Category Archives: appearance

My 50 Reasons (the second installment)

My 50 Reasons to Get Healthy through Eating and Exercise

(segment two of five)

  1. Women who exercise have shorter labors.  Enough said!
  2. Outside exercise, such as walking, is a good dose of fresh air.  It’ll lift the spirits!
  3. There are plenty of weight-related health problems and pregnancy complications to be scared of, including gestational diabetes.
  4. Walking downtown instead of driving means I don’t have to parallel park, or pay for metered parking!
  5. Exercising women aren’t as likely to need medical interventions during labor (c-sections, etc.).
  6. When I’m done exercising, I always like what I see in the mirror better than I did two hours earlier.  This has nothing to do with any actual change in my body – I know it’s all it my head – but I’ll take it!
  7. Recovering up to twice as quickly after childbirth is enough of a reason for me.
  8. Extra pounds  can be uncomfortable.  I’ll be gaining enough “healthy” pounds from the pregnancy alone – no need to tack on too many extras!
  9. When I talk to friends and co-workers who are super-fit marathoners, I don’t have to feel like a total schlub if I’m at least on some sort of an exercise program.
  10. Considering a chore “exercise” makes me more apt to do it.  Gardening, cleaning (with a little spring in my step, of course), and laundry all fall under this category.

My 50 Reasons (or the beginning of it, anyway…)

My 50 Reasons to Get Healthy through Eating and Exercise

(segment one of five)

  1. I’ve heard that unborn babies can taste whatever their mothers eat, and develop their tastes accordingly.  I’d rather have my child develop a taste for broccoli than chocolate chip cookies.
  2. Pounds creep on pretty easily.  Unfortunately, they don’t tend to slip off quite as quickly.  I’d rather have less to lose in the first place.
  3. I’d like to have a high energy level that doesn’t crash.
  4. I’d like to have a mood that doesn’t swing (any  more than my hormones are already making it, anyway!).
  5. Exercise promotes better sleep – and I think I’ll need to be as well rested for our latest adventure as possible.
  6. Paul loves to go on walks – much, much more than I do.  If I can learn to love walking as much as he does, we’d have nearly unlimited quality time together.
  7. Back pain appears to be a plague later on in pregnancy.  Strengthening those muscles now can only help in the future!
  8. If I run errands without the car (instead using a bike or walking), I can save some cash on gas.
  9. I can get some “reading” in.  Walking or exercising on a machine is a great time to listen to a Playaway (similar to a book on tape).
  10. Two words: love handles.

 

Goal Update

It’s about time … *shudder* … to check in on my goals.  All of my goals.  Which I have been “working towards.”  In theory.

It’s not so bad, really.  I think I’ll find that I’m not doing quite as well as I thought, though, which is the reason for the shudder.  Here goes nothing…

1)  Make delicious, home-made dinners a non-event

OK, this is the goal that I’m probably doing the best on (so I’m really glad it’s first!).  I’ve gone from burnt grilled cheese sandwiches and soggy PastaRoni to oven fried tilapia and martini mac and cheese.  My current goal is to find some lighter recipes to try.  Grade: A

2)  Buy and make quality pieces for our home

I’ve given more thought to the amount of time any given item will last, and if it’s worth putting in a few extra dollars for a better product.  Sometimes it’s not – a book at Half Price Books will be the same as a book at Barnes and Noble – but if it’s something that will be an obvious quality difference (for example, the watch H wears daily), I’d rather buy one that will last.  I try not to balk at spending more on an item I know we can get for less, and instead focus on the quality.  We haven’t had any major purchases in the past few months, though, so I’ve only put this into action on a small scale.  Grade: B

3)  Continuously improve our marriage

I read The Five Love Languages (and I’d highly recommend it to any person, married or not), and I’ve put a good dent in my second reading of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus.  In a stroke of what can only be called brilliance, I put that book on the shelf behind the toilet.  Best marriage move  yet.  That may be an exaggeration, but it really has been a success – I could never convince H to read a marriage book so frequently otherwise.  Grade: A

4)  Be confident in my appearance

On the positive side, I’ve started wearing makeup on a regular basis, and I’ve started styling my hair once in a while instead of pulling it back every single day.  I haven’t been able to lose the weight that I wanted, though, so I’m disappointed most of the time  I look in the mirror.  Grade: D

5)  Be proficient on the sewing machine

I haven’t spent much time on this goal, so there’s not much to report.  I’ve only done one sewing project in 2010 (an apron), and it turned out well.  It’s nothing that I couldn’t have done in high school, however, so I’m going to have to give myself poor marks for this goal!  Grade: F

6)  Keep an organized, clean home

I’d say the house is organized.  We have a place for everything, anyway.  Everything in it’s place?  Not so much.  H is organized.  His jacket is never on the floor, his books are never left lying about, and his keys are always on the key hook.  I am a little more scatterbrained.  If I can see my desktop, it’s a good day.  I am working on it, though.  Whenever I get a spare moment, I play a game where I put away five things in every room.  (We only have six rooms, so it doesn’t take long.)  It’s made a difference.  Cleaning doesn’t happen quite as frequently as it should, but it could be worse.  Grade: B

7)  Act instead of plan

I used to waste a lot of time blog surfing.  I truly mean waste, too – I was subscribing to every semi-interesting blog that I came across, which quickly snowballed into over 250 subscriptions.  I’d fill up to 1000+ items in three days if I didn’t keep on top of it .  I’d spend hours just hitting next, next, next, next, on Google Reader.  I am very proud to say that I’ve kicked the habit!  I do still love reading posts, but I found a way to dramatically reduce wasting time on blogs that I wasn’t getting anything out of.  This left me with quite a bit more time to live in the real world, and I am getting only quality, interesting information daily.  Grade: A

8)  Keep a healthy household

After hundreds of dollars in dental and eyecare bills, I’d give myself an A just to make myself feel better about spending so much.  And that’s AFTER insurance.  We also joined the YMCA and have been regularly attending.  My $1 per half hour plan has been largely successful.  I’m still using and loving it, and H has made such a good habit of working out that he doesn’t even need to use the program anymore.  We’ve cut out chocolate and chips for Lent.  Next up: portion control and cutting the calories!  Grade: A

9)  Be confident in our finances

I use Mint.com to track all expenses, and I know where nearly every dollar goes.  That’s not to say that I rigidly follow our budget, however.  Something always seems to come up that we weren’t expecting, or that I thought would cost less.  I also would like to have a better “big picture” idea of finances.  H typically handles all larger transactions (stocks, mutual funds, etc.), and I do day to day items.  It would be better if we had a little more overlap… or at least if I had a better idea of our finances on a whole.  Grade: C

10)  Be a friend

After a long hiatus, I’ve made friends with Facebook once again.  As much as I dislike it in theory (more on that later), it does have quite a few redeeming values, and at this point I’ll use it for the purpose of being a better friend.  Also, another good mark: by the end of this weekend, I’ll have spent time with three different groups of friends – a really good weekend for me.  I’m still not making the grade, though.  One of my best high school friends moved into a duplex about a mile down the road two months ago, and I’ve seen him ONCE in all of that time.  Grade: B

11)  Give back to the community

Big fat failure.  Nothing else to say about this one.  Grade: F

That wasn’t so bad!  I think I need to check in on my goals every month – it has been eye opening, and it’s motivated me to get up off of this couch and get going!

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

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!

Christmas Cards Complete!

Our Christmas cards are all but finished!  They were a piece of cake to address, especially compared to addressing our wedding invitations earlier this year.  I’ll drop all of the cards off at the mailbox in front of school tomorrow morning.  They’ll be out of our hands and into the hands of our friends and family.  Phew!

I’ve also decided to add another goal to my “active” list.  I’m doing pretty well at my first three categories (friends, cooking, relationship), so I thought I’d try to make it a bit more of a challenge (and believe me, it will be a challenge!).  I’ll be working on goal number four — be confident in my appearance.  This is a really, really broad goal.  Perhaps too broad.  It encompasses healthy eating, exercise, hair and makeup, clothing… and I’m taking it on.  I went to a Mary Kay party this afternoon, and it felt so great to take the time to do my makeup for once.  I typically wear little to nothing on my face, and lately when I look in the mirror I’m disappointed.  Today was the first time in a while that I felt pleased when I saw my reflection.  There’s a good motivator!  Now, if I could only feel that motivated about eating, exercise, and clothes…