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?


June 29, 2010

Slow and Steady

So, I'm down .7 pounds today!

I am surprised AND happy that I lost. . . and surprised THAT I'm happy at my small loss. On top of that, I've always loved a good surprise, which in turn makes me happy all over again!

Okay, here's the scoop. The hubz and I continue to move further and further into a healthy lifestyle, and maybe just maybe it's starting to pay off?

Could it be all those fresh eggs w/ sauteed veggies?

Or the leafy green salads topped with chunky cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and onions?

Or maybe the soup loaded with yet more veggies and some beans are helping?

The thing that is bringing such delight with this small loss is that we're loving this style of eating. It doesn't feel like a diet, we don't sense any deprivation. Zip. Nada. None.

It's also been fun to shop for good, local, fresh food, kind of like being on an adventure! We're mingling at the farmer's market among people who grow what we're eating, we're checking out the many co-ops around our great city and partnering with a lot of very smart people who are into quality, healthy food. What is not to love about all that?  Somehow, now when we sit down to a meal, it takes on new meaning.

But wait, isn't losing weight and eating healthy supposed to be, uh, a drag?

I guess not! I'll take my .7# loss and continue on in the adventure. It doesn't seem like much, but lets put it into perspective, a perspective that we can all relate to. It IS like losing nearly 3 sticks of butter packed around my organs. That's something to be happy about, wouldn't you agree?

Granted, BL ranch weekly losses are much, much higher. But, I'll still take my .7# loss. And, I'll keep working, no matter how long it takes. Maybe I won't reach my initial goal of -120# in 2010, but I'll be closer than I was had I not tried at all. And, the fact that I'm writing that and REALLY believing it is proof that things are changing on the inside too. And, that feels really, really good.

If we believe we are working on a worthy goal, something that is totally worth the effort despite setbacks or mistakes made along the way, we simply cannot give up. There really is just no other option but to keep pressing forward. We might feel down or discouraged, but things worth achieving or having usually don't come easy or fast.

This .7# loss is slow progress by most people's standards. In my 53 yr old, peri-menopausal body, some of this is to be expected. So, I've adopted a new motto, a slogan if you will, and I'm using the late, GREAT Mr. Jim Rohn's words:

"How long should you try? Until."

What's your motto, what are those words that you have posted on your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator door, or above your desk that keep you moving forward?

With you along the road,

June 14, 2010

Herb Heaven . . . And A Recipe!

In Minnesota we starting thinking about our gardens in January, not because we'll be planting them anytime soon but rather we need all the warm thoughts we can get when it's 30 below.

I swear, even if we didn't use these beauties in cooking, we'd grow them for the pure pleasure of their sweet aroma wafting past our noses and through the windows!

Just loved loved LOVED the fact that Shady Acres (our FAVORITE herb farm) was all set up at the Minneapolis Farmers Market this year! Shady Acres grows every imaginable herb without ever using insecticide or fungacides. It's one of those places you never have to worry about what you're getting.

Honestly, I really did wanna buy the whole table.

The potatoes are utterly lost without you!

Your marriage to Mr. Tomato is a match made in heaven.
And, the pesto is almost gone.

Are you ready to get sauced?

 Italian Parsley
No more soapy-tasting cilantro, yay!!
You are welcome here anytime.

One of our favorite things to make in the summer is Bruschetta, an appetizer from central Italy dating back to the 15th century. Pronounced [brus'ketta], it consists of a sliced baguette, toasted and rubbed with garlic topped with a mixture of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and herbs.

Here's my favorite Bruschetta recipe!

  • 8 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp finely minced fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 baguettes, cut in 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 6 cloves garlic, cut in half

In a bowl, mix all ingredients except bread and garlic cloves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside, unrefrigerated, 3 hours. Heat oven to 350°F. Toast bread on a baking sheet. Rub cut side of garlic on each slice; top with tomato mixture. 


What herbs do you like and what's your favorite way to use them?

Cookin' up a storm,

June 9, 2010

Success Is In Your DNA

I got involved this morning in a conversation that opened my eyes to why it is we human folk have such a hard time accomplishing our goals.

The topic of conversation was about being pushed off course or distracted by all the things we see (troubles, uncertainties or even fun, shiny things), when we ought to be focusing. Focusing on our goals. Making plans. Doing the work that is right in front of us.

Why is it that even with a list and schedule in hand, its so easy to get off track? Why do we let the insignificant get in the way of significant? Now, some of us (me) have a harder time with this than others (probably you), but do you ever wonder how you can start out so strong, so motivated, so totally pumped only to feel the sizzle fizzle out?

It's because we don't really believe we can do it.

Ouch. I hate typing that. But, at the heart of all of our loss of focus (unless you have ADHD) is a lack of belief in ourselves, and a fear that if we try we will fail, a fear that we will look dumb, and a fear of what might lie on the other side of success even if we could reach it.

I've been watching Jillian on Losing It the last couple of weeks and have been impressed with how many "hello, that's me" experiences I'm having .... I'm both loving and hating it, to be honest.

Jillian asks "why would you choose failure when you can have success?"

Fear. I think it's fear.

Jillian asks "what are you so afraid of?"

The unknown. Failure. Looking dumb. What I can't see, if I can sustain this, blah blah blah.

When we stop to think about this, its really kind of dumb. If we are unhappy with our looks, weight, health, what have you, we ought to be fearing staying the way we are rather than changing. See, our fears just don't make sense. It's like when fear is ruling, it cuts off the oxygen supply and we just don't think clearly.

So, here's my fear: I have lived in this overweight body for so long that its both comfortable and uncomfortable. It's familiar. I know it. I don't know healthy & skinny. Will I get proud and all full of myself or will I grow sweeter with every pound lost? Will I stand ready to help others who are walking in my old shoes or will I just be so busy buying new ones?

Also, there is the fact that I am 53. Dare I say that I could be set in my ways? Never! Okay, well maybe. Okay, okay, yes, a little. As much as I try to keep my mind and heart open to all things new, I'm always looking through a lens, the sunglasses of my life, all the while sitting in the shade and missing all the fun. How much sense does that make?

I think I'm ready to take the shades off now, as safe as they sometimes feel. I want to see all the brightness around me. I want reality. If I'm gonna walk around being unhappy, I want to know why and face every last reason so I can deal with it. I WANT to know healthy and skinny. I'm ready to push through every day, working at these simple habits of healthy living and wash all of my fear away along with the sweat that rolls down my back! I am ready for the adventure of a new life!

So, what about you....

Do you believe you can do this? You can, you know.

Ask yourself why you choose failure when you can have success. And, what you are afraid of.  They are just really really good questions. And, really, what is the alternative?

Here with you in the climb,

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

My New Favorite Song

This is what Christianity is to me . . .

love you guys,

P.S. sorry its so big so as to overlap the info about me, but it's really all about Him anyway, right? ;)

June 8, 2010

Goodbye, Plateau!

As many of you know that follow this blog, my weight loss has been stalled out for quite some time. But, I'm happy to report this morning that the seemingly frozen plateau has been busted through, and the signs of life have returned! After being up 2 pounds last week (note: no changes in diet to speak of, honest to God), this week the scale dropped a lovely 3.2 pounds!

I can't stop smilin and doin' the happy dance! Yippee, yahoo, hot-diggity day!

What did I do to get things moving again? Nothing different. Absolutely nothing different. I think our bodies must be awfully smart...and things are going on inside that, once accomplished, they're ready to let go of more weight.

We can force them to do what they know better than to do, and end up paying the price in the long run. I have a perfect example of that to share.

The first week of May I started a program that I've used before, about 10 years ago, and it worked in terms of getting some weight off quickly. I knew from experience it would work, but what I didn't realize is how low the calorie count was...right around 800-900 a day.

I was feeling great during that first week, eating all whole foods, very low fat, no added salt or sugar, working out every day, all the signs of a healthy diet (except the very low fat, I think we do need a bit more). But, a couple weeks later my big toe on my left foot began to hurt really bad. It was painful to the touch so much so that even a sheet on top was enough to make me cry mercy.

My feet have been giving me fits anyway, but this was different. Very different. Like a pain that just wouldn't go away. After a few days of self treatment I went to the doc. Long story short, my uric acid levels had shot up due to that quick weight loss the first week of May. Those uric acids levels were so high that they formed little crystalized particulars in the joint of my big toe causing.....gout. OUCH.

If I had just been patient with my body, this would not have happened.

NOTE: Other effects of high uric acid levels are, ready?....kidney stones. DOUBLE OUCH. I didn't get any of these, but if the pain in my toe is any indication of the pain of kidney stones, I'll just stick with being patient from now on!

Moral? You don't want to lose weight too quickly unless you are being supervised by a medical professional. It just ends up backfiring, and in my case, it put me on the couch for a good two weeks until the pain resolved.

So, what do you do when you hit a plateau? Should we wait it out knowing that we can't continue to do the right things and get no results or should we jump start in some way?


Photo courtesy Creative Commons

June 7, 2010

Sum Sum Summertime Goals!

I think one of the most life-changing habits that I have worked on in 2010 has to do with goal setting . . . naming my goals, writing them down, and then purposely arranging my life so that I have the best possible chance at reaching them, of getting where I want to go.

Sounds so simple.

This morning I was reminded of this again when I stopped by Making Over Me, a blog written by my friend Holly. Holly is an amazing woman, full of positivity, ambition, and with a heart of gold; she's a hard-working, loving mom and wife, and an inspiration to boot! She and I worked together for a brief time in the 9-5 world, plus she was my realtor when I bought my condo, so I’m always eager to keep up with her and see what’s new in her world.

Holly talked last Friday about her summer goals, and what I loved about the post was the specificity of each goal and how she divided her goals up according to the many different hats she wears in a day. It made for a good read, so if you haven’t had the chance to stop over there, I highly recommend taking the time to read it all the way through.

Holly’s post reminded me, ahemmm, that I still hadn’t written down my own summertime goals…I had them in my head and was even thinking about how to incorporate them, but writing them down makes them even more clear in my head, and it creates some kind of shift in my mind that this isn’t just a dream or a wish or something inspiring to think about, it’s something to DO. Something I WANT to do.

So, CHECK, the summertime goals are now written down, thanks Holly. And, following the example that she and so many of you have set, I’m sharing them here…in the hopes that you’ll keep ME accountable and that YOU will find something of value to take with you.

In short, my summertime goal is getting this structure thing nailed down...to find a way of operating my days that fits my life, my personality, my dreams, me. Call it having a plan on how to reach goals if you will, because having goals clearly defined and written down isn't enough. We need a game plan, a way of arranging our lives that works.

Personally I love to fly by the seat of my pants, and I still allow that kind of free flowing on occasion. But, face it, we can't always be seat-flying AND living purposefully at the same time. There are no steering wheels in those aircrafts, exciting as they may be.

So knowing I can’t be the Miss Loose Goose, flying out of the pack that I wanna be and still get stuff done, structure IS necessary and is not a four letter word. But, to keep me happy, structure MUST have some margin built into it. Without kids at home or a 9-5 to go to, I no longer see the need to burn the candle at both ends and in between, and be "productive" all the time.

Productivity is not always the same thing as living intentionally, I have learned. Sometimes it is just wheels spinning wildly out of control. Or wings flapping.

So, in keeping with that spirit, here’s the summertime M-F schedule I came up with. (I admit, I am stealing some of this structure from Anne Morrow Lindbergh, simply because it works for me. But, I don’t think she’ll mind):

Mornings:  With all the clarity and peace they bring, mornings are for intellectual pursuits: reading, writing, blogging, and for all things intellectual yet undiscovered. Ohh, I can hardly wait for that!

Afternoons:  Providing a needed mental break, afternoons are perfect for physical and out-of-house activities: cleaning, shopping, errands, and coffee with friends. Also, once a week an art date with myself is scheduled to replenish the well…to put it poetically, to drink deeply of that sometime elusive creative juice that writers need and crave. ;)

Evenings:  With their natural winding-down-culminating characteristic, evenings are perfect for relationships: sharing, caring, listening, loving~while we walk, sit, exercise, eat, etc., you name it.

And, further personalizing it all, here’s what I think that type of structuring will look like for me:

6am:  Up and at ‘em for rejuvenation through quiet reflection, and planning the day over coffee of course

7am:  Breakfast prep, lunch prep for the hubs, sharing a meal

8am:  Swimming (or other exercise)

9am – 2pm:  Reading, writing (hmmm, maybe that novel in the works?), blogging; with a short break
for lunch

2pm – 5pm:  Cleaning, shopping, errands, coffee and art dates

5pm – 9pm:  Dinner prep, sharing a meal, friends, family.

9pm:  Shower and beauty regimen

10pm:  Bedtime

I think this will work. I don't sense that my wings have been clipped at all nor is my foot trying to dig in to resist. Wish me luck!

So, what are YOUR goals for the summer? Have you written them down? And how are you arranging your life to give yourself the best possible chance at reaching them?

Learning to fly in the pack,

Photo courtesy Creative Commons

June 3, 2010

Taking Time

Hello my awesome readers! I'm still here. :)

Up 'til now, Losing My Behind has focused mostly on the physical implication of its title....losing our literal behinds. But, I've always believed that our other behinds, our past, has so much to do with our present, (including where we're at with our bodies)...and ultimately our future health and wellness. So I want to spend some time talking about what I've been discovering lately.

I hope you aren't sighing a breath of dread about now. I know, none of us really relish talking about the past unless its a pleasant stroll down memory lane. We'd rather keep the icky stuff buried in the backyard . . . you know, THAT. That thing from our past that makes us wrestle, bristle, rebel, withdraw, ignore, and deny. We'd rather continue on, pretending that all is well and focus on changing an outward habit rather than the inward belief that is driving that habit.  And what usually ends up happening is that the real life we want to live is blocked, frustrated; the entryway to the life of our dreams has a big ole' sign on it that says "Access Denied".

But I promise to come full circle and offer some hope, so hang in there with me, ok?

For about a year before I was laid off my 9-5, I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I seemed almost unable to multi-task, it took me too much time to process information, my mind which used to be a very efficient little filing system was more a picture of the fallout after a F-5 tornado. Are you getting the picture? I was unable to handle anything complicated...could care less about solving problems unless they threatened to undo me, and found myself saying either outloud or sometimes silently, 'who cares? Who really cares? Not me.'

This 'who cares' attitude just does not characterize the real me...passionate, pensive, lets-make-a-plan me. I was on over-load, big time. Interestingly, it took the loss of my 9-5 job to get me to unwind, and wow, was I ever wound up tight. It was 10 months ago today that I left that job, and its a little hard to believe that its taken me so long to relax ... to stop thinking constantly about my next step and just take some time to attend to my inner needs.

Why do we have such a hard time slowing down?

I have another friend who recently went through something similar. For her, her physical health began to talk back, smart-mouth, rebel. She had no choice but to listen. And, in the course of that listening, I have to say that she is becoming even more lovely than she already was! She has always been such an inspiration to me, but now so much more, more than ever. She has a realness, an authenticity, an honest sweetness that I so want to characterize my own life.

What is it about tough times that has the ability to make us sweet?

So, I asked her one day what she'd been reading ... and then started to read some of those same things. That was my first step into restructuring my hapless days so that I spend time on the things that get me back in touch with who I was created to be and, well, the things that will secure my future.

The future of me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially.

And, hopefully make me sweet to the core. :)

It's all still in process for sure, and there is some hard work involved, but I'm beginning to feel a joy so deep inside of me that I don't ever want sacrifice it again for anything.

What about you? Do you need a time-out? Is it time to regroup, check your priorities, understand better your values, rediscover what you REALLY want, simplify? If so, consider the following list of reads that my friend has recommended:

Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Simplicity by Mindy Caliguire

Simpler Living, Compassionate Life a compilation edited by Michael Schut

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

All New People by Anne Lamott

Undercurrents by Martha Manning

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris

Oh, and this friend? She just finished writing her own book on simplicity. She is soooo my hero! Stay tuned for more details.

So, what are you reading these days? Do any of these reads look good to you?