look 40 and feel 30.

With all the trouble I'm having with my feet, I got to wondering later on if it is wise to hold on to the goal of running again {brilliant, I know}, particularly running as a regular form of exercise and cardio. Maybe there are other forms of exercise that fit me too {ding, ding, ding, ding}....my personality, my fitness level, my age, now.

So, a couple of days go by, and this morning I popped onto my blog and, almost like for the very first time saw that beautiful 50's bike in the background of my homepage . . . and thought . . . BIKING!

I love BIKING!

In high school I rode everywhere, to see friends, to downtown shops, to the public pool, to work. You can do it alone or with friends, on the street, on a trail, through the hills, even up and down a mountain! You can race if you want or just be a city rider, and set up a trainer in your living room in the winter. And, the best part right now for me...I can do it NOW.

I guess I had my heart so set on running that I couldn't think of anything else. Even my own tagline...

Losing My Behind
{one ride at a time}

So, as of today, I'm returning to my youthful and ever-living love of cycling. I don't know how far I'll take it or where I'll end up, but I kind of hope to become like that 92 year old woman I saw on the news the other night...riding her recumbant bike everywhere she goes, spry, lively, alert, fit and happy. Maybe I'll get into racing or riding those beautiful hills of Vermont on a biking vacation or who knows what else.

This seems almost like an adventure! Soon I'll be feeling that same 20-something wind in my hair, my sleepy muscles waking up, gliding down the street and probably, most likely gasping for air, ha! I CANNOT wait. Maybe I'll run again someday, but if I don't, its now okay.

What's your declared favorite form of exercise, and how did you arrive at the decision to focus on it? More importantly, what do you do when you can't do what you love?

Cheryl

Photos courtesy of Creative Commons: alarm clock, puzzle question mark

June 30, 2010

Wet Workout Wednesday


One of the greatest things about where hubz and I live is the pool in the backyard. There is nothing better on a summer morning than to lap the pool a bunch of times...the air is cool, the water is warm {enough} and its easy to just get lost in the rhythm of each stroke. It also can be an excellent workout, burning tons of calories...a 200# person swimming or treading water vigorously burns 454 calories in 30 minutes!

Swimming has always been a favorite for me ever since teaching myself to swim at summer camp!  If you aren't lucky enough to have a private pool, it can be a little bit tricky using a public pool to get real exercise. But, it can be done.

If the pool is the right dimensions (more oblong) and depth, laps work really well. Our pool has some curves to it and a pretty significant shallow end, so I swim laps around the perimeter of the deep end. I wear my Polar heart rate monitor so I know exactly how hard I'm working, and step it up for more intense intervals with strokes that take more exertion.

If laps aren't your thing, water aerobics accomplish very much the same thing, tho usually a little less intense. Clearly if you belong to a gym like Lifetime Fitness, there are water aerobic classes to sign up for. However, if you don't want to shell out the cash for a gym membership and have access to a public pool, water aerobics are a really wonderful way to get an excellent low-impact workout. Maybe you can even start your own little water aerobics group!

I like to switch up my water workouts, so I did a little research and found some simple water aerobics exercises that I've worked into my own routine. Here's a short video that demonstrates a really simple water exercise: use a noodle while you jog for a good upper and lower body cardio workout:



One of the best parts of a water workout is that afterward you can treat yourself to a nice soak in the sun (don't forget your sunscreen) and not feel guilty about it! After all, you got your workout done and you're absorbing your vitamin D requirements for the day!

For the next several Wednesday's, I'll post a new water aerobic exercise that you can take straight to the pool and try for yourself. :)

What's your favorite way to enjoy exercise...not just endure it or get through it, but REALLY enjoy it?

Cheryl