Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting My "Bottoms Up!"

Instead of continuing the Shred, I decided to try a change.  A couple weeks ago, I found my "Bottoms Up!" book from when I was young, and have been meaning to start doing the weightlifting workouts after I finished the Shred.  I remember that each time I did this workout, I got results fast in regards to muscle definition and strength.  In the past, I didn't really combine this workout with cardio, but I am now.  A good balance.

The workout calls for a pyramid rep system.  For each exercise combination, you first do a certain amount of reps at a low weight.  The next set is a lower number of reps with slightly heavier weights.  The last set is the lowest number of reps with slightly heavier weights than the second set of reps...

... I don't have time for that ...

I did 2 sets of each exercise combination, 10 reps each with 8 lb weights.  I didn't have enough time to do three sets of reps, but my muscles were definitely feeling tired.  I honestly would rather be using 10 lbs to 15 lbs right now, but that's okay.  I'll do that later.  I want to be lifting 25 lbs for each arm, like I did in the past, but I want to work up to that (or should I say, I want to get used to the exercises again before I do that).  What can I say?  Strength is an awesome goal!

The cardio I did today was jump roping... without the jump rope.  I read that it's a good way to get accustomed to the movements, timing, and to get the endurance.  Plus, it was more convenient to do in my apartment in the small amount of time I had.  (Something is better than nothing, me thinks.)

Something I heard today is that toddlers need to eat approximately 1600 calories per day!  If they are active,  they need up to 2000!!!  I want to look into that a bit more, but holy cow!  Makes me feel better about my son eating so much at night, especially since I'm sure he doesn't get enough calories during the day.  I'll be researching this a bit more.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 27 and Some Parenting Links

First, here are some links for parenting that I really liked.

5 Tips to Fight Back Against Perfectionism

Parenting is Child’s Play: Responsibility

As for my health/fitness endeavors... I didn't get up as early as the last few mornings this morning, mainly because I went to be in my bed at around midnight.  My daughter was crying and I decided to stay in there after my husband got home.  Needless to say, I was awakened a number of time through the night/morning.  Regardless, I was out of bed earlier than usual, my daughter hanging onto me because she was awake anyways.

I did, however, get Day 27 (L3) of the shred done while "Alice in Wonderland" played in the background.  I made sure to drink a little coffee and eat a couple of my energy cubes before I started prepping for my workout.  My daughter went back and forth between working out with me and watching her movie.  My workout wasn't as amazing as it was the other day.  I was less motivated and more distracted.  I'm not sure if it's because I was doing it in the morning (as opposed to my usual time) or if it was because my daughter was there or if it was a number of issues (including those two).  Even though it wasn't perfect, it was still a workout, and I know my daughter enjoyed doing it with me (when she chose to).  In my opinion, that's what counts!  I plan to do some jump roping when I get home from work.  Even though I felt today's Shred wasn't as effective, this still might be a better way to go for my daily workout routine.  I also may fit in some other exercises (weights, etc) with my children, since it's a good thing for them to do and see Mommy doing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 26 and No Go...

Day 26 of my Shred is done (L3), as of yesterday.  Once again, I think the time off was helpful.  It felt amazing this time... except... when I got so dizzy that the room began to spin, even while I was laying down.  I pushed myself a little to see if I could work myself out of that, but realized quickly that if I did, I might over push myself.  One thing I've learned over my life is to listen to my body and listen to my intuition.  Both said to rest for a moment.  That was fine though, because I was able to quickly start making dinner, which took little prep and could cook while I continued my workout.  I did have a little pain later in the evening, probably from the Sumo Jumps and Jump Lunges and such.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to workout tonight.  I got home late from work, which gave me just enough time to get dinner in the oven before picking up the kids.  Then it became the usual evening blend of craziness and routine.  My daughter was very clingy (probably teething) and my son was constantly hungry (likely a growth spurt coming on).

If I wake up early tomorrow morning, I'm going to do my workout then (or at least jump rope for a while).  I've been waking up early due to my own circadian rhythm, but then getting myself to go back to sleep.  For some reason, when it's early in the morning, my brain says, "Hey, more sleep would be good!" even though it rarely actually makes me feel more rested at that point.  I also know part of it is that I want to sleep in my bed, at least for a little while, but with my daughter that's also a no go.  She seems to sense that I'm in the room and starts demanding to be nursed... and I've never been able to sleep while nursing her (probably because I forced myself to stay awake, through severe exhaustion, to safely nurse her while she was a newborn).  So, tomorrow I will try a change, staying awake and working out, and see how that goes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Week Off, Jumping the Rope, and Nummies in Jars

Image from http://www.joojoo.me

I took another week off from working out.  It was Shark Week and there were other things that I felt were a priority at the time.

Yesterday, though, I tried jump roping, but didn't get a real work out in.  My son has a jump rope now and my daughter stole mine... we ended up running around with the ropes looped around their waists and them acting like ponies pulling my husband and I around.  It was cute and fun.  My daughter tried jumping roping, which was really her holding the handles, the rope laying stagnant behind her, and her jumping around like a squirrel on caffeine.

When I finally got to jump roping after the kids were dropped off, I only did it for a few minutes... The weather shifted and it started to rain.  Fine.  But then there were the maitenance guys within view where I was trying to jump.  Fine.  And my new jump rope is too long.  Fine.  And I realized I'm not sure exactly how I'm supposed to do the exercise.  The way we jump rope as kids is not really the way we are supposed to jump rope as adults, especially for exercising purposes.  So, I will be adjusting the length of my rope (good thing it was less than $3) and I will be trying again.  Here are links to assist in the actual form and exercises for jump ropes.

Learn How to Jump Rope Like a Pro: 7 Tips

10-Minute Workout: Jump Rope to Skip Yourself Slim

I'm watching my food intake again.  It's such a good thing that my kids like to eat healthy foods and will usually give the meals a chance.  I am still amazed (and a bit proud) that my kids love to eat veggies, fruit, and healthy dairy foods!  They ask for it, even!  We don't have to hide these foods in other foods (I really am not into "stealthy meals") and my kids do tend to trust that I'm not going to give them yucky stuff.  Sometimes, they LOVE the healthy stuff that I'm 'blah' about.  How cool is that?!?

This week, I will start working out again after yet another break.  I will be working on a budget for groceries, etc.  We switched even more of our dairy to organic dairy products.  Actually, I think all our dairy, our meat (just chicken thighs), and our meats purchases during our grocery trip were organic.  It was a jump in price, but I will be sitting down and figuring out how so and how to make it work out better next time.  We also bought mason jars, plastic lids, and two smaller plastic mason containers, and a few other things, that affected the price.  Still... I think it's worth of organics when it comes to peace of mind.  We would just eat smaller portions (like we are supposed to), buy more local, buy in season, be less wasteful, etc.  Obviously, pizza nights are going to be changing quite a bit too... like not getting cheap pizzas but start making them at home.  Still might not be whole grain for those and the dough would not be homemade if its not gluten free, but its still a step up.

I hope to post a few links that I've heard about which explain what items are best to purchase organic, which seafoods are best farmed or wild, and so on.  Even with the produce that doesn't need to be organic, it might be worth switching those simply because they would also not be GMOs.  I'm still figuring it out, because (sadly) there needs to be a balance between cost and health.

Now... for fun "In A Jar" recipes and ideas!  :-)

Found on Pinterest.  Don't know original source.

Salad in a Jar

Chili and Cornbread Jar

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Let's be honest...

This came up a few times in the last week.  The last time was at the doctor's office today.  What it all boils down to, once again, is personal accountability.  People want to justify themselves by saying, "I don't have time."  To be fair, in some cases, that might be true.  But in most (maybe even in those "some cases"), the truth is that is we really wanted to do something, we would.  The reason for not being able to do that "something" wouldn't be lack of time.  At least, that's from what I have seen and experienced.

I haven't worked out for nearly a week.  I could say it's lack of time, and I have.  In fact, it just was not a priority.  If it was, I would have MADE time.  I could have worked out with my kids in the room or while they ate dinner.  I could have forced myself to stay awake after my son fell asleep and worked out then.  Heck, I could have tried getting up earlier and exercising before going to work.  My priorities were elsewhere; in mental and physical rest when I could get it, working on the apartment, and so on.  I will be starting up again tomorrow.  :-)

My nutritional intake has been... well... I've not been eating as healthy as I could be, but I could have been doing worse in many ways.  Happily, I still haven't had any soda!  I also have my family eating more organic foods.  Progress continues.

I saw this and thought of Mom, who has been looking for ways to mix up her routine. Reasons Boomers Should Try Crossfit

Also, here's a nice video about Jump Roping as your Cardio.  Happy me, I just found one of my jump ropes last weekend.  :-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 25 of the Shred

Image found on bekahhagan.tumblr.com
Day 25 of the Shred is done.  I guess technically I've been doing this far longer than 30 days, but I'm sticking to it at my own rate.  I'm also not "shredded" and have no idea how different I look now than when I started, but that's not as important as how I feel.

I see definition in my arms, even more so today than I did the other day.  My legs and posterior feel stronger.  My lungs feel like they are larger, even if that's an odd description.  I swear I can see my clavicle a bit more and my "hour glass" figure looks more hour-glassy.  I also was able to use the heavier weights through more of the exercises (even with the reps at the advanced level).  I haven't checked my weight or my measurements for a few weeks now.  To be honest, I'm not really worried about either.

Five more days and then it's on to a new routine... or on to starting over with the Shred... or doubling up the levels, doing a combination of two of them on my exercise days.  It's an odd feeling.

Here's two exercises I want to be able to do (and my try out):

Single-leg Straight-leg Deadlift Reach
Reverse Push-ups

Mom said in the past that it takes 30 days to create a habit.  If that's true, then I'm going to be able to keep doing my exercises and if it's true, I should be done with soda for good.

I've been working on a project that I'm excited to reveal when it's done.  I have all the supplies except I need to make the templates... Then I can really start.  I'm pretty darned excited about it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

She Hulking through Day 24

Marvel Comics
Today was Day 24 of the Shred.  I wore my "She Hulk" exercise outfit, which is a very bright purple top and shorts with white detailing on the shorts.  Eventually, I may even look beautifully tough like her too... minus the green skin and hair.  ;-)

I'm actually impressed with my progress.  The "Rock Star" jumps and lunge jumps are getting easier to do.  I'm able to get through a number of the moves using heavier weights and/or doing more of the advanced moves for a number of the reps.  When I finished the workout today, I felt really good.  My mood was lighter, the world seemed a little more calm... My muscles feel really good right now.  The word I would use to describe this is "awesome".

Marvel Comics
Before I started the Shred, I felt so bad about myself.  I couldn't stick to a workout plan, didn't feel I had time, couldn't seem to control myself when it came to certain habits (like soda).  Now I feel different.  I don't feel thinner, but I feel stronger.  I feel more confident and in control of the things I know I should be able to control.  I feel I have more direction, a better idea of where I am and what changes I can make for the health of my family and myself.  I've stuck to this workout for over a month.  I haven't done it every single day, but I've been doing it, making time to do it, and that's an improvement.  Most weeks, I work out up to 5 days.  I see some changes in my body.

Another change is that I've been getting a little more sleep, something that I just could seem to get before.

The most important thing is to work towards changes (for improvement) AND to acknowledge the changes, no matter how small they might be.  I'm feeling good.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A New Language

Image from  http://www.motifake.com/
I've been watching "Switched at Birth" and it rekindled my desire to learn sign language.  I've wanted to learn since I was in Intermediate School, and even considered learning it when I was pregnant with my son (since it's supposedly a good way to communicate with very young toddlers).

At the very least, now I can sign "WTF", thanks to the image  to the left.  :-p

Seriously, it's been said, over and over again, that people in general should learn different languages... but how many times do people consider learning sign language when they say, hear, or read this?  Why is it any less important?

Also, I keep thinking... it would be another way of helping my children continue learning about tolerance and not succumbing to the boundaries that differences, perceived or real, create between people from different walks of life.  Hubby and I encourage them to be "color blind" when it comes to people of every color (we all feel, we all bleed, we all have hardships, we all live, and we all die).  That's not to say that we don't teach them to be careful.  Stereotypes exist for a reason, but they also exist for every group of people.  It's when people come to believe that those stereotypes exist for the entire group (or even most of the group) that it becomes racism.  I've lived in an upper middle class, predominantly White neighborhood, but I also lived in a ghetto, two steps from "the projects", and was one of the only white girls there.  Racism exists in every group, and is equally distasteful and unacceptable, even if some groups can "get away with it" more than others.  So, teaching my children to be "color blind", but to appreciate the differences in people's cultures and subcultures... I think that's a good way to go.

Through sign language, perhaps I'd be able instill this openness in my children even further.  A further breaking down of boundaries.  Perhaps...

Shred 23 done and ongoing ideas

Image from T-Shirt.  Unsure who the artist is.

As of yesterday, Day 23 of the Shred (L3) is done, done, done!!!  There are certain moves that are so hard for me, like the "Rock Star Jumps", but I really love the plank moves.  Still find it interesting that I was so nervous to do them because of how other people said how hard the exercises in L2 and L3 were because of all the plank exercises... and then it turns out that I have very little trouble with them, though I do end up bending my knees for some of the push ups.

Youtube has a number of fitness videos, including those with Jillian Michaels.  I'm going to look through some of them.  I have a list of her DVDs I plan to buy, and it would be great to get a look at them first to see whether I should buy them or not, and which ones I should buy first.  Currently, I'm leaning towards "Ripped in 30", her extreme shreds, and her yoga.  I'm also tempted to look at some of her books.

A couple of days ago, I found two of my workout books.  One was from SHAPE and one was "Bottoms Up" by Joyce Vedral.  So tempting to draw masks on Vedral's face to continue the theme of Super Hero Workouts.  Anyways, I will be going through these books to come up with a workout plan.  I want to take inspiration from how Jillian combines upper and lower body training, both to shorten the workout time and to burn more calories.  Keep things interesting.

I'm really proud of myself for continuing my workouts this long.  Still haven't had a soda, which makes me at least one month clean from them!  I'm adding more organics to our diets, looking more into GMO-free products, and trying to find a way to do this without spending more and with limited time.

Keeping motivated.  :-)

Image from  http://fitcampusblog.com

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Boom Baby!

Last night, I saw something awesome in the mirror.  I saw improvement in my triceps.  That wonderful little line of definition at the back of your arm.  I showed Hubby this morning and he congratulated me.

Lately, I've been tempted to just bust out some exercises.  I'd walk by an empty office at work and have to fight the urge to quickly go in and start doing push-ups or lunges.  I think that's a good sign.  This morning, I woke up at 5am feeling rested.  It's the first time I felt this way in a VERY long time.  I went back to sleep, hoping that more sleep would help, but what I was very tempted to do was to get up and exercise.  If I wake up like that again (feeling as good), I might just follow my temptation.  Why not?  Early morning jog?  Shred L1 to compliment my later Shred L3?  Just lift some weights from the routines in Bottoms Up?

One thing I really love about this... I'm doing it for me and my kids.  I can't sell it or the results of it, making it more like a side job (like my art, sewing, and jewelry making).  I don't have to spend a lot of money on it, the supplies really necessary are sports bras, workout pants, and shoes.  Weights and so on... those I have those and they really are a "one time purchase", depending on the kind you choose.

Kinda nice...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 22 and 23, Mommy Strength

Monday was Day 22 of the Shred, and my first day of doing it on Level 3.  I had to rush through some of the sets because I got home later than I had hoped, but at least I still did it.  AND... I definitely felt a slight tightness in my arm and upper back muscles afterwards.

Yesterday was Day 23, also at L3.  Didn't have to rush, per se (did it around 9:30pm or 10pm), but did have my son to contend with.  But done is done and Son seemed to have fun with making it harder for me.  He was watching a super hero show while I was doing my workout (my DVD was on mute), but he would look up occasionally to make sure I was still doing what I was supposed to (and see if he could jump on me)... Boy, did I feel a little bad about myself if he caught me catching my breath!  Who needs a personal trainer with that for motivation to keep going?!?

Today is a rest day and I definitely need it, mentally.  Left work late, which meant that I pretty much just grabbed a cheap pizza, picked up the kids, and got home.  Oddly, I keep thinking about new routines to incorporate into my work out days and my rest days.  Last weekend, when I was figuring out our grocery list, Hubby said I was being a little obsessive (he didn't use that word, but didn't disagree when I asked him if that's what he was saying).  Maybe I am, but I want to ride this train... Perhaps I will be able to make it into a normal daily thing for me by the time my "obsession" passes.

I was talking to J earlier this week about the different Jillian Michaels exercise videos, and she made an interesting observation.  I had just finished saying how I kept reading that people found Level 2 of the Shred very difficult, but that I didn't find that that hard.  I mean, I'm definitely not doing the "advanced" moves for all  of them, but I'm not killing myself on the "beginner" ones, even with mixing in some "advanced" moves.  J said that her friends who have kids have said the same thing, but that her friends without kids have a rough time doing plank moves.  We went on to talk about how it's possibly because mommies are constantly picking up their kids (and a number of other needed accoutrements), so we have a higher level of upper body strength than childless women.  It's an interesting idea.  Also would explain why I didn't think anything of using 5 to 8 pound weights for the Shred when J and others use 2 to 4 pounds.  Hm.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 21 and loving yourself

I did day 21 of the Shred last night at 11pm after I got home from Mom's house.  Son helped me.  Even though he wanted yogurt with raisins and a few chocolate chips in it (not something I would have added at that time of night, but Hubby deserves to give Son a few special treats too), he actually wanted to do the Superhero Workout with me more!!!  Even though I didn't sweat as much or feel my heart rate increase as much, having Son on my back most of the time definitely increased the intensity by adding over 30 lbs to my body mass.  Whew!

I also wore a Thor "helmet" during the first part of the workout.  Heh heh heh.  That's definitely taking it to a new level, but my son loved it.

The picture at the top of this entry says a lot... and is the person I want to be.  Busy, but still able to be the person who is able to balance my goals and priorities.  I wouldn't mind being the person others look to and say, "I have no idea how you do it."  Wait... I've already had people say that... and it's increasing.  :-)   I also had another person tell me that she started doing the Shred a few weeks ago and it seems it might be because of my fitness updates on Facebook.  A guy at work, who is a fitness buff and incredibly shy (though the first impression a number of people have of him is that he's full of himself... how wrong that impression is!) said he'd be willing to help me with exercise ideas, tips, and also to help me with my form.  We'll see how that goes, but he seemed impressed and seemed to respect a lot of my reasons and goals for getting fit.

An image I posted a few weeks back said the basic timelines for when progress would be seen by the individual and others.  I've noticed changes, off and on (even today).  Hubby's mentioned some improvements.  Someone at work has made comments too.  Granted, it could be in how I'm carrying myself, dressing, and my new hair cut (and styles), but he said I'm looking great lately.  (I should just take that as a compliment.  :-p)  Regardless, I'm getting closer to where I want to be simply because I'm doing more now to get there than before.

A funny thought struck me.  Months ago, I heard, "You are a winner.  You beat millions of other people just to be conceived!"  But a few moments ago, I thought, "How did the little half of 'me' beat the others?  By being the strongest and fastest and most determined or diligent."  I know that probably sounds strange, but in truth, just being conceived is a hell of an accomplishment.  Surviving gestation and birth are two more.

Somehow, that actually motivates me a little.

*source unknown*
I also heard on one of the Jillian podcasts a line that struck me as well.  "Your body is your friend."  It wants to lose weight when you are obese, so it aids you in that (unless there's some imbalance going on).  It wants to keep you at a "safe" weight (which is why vanity pounds are so hard to lose).

There are so many times that people talk about their bodies like it's an enemy.  They insults parts of it ("I hate my thighs"), they feed it junk (like twinkies), punish it for not doing what they want (like starving it), and/or they let it laze about even though that's not what the body is designed for.  They alter parts with surgery or they get upset when it doesn't get to a weight or size they want or when it ages, refusing to see that their body (especially a healthy body) is a GIFT!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Jillian Michaels Podcasts

At work, I've been half-listening to the Jillian Michaels podcasts on iTunes.  They are free and I figured I might as well half-listen to this instead of music for a bit.  I might not be giving it my full attention, but I've been learning a lot, which is awesome.  Jillian and her cast/guests actually have covered a number of things I've wondered already, both on nutrition and exercise.  It's helping me figure out my direction, stay motivated, and come to terms with some things I wasn't sure about.

After Mom wrote her concern about a couple of the people in our lives, the webcast (I swear, it was the very next one) talked about motivating others... How what one person feels is motivating (like this blog for Mom and I) might be annoying or ridiculous to another.  It talked about how to talk to the other people in your life and work with them to find out what THEY feel will motivate them, whether it's healthier recipes you can help them find online or simply meeting with them to go for a walk.  The thing is (and I don't think the podcast went into this), what if the person you are trying to help doesn't even know what will motivate them???  What then?  I guess it just means they are not ready to make the change?  I don't know.

Jillian also talks about (and is darned convincing) about and they why of each:
  • Avoiding GMO foods
  • Eating clean and better quality
  • Helping teach your kids to live healthier
  • Veganism isn't exactly healthy
  • Watching your calories
  • Do not cut out all fats
  • Do not over-work your body
  • Do not starve your body
  • General health related to food and exercise
  • Unreal expectations on people, especially moms
  • Why sleep is so important
There's more, of course, but each of her podcasts have been very interesting and informative.  I also like how passionate she is about all of this while actually explaining why she's passionate about them (lots of information).  I also love how encouraging she is and how down to earth.  She's also empathetic to her callers; I love the way she talks to the parents that call in.

One thing that helped me feel better about my exercises and rests... She said in one of her podcasts that in a perfect world, she would workout two days and then rest the third, then repeat.  Perhaps she doesn't mean to do that for all workout routines, but I've noticed that I'm more likely to jump into my exercises better when I do that.  She says that your muscles need some rest to rebuild after your workout tore them down; without the rest, you just keep breaking them down.  Hence, why weight lifting routines actually tell you to give muscle groups a day to rest before working them again.

My muscles are more defined since I took that week of rest.  My belly was feeling bigger earlier this week, but now it seems to be feeling smaller again.  I feel better about myself and my workouts don't feel like such a burden or a hassle.  I tell myself that I can easily get through two days if I know I can rest the third day.  By the time I'm through the third day, I'm ready for my workout and then I just tell myself "two days" again.  I can do that!  And heck, the rest day doesn't mean I have to not workout.  I can do something else instead, if I want!

I can do this.  I know I can.  And I will.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 19 and 20

I completed day 20 of my Shred today.  Forgot to post that I did day 19 yesterday.  The rest really helped, I think.  Not only to allow my muscles a chance to heal, but also to help me feel a little re-motivated.

Today, I realized that I have a harder time really talking myself through the final reps if I'm stressed about having to hurry (like needing to be done in time to rinse and then pick up the kids from daycare).  I am, however, really trying to talk myself through the moves, just to push myself a little harder.  I feel a little like I'm cheating because I've been mostly using the lower weights, but now I'm getting through more of the moves.  Another thing I realized is that it really helps for me to know exactly how many I'm going to be doing.  If I can count them out, I can push myself through them.  So I plan to sit down and count out how many reps are in each of the sets per circuit.

I can definitely feel my muscles tonight, and I could feel them yesterday too.  That slight tightness after the workout... It's pretty cool.  I've done other workouts that left your muscles wobbly the first day and then super tight the following days.  I miss those workouts a bit, but the Shred has been making me sweat more.  Maybe I'll eventually do the Shred as a form of cardio while doing other weight training on the side.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DO(n't) (qu)IT

I haven't done my Shred since last Wednesday (9/5).  But I'm putting this into perspective.  It's not a failure.  A failure is if I allow myself to fall back into old habits and if I choose not to work out simply because life gets in the way occasionally.  I needed the break and there were other things going on.  I did, however, do a lot of walking this weekend AND I've been trying to make better dietary choices.  Still haven't had a soda, which means I've gone without for 3 weeks.  When Hubby and I went out to eat, I chose grilled over fried and so on.  I'm not worried about being good or bad, about cutting out anything that's high calorie or fatty, but just choosing better ways of managing them.  The Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks might not have been the healthiest choice, but with drinking more water, no soda, and less coffee, I think that's not too bad.  Last night, I decided I just wanted to have one of my cocoa-banana-spinach smoothies for dinner, and it felt great (I had two glasses worth which lasted through the evening).

Improvement is still improvement.

I may have not worked out last night, but I spent quality time with my children and did some much needed cleaning.  Tonight, I my goal is to add my workout back into this.  It's Pizza Night tonight, so that should make it a little easier.  I got to work at a better time today, which will make it easier to get home.

What I would like to do... I would like to do my main workout right after work, but also do a quick yoga session in the mornings before going to the office (so I'm not sweaty!!!) and then maybe do some other exercises with the kids after dinner.

Sometimes, however, rest can do a body good.  Believe it or not!!!  After a few days of rest, my progress became more obvious for Hubby (though I think nearly a week off is a bit much, no?).  He said my upper leg is definitely more solid feeling when he poked my leg while I was walking by.  He saw a definite increase to my bicep when I flexed, even though he didn't think he would.  He seemed a little surprised when I opened my last Smirnoff Ice without needing his help and without needing to grab a silicon heat pad to help me.  (Small victories are still victories.)

In all truths, I thinking I also needed that rest to allow certain parts of my body to heal.  My ankles started to hurt, and that hurt was increasing over the weeks.  As of today, my ankles feel fine.  My shoulders, which have had moments of feeling "off", are feeling fine too.  I'm feeling ready to get back into it again.  (With how flabby I feel, which can be somewhat just a mental thing, I really need to!)  I've also started figuring out what directions I want to take my workouts after my Shred is done.  So, here's to continuing after a "short" break.  :-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I'm annoyed.

Today, I did my 18th day of the Shred.  It felt really good.  My arm muscles felt nice and tight; well used.  I've changed how I'm doing my work outs.  Perhaps making them less effective.  I'm trying to alternate using the lighter weights and heavier ones, so I can at least finish the sets.  Does that make the workout less effective or more effective?  Hmm.  Regardless, I did notice a difference today in how well I did the workout.  I got through more reps, am doing the plank moves better, and the ab moves as well.

However, my measurements were not as impressive as the last time I took them.  Some of my measurements increased (not the ones I wanted either), though I'm still ahead of where I was when I took the first set.  Oh well.  There are a few factors to this, I know.  Shark week has pretty much ended, so my body is dealing with that shift of hormones, which can affect my measurements.  And I haven't been working out every day (though I'm still exercising four to five days a week, which is better than not doing any exercises).  But...

I'm pretty sure my diet has been bad this past week or two, mainly last week.  Actually, I know it has been.  So... I will do better this week and going forward.  I'm a little too embarrassed to write down the specifics on what I ate; it's that bad.  In the end, it's just a setback, not a fail.  Just another reminder that I need to be more diligent.

I still haven't had any soda since 8/19.  That's two and a half weeks, which is a mini success.  I've also continued to cut down on the coffee with flavored creamers.  But I've also been drinking more Bacardi Silver and Smirnoff Ice, which is empty calories (though far less sugar), so I will be cutting back on that.  I'm definitely not drinking more than 2 or 3 per week (sometimes less, and usually only on the weekends), which is still far less than the soda I found myself drinking.

Tomorrow, I will start eating muesli again for breakfast, will monitor my lunch a bit better, and will continue to make fruit/veggie smoothies to go with dinner.  Tonight was pizza night, and I ate a slice and a half (Son took the other half) and drank a large glass of smoothie, and felt darned good after.  I'm also looking into juicers, personal blenders, and so forth.  Like I said, there's a lot of room for improvement and I am going to start holding myself more accountable for the decisions I'm making, especially for the meals I'm not eating with my kids (because I'm pretty good when I eat around my kids... except when it's dinner at Grammie's... which is another area I need to work on).

I also find myself trying to figure out other workout routines or exercises to add in to my days, including my off days.  What will I do after I finish the "30 Day Shred"?  Move on to another video?  Maybe.  Try doing two of the routines per day?  Perhaps.  Just mix it up between them?  Dunno.  I could even start over and try following the more advanced girl.  I'll figure it out.

In the end, I just need to keep in mind that I'm doing all of this to be healthier, stronger, more confident, and a better role model.  I'm making positive changes rather than just remaining stagnant or beating myself up for not doing the things I need to do.

Shred Day 17

I did Day 17 (L2) of my Shred on Tuesday.  Son is developing a "Super Hero Workout" alarm system in his head, because he came running out to where I was just after I finished the warm up.  It's great that he's so excited to see Mommy working out, and I love that he makes it a game that's just for him and me.

Unfortunately, I took a break yesterday because of a stomach ache.  I guess it's not too bad to work out for two days and take a break on the third day.  Better than not doing any exercising.  Still... it's not great either.

Monday, September 3, 2012


It's a wonderful feeling... Seeing the signs that you must be doing something right when raising your children.

From eating their veggies (or green smoothies or what have you) to giving each other hugs and kisses out of nowhere but often enough that it's obvious they love each other despite all their fighting... From Son making sure that Daughter gets a treat whenever he does to Daughter trying to wear Son's shoes so that she's more like her big brother...  It's a wonderful thing.

I still warms my heart when I think of the times Son tells me, out of the blue, "I happy, Mommy" or when Daughter screams with glee when she sees me walk through her classroom door.  Such an amazing feeling.  It also felt great when Hubby said that he can see the results of what I've been trying to teach them and that I'm doing a great job.  It's always nice to have other people notice because it further proves to me that I'm not "just seeing it".

There are so many times that it seems Hubby and I handle our kids differently than other parents.  I've mentioned a few of the ways on this blog before, but today showed even a few more examples, at least in how I am.  It's unusual for a grown woman to walk around with bunny ears that stand a foot high off her head (or cat ears or so on), but it makes the kids happy, so why not?

So many parents don't really interact with their kids.  They take their kids to events, or the park, or to parties... and they don't pay much attention to them.  It's no wonder that other kids will cling to us or look at Hubby and I with this odd mix of longing and confusion. It must seem so strange to see parents actually PLAYING at the playground!  To see a child tell his/her parent to try some part of the "jungle gym" and the parent actually happily complies and seems to enjoy it!  It just bothers me to see parents not being involved on such a high scale nowadays.  Sorry, but simply taking you child to the playground doesn't count as spending time with them if you aren't actively participating (when the kids actually want you to!).

My kids don't get everything they want, there's no way we can afford it, though I'm not opposed to getting them special items or treats here and there.  They hear "no" often enough, but they also know they are extremely loved and that we will consider their wants.  And we try to keep our word as much as we can.  (If I say Son can have a candy with his breakfast, Hubby will follow through on that promise.  If Hubby tells him that he can dress like Batman after daycare, I will be prepared to dress him in his Batman costume once he gets home if he still wants to.)  How can you teach your child integrity if you don't set the example?  Actually, how can you teach your child any of the traits to become a good person if you don't "walk the walk"?

And with that in mind, this also applies to being healthy and taking care of one self, which is one of the reasons I try to make sure the kids see me eating and drinking healthy items (and trying different things), and also why it's so important for them to see me being active.

When I got ready to do my workout tonight, Son was playing a Star Wars video game that Hubby set up for him (and was helping him with).  Hubby and I cleared the living room of the toys that were scatter on the floor and got my workout video and weights in place.  We told Son that I was getting ready to do my Super Hero Workout, and I could see he was debating if he wanted to continue playing his game or to join me in my exercises.  Guess which he ended up choosing...

As my DVD started (before I was really ready), Son started doing some of the exercises while sitting at the computer keyboard (he knew what they were without even seeing the DVD!).  I asked him if he just wanted to join me and he nodded, got up, prepped himself with his super hero gear and weights, and then joined me... kind of.  He's getting better about the moves, but mostly, he just likes trying to play around me as I do my moves.  Eventually, he saw Hubby playing Angry Birds in the dining room and joined in that game.  But how cool is it that he originally chose to workout with me over playing the computer game!

So, in line with my "Super Mommy?" entry, perhaps we shouldn't just see ourselves as raising children to be functional or even goodly adults.  Perhaps we should nurture the Super Hero in them, while still teaching them that most super heroes are human.  That you don't have to have super strength or a green power ring or the ability to sling webs out of your hands in order to be an amazing person and live up to their potential.  That they can achieve the impossible as long as they believe in themselves, but that they can do it without losing their humanity.

That thought... it just makes me smile.  :-)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day Weekend and Shredding Day 16

I thought I should start off this entry with this....

This weekend definitely had some set backs, but it's also a case of priorities.  Some would say that exercise should ALWAYS come first, but I feel that time with my family should come first because, really, we don't have much time with us all together AND I can squeeze my exercises in during work days if I can't on weekends.


I did my work out tonight.  Day 16 (L2) done!  And I did pretty well.  I was sweating so hard that I was a bit surprised, but the AC was also off and it's pretty warm anyways, but still... I earned my sweat!  I kinda take it as a good sign that my body is working harder when I feel more drops of sweat rolling off of me.  I also used my new weights, which feel heavier than my old even though they are supposedly lighter.  Seriously?  And when the exercises got too hard, I switched to the lighter ones that I also got, but only for certain exercises (the rest of them, I had to push through).

Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 15 of the Shred, Yoga with Kids, and Food Stuffs...

I think I may have figured out why my clothes are feeling so tight.  About 3 or 4 weeks ago, I was feeling heavy and my clothes were tight...

Not a big deal, and would actually be a relief if that's why I feel heavier.  And how cool is it to have a new name for "that time of the month"?  My pants may feel tight, but I'm still fitting into a tighter notch in my belt.

Yesterday, I completed Day 15 of my Shred (L2).  I'm glad I did, though I honestly got confused and though that I missed one of the abs exercises... I think the one I thought I missed might be from Level 1.  My son was all over me while I was doing it, and trying to make a game out of it (since it is our Super Hero Workout!), which made it cute.  I'm trying not to look at it as an easier workout, but from the angle that at least I'm doing it AND my son is seeing it and participating.  That's important.  And I know I'm still pushing myself when I feel the sweat roll down my face.

Also, I found some Yoga moves I can easily do with my kids.  I would still love to get a video, because it would make it easier for the kids to see and maybe follow, but this was pretty cool.  Be a Flamingo, Frog, or Boat: Yoga Poses to Do With Your Kids  I think they would enjoy this, so maybe I'll do it with them this weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Super Mommy?

It's no lie that mothers are expected to do and be so much.  Expectations are high for women, in general, but mothers are supposed to cram 3 times as much into each day... At least, that's how it seems.

Between children, husband, work, home-care, pets, and other things (like taxes or auto care), there is very little time left for "Mommy Time."  Those blissful moments where you can exercise, catch up on shows, delve into your hobbies, or just play a few levels of Angry Birds.  They are rare, even when I hope to catch a few by staying awake after my kids fall asleep... the Sand Man loves to take me too, apparently.

That's where Super Mom comes out.  She's the person inside us that knows how to combine tasks (exercising with the kids by telling them it's Superhero Workout), to let things go when they really aren't important (like mud on their clothes or poop on their bed's foot board... I kid you not!), and finding the ways to let our kids be kids while we also guide them to be responsible, creative, intelligent, kind, and healthy.

I told my doctor that I was fine putting aside my jewelry making because I am fine "just being mommy."  Really, when you have a child, you should expect that your life will be re-purposed into one of giving and guiding rather than trying to fulfill your own wants and needs.  That's not to say we shouldn't take care of ourselves and shouldn't try to find a little corner of "Me" to keep our own identities.  (After all, how do you help your kids find their identities if you allow yourself to lose yours?)

That is why I'm on this journey, and I need to keep reminding myself of this.  Eating healthier, exercising, and taking my meds... They all help me achieve and maintain my Super Mom status.  My kids see that I'm taking care of myself while taking care of them and the cats.  I try to keep my cool when it seems that the mess invades over-and-over and my children are screaming at me and each other.

And there is nothing wrong with feeling a little bit of pride when someone (with or without kids) says, "I don't know how you do it!"  Then I achieve some level of Super Woman status with them too, even if I seem a little frazzled or forgetful from time to time.

We may not be perfect.  We may not have the power to fly.  But we do have the ability to do the impossible.  It's something we've inherited from all the women before us.

There's a quote from the movie "Silent Hill" that always struck me.  "Mother is God in the eyes of a child."  This is so true, but I didn't understand it as much as I do now.

But to my son, I'm a Super Hero.  He's called me Wonder Woman, Wonder Mom, Super Mom, Super Girl, Batman Girl, Green Lantern Girl, and so on.  To him, Mommy is as strong and brave and as capable of doing amazing things as any of the characters in his cartoons.  Mommy can heal with a kiss, calm with a hug, make him happy with tickles, or sad with the tone of her voice (something I try hard not to do!).  Mommy can fix almost anything or teach him how to do almost anything, even if she says Daddy will do it (or even when she admits she doesn't know how... Mommy must be playing when she says that!).

So, I'm trying to embrace my status as Super Mom.  Super Mom doesn't have to be perfect; no super hero is perfect.  But Super Mom is amazing, which means I am too.  :-)