Talking About Diet, and Healthy Holidays

I have an interesting new soreness in my calves this morning. I love it when I’m sore in a place I haven’t been before, or recently.  It tells me I’m building new muscles somewhere that has been neglected previously! Also that a home cardio workout meant to simulate going for a run really can’t work the same muscles as going for a run. And that’s cool, because I like mixing it up and getting new muscles involved in the show.

I realized that I talk almost exclusively lately about what I’m doing for exercise, and very little about the food side of the equation. I think it’s because I have a perception that there’s nothing I can do from here to help you with your food programs. Part of me thinks, “Either you’re going to stick to your program or you’re not, nothing I can do there.” And the other part of me thinks, “Man I hate it when people try to police my food for me.” So I tend to just focus on exercise, and what I’m doing in that arena.

But…Christmas is coming, time with relatives is coming. Overwhelming piles of non-supportive food is coming. NYE parties and delicious cocktails are coming. It’s important to have a plan for getting through the next week or so!

Here are some quick reminders, maybe have a read-through and refresh yourself before things get really crazy:

9 Healthy Holiday-Eating Strategies

Healthy Holiday Eating

5 Healthy Eating Tips for Holiday Travelers

8 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating (Infographic)

Holiday Healthy-Eating Tips

That’s a pretty good grab bag of sensible advice. I like to offer an array of articles because, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that different things work for different people. And that people learn and understand materials in different ways. So I hope one or two of these presents something helpful in a way that motivates and inspires you to have a healthy holiday!



I got to move it, move it

It’s still raining today (yay!) here in NorCal, so I decided to work out indoors. Since I did strength yesterday, I pulled up my newest trainer crush on YouTube and did this 40-minute indoor jogging workout. Although, I think the title is misleading. It’s a 40-minute cardio workout that can be done at any level. She gives a low-impact version of every move, and while I tried to stick with doing the high-impact one, there were a few times when I dropped into the low-impact move for a few steps to catch my breath.

I highly recommend this workout if you’re stuck indoors due to weather, bored of your treadmill, or just interested in what can be done in a small space at home. It’s 40 minutes – give it a try!

If you’ve got great weather though and can go out for a run, do that! Because I just saw this article that says that even only 10 minutes of running a day can bestow fantastic health benefits!

Of course, that’s not going to burn enough calories to maintain a large weight loss, but it does seem to be enough for other protective health benefits. If you can’t run more than 10 minutes a day that’s fine, you can walk the rest of the time – one of the articles linked there helpfully points out that walking is probably better than a fancy gym membership anyway. I heartily concur. My weight loss almost entirely happened without access to a gym. I walked and walked and walked.

Let’s all move it, move it today!

Weekend of Wretched Excess/Back on Target

Wow, what a weekend! I went to 4 parties, 2 Saturday and 2 Sunday. All of them featured delicious food and treats, and I am still human. I proved it by indulging a bit. A lot.

I’d feel much worse about it if I hadn’t planned for it already by blitzing most of November and every non-weekend day in December. In fact, this morning starts my last mini-blitz of the year! I’ll be doing the HMR Healthy Solutions diet plan and exercising hardcore too. Today my strong start so far has been great – last week I re-started the Ripped in 30 DVD from the beginning, so today I started my day strong by working through the Week 2 workout for the first time this cycle. 12369042_10153168114836384_8213184635568786136_n

Today it is raining good and hard here in Northern California. We need it so badly that I will happily do my workout DVDs for as long as it wants to rain. And then I’ll get back out there and run when it’s not raining. It’s good to have options for either scenario!

Here’s a pic of me and the man dressed up and feelin’ swank, taken at one of the parties we attended this weekend, a holiday cocktail party! I found my dress at the thrift shop back in August and have been looking forward to wearing it ever since – it just screamed “holiday party” and fit me perfectly, who could resist for $15?

Ok, a final push of blitzing for me this week! I honestly don’t know if what I’m doing – blitzing during the week then enjoying myself on the weekends – is considered a good or bad idea by the dieting experts. What I know is that I’m probably going to overindulge a little bit on the weekends during the holidays anyway, so trying to balance that out with in-the-box/on-program days during the week seems to me like the best solution to a tricky situation. It’s doing something, rather than doing nothing and accepting a big weight gain during the holidays as normal.

Running, Aging, and Prom (WHAT?)

Yesterday was a rest day for me. This morning I got up and went for a 3.5 mile run. It felt pretty darned good, until the last 3 blocks, when my iPod battery died (I forgot to put it on the charger it the last, uh, 4 or 5 times I used it). Then the symphony of complaints that had previously been suppressed by the rockin’ tunes started up. “My legs hurt. My muscles are tired. My armpits are chafing. We can stop now, that’s far enough…!” Things I hadn’t noticed at all with the music jamming were suddenly declaring that running was stupid and way too much work.

A concrete lesson for me that I listen to music when I’m running not just because I like the songs, but to distract and suppress the inevitable physical complaints. And that’s all they are, just whining from my body. The last 3 blocks were a lot more work than the 3+ miles before them because I had to do them in silence.

I was looking at some old pictures recently and I realized that I met my husband when I was at my absolute apex of elegance, beauty, and physical fitness. It’s a good thing he loves me for me because it’s been all downhill since then. I started to get sad and then I realized – that’s how it is for everyone! Us humans mostly meet when we’re young and fresh and vivacious, but the point is to find someone to grow old and slower with. I’m ok with that because I picked a good one despite the fact that at my peak of freshness I might accidentally have picked a shallow jerk who’d dump me as I inevitably aged and sagged. Whew! Bullet dodged!

But, not to be a total downer, yesterday I also pulled out my gown that I wore to my senior prom in high school in 1992. Why?? I hear you ask. Because I’m going to a theme party in early January where the theme is Prom! Prom! Prom! I’m going to wear my actual prom gown – it just needs to be taken in a bit. Interesting side note – it was custom made for me because in 1992 nobody was making nice prom dresses for plus-sized girls. I got to pick out the fabric and the pattern, although at that time I had zero sewing skills so I didn’t make it myself – paid a seamstress. I’m probably the only person on earth who needs to take in their clothes from high school. But hey, I can’t be doing everything wrong if I’m still smaller than I was then!

Promises to Myself, and Kickboxing!

In my last post I said “I’m going to think about maybe going for a run tomorrow ,” which was yesterday. I did, in fact, go for a run yesterday, and it was nice. A short loop (exactly 2 miles, I checked) down to and along the canal near my house. I was rewarded with a blue heron sighting. Magnificent bird, the blue heron. They’re only here in the winter.

I’m not sure how it works for you, but I have to play a constant mental game to stay on target. If on Friday I had said, “I am absolutely committing to you all publicly that I will go for a run tomorrow,” that would have been counter-productive for me. Whereas for some people, that is very motivating. Different strokes for different folks. For me, laying out a tentative plan that I know has a good chance of working into my schedule for the day is enough. Making a hard commitment without any leeway would work against me, and I’d feel trapped and resentful. Then I might not do it because of the resentfulness, or something came up, or I had a migraine, or whatever, and then I’d feel like a failure because I promised you all (and myself) and then I failed. Living in my brain is hard, y’all.

Good run yesterday, though. And today I tried something new to mix things up. I’m kind of bored with the Jillian DVDs I have on hand, so I tried a new trainer that I found on YouTube. I’m pretty impressed, she does home workouts, in a small space, with her dog nearby. What more do you need?? A trainer that understands that I don’t have a whole fitness studio to work out in. And I have to dodge pets occasionally. That’s pretty much perfect! I did Kick Butt Kickbox and boy am I going to be sore tomorrow. It’s not my first time doing a kickbox workout – I did one once in 2007 with a friend – but it’s close enough to my first time as may as well be. Thing I like about kickbox workout – I feel like a badass when I’m doing the moves. I may look like a flailing muppet, but I feel butch. And it’s new to me so I have room to improve.

This trainer, Jessica Smith, has a whole YouTube channel – JessicaSmithTV – of different types and lengths of workout. All done from her home with her dog sleeping in the corner. Check it out if you’re looking for something to do at home! I’m pleased to have something new on the exercise front to explore, it will keep me intrigued and interested for at least the next few weeks.

Good workout. How ’bout you. Got any plans to try something new this week?

Friday and I’m Feeling No Pain

I felt pretty good when I woke up this morning. Hey – welcome to my 40s, any day that I wake up without any obvious sites of physical agony is a good day!

I had thought I would start back in on exercise yesterday, but I hadn’t counted on the Migraine Hangover. It’s a real thing, yo! Mine comes with bonus nausea, so that was fun all day yesterday.

This morning, though, I wasn’t hurting when I woke up. O frabjous day! So I did my Jillian Yoga Meltdown DVD. I used to do it on days over the summer when I wasn’t feeling up to a full-on workout, as a nice light, less-strenuous workout. Well, I’m here to tell you that 2 weeks is, in fact, long enough to lose muscle strength and endurance. It was a struggle to get through. I may have collapsed once from a side plank. Might have gone something like this…

*Sounds of elbows, knees, hands, torsos, etc. hitting the floor*
Husband (from other room): ARE YOU OK?
Me: Stop pointing out my failures!

I’m not a graceful faller. Due to my somewhat unique upbringing, my first reaction when I fall down is anger. It’s automatic, and I know it’s there, but anger is my go-to emotion when I fail hard physically. So really, the first thing you should do if you see me fall down or otherwise stumble is just look somewhere else and let me recover with some dignity. I keep trying to tell him that, but his first reaction is to be a caring, loving human. Opposites attract, I guess.

I’m going to think about maybe going for a run tomorrow morning. A short one, because obviously the 2-week layoff has impacted my abilities, but baby steps – a short run is better than nothing. I’ll get back my impressive phenomenal previous physical prowess!

Not such a strong start.

HI! I’m back from vacation! I went to Budapest, it was amazing – you should go if you ever get the chance!

I had intended to start back Blitzing on Tuesday morning. We got in late Monday night and I’m ready to lose12308173_10153133541076384_1756213221578972840_o the pounds I probably picked up in Hungary. But…yesterday we had nothing in the house after 10 days away – no fruits and veggies for sure! So I wasn’t able to really start yesterday. This morning I woke up with a monster migraine. So while we now have fruits and veggies in the house due to my sainted husband going out yesterday with a cold to the grocery store, and while I can certainly follow the eating plan part of the show, there’s no way I’m exercising with my head in the state it is (compounded with the general jet-lag, plus already feeling under the weather with a possible cold). Not the start I had intended.

Hoping and planning to pick myself up and brush myself off with some exercise tomorrow. Probably something light to work my way back to it. Here’s a picture I took in Budapest. It’s a beautiful, beautiful city.

How are your winter exercise goals coming along?