Another week, another challenge!

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This past week just flew by and I really found myself having more fun looking for ways to be healthy. Working, however put another spin to my getting it actually done. Normally I work night shifts but this week I had some education and Nursing Council  during the day. Not big challenges to deal with but it still required some planning.

Planning is a huge factor in living a healthy life for me. If I don’t plan ahead at least a couple days for meals I find myself falling into the “easy but not great” rut of grabbing a protein bar. If I don’t plan out exercise I definitely find other things to do and I fall into the trap of couch sitting with my husband in the evening.

consistancy

Courtesy of #Healthy Monday

 

20140601_144230 20140601_144243How do you keep on track? Do you use a planner, a training plan, an online site? I’m more of a paper and pencil girl for the actual planning but I am liking the online site of Sparkpeople for tracking the actual food I eat and Map My Run for my activity.

 

 

These are what my typical planners look like. Its taken a while and many adaptations to fit it into something resembling my life but it makes it easier to look back and see where things went wrong when they invariably do.

So aside from the challenge of working day shifts I also got a challenge of an extremely busy night at work. I work in a fairly busy “OB” unit and you just never know what might happen on any given shift. Unfortunately being busy and finding time to eat don’t always go smoothly. And then you find yourself eating whatever is quick in the break room in lieu of actually sitting to eat your meal. I love that patients give us homemade goodies and generally I can resist but someone made us a basket that included Irish soda bread. Bread, especially homemade, is my weak link. And I had not one but 2 slices of the soda bread. With butter.

Keeping in mind the saying about getting back on the horse I did a major food prep on Sunday. I prepped veggies for salads, made jars of Overnight Oatmeal and baked my eggs (hard “boiled) and defrosted shredded chicken. This made working Sunday and Monday so much easier both at work and eating between shifts. I also tried to keep in mind my findings from last week that needed improvement. My calories are a much better range and the carb/protein/fat balance is becoming more balanced.

The thing that really was a high point was being able to use last week’s reward of the Aasics– I ran twice this week and just was so very happy and energized afterward. I also started doing my floor core work and I can say I definitely felt muscles that had been on hiatus since December. It was such a good feeling though; having sore muscles showed I am improving.

warning-health

 

While I love coffee I did find myself reaching for water first when I felt tired which is a great thing for me. I put wedges of lemon in the water which made it go down much easier when I was not totally thirsty. I bought oranges, lemons and limes to experiment with this week.

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Fruit is great for adding flavor to plain water!

So overall a great week. Although the getting healthier was my main goal I also found more room in my clothing and I am down 2.4 lbs this week. Now that I have started running and adding strength training I hope that will continue as well!

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Have a great and healthy week! Let me know how YOU are doing!

Best wishes–Janice

My thanks to #HealthyMonday for giving me permission to use their image!! The other images (aside from my own) were found on Google images– my thanks to their creators!

 

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First Run–So far, still good!

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tryI have officially done my first run for the year…finally!

I struggled with minor injuries and aches since mid Fall and just couldn’t get myself back into running because of the fear of pain. I’m not a tough runner; pain to me is my bodies warning system that something is not right. I can tough it out for discomfort but pain, that is another story. Aside from strains and knee discomfort I am pretty sure I had a stress fracture in my mid-foot at some point and this is what concerned me.

chances

 

I’m not sure what prompted me to choose today to run but I just felt the need. To be honest I did have to talk myself into it with the promise that I could stop if need be. Part of the problem is my basement is cold–like really cold around 50-55 degrees. I knew enough to use my inhaler before going down. I developed  exercise induced asthma last year after running outside in 35-40 degree temps. Now I know enough to pre-treat if I am exercising in the cold. If I am actually exercising outside a neck gaiter has also proven helpful. I should have worn some gloves (that is how cold it was!) but I started to warm up at 14 minutes and sweat at 16…and that is when the real motivation kicked in!fit24

 

 

 

Anyway– today’s run was a surprise considering I had not run since probably November. Treadmills don’t bother me since I see them as a benefit not a deficit. After a 5 minute warm up of walking I aimed for 4:1 intervals of run/walk. I was not sure was kind of endurance I had left so I was going for whatever felt okay. I selected Taylor Swift’s 1989 for motivation and sure enough I got to smiling and singing along (kinda) and next thing my 30 minutes were up.  Music is my motivator–if I get the right song I can tough it out pretty well.

 

Oh, I also got to try out my new reward of the pair of Aasics shoes–I love them! I almost wonder if they are what kept the foot pain away! They are so comfortable and have great arch support!

AasicsThe best part is that over 5 hours later I am still comfortable and pain free. I think I am ready to start planning my runs again on a regular basis.  Hopefully soon NY will get some nice warm weather and I can take it outside but until then its me and the treadmill.

 

How have you progressed back into being active after injuries?

Best wishes for a great weekend–Janice

 

The images with the exception of my own were found on Google images–my thanks to their creators!

Health(ier) Living– the Week in Review

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actSo the first week has been a great learning opportunity for getting back on track. If you didn’t see the last post I started using Sparkpeople.com again to keep track of food and fitness. I’ve used it before so I had a decent base of “favorites” to make logging easier but it really is very easy to use if you are just starting as well. I really just tried to be more observant and not really go crazy changing anything drastically to to see where my habits need changing.

So what did I learn this week?

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I don’t drink enough water. I drink lots of coffee and tea but not enough plain water. Some of it may be the cold weather, some may be just poor habits. Or I just really like coffee. Once I started drinking more water I noticed that I had more energy  and I could actually feel that I was thirsty.

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Goal for improvement: Drink a minimum of 2 sport bottles of water or 48 oz of water in my refillable cup. Limit coffee to 2 mugs a day. Drink more unsweetened brewed ice tea if needed. Add lemon or some fruit to flavor as needed.

I don’t eat enough calories. When I pay attention to what I eat and focus on fruit and veggies I tend not to have enough calories, especially those from protein.  I was really surprised at this one. I thought for sure I would be much higher in calories but unless I ate more carbs in forms of bread my calories were down.

Goal for improvement: Add in a little more calories to breakfast and lunch in terms of whole grains like oatmeal or whole wheat bread with Peanut butter.

I don’t eat enough protein consistently.While I am not a vegetarian I tend to be a “Flexitarian” where I don’t eat much meat except for chicken.  My husband and I decided on having a burger on Tuesday– both of us felt so sluggish afterward that we decided not to exercise that night. We definitely digest chicken a lot easier it seems.Cajun Shrimp

Goal for improvement: I will have to make an effort to  add in more protein like seafood, nut butters, eggs, Greek yogurt and beans.

I actually love vegetables more than fruit.  I made a bunch of salad at one time this week (new habit) and really enjoyed having a salad ready to go. I prepped a bunch of carrots, celery and cukes then added them to a prepped romaine/spinach/ iceberg mix into separate “grab and go” containers. All I needed was some dressing, protein and any other veggies I wanted and I was ready to eat.

No real improvement needed except to add some fruit daily and expand the variety of the veggies I do eat.

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I do like to exercise–but I tend to delay until I have someone to do it with. I will exercise with anyone; walk, run, hike, bike. I love to exercise with someone else but need motivation to actually use the treadmill or bike by myself. I never had an issue doing exercise solo until this past year or so. I started hiking with a small group of friends and ran with a couple of ladies. Now solo exercise feels almost like a punishment, not a joy.

Goal for improvement: Make plans to meet up with people for exercise despite the weather. I will also try out exercising to videos to see if that helps to change the motivation.walk1

 

and now there are 4

and now there are 4

 

 

 

So overall a really good week . I learned a lot about my habits and what I need to do to get healthier. I definitely earned this week’s reward and hope they will help motivate me back into running.

 

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If you have made changes toward eating healthier what are you doing? Do you have a reward system in place or how do you keep yourself motivated?

Take all the steps you need to get where you want to go...including changing the plan as needed.

Take all the steps you need to get where you want to go…including changing the plan as needed.

Committing to be Fit–Better later than not at all

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So I kinda missed the New Year’s resolution thing to get in shape. Actually it was on purpose and I am not sorry I waited.

Any Monday will do!

Any Monday will do!

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. It wasn’t that I thought I was in great shape. The reason I delayed is because I knew I would fail.  I was not ready to commit to it. My older daughter was heading to France and my younger daughter back to college within a week of each other. I knew with those demands and deadlines in place I wouldn’t be able to keep up with eating well and exercise. So I chose to wait.

You know when you are ready...and when you are not!

You know when you are ready…and when you are not!

I gave myself a date to prepare mentally so I could go at this with a committed heart and mind. Also so my husband was aware of potential changes in eating and activity. It is so important if you can get your family on board with your plan, even if they choose not to participate.

My deadline to start was  Monday February 23. I got my plan in place with the first week just getting back in the routine of planning to be active and more conscious of my eating. This way I can see where my short comings are and work on improving specific things next week.

Take all the steps you need to get where you want to go...including changing the plan as needed.

Take all the steps you need to get where you want to go…including changing the plan as needed.

Food Journaling is a great thing to do when you are looking for patterns. From past experience I knew Sparkpeople was what I needed. It has all kinds of tracking options from food and fitness to dietary needs. And its FREE! I know other places like Weight Watchers have online services but you are paying for something you might not use. Maybe its just me but I never enjoyed sitting in a meeting hearing things I already knew just to make use of the weekly fee.

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I use a general planner for the week so I can jot down work and meal plans; a work sheet of sorts. Sometimes what happens looks nothing like I plan but at least I made a plan to be prepared.

Something you also can do to keep you motivated is buy your self a reward or two and earn it by keeping on track. I was able get all my rewards on sale at TJMaxx (my favorite place for fitness clothing) and Kohls (sale + 20% off). I will get one item for each week I stay committed, not whether I lose weight.

Planning your rewards keeps you motivated!

Planning your rewards keeps you motivated!

Weight loss- or lack there of- does not equal committing to a goal. You can bust your butt and not lose weight. A better way to measure progress is by how your clothes fit. Muscle takes up less space than fat does but both weigh the same. Measure your body prior to starting and then every week or so.

Need more motivation and accountability? Find a fitness buddy or someone willing to remind you (with your permission) that you are working toward a goal of being healthy. Gentle reminders and encouragement, not criticism are perfect for keeping each other going.

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hc3

Reality versus desire?

Okay– so check back next week to see how it went. Share with me your insights, suggestions and comments.

The images here, except my own, were found on Google images. My thanks to their creators! (Please claim them if they are yours!)

Best wishes for a great week!

Janice

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Maybe I am not a Runner

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Am I am a runner? Some days I wonder.

I do enjoy running, well not usually the first mile but I do enjoy running when things fall into place and I find my “groove” with breathing and tempo. The thing is…its not guaranteed to happen for every run. Some runs just totally stink. Some runs just are not going to happen if I am injured or Life interferes. I get that being a runner challenges who you are, but what if I am not that person for whom running is the be all and end all?

I see all the posts on Pinterest and Facebook–you know the ones; you know you’re a runner if… XYZ. Well unfortunately most do not apply to me so I must not be a runner. I am not interested in toughing it out when I am injured. I see other people who run when injured or who lament that their doctor has advised them against running but they choose to run anyway. I am not judging their decision,I’m just not that dedicated to running I guess.

I enjoy rest days from running. For me they are a chance to do other active things like hiking and cycling. Being active is more important to me than being a Runner. Its more about feeling alive and happy than just focusing on running.

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I started running again last October (2013) and have run pretty consistently for the last year except when injured. I do have to admit I have had more injuries since I started running than I ever had with walking, hiking or biking. Running is hard on your body but it also has good benefits as well. My knees felt much better after I started running contrary to the thought that it would damage them. My injuries were minor compared to other runners but to me they were enough to make me notice and give my body a chance to recover and heal before pushing past the pain.

So why do I run if I don’t consider myself a real runner?

fit19

Its hard to describe exactly but I’ll do my best. While I enjoy the movements of hiking and fast paced walking there is something about how your feet and legs find a rhythm with your breathing and there is just this feeling of peace and coming into a different place in your mind. It doesn’t really eliminate the effort and intensity of running but you find that it is no longer the chore of exercising but the freedom of movement that encourages you to go just a little bit farther. There is also a camaraderie  among runners that I have felt no where else. There is encouragement for newbies. Seasoned runners and newbies alike can share their success and failures and others are there to be supportive.  As a community we mourn those fallen runners who made a difference both virtually and personally. I think this sense of community has kept running as a large component of my being active.

First there were 2...

First there were 2…

And then there were 3....

And then there were 3….

and now there are 4

and now there are 4

 

 

I started running last year with several other ladies and despite knowing one runner only from a Facebook running group we fell into a weekly run and it became the highlight of my week. Some days were great, others really were hard but knowing someone was meeting me got my butt out of the house and running our 3-5+ miles together. Sweating out your concerns with someone builds something that is hard to replicate anywhere else. Life has interfered and we’ve fallen out of our weekly runs but I am hoping it resumes after the winter because it was such an important part of my week.

I also have no desire to race. I don’t generally enjoy crowds so I could never imagine myself being in a huge group trying to run. I am not very competitive and I am okay with not being fast or winning a prize for my efforts. I do however participate in “virtual” races to help support other runners with fundraising efforts for charities. These do keep me make sure I am running more than less as I get to run when and where I choose and get a “finishers” medal for participating. These also provide a chance for me to compete with myself and see improvements in my efforts.

I am okay with not being a “100% runner”. By choosing to be active in many ways I have reduced my injuries and I find myself looking forward to being active. I love being outside and so long as I can get my heart rate up and work up a sweat I am happy. I also do not have an issue with using my treadmill which many runners call a “dreadmill”. For me it is a training tool and allows me to keep fit despite the weather. I would much rather be outside but…better something than nothing at all.

 

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So in hindsight maybe I am a runner….  I may not run fast. I may not run far but as the saying goes “if you run you are a runner”.

 

breath

All images except for the photos of my running friends were found on Google images, my thanks to their creators.

“Stanley” visits the New York countryside

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Flat StanI recently was given the opportunity to have Flat Stanley come and share some adventures with me. Neither of my children have ever read the Flat Stanley books but I was intrigued by the prospect of sharing my little part of the world with his classmates in Massachusetts.

The first adventure we went on was with a friend of mine named Diane and we took Stanley to Sterling Forest State Park for some hiking. Here is a copy of our trail map:  http://nysparks.com/parks/attachments/SterlingForestTrailMap.pdf

I love hiking– you can see some beautiful areas and views because you need to slow down and be mindful of where you are walking, especially in the Fall with all the leaves! We started at the Visitors Center which is by the bottom of the lake (if you are looking at the map ) and after talking to the  ladies inside decided to take the Bare Rock trail.  We took a little trail through the woods to the paved road that led our path just up the street (yellow trail to blue one).

Stan admiring the view of Lake Sterling

Stan admiring the view of Lake Sterling

The trail head for the Bare Rock Vista

If you look at the map we took the orange path and started the climb up to the ridge. Let me tell you that we warmed up quickly and had to remove our outer layer!! It is quite literally all uphill! My friend and I like a bit of a challenge to our hikes and this certainly offered one!

 

We finally made it to the trail head for the Bare Rock Vista and headed to the cliff to see the view–it was worth the climb!

 

Greenwood Lake

Overlooking Greenwood Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stanley and Greenwood Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was very windy so we had a quick sip of water and decided to keep going. We went back to the Trail head and continued on the orange trail which thankfully was mostly level for this part. But not for long– then we started heading down hill a bit.

Bare Rock trail and creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stan taking a break on the trail– he really liked the stream (but not the creaky trees!)

Around mile 4 we stopped for a quick lunch on top of a small knoll so that we had a good view of the area below us in case there was any wild life in the area. Fortunately there weren’t any and we got to enjoy some quiet time.  I am so glad we did– mile 5 began a complete uphill climb– almost literally a rock scramble!!

Sterling Forest climb

 

Although it is a rougher climb than just a smooth hill there is just something fun about challenging yourself to keep going when you encounter something like this!  Good hiking boots and a bit of planning out your route make a huge difference between getting stuck and overwhelmed and having a good time!

We finally got to the fire tower but since we were losing daylight we opted to take the shorter 2 mile path back to the visitor center. Still a bit rugged in spots but at least it was down hill from there.

Overall, a really great hike and I will definitely do it again in the spring!

Please note the original image of Flat Stanley is an image from Amazon’s website. The Stan pictured here was drawn by Brady and the photo images were taken by me during our hike.

I’m sweaty, I’m tired….and I feel really good!

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So I did it tonight—I exercised indoors!

I realized that to really enjoy my time hiking I need to strengthen my core and my quads/hamstring/glute muscles for climbing the steeper hills as well as descending them without falling on my face. My knees and hips could also use some preventative maintenance. Since I really didn’t want to spend hours down there (in the basement) I decided to work on the recumbent bike. I set it for 30 minutes, hill setting and selected the Podrunner “Easygoing” .

The hill setting was a decent workout and the 132 BPM pace was just right for working on the higher resistance levels which varied from 2-8. I do have to say 8 was a little difficult but I pushed through with the help of the music.  Music really does play such a big factor in motivation!! The steady beat has helped keep me moving more times than I care to admit.

I almost wish I had set the timer for a longer time frame but I am sure I will feel it tomorrow.  But you want to know something? I feel relaxed, optimistic and healthy–must be the endorphins kicking in.

So the game plan? Continue to work at the gym for strength training and endurance. This plan from Prevention is a great place to start as well as the core workouts using the balance board, the ball and yoga poses I was doing.  I’m looking forward to a “strong” summer and lifestyle of health.

 

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