Tuesday, October 29, 2013
If you are considering getting a SPARK activity tracker (or any activity tracker) DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. Yes, I was going for peer pressure there, but trust me, this is the healthiest peer pressure around.
If you look hard enough, you can ALWAYS find ways to be more active in your daily life. 30,000 steps are hiding somewhere in your day, too.
Today I walked the most I have ever walked since I started tracking my steps almost a year ago. This is great and all, but the most significant thing about this to me is that it was so NORMAL.
I walked 30,000 steps on an average Tuesday. I didn't go to the gym. I worked both my jobs. Yet the activity tracker has made getting physical activity in my daily life so effective that I walkedm30,000 steps.
So, what did it look like? To be fair, my daytime job (7am-3pm) is very slow paced. I often have down time. Not everybody has this luxury, but I bet you can incorporate SOME more walking into your day.
I arrived at work at 7 and immediately began walking in circles while I responded to emails, checked for updates, made phone calls, and did my morning computer work on my iPad. By 9:15, I had walked 10,000 steps. My motto is 10,000 steps by 10:00. Yes, I look a little silly while I walk around the office. Thankfully there is nobody to be bothered by this. I just pace back and forth and in circles.
I had to do some typing intensive work, so I sat down and did it while I ate a snack.
I read a lengthy thing for work while I walked. At this point, I finished the main things I had to get down that day. I walked around while doing stuff on my ipad some more. At 11:45, I had walked 15,000 steps. I ate lunch, then walked 5000 steps as part of my "lunch break." I don't get a formal break, but if it is slow (which it always is) I take one. This took an hour. I did some work that had come in, and then walked the last 30 minutes of work, leaving with 23,000 steps.
Today was slower than usual. I usually only get in 15,000 steps while I am at work... 10,000 while I do my morning work, and 5000 during lunch
I went to my second job, nannying. I picked up the boys (3 and 6) from school, and drove to their house. I walked in circles around the yard as they played outside. I asked them questions and talked to them as I walked around. We went inside to color. I walked in circles around the dining room table as they colored. I interacted with them the entire time. They sat down at 5:00 to watch a show while I made dinner. I walked around the house reading a magazine while dinner cooked. At 5:30, I gave them dinner and walked around the dining room table while they ate.
I got home at 6:30, and realized I had taken 29,000 steps! I walked around my block before going inside, getting 30,000 steps. :-)
If I hadn't had the activity tracker, I never would have walked while I talked on the phone or checked my email at work. I never would have walked while I was watching the kids play in the yard.
Moral of the story: it is possible to have a very active lifestyle, even outside of working out... You just have to be creative in finding it.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
NEW LOWEST WEIGHT
I am beyond thrilled to announce that I have finally reached a NEW low weight... 171!
I was stuck for so, so long from 173-180. Last year around this time was actually the first time that I hit 173 pounds. I was excited about it then, but I'm even happier about 171 pounds. This means that the 160s are not far off! Woohoo. The first time I tried seriously to loss weight. I went from 207 to 173, and then slowly gained everything back. I think I did it too quickly at that point- I lost all of that in under three months. This time, no way. Yes, I stayed the same, yes, it took me a year, but I am proud to be where I am now.
I can't believe I have been stuck at the same place for a year, and am finally moving away from it. Just having this little two pound breakthrough is so motivating to me.
I have thought a lot about why it took me so long to lose this weight. A large part of it was my lifestyle at the time, at first I was ridiculously busy in order to graduate school.. Worked a full time Job, a part time Job, and took three classes. I moved. I lives in India for four months.
Those circumstances all play a part in it, but I think part of it is that my weight no longer affected my life.
At 220 pounds, I couldn't play sports, I couldn't keep up with my friends, I got tired easily, I ate poorly because that's all I knew to do so my health was poor, and I had lower self esteem which affected my relationships. I couldn't shop with my friends or anywhere normal because nothing fit me. I was always aware that I was the biggest woman in the room in many circumstance. It was hard.
At 175 pounds, I wore a size 10 or 12, and could shop anywhere. I could run further than many of my friends. I went for 10 miles walks in the jungle. After church, I always played volleyball or frisbee without worrying how I looked or getting tired. I felt like I was a "normal" size and didn't stand out. I felt so much better about myself, not necessarily because I LOOKED better, but because I had proved to myself what I was capable of.
My weight doesn't stop me from participating in life, and that is freeing. However, it doesn't mean I am as healthy as I can be.
I would like to lose 20 more pounds. I would like to be a size 6/8. It's crazy, because I already wear a 10. I would like to get more muscle in my triceps, stomach, back, and legs. I have always neglected weight training, but I find it increasingly important to work harder in that area.
But for now, I am just going to enjoy the weight I have lost and keep doing what I am doing.
Monday, September 23, 2013
I figured I can give an update about how my day to day life is going.
On the fitness front, I LOST my fitbit. I was so upset. I walk over 20,000 steps per day with one or to days of only 10,000-15,000. I'm so sad I lost it. I called it my best friend and looked at it all the time. I lost it Friday. Ugh.
But I didn't let it get me down. Sunday morning I walked for two hours. Today (Monday) I have walked for almost three and am working on my fourth hour. For those who don't know, I do work on my tablet while I walk around the room in which I work. It makes me walk a little more slowly, and work a little more slowly, but my job is very slow paced (which is why I have time to write this while at work).
I haven't started running again since my knee started ballooning each time I ran. I went to see the chiropractor and my hips are misaligned. I have lower back pain, walk a little funny, and have knee and hip pain from it. It happened when I was in a (minor) Vespa accident. Unfortunately, I don't have enough money to actually pay the chiropractor to fix it. I'll just pray that God will heal me, I guess.
As far as strength training, I have some weights I have been meaning to do, but haven't gotten to it yet. I do push ups, sit ups, squats, planks, etc- body weight movements, but nothing serious right now. I'm just really enjoying walking, so I'm going with it.
I severely cut down the amount of sugar I'm eating. I only eat sugar if it comes in fruit, vegetables, or dairy products. Even though I have a major sweet tooth, it's working. When I stopped eating sugar before, I went crazy and bought specialty products and everything. I don't have the money to do that now, so if some things have minimal amounts of sugar I'm not going to worry about it (like peanut butter and whole wheat bread and all bran cereal). I eat few processed foods, so I don't have to worry too much about it. I do eat frozen bananas or grapes every night.
Three days a week I work for 15 hours. Half of it is babysitting and the other half is my day job, which, like I said, is easy. So it's not really hard to work 15 hours, but I do pack food for an entire day at once. I have a fridge and microwave at both locations which is really nice.
Here's an example of what I pack/eat each day. It's usually quite similar to this:
Big cup of coffee with 1/4 cup 2% milk that I drink while driving to work (30 calories)
Two all-bran blueberry muffins, homemade (140 calories)
10 baby carrots with homemade ranch dressing (50 calories)
12 ounces homemade spinach purée soup that I froze in mason jars (the recipe is, in short, spinach+spices+vegetable stock+blender) (75 calories)
Cheese stick (70 calories)
Hard boiled egg (75 calories)
Apple (80 calories)
Whole peach (60 calories)
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt (50 calories)
10 grams sliced almonds (60 calories)
2 Organic 2 ingredient corn tortilla (100 calories)
1/4 cup fat free refried beans (45 calories)
1 ounce shredded cheese (100 calories)
2 tbsp homemade pics de gallo (15 calories)
1 cup grapes (70 calories)
Smoothie: 3 cups spinach, 1/4 cup blueberries, 8 strawberries, 1/4 cup nonfat yogurt or milk (100 calories)
1 piece sprouted grain bread (60 calories... It's small)
1 tsp peanut butter (30 calories)
1/2 banana, frozen in slices (40 calories)
Cup of herbal tea (0)
All together, 1250 calories.
This actually is fewer calories than I usually eat... I'm usually closer to 1500, but when I pack it all and plan it all out, it ends out wowing out so that I eat quite well. It's balanced throughout the day, so I never go to long without eating, and I eat something I truly love at every single meal. My 3:00 snack and evening snack are definitely my treat times, and I really look forward to what I am going to et at those times. I also weigh everything out on the food scale while I'm packing it, so I know exactly how many calories are in everything that I'm eating. Some things I am disappointed about, but other things (like sliced almonds and bananas) are actually fewer calories than I had expected.
Alright, that's what a day in my life looks like. How does yours compare?
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I'm a big believer that every single step counts.
As far as exercise, every single step counts. The ones that you get from deciding to take the stairs, from running an extra mile, from chasing your toddler around the yard, from faithfully walking your dog every single night. These steps add up.
With eating, every single step counts as well. Each request for, "no sour cream, please," counts. Each bite of an apple and each vegetable washed, chopped, and placed in the fridge, ready for a busy day, all count. They all count towards a change in lifestyle for you.
But there's the other type of steps that count too. I feel like weight loss and healthy living are 20% practical, and 80% mental. The practical side is things like having time and a means to exercise, having money and resources to buy and prepare healthy food, weighing food and learning proper portion sizes, or eating the right amount of protein for satiation. The mental side is our motiation: How much do you want this? Do you want this even when you are stressed? Do you want this even when you are tired? Do you want this enough to sacrifice something for it?
Something I've never thought of before is that the steps we take towards enhancing our motivation count too.
Are you reading this? Then you are taking a step in the right direction. If you are reading this, you want to be spurred on towards making good choices. If you are reading this, you want to be encouraged to do better. If you are reading this, then you care.
Each step that you take towards staying motivated is a step that counts. For that reason alone, you are a success. I don't care what you've eaten this week or this month or this year. You are a success because you are taking steps towards being healthy.
Maybe you read spark people but never actually track your calories. Maybe you've started over the program ten times. Maybe you have failed again and again. The very fact that you are on this site right now instead of the million other sites on the web means that you are headed in the right direction. Take heart, because you are a success.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
I walked there.
I'm a walker, through and through. I've tried to be a runner, and sometimes I do still run (jog, really), but I am still a walker.
I've walked up mountains- both literally and figuratively. I've walked pushing strollers of babies in slow circles around the neighborhood. I've walked with my dog, taking long strides to keep up with his trot. I've walked on a treadmill, to the steady hum drowned out by Michael Jackson and No Doubt blaring into my headphones. I've walked up mountains, climbing out of the Phoenix ballet with the southwest sun beating down onto me, but not beating me down. I've walked through the jungle of India, eyes peeled for leopards, and being startled by the roar of a nearby elephant. I've walked across streams on stepping stones and fallen trees. I've walked through the thick forests of the appalachian trail, carefully staying on the narrow path. I've walked to work, school, and the grocery store more times than I can count. I've walked through the streets of Chicago, dodging taxis taking right turns and speeding up as I passed by prostitutes and drug dealers. I walked across the beaches of Hawaii, with sand burning my feet and the breeze blowing against my face.
I walked to my brother's hospital room, not realizing how sick he really was. I walked to his casket to say good bye, one last time, before he was lowered into the grave.
I walked to class faithfully, five days a week, for four years before I finally walked to the stage of my university to take my hard earned diploma.
I walked onto airplanes, waiting for the next adventure, walking out of the terminal into dozens of airports in Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, New York, Maine or Alabama.
I walked with with friends, roaming the streets late at night, talking, laughing, and looking for something fun to happen.
I walked next to my grandpa as he battled brain cancer, walking with him as he exited the hospital after he finally won.
I've walked up to people who became my best friends, and I've walked up to people who would have completely destroyed me had I never walked away.
I walked down the aisle in a red or blue or yellow dress, arms linked with a strange man, before turning and watching my friend, dressed in white, walk down the aisle.
I walked hold hands with a man with beautiful black eyes, staring over at him too often to think about where we were going or to notice if we had actually gone anywhere at all.
I've walked in circles, not getting anywhere, before finally realizing I was stuck, and I've walked straightforward, determined, with a goal in mind.
I've walked down rows of the grocery store filled with snickers bars, BBQ lays and rootbeer and I've walked down rows of the grocery store filled with eggplant, spinach, and bananas.
I've walked to the buffet line five times in one night and I've walked to the gym five times in one week.
In my life, I've walked many placed. I've walked down the path to losing 40 pounds, and am walking my way to losing 60. I've walked down a road of health, and fitness. I've walked happy roads and I've walked sad roads.
So now, when I walk, as I count the calories I've burned, check my watch to be sure I'm getting my fitness minutes in, and check the scale to make sure all this walking is paying off, I stop to reflect.
Yes, I'm walking now for one purpose, but I have walked so many places in my life, but this is just one of them. I'm walking around the block to lose weight, and I'm walking away from 215 pounds, but this is just one walk.
I will continue to walk, not only for the walks I have taken, but for the rest of the walks I will take. I don't know where my life will take me, but I know that wherever I end up, I can say: I walked there.
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