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Archive for the ‘healthy habits’ Category

Hey, Snowflakes!

(Or, maybe I shouldn’t call you snowflakes. I want snowflakes to go away. Ever since I moved here 8 years ago, I have learned that snow slows down life, and keeps me from doing what I want and need to do. Perhaps there’s a lesson for me, here… but I refuse to slow down.)

In the past 2 days, we’ve gotten probably 5 inches of snow at our house. So far… it’s been manageable… but I must say I’m looking forward to Wednesday, when it’s supposed to warm up enough that things will melt (since hardly any roads get plowed around here). I have to get back to my January goal of running 50 miles–the gym treadmill gets the job done, but it’s psychologically a lot harder!

Which brings me to today’s topic:

Did you make resolutions? And how are they holding up?

I think I mentioned earlier that I’m not a resolution fan, but I did set a goal for myself to run 50 miles during January. Note the specificity: I didn’t say that I want to be a better runner or that I want to run more, but I set a specific mileage goal.

And that’s what I’m here to tell you today. Specificity of goals helps you achieve your goals. Want to improve your diet? Rather than saying “I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables”, aim to eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Want to start working out more? Rather than telling yourself “I’m going to go to the gym more often”, make a goal to go to the gym 4 days a week. Get the picture? Whatever your goal is for lifestyle improvement, there’s a way to make it more specific.

Which, in turn, makes you ultimately more successful! Good stuff!

Keep up the great work!

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OK, peeps, it’s October. That means I can officially share some fun Halloween things and not feel like the retail industry… you know, where they start Easter right after they pack away the Happy New Year goodies? I figure if it’s the same month as the holiday, it’s fair game. And Halloween’s a fun one, so why not think of fun times? 🙂

But before we get there: it’s getting colder (at least here), so I’m bundling up more. Less motivation to show some skin, which for some of us means less motivation to work out. How do you keep yourself going as the weather starts cooling down? For me, it’s actually more comfortable to run in slightly (I said slightly) cooler temps, so until mid-November or so, it still feels great to be outside. And the weather inside the gym is the same, no matter what. As for the deeper motivation–my joints and orthopedic problems won’t stay happy unless I treat ’em well every day, and working out is their treat. If I slack off, they let me know. I do it for my joint and bone health!

Speaking of bones and skeletons (what a great segue!)…

1. Anyone out there expecting? Here’s a great pregnancy Halloween shirt.

2. Look out for skeletons climbing on the outside of your house! (They’d get washed away here, sadly)

3. Some ghoulish ways to do Halloween veggie platters

4. Is that a spiderweb in your soup?? 😮

5. What a great way to serve your guac at a party!

So, does that give you ideas for your Halloween party? Get those brains going now….. ’til then, stay safe and healthy!

Hi! We’re heading into a new week of a new month, and what better time to revisit our fitness goals?

go team!

A lot of us–myself included–just go through the motions when we work out. “If it’s Tuesday, it must be spin class day.” I applaud us for going and getting our workout on!

But if we had longer-term fitness goals–and tailored our workouts toward these goals–we would likely have greater success! Awesome, right?

So, what do I mean by this? Instead of “just going to the gym and working out”, maybe you want to train for a 5K race. Or, you want to have have a killer upper body. Or, you want to eliminate your lower back pain. Or shed a stubborn 5 pounds.

You get the idea. I find that if I have something more tangible to focus on, I hit my workouts harder! If I’m just working out because I think I should, I tend not to give it my best.

I have a few goals, currently, but a major focus right now is more serious weight lifting. After having been halfhearted for years, I’m going with a bodybuilding routine I found online (and I’m almost done with week 4). What I hope to get out of this:
*More lean muscle mass, increasing my metabolism 24/7
*More upper body strength for a) general functionality and b) for crazy yoga arm balances
*Sculpted shoulders look hot! (This means I have to maintain them ’til next summer… that’s motivation!)
*This is also my first real lower-body strength routine since my first hip surgery in April 2010, so it’s helping me rebuild down there, which has been helpful in my return to running (another goal right now)…

I have another 2 months left in this plan. I don’t know what it has me do after that. I may focus on running and cut back on weights for the month after that, and then restart it (so that I have hot summer arms!).

I would love to hear your goals for the upcoming month, or for the rest of the year! Put ’em down!

**Disclaimer, before I get a slew of comments: I agree that it is perfectly fine, now and then, to work out for the enjoyment of working out. And maybe that is your goal, after all: just to find the joy in every day. In which case… I challenge you to find your favorite workout, and carve out time for it as frequently as possible. 🙂

Hi hi!

Good to see you guys again! Last week, I mentioned that it was time for my monthly swimsuit shot post, with my weight loss progress. Well…. (here come the excuses) I didn’t post last week, since my right leg was covered with nasty bruises from a household renovation project. (I guess I could’ve just shown you my left side.) Now that the bruises have started to fade, I’m looking puffier from a round of prednisone that I had to take, for the month-long bout of laryngitis. (Which is still continuing. Back to the doctor today. Think good thoughts. And loud thoughts. This is too long to be nonfunctional.)

In any case, I have a bruised right side and a thick midsection, even though I’m now working out more, and harder, than the Initial Plan outlined in the first note. Siiiiigh. What to do but keep pressing on, and have faith that things will all work out in the end, right?

Right. So, for now, here are a few fun things to keep you entertained this fine Tuesday!

1. Poor Cookie Monster.

2. A comic on the importance of exercise.

3. Very cute! Decorate your food with vegetable flowers.

4. Make some glow stick lanterns for your end of summer outdoor parties!

5. This looks tasty and easy (and good finger food for gatherings): Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzels

6. Very pretty apples with cream cheese dip!

That’s it for the day, y’all–happy August, and I hope you have fun plans for the month! Friday is my birthday, and we’re still putting together some interesting shenanigans. I’ll try to squeeze in a recipe before the end of the week–maybe homemade mustard!

You know what, friends?

Today is the day to make a healthier change in your life. It doesn’t matter your starting point, whether you’re a total couch potato or an IronPerson… we all have something we can do, right? Even if it’s increasing our water intake… not eating sweets after 9pm to avoid the slippery slope… taking that first step out the door toward the habit of a daily walking routine.

Too often, though, “today” becomes “tomorrow”. Which slips into the territory of “sometime”, or “when work is less busy”, or “when I’m not in crisis mode”.

For many of us, these words are veils for fear. Maybe you drink your daily coffee with a hefty dose of cream. You know you should cut back… uh… “tomorrow”. 🙂 But what so many of us are really saying is that you’re afraid of the change. It’s not so much that you’re afraid of the flavor of the coffee without the cream, but afraid of the idea of deprivation.

And so many of us feel that “cutting back” on our dietary luxuries involves deprivation.

Therein lies the key. Break the connection between making changes in your diet and the concept of deprivation, and that may help allay some of your fears. Oh, there are so many opportunities for healthy, flavorful food out there! In no way do you have to deprive yourself!

Rather than “cutting back”, you can approach your new eating habits as merely “making changes”. And since I have you here on the internet, might I suggest a few healthy food blogs to drool over start your healthy cooking adventures:

  • I love Chocolate Covered Katie’s healthy vegan desserts. Most of them, you’d never know they’re vegan!
  • Anne of Fannetastic Food is studying to be a registered dietitian, and has some great recipes of all sorts (though I’m really jealous of her weather right now, gotta say)
  • Great recipes and photography–as well as a tribute to oatmeal–at Kath Eats Real Food.

Many of the recipes in the above links are easy to put together, and they’re all healthy. Why not get started now? It just takes a single step…….

Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below!

(NB: this post was partially directed at myself… but replace “fears about healthy choices” with “fears about conquering new business project”. I need to reread this post on a daily basis!)

Hey, yo. My brain is running a mile a minute: can you help me catch it?

So I’m a former teacher, long-since been bitten by the “inspire our future leaders” bug. (And I’m still a Pilates instructor, and have mentored a few folks toward fitness career changes over the past year… some things just don’t change.)

But my morning podiatrist’s appointment inspired me further.

If you’re familiar with my story, you know about my childhood struggle with extreme obesity. Recently, I’ve been feeling the long-term effects: it’s been hypothesized that so much weight and so little activity as a child may have contributed to my abnormal hip joints (recently requiring two surgeries), to my abnormally-shaped foot bones and arches, and I learned today that the fat pads in the soles of my feet are leaner than normal… ya think that 80-100 extra pounds during development could’ve stunted the extra cushioning in the bottom of my feet?

No wonder my feet ache when walking around all day, even at a normal weight and in good shoes!

That aside, the media repeatedly tells us of the ills of childhood obesity (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc etc). But even if the child has great intentions and reverses their behavior, there could be long-term musculoskeletal effects.

And this is the message that I’d love to get out to the world.

But I don’t quite know how.

This little ol’ blog isn’t the proper forum. I’d love to talk to schools… and maybe I’ll start there.

So, I guess this is Goal #41 on my “40 by age 40” list… and in my opinion, it’s a pretty darn important one. You think?

Long time, no see! It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen you last–sorry! All of those writing prompts totally burned me out…

But I really want to share with you my progress over the past month! Remember a month ago, when I set that big goal to lose 10 pounds and tighten up overall? (I’d just finished 3 months on crutches after a major hip surgery, so I was feeling really out of shape…)

I took some follow-up pictures yesterday to compare with those I took a month ago. I can’t believe I’m posting swimsuit pics on the internet… scary… but here goes:

This was me on May 21, 2011:
me in may 2011

Compare that with me on June 24, 2011:
me in june '11

(Apologies for the wet, just-out-of-shower hair!!)

So, a little slimmer, maybe? I’m down the 3 pounds that I gained after the surgery–some days, the scale registers 4.

In any case, things are moving in the right direction! I’ll continue towards my goal of 10 pounds down total (meaning, 6-7 more pounds lost) and firming myself up in general by following the same plan:

  • Cardio daily, at least 30 min. I’m restricted in terms of what I can do, but as my strength builds, I can (and have been!!) increase intensity.
  • 3 upper body weight sessions per week
  • Daily Pilates, at least 30 min
  • I’ll add in some walking as it feels OK–it’s functional exercise!
  • Cut back on, but not eliminate, fats and simple carbs
  • 5+ servings fruits and veggies daily.

I’ll revisit this a month from now with more photos! It’s a great non-scale way to measure your progress (in addition to seeing how clothes fit and taking measurements).

How are you all doing with your health and nutrition plans?


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