Whirlwind days

tornado in Italy

Late last night, the latest weather system arrived and I was awakened by heavy rain and wind beating against my back bedroom window. The wind was coming mainly from the south and it picks up a lot of speed across the large open field behind my house before it starts battering the back windows. My daughters are fortunate that neither of their shared bedroom windows face south, but I’m not so lucky and I’m often “treated” to the sounds of wind and rain.

The rain had mostly stopped when I got up this morning, but the wind persisted through the day and only recently calmed down a bit. Once I got my daughters on their respective buses, I sat down at my desk and got started on this week’s writing work. I made great progress and by 11 a.m., I was ready to work out with Zumba.

Not wanting to jump back into working out too fast after having bronchitis, I kept my exercise regimine to walks with Jazzmin. As that went well and didn’t leave me any more exhausted than before I became sick, I decided this week was the right time to start Zumba again. Now that the weather is turning nicer, I can do Zumba and walk Jazzmin daily, which makes both of us very happy!

I smiled through the entire 20 minute Zumba aerobic workout (I figured starting small/short was best) because it felt SO good to have energy again! I don’t mind working up a sweat during physical exertion and after the aerobic and ab workouts, I was ready for my shower.

It’s wonderful to be back to my usual routine and finally getting ahead with work instead of just keeping up with assignments. When I fill my days with work and working out they tend to move with whirlwind speed, but I’m okay with that because being sick and slow was anything but fun!

Workout tips for those who hate working out

hilly country road

Looking up the road toward home this evening.

I’m sure there are people who love working out. They probably live for a nice long run, or spending hours in the gym, or taking hundreds of laps in the pool. To them I say good for you! Nonetheless, I’m not someone who loves working out, but I do it anyway and I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share with those who want to be healthier but don’t revel in the idea of working out.

Don’t Wait

If you’re waiting to work out until you feel the desire to work out, it’s probably never going to happen. Just get up off your butt and workout.

I have days where I really don’t want to work out, but I make myself do it anyway. My favorite part of a workout is usually when it’s over because then it’s time to wash the sweat off and that’s also when I feel really proud of myself for doing it.

Make a plan, not excuses

You have to plan time for exercise into your daily schedule because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself making excuses for not working out such as “I’m too busy.”

During a “normal” week when my daughters have school on my days to have them I’m able to do the first half of the week’s work and then fit in a workout before or after lunch. On days when I don’t have my daughters, my schedule is much more flexible and I’m able to accomplish more writing work and college work while still fitting in a workout. When it’s nice weather, my workout might be taking Jazzmin on a nice long walk and sometimes if I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll do a walk and a DVD workout or free weights.

Expect challenges

In order to see results, your workout needs to challenge you physically, but beyond that, you also have to expect things that will challenge your ability and availability to work out.

A good example of this happened to me last Thursday when unexpected events made my morning errands run longer than usual and left me so stressed out, I just came home and took a nap. Yes, I could have dealt with that stress by working out, but I just didn’t have it in me that day. My body and mind wanted rest, so I obliged them. My evening proved too busy to work out because I had my mother over for dinner and my oldest daughter had her chorus concert so Thursday turned into an unplanned rest day.

I had my daughters this past weekend and while I managed a workout Saturday, Sunday was full to the brim so I had two rest days last week when I usually only take one. Nonetheless, I didn’t take all that as a reason to stop working out altogether. In fact, I not only did the Zumba step workout today, I did the Zumba ab workout and took Jazzmin on an evening walk down and then back up the steep road I live on. If it’s possible to make up missed workout days, I certainly accomplished that today!

Eat better

All the working out in the world won’t help (well, maybe it will if you work out 24/7) if you’re still eating an unhealthy diet. You have to be willing to make changes in what you eat or you’re undermining all the sweating you’re doing.

I’ve had to accept that eating cupcakes with the girls isn’t going to reduce my squishiness and that eating a chicken Caesar salad is a better, healthier lunch than creamy macaroni and cheese. I still have cravings for sweet things but I make healthier options as I did tonight. My girls usually want ice cream in the evening and it sounded good to me too so I made up some frozen yogurt with my handy Ninja blender and put it in the freezer. When my girls had ice cream, I had my homemade frozen yogurt and it satisfied my craving perfectly while being filled with protein and calcium.

Β I’m sure there are better fitness experts out there that can give great tips, but those are just a few things I’ve learned over my years of working out and eating better. Being healthy isn’t something you can just do long enough to lose weight, you have to make it part of your whole lifestyle or you’ll end up back where you started. Life doesn’t move backward, it moves forward so grab your sneaks and hit the pavement with your pup as you head into a better, longer future.

Cool weather has arrived, time to get in bikini-wearing shape!

gypsy

Taken fall, 2011. Hoping to get into even better shape this fall and winter!

Cool weather has arrived and it’s time to get my body back in bikini-wearing shape! In all honesty, there’s a snowball’s chance in Hades I’ll ever wear a bikini again but as most women’s workouts talk about getting in “bikini shape” I thought I’d run with it. Well, I don’t actually run much either, but I digress…

The truth is that when the temperature drops, that’s when I feel more motivated to workout. During the warmer months the extent of my workouts are walking Jazzmin daily, doing some free weight work, and playing Xbox Kinect games with my oldest daughter, Jordan. I’m not big on working up a sweat working out when I can just step outside and sweat from the heat.

However, in the winter time when it’s frigid outside and only slightly warmer in my drafty house, that’s the perfect time to heat up with a workout! When I’m huddled on the couch under a blanket and even snuggling with the dog doesn’t warm me up, I know I need to get up and get moving! After about 10 minutes playing Dance Central, doing Zumba, or participating in any of the other myriad of DVD workouts I have, I’m so warm I turn the furnace off. Shortly after that I usually turn on the floor fan and by the end of the workout it feels like summer in my house. It takes me a good two hours to feel cold again and it’s a great way to thaw out my body and save propane by not running the furnace. Win win!

Last winter I had a really hard time convincing myself to walk Jazzmin amid the snow and cold but I’m hoping I won’t have that problem this year. Even a short walk is good for both of us, especially since Jazz can’t do the DVD workouts with me πŸ˜‰ While most people look forward to winter because they can wear layers to cover what they view as imperfections, I look forward to it because I can workout, shed layers, and get my “bikini body” back to utilize in my daydreams of being somewhere warmer.

From ugly duckling to clumsy swan

I imagine many people go through an ugly duckling phase at some point in their lives. Not me though. I didn’t go through a single ugly duckling phase…I went through many!

I think I was a pretty cute little girl until about the age of 12. That’s when I first got glasses, a perm and started to get a bit rounder in all sorts of areas.

I don't think my outfit was helping my case...

I don’t think my outfit was helping my case…

I had the “pleasure” of enduring all sorts of lovely nicknames during that stage including “Feefee” “Blondie” (for the curly hair) and worst of all “Misery” after Kathy Bates in the movie Misery. Fortunately, I started horseback riding when I was 13 and that, along with puberty being nice to me, helped me blossom into an attractive young woman.

My senior ball which also happened to be my 18th birthday.

My senior ball which also happened to be my 18th birthday.

My lowest weight was 128 pounds when I was 18 and even then, I still felt like the awkward, overweight girl from my past. I gained weight after high school and was around 160 when I got married at 21. During the first few years of married bliss, I pretty much ate anything I wanted, didn’t exercise and I gained another 20 pounds. A healthy weight for my height of 5’5″ inches is between 114-144 pounds (114?? Seriously?!) so I was overweight and didn’t wear it well.

I was around 180 when I got pregnant with Jordan and to me, pregnancy was the perfect time to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted! I was around 220 when I gave birth and that definitely wasn’t all baby weight!

Over a year after having Jordan. I was around 200 pounds

Over a year after having Jordan. I was around 200 pounds

 

I knew I wasn’t a healthy weight and I wasn’t happy with my appearance but I didn’t have the energy or desire to try losing weight. I’m not an athletic person and I hated gym class growing up so the idea of exercise didn’t thrill me. I tried diet pills and shakes, anything that didn’t involve breaking a sweat or changing my diet but those things never work, no matter what the stupid commercials say.

My wake up call came when my father had his first stroke. He’d had diabetes for years but wasn’t taking it seriously. He didn’t eat right and he didn’t exercise and one horrible day when Jordan was still a toddler, he had a stroke. Seeing that happen to my father and watching what it did to him was sad and terrifying. I knew that if I didn’t get my rear in gear, the same thing could happen to me. I didn’t have diabetes and still don’t but I was at a higher risk for it being obese.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I worked out twice a day to DVDs and changed my diet to lose over 40 pounds. I kicked, punched, walked, jumped, weight lifted and did step aerobics until I got down to a healthier weight. I learned to be okay with sweating and I discovered that the more I worked out, the better I felt and the less I wanted to shove unhealthy food in my mouth. I put weight on again when I was pregnant with Jaycie and went through yet another ugly duckling phase, though this one was shorter because I knew how to take the weight off.

Shortly after Jaycie was born.

Shortly after Jaycie was born in July, 2006.

Still one of my fave pictures. October, 2010

Still one of my fave pictures. October, 2010

I’m still not at my goal weight of 140 pounds. I’ve been stuck at 155 for a few years now and according to all those lovely BMI calculators and height and weight charts, I’m overweight. As I think is true of a lot of people who were once heavier, quite often I still feel like that “fat girl” I see when I look at old pictures. I can’t compete with today’s skinny standards and while I know I’m beautiful, sometimes my belief falters.

When Ed Justen from Workspace 36 asked me at the Wolf Meadow Farm grand opening event in February if I’d model for him to help him with his photography portfolio, I immediately and enthusiastically said yes! It wasn’t because I have a big ego, it was because I was thrilled that someone thought I was attractive enough to model. I’d done several at-home photo shoots but the idea of someone else taking my picture sounded like much more fun!

The photo shoot for Koobis Photography & Media was fun and helped remind me that I’m a pretty darn attractive woman. While I’m still not at my goal weight, I do know that I’m not an ugly duckling anymore. Considering the number of times I trip over air pockets, stumble into walls, slip on ice, whack my head on car doors and that I even bonked my head on the stair railing during the photo shoot, I’m more of a clumsy swan these days…

One of the many photos taken by Ed Justen

Ripped? Shredded? How about perforated?

Image courtesy of The Paper Mill Store

Image courtesy of The Paper Mill Store

Anyone who has ever read through a fitness magazine or even just glanced the cover of a fitness magazine in a grocery store has probably seen the words “Ripped!” “Shredded!” “Cut!” describing the bodies of people in rock solid physical shape. Slogans like “How to get ripped in 30 days!” “Shred 10 pounds by bikini season!” “Tips for a cut body in 3 weeks!” are meant to grab you, pull you in and shake you about until you’re amped up enough to start working out.

I agree that being in healthy shape, eating right and taking care of your body is important but sometimes it’s taken to the extreme. There are those who really want a hard body and they work diligently at it until they achieve their desired results and then there are others like myself who just want to firm up a bit and lose those infamous “last 1o pounds of post-baby weight.” I’ve been carrying this “baby weight” for seven years now and it’s fair to say that Jaycie really isn’t the cause of it anymore. My love of yummy, but not always good for me food is the cause of it as is my off and on dedication to exercise.

I’ve been doing the Les Mills Combat workouts for three weeks now and while I’m definitely getting stronger, I’m far from ripped, shredded or cut. I think perforated is a better term for it. As in, I’m ready to be torn, ripped, shredded whatever and I’m on the verge of it but it’s going to take a bit more work to get there. What’s important is that I know I’ll get where I want to be.

What’s also important is accepting the “imperfections” of my body and that I’ll never look flawless as though I’m chiseled from solid marble. I’ve had two children and I have stretch marks. Yes, I admitted it! No amount of working out, creams, potions or magic spells is going to make those disappear. But I don’t want them to disappear. As I’ve read in inspirational quotes they’re my “tiger stripes.” I fought through several hours of labor for each of my girls and they were worth every moment of pain. I wear my badges of courage proudly!

Darn right!!!

I wouldn’t mind being without the post-baby pooch but I do like my softness and my curves. After all, Greek and Roman goddesses weren’t originally portrayed as skinny waifs with bony hips and oversized bosoms, they had soft hips and thighs and meat on their bones! There is real beauty in being a real woman, even one who isn’t ripped, shredded, torn and cut. Being perforated means there is greatness in you and you’re forever ready to reveal your new and amazing inner glow.

Energy and movement

It’s been rather difficult to stay warm lately. Bundled under blankets, gathered around heaters, covered in layers and there are still parts of me that have trouble thawing. One highly effective way I’ve found to warm up and even break a sweat in this frigid cold is by working out. Five minutes into my Les Mills Combat workout, I’m so warm I’ve stripped down to shorts and a tank when only moments ago I was in yoga pants, tank and sweatshirt. After that comes a nice hot shower and I’m sufficiently thawed for at least a few hours.

In the evenings it’s a bit harder to stay warm when the sun has gone down, if it even bothered to show up for the day. Last night drinking wine and painting warmed me up but tonight I’m going to partake in something different. No wine and no painting but lots of music and movement…through dancing.

I have been doing what I now term “living room dancing” since I was a teenager when I’d dance around in my room to my favorite up tempo songs of the time. Some of my earliest favorites were Mr. Vain by Culture Beat, Be My Lover by La Bouche and Rhythm of the Night by Corona. If you don’t know those songs and are curious, check out YouTube. My musical tastes include much more than dance music but it’s still my favorite genre because it always fills me with energy, lifts my mood and makes me want to move!

So tonight I shall indulge in my living room dancing and I’m quite certain that I’ll be warm, energized and happy. No one has witnessed my dancing in person aside from my girls in many years and they might be my only audience from now on but that’s okay. I do it to restore my inner glow, rejuvenate my spirit and this time of year, thaw my frozen appendages.