Monthly Archives: January 2010

Get Limber!

Today’s goal: Get limber!  According to the magazine Self supplement I’m following, stretching can “help you get better results from exercise, feel sprightier, even sleep better.”  I’m absolutely terrible at stretching – I bounce around, doing quick, simple stretches, stopping as soon I start to feel a bit of pain.  H usually tells me I’m not doing it right, but to be honest, it’s boring.  Since it’s the first day of the plan, I’ll do it… but I don’t have to enjoy it!

The book suggests using a wall for resistance stretching.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of empty walls around here – there’s furniture, low windows, or something in the way of every possible area.  Instead, I found a stretching routine from fitnessmagazine.com that looks like something I can do in my home.  I’ll let you follow the link for descriptions of each stretch, but here’s a the routine in pictures!

Active Pigeon

C-Curve

Modified Cobra

Hamstring Stretch Series

Split Squat

Quadrupeds

Fabulous February

I’m starting the 30 Day Self Challenge today.  In my old files, I found a supplement to SELF magazine that focuses on fitness, nutrition, and happiness.  I’ll try to keep blogging about the daily journey, but here’s an overview.

Day 1 – Do your stretches.

Day 2 – Have a mission.  Companies have one – why can’t you?

Day 3 – Take your vitamins.

Day 4 – Try these buff-body moves.

Day 5 – Fine-tune your finances.

Day 6 – Learn some healthy hair habits.

Day 7 – Have an egg today – it’s good for you!

Day 8 – Visualize success.

Day 9 – Find your personal style.

Day 10 – Yoga your problems away.

Day 11 – Eat your breakfast.

Day 12 – Be happy.  It’s catching!

Day 13 – Protect your knees.

Day 14 – Take time for your SELF today.

Day 15 – Get your sleep.

Day 16 – Make a healthy meal.

Day 17 – Join a team.  Exercise can be fun!

Day 18 – Give yourself a creative boost.

Day 19 – Get your calcium!

Day 20 – Give your skin a treat.

Day 21 – Plan a vacation.

Day 22 – Take a mini-vacation with a cup of tea.

Day 23 – Step this way for leaner legs.

Day 24 – Heal yourself with food.

Day 25 – Organize your clutter.

Day 26 – Get the butt of your dreams!

Day 27 – Live life and burn calories.

Day 28 – Do this at-home facial to brighten you up.

Day 29 – Accept yourself and others will too.

Day 30 – You did it!  Create a calendar for next month.

On the Bookshelf: IndieBound

Combining file cabinets with H has been quite a task, and we’re only about halfway through.  Though tedious, it’s about time.  As a bonus, I’ve stumbled across lots of great info that I’ve tucked away.  Included in my “Books” file were a few pamphlets from our local bookstore called “Indie Next List.”  I finally visited their website, and I’m HOOKED.  This’ll be my go-to book list from now on.  Here are a few that peaked my interest.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Home by Marilynne Robinson

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic

America’s Test Kitchen

After making the world’s best meatloaf tonight, I’m hooked.  America’s Test Kitchen is my new favorite website, cookbook, and tv series.  In case you haven’t heard of it, here’s a short description from their website:

America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe.

They then bring these recipes to their PBS television shows (wonderfully free to watch), as well as their magazines, cookbooks, and website (unfortunately but understandably not free to use).  I think the website would be the handiest, but is $35 per year to subscribe too, and it’s difficult for me to pay for information on the internet (a conversation for another day).  If I’m paying money, I’d like a hard copy that I can keep, such as a magazine or a cookbook.  Perhaps it would be different if I printed things off of the internet more readily, but for now, I don’t, so hard copies it is.  I can get the magazines and cookbooks from the library, however, so I really shouldn’t spend money on those, either.  It’s difficult, the life of a scrooge!

Regardless of whether or not I lay down any cash, the recipes are AMAZING and I must somehow have access to more.  The meatloaf that we made tonight was amazing.  I wish I could give you a link to the recipe, but as the website is fee-based, I cannot.  I found a a similar recipe on a blog, but truly the entire article with the explanations and descriptions is half the joy of the recipe.

Car Kit

A recent car accident reminded me to double-check the emergency supplies in our cars.  One car is currently in the shop, but I’m heading out to the other right now to check on the following items, suggested by Parents magazine.

  • Medical Tape
  • Clean Towels
  • Gauze Bandages
  • Water
  • Antiseptic Solution
  • Blanket
  • Pillow
  • Flashlight with working batteries
  • Quick-reference card with essential numbers
  • Road flares
  • Jumper Cables

In a cold-weather climate, there are other obligatory items: mittens, hat, scarf, and, of course, a shovel.  I have a collapsible one similar to this:

Collapsible Shovel (source)

Are there any other essentials that I’m forgetting??

More Workout Motivation

I stepped on the scale today, ready to be impressed with results from my recent hours of working out.  I was shocked to see that my weight had gone UP a pound since our exercise program began.  That’s FIVE pounds heavier than when I got married three months ago. I couldn’t believe it, so I moved the scale.  (It gives different results based on where it sits in our bathroom.)  And then it promptly went up another five pounds.  Vomit.  Not really, but oh my.  This is not good.

Apparently, I’ll eventually need to add eating into the program as well!  I have two setbacks: sweets and portion control.  I never went on an official diet before the wedding, but just the knowledge that it was looming was enough to help me put the cookie DOWN.

Sticking to the exercise plan will be enough for me for now.  I think adding too many components at once has been my demise in the past.  I’ll keep up with my workouts, and then when I’ve been successful for a while, I can add in a diet if needed.  For now, I’ll just remember how well the words “put down the cookie” actually work!

Workout Motivation

There is absolutely no reason I shouldn’t be working out on a regular basis, especially when I think about the many, many benefits regular activity has.  Take the following examples, culled from the the Mayo Clinic website, for starters…

  • Improves mood. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out.”  It also weakens the symptoms of depression and anxiety releasing feel-good brain chemicals (neurotransmitters and endorphins).
  • Controls your weight.
  • Prevents chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type two diabetes, osteoperosis, and some cancers.
  • Gives you more energy by helping your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.
  • Helps you fall into a deeper sleep more quickly.
  • Boosts your sex life. It doesn’t hurt that exercise can jump start your energy and give you a toned look.  In addition, it can also lead to “enhanced arousal for women, and men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

Beyond these health reasons, there are also the slightly more shallow reasons.  From Zen to Fitnes and bodybuilder.com come the following reasons to work out:

  • Swimsuit season
  • Feel good when you run into old friends
  • Look good for the opposite sex/make your significant other proud
  • Take care of your body – you’re lucky to have it in working order, so do your best to keep it that way
  • Accomplish goals

All of this should be enough to get me to the gym, right?  Wrong.  Apparently, I need a little extra motivation!  That’s why my husband and I are going to start a system: monetary rewards.  I’ve tried this before, with some success.  My failure, however, was that I came up with too complex of a system, putting x dollars in for cardio and y for weight training, and taking away money for days I didn’t work out… it was too confusing, and I ended up scrapping the whole thing without giving myself a reward at all.  This time, there’s one simple rule:

Earn $1 for every 30 minutes spent exercising.

That’s it.  Simple enough, right?  Exercising includes actually exercising, not waiting around for your turn on a the Wii, or putting on workout clothes, or deciding what machine to go on next.  Stretching, warm-ups, and cool-downs will be included in exercising time.

I’m not sure what I’ll save up for… maybe a Wii Fit Plus?  Or possibly a subscription to a fitness magazine?  We’ll have to see!  I’m going to get started right now!