Zzzzzz

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Today is the last day of April. I survived! Congratulations to everyone who completed the A to Z Challenge! After running around all morning (I almost have all my steps in for the day after coaching soccer), I’m going to celebrate making it through the challenge with a nap. I’ve been looking forward to this nap all week. The only things that might keep me from it are the books I bought during our Barnes and Noble date night last night. Sleep? Read? Such a difficult choice. What will really happen is I will try to read and fall asleep after a few pages. Sounds delightful.

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Yoga Workout for Non-Yoga People

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Until my fitness class at church back in March, I had not pulled out my yoga mat in ages. Not only is yoga out of my realm of expertise, but I also avoid floor ab exercises at all costs due to back issues. When we got to yoga week, though, I was pleasantly surprised by a realistic workout that my muscles appreciated (just as a side note, I’m not into the meditation side of things that sometimes accompanies yoga, but I could definitely benefit from the balance and flexibility).

The source of this workout was Real Simple‘s website of all places. I’ve found other workouts on their website too, including an exercise band workout that I did while traveling last summer. There are several 15 minute workouts on there for those of us who would rather not spend hours at the gym, plus they have clear instructions with pictures.

Xylitol, where are you?

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Sweeteners seem to come in and out of style daily. When I was planning for today’s post, I went to the store to buy some xylitol. I used to have a Biggest Loser baking cookbook that had xylitol as an ingredient in several recipes, so I thought I might try it out. When I got to the store, I saw Equal (Does anyone buy this any more?), Splenda, lots of Stevia, and a bunch of sugar alternatives like agave nectar and coconut sugar. It’s really amazing how many ways you can make things sweet.

With all of those options, there was no xylitol in sight. In general, I’ve found that things like this aren’t great. I’d rather eat a smaller portion of the real thing than using a weird concoction and pretend I’m eating sugar. I’m not sure about the benefits of agave nectar and coconut sugar, but I really like both of them.

Do you have a favorite sweetener? If so, please share in the comments!

 

A Whole Lot of Whole Foods

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I’ve been upping my vegetable game lately. The percentage of whole foods I’ve been eating has definitely gone up. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am not a clean eater. One of my ingredients for dinner was margarine (gasp!). I’m not on the Whole30. I like grains and dairy a bit too much for that.

While I am far from perfect, I am really working on eating more produce, and it’s helping me improve my eating overall. I love when I can focus on adding things instead of taking them away. I’m also trying to make more things myself. For instance, I made my own whipped cream the other day instead of buying Cool Whip. I know this doesn’t save calories, but it made my dessert much more satisfying. I’d love to do more things like that, and I’m hoping that will work well with my new gardening hobbies.

Volleyball Training Program

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I always know that it’s going to be a good blog post when I’m crying when I write it. This is not one of those posts. Don’t get me wrong, I love volleyball. However, it’s not really a deep subject.

When I was younger, my primary concerns in the off season were to practice my skills and maintain conditioning. Things have gotten a little more complicated these days. Some of the most important joints in volleyball are trouble spots for me now. My right rotator cuff is partially torn (not painful, though, since I’ve gone through physical therapy). My left shoulder now hurts in a similar way to how my right shoulder used to feel. My back and hip fluctuate between various degrees of pain. I could go on.

With all of this in mind, I need to figure out the best way to get ready for next season. Here are my thoughts.

  • I could use some sprints. The faster I can get to the ball, the less I have to throw myself on the ground.
  • It’s probably smart for me to start doing my physical therapy exercise on my left shoulder to see if that helps.
  • My back and hip tend to feel best when I’m doing strength training like kettlebells and deadlifts. The issue is that those types of exercise also tend to lead to shoulder pain eventually. So, I need to implement lower body strength training that doesn’t involve my shoulders. Squats, perhaps (although, those sometimes hurt my knees…sigh).

 

 

Under the Sun

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Someone at work mentioned that I was tan today. I would call that an interesting definition of the color that has appeared on my face:

 

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I’m loving the warm weather. Spending time out in the sun has given me a lot of opportunities to be active. I’ve been rediscovering things that I loved when I was younger. I’ve been reading more (it’s perfect reading on the porch weather!), feeding a neighbor cat (a “pet” without obligations), and playing in the dirt (aka gardening).

There’s nothing new under the sun, including sunburns. I get them so easily. You’d think I’d learn to wear sunscreen at some point. I guess this is the year of being a grown up, so I better go buy some. Here are some things that have been keeping me busy lately.

 

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Working in the garden

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Soccer all morning on Saturday

TV and Me

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My most-watched TV shows of all time are likely Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. People have mocked me for this. I don’t care. I’m not ashamed. I’m not 1,000 years old. I just like words and really hard trivia that even super smart people don’t always know. Other than that, I watch some ABC sitcoms and an occasional show on Netflix (things like Gilmore Girls, Switched at Birth, Chuck, iZombie, and Fixer Upper). According to one study, the average American watches around 5 hours of TV a day. I’m more of a 1-2 hours per day kind of girl.

Even though I don’t spend an unusual amount of time watching TV, I have a little bit of TV guilt sometimes. There was, for instance, the summer that I came home from work and watched Gilmore Girls until I went to bed every night. Also, I recall a time when  I couldn’t stop talking about how ridiculous the premise was for Switched at Birth until I finally watched it and couldn’t stop. I happen to also do this with games on my phone and podcasts. I have a problem. With the Netflix binge watching that’s all the rage these days, our nation as a whole has a TV problem.

So, how do we balance the desire to watch good (or even so-so) TV with our desire to watch our waistlines?  Well, sometimes I just need to sink into the couch and take a break. No matter what culture would have us believe, it’s okay to do something that isn’t super productive once in a while. Life is not about doing as much stuff as possible.

There is something to be said, though, about staying active as our bodies were meant to be. I sometimes get a little restless when I’m watching TV. I feel like I should be doing something more meaningful. Sometimes I ignore the feeling, Other times, I use the TV as a backdrop for my workout. I also will play Netflix on my phone while I’m cleaning the kitchen or use commercial breaks as a time to do a quick pickup in the living room and dining room.

Whether it’s watching in moderation, cutting TV out cold turkey, or just do a little multitasking, I think it’s important for us to be aware of entertainment habits and whether they are supporting our goals. On that note, I’m going to watch some iZombie. 🙂

Sweet Scale Success!

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As much as I love the idea of hanging in there and doing my best when I’m not losing weight, it can get a little exhausting. After three months of the scale hovering around the same number, it’s finally heading down! This morning, I weighed in at 235.2 pounds. I’m soooo close to the huge milestone of 40 pounds lost. To give you some perspective, I’ve been working on this chunk of 10 pounds for the last 6 months.

I’m really enjoying my week off of all goals. I’m not going crazy and throwing all caution to the wind. I’m still making healthy choices for the most part; I spent an hour digging in the garden today and picked a 100 calorie Greek yogurt for an evening snack. I’ll pick up a couple of goals on Monday, but until then I’m drinking in the sweet freedom.

Really Good R Blogs

In case you’re interested in reading other good weight loss blogs, I have a couple of recommendations.

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The first one is called Roni’s Weigh. It’s written by Roni Noone who started her blog back in 2005 as a way to journal her weight loss journey. Now that she has lost 70 pounds and is maintaining her weigh loss, she shares her active lifestyle (running, CrossFit, family activities, etc) and talks about what life’s like on the other side of all of this.

 

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The second blog has my favorite blog title ever: Runs for Cookies. If you know me, you know how I feel about dessert. I’m not a runner, but I’m certainly inspired by them. Katie lost 125 pounds in 16 months! She’s been writing for five years, so her blog is full of great stuff. It’s so nice to see stories like hers to remind myself that this is totally possible.

 

New Normal

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I have this problem where I want amazing results for almost zero effort. I long for the day where making healthy choices comes naturally to me and doesn’t feel like so much work. I suppose I assume that all thin and healthy people walk through life without a care in the world when it comes to eating habits and physical activity. They always automatically go for the healthier option, right? They are never tempted to eat everything in sight, and they certain never have to put any effort into it.

Well, I know that’s crazy. It’s like saying that everyone always loves brushing their teeth and putting gas in their car. It’s not that it’s effortless, it’s that it’s necessary. While I don’t think this is every going to be like I’m floating through a field of daisies and butterflies as I’m losing and maintaining my weight, I have at least some hope that I’m finding a new normal.

That means it is now normal for me to be involved in some sort of physical activity, whether it’s volleyball, or walking in the park, or lifting weights in my basement. It means it’s normal for me to have a serving of dessert instead of mounds of it and to pick a protein and a veggie as the core of nearly every meal. It’s also normal for me to be honest about my struggles and admit when I’ve messed up. There’s no need to project a false image of perfection.I’m not fooling anyone, and I’m not helping myself if I do that.

There’s a tiny part of my that misses my old normal. There were things that were comforting and easy about that normal. It wasn’t all bad, but it was limiting and it was imbalanced. It may not be glamorous and it may not always feel natural, but making healthy choices can be my normal. Basically, I’ve come to the realization that I need treat myself like I’m my own parent. As an adult, I’m the one who is responsible for making sure I eat my vegetables and limit my screen time. Not always fun, but definitely necessary.