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Skim nog, snow, and praises of treadmill running

Friday, December 09, 2011

This morning's special treat is "slim nog"... i.e. skim milk, heated, with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, and a little artificial sweetner. Yums! Had it with an omelet and grape juice for my healthy breakfast.

Breakfast came after an early morning session with my friend the snow shovel. It's not a whole lot of new snow, and I cleared it all in one approximately 40 minute session. But it's slick underneath, where the ice is leftover from last Saturday's slush. A part of me wants to weather wimp out of work and go back to bed! We'll see how that plays out... because a choice must be made in the next ten minutes.

Last night I skipped ahead to week 2 day 1 of the 5K your way plan, which is 4 minute jogs with 1 minute recovery cycles. This was what I had on my plan for Saturday... but did it early, knowing it was snowing (rhymes!)

Anyway, gonna make it quick as I need to get on the road if I'm going to. Stay safe, Sparklers!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XCALIBURGIRL 12/13/2011 9:08AM

    Yum, slim nog sounds really nice. I am right now drinking eggnog flavored coffee with french vanilla creamer, about 62 calories total. It tastes almost as good as a Starbucks Eggnog Latte at 350 calories.

Comment edited on: 12/13/2011 9:08:49 AM

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MILLERGIRL719 12/10/2011 3:27PM

    I lived in Nebraska for 3 1/2 years....I remember the snow well. Happy shoveling....what a caloried burner!!!!

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SUNNY332 12/10/2011 9:29AM

    The slim nog sounds wonderful.

I dread winter, snow and ice. The snow we got last week was light but had a layer of ice under it too. There was an accident on the bridge over the Mississippi so our DIL was delayed in the backed up traffic for over 2 hours.

I am off to bike and walk. Have a GREAT day.


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PENNYAN45 12/9/2011 11:21PM

    The slim nog sounds yummy. I often drink an old Weight Watchers drink of milk, banana, vanilla, and ice. Leaving out the banana reduces both the calories and the carbohydrates. I shall give it a try. Thanks for the idea!

Be safe with the snow and ice.


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WATERMELLEN 12/9/2011 8:51PM

    Like the idea of the slim nog . . . and thinking about a little rum flavouring?

Safe driving all winter . . . snow tires make a huge huge difference!!

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_LINDA 12/9/2011 12:27PM

    That nog sounds great -never been a fan of it! Hope you made it safely to work -the ice is still horrendous here, not getting any snow to cover it and not warm enough temperatures to melt it away either..
Have a safe and happy weekend!

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KALIGIRL 12/9/2011 8:38AM

    Hope you made it into the office - I was lucky enough to be chauffeured.
Like your 'nog' - may give it a try!

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DEBRA0818 12/9/2011 8:22AM

    Oh, I do not envy the decisions you have to make in a Nebraska winter, Barb, but I wish you safe journeys and ways to continue your training that keep you safe and healthy.


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MSLZZY 12/9/2011 8:22AM

    You stay safe, too. No snow here but we need some moisture. Just don't want to have to shovel it! HUGS!

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thought I was going to talk about yoga and touching my toes? Well, maybe in a bit, but this level of flexibility I want to talk about is the flexibility of my working out plans, and learning to listen to my body and my soul about the right thing to do on a given "today". Oh, and the weather forecast, too.

First, recall that I made a "blended" training plan that pretty much covers the next 8 months. Clear through July. Then I met with my personal trainer last Saturday to get my new strength training routine. At the end, as she was giving me the recommendations for rotating my workouts between the old and the new routine, she offered to make me up a calendar for the workouts.

My immediate response was "No!" I knew this would not work for me. For although I have this training plan all laid out, I have learned over time that being too rigid about the dates merely sets me up for that conversation with Polly Perfectionism, and self-criticism if I don't follow it exactly. And as anyone over 25-ish knows (and a lot of younger smart people, too)... life happens. You don't always do things on the calendar on the date they are written.

So far, I did Day 2's workout on Day 1, Day 1's on Day 2... took a rest day a day early on Day 3, and did the Day 3 workout on Day 4... I envision the rest of the workout week continuing in a similar vein. I will get 6 or 7 workouts in, they will be the ones that "feel" right depending on how my body and the snowfall responsibilities dictate.

Flexibility in training is vital to success and feeling good about myself. For me. Learn what works for you, and you're well on your way to being fit for life.

And about the touching toes? I could almost do this at the end of the Saturday workout with the trainer! I grinned and mentioned it. I have the feeling there will be more stretching in future routines... emoticon tell a trainer your weakness, and guess what you get!

Life is good. There are flakes in the forecast, and they don't scare me! emoticon

Spark on, my friends! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/9/2011 12:41AM

    You are certainly right on that. You do need to follow your own guide -body knows best! I always chose my exercise class based on how I was feeling when I woke up. With my condition you can change over night. You have to be willing to accept change and compromise. Being consistent is most important, not what you are doing, but that you are doing it regularly as you can.
Enjoy your training -on your terms!

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46SHADOW 12/8/2011 9:12PM

    I hear you!Good luck on the plan and toe touching! emoticon

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BESTSUSIEYET 12/8/2011 10:00AM

    Good for you! I agree ... Being too set on what MUST be done today makes me less likely to do it (think I have a control issue?) it is so important to listen to our bodies, and to honor ourselves in making choices (!!!) that meet today's needs. Now, I'm NOT saying "do whatever feels good" ... We need to keep our goals in mind! But allowing for the changes that come into our lives means less stress, (& less stress-induced over-eating!). Thanks for the good reminder!

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KALIGIRL 12/8/2011 8:51AM

    You are so right - you've worked 'newness' into your routine by just saying no.
emoticon on touching your toes!

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DEBRA0818 12/8/2011 8:48AM

    I'm with you on the flexibility thing -- I cannot abide more than a couple of things a week that are set in stone. Too much happens that interferes with our carefully laid plans (accidents for example -- not that we're talking about me!), and I like a general direction rather than a scripted life. As ever, it seems to be about the right balance for me -- too little planned and I flounder, too much and I panic and stall. I'm beginning to realize as I look backwards and forwards that I am more like a hot house flower than the sturdy German I always imagined myself to be!


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MSLZZY 12/8/2011 8:16AM

    Being and staying flexible saves a lot of stress later on. HUGS!

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Cooking with cats

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I don't think I've mentioned that the cats have indeed grown to the point where nothing in the house is out of reach. I recall a recipe that my mom used to love, where every other line was "remove Johnny's hands from bowl". She used to quote that one when my younger sisters wanted to "help" in the kitchen.

Well, I could write my lunch-making, washing up, and breakfast cooking regime in a similar manner. "Remove cat from sink", wash hands, put on the milk to heat, remove cat from counter, fill coffee carafe, remove cat from sink, wash hands. Mix salad. Remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Weigh nuts and fruit for snack. Measure oats. Remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Bag snacks and finish packing lunch. Pour coffee. Remove cat from counter... Spark. Ah, yes, what would we do without them?

Last night I opted to make a rest day. I made this choice on the drive home, past the gym. I knew I could either lift last night and rest today, or rest yesterday and lift after work tonight. The decision was based on what my back was telling me. One more rest day before the next lifting session seemed in order. Accountability: tomorrow I'd better be telling y'all I lifted tonight!

The thing about training as a mature person is that there is a careful balance between proper training, under training, and over training. My kid sis told me the other day that to maintain strength, one strength workout a week was required. She learned this in a class she's taking (studying to be physical therapist, I think). To increase strength takes more than one. This was in the context of a conversation about "if the weather is too bad to go to the gym, which exercises can I do at home?" I had concluded that most of my two PT workouts I can do at home, or modify slightly to do at home, if I need to... but there are two or three exercises for which a machine is required. The reasoning is that if I missed those on one workout and only got them in once that week, I would not be losing strength.

Taken to a broader interpretation, my one a week since the beginning of November should have kept me as strong as I was to begin with. As I increase it to two a week, I should start to see some improvements. Makes sense to me. And as my major goal is not to LOSE the fitness that I've attained, sounds like a reasonable plan. Adjust, balance, modify. And never, ever, ever give up.

Life's good: Spark on! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/9/2011 12:19AM

    Interesting advice on strength training. I would have thought once a week would not be enough. I will have to remember this to ask my special PT, she is so knowledgeable.
That is the one thing I really, really hate about cats is they are always up on the highest areas in the house, kitchen counter, your favorite easy chair, where ever she can access and demolish plants, etc., etc. My Mom does use a spray bottle when she can, but this cat is a smart sneak and gets up there as soon as you are in another room. She knows what is what. Our dog never showed any inclination to get up on the furniture at all, but he was tall enough, he could lick your face when you were lying on the couch. I do miss the companionship of a dog. This cat spends most of her day sleeping and becomes active at night when you rather be sleeping. I hope your cats give you peace at night..
Love your 'recipe'!!

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MOBYCARP 12/7/2011 9:22PM

    From the title, I envisioned a variation of "101 Ways to Wok Your Dog." Of course, I knew that *you* wouldn't write anything like that!

It's interesting that there's research saying lifting once a week is sufficient to maintain strength. I'd come to that conclusion for myself by observation. The problem is, once a week is a difficult schedule to maintain from a motivational standpoint. If something happens and I miss that one day, I've missed a whole week of lifting!

Oh well. Just gotta do what you can, given time constraints and multiple life priorities.

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WATERMELLEN 12/7/2011 7:52PM

    DH read a book that set out a "once a week" weight lifting program (really demanding) and -- pretty clearly works well for him.

I'm not sure . . . but for me fitness is a whole lot about mood, toning, cardio -- not so much about weight control.

Thanks so much for that luscious looking strawberry -- my oatmeal with cocoa has been "chocolate brownie" ie with walnuts (and Splenda) but will have to try with frozen raspberries or strawberries as the sweetener!

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DEBRA0818 12/7/2011 10:53AM

    I cook with Psycho all the time -- a faithful underfoot companion that "dogs" my every move lest a crumb fall to the floor. The fact that scraps do fall from the sky keeps him pinned to the action. If he wasn't there, I would miss the company!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/7/2011 10:44AM

    I prefer them tenderly grilled with a bit of mint sauce on the side.


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TURTLETALK 12/7/2011 9:56AM

    I felt compelled to read your blog today because I was curious as to what kind of cat recipes you might be sharing. I am happy to see that you are not cooking with cats! emoticon

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SUNNY332 12/7/2011 9:12AM

    A small squirt bottle (used only a few times) sitting on the counter is message enough for my feline friends. They will learn in time.

To funny about your Mom's recipe. So glad the cats facilitated a walk down memory lane.

Have a good day and btw, good choice about lifting. Some times a girl just needs to rest. I am sure you will feel better this evening.

Hugs, Sunny

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KALIGIRL 12/7/2011 8:25AM

    "Adjust, balance, modify. And never, ever, ever give up."
Wise words from a wise woman.

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MSLZZY 12/7/2011 8:17AM

    Good advice on the strength training. I learned something today.
I am so glad my cat avoids the counter and sink. Now to train her to stay off the table-LOL!

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Breakfast and texture

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Yesterday morning I varied my hot cereal and had grits with my fresh strawberries. As they were cooking I was comparing the texture to Cream of Wheat, to my standard steel cut oats, and to rolled oats. It dawned on me the full sensory experience of the texture of the cereal, the fruit, and how eating mindfully opens one up to it.

Last night after work I managed to find the motivation to stop at the gym and swim a marvellous 950 yards to the backdrop of children's swimming lessons in the other lanes. I wore my noseclip and ear plugs, which makes me swim faster. Besides which, they kept both the splashing and the noise from disturbing the zen of rotating strokes. It felt wonderful and comfy, being cold outside but warm in the pool area. When your workout feels like reward, what's not to like?

emoticon Here's to a great Tuesday. Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 12/7/2011 7:56PM

    It's a great idea to change up the texture/mouth feel as well as the colours and flavours . . .

I keep reminding myself that this is the way to enjoy great food: not just grease and salt and sweet!!

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_LINDA 12/6/2011 5:59PM

    Way to swim after work no less! I am not a grains fan, my breafast is always a fruit shake, but the rare time I have it, I prefer crunchy cereals. I may get in a warm pool to do my hip exercises, would be a treat :)

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/6/2011 9:36AM


This morning I'm having brussels sprouts and turkey meatballs cooked in broth. for breakfast. just because I can.

Great job on the swim!

When I was doing laps regularly I got a SwiMP3 to listen to. It was so absorbing I sometimes forgot to flip and ran into the walls!

Comment edited on: 12/6/2011 9:36:47 AM

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SUNNY1432 12/6/2011 9:27AM

    Sounds like you had a wonderful yesterday; I hope today is just has good. emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/6/2011 9:28:25 AM

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SUNNY332 12/6/2011 9:06AM

    Love that attitude, Barb. When you workout feels like a reward, what's not to like? Wow-that is so profound.

BTW - we have grits for breakfast often and love Bob's Red Mill Organic Grits. Talk about flavor. They are awesome.

When we went to Florida a few years ago, we had Grits and Shrimp (a dish of the South) and fell in Love it with it. I fix it occasionally. When we eat the grits, we eat them with a protein or a fruit at breakfast. 1/2 Cup of prepared grits will get you through the morning.

Take care and let me know if you try Bob's. They are the BEST!

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    "When your workout feels like reward, what's not to like?"

What a great line - that will be my mantra when I'm needing to push myself to work out and then feeling pleased that I did so later. Thanks! Have a great day!

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MSLZZY 12/6/2011 7:57AM

    Happy swimming! The nearest heated pool is 35 miles away. Guess I'll stay home LOL!

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Music and moving

Monday, December 05, 2011

Listening to music while working out is nothing new. It's recommended far and wide. I sometimes have a soundtrack while going about my morning wake-up get ready for the day, too.

This morning's sound track is Handel's Messiah. In fact, this was Saturday morning's sound track, too. At the gym for my warmup I had the Flight of the Bumblebee and the Flight of the Valkyries. In the few spinning classes I've taken they have had these modern hip-hop and such where I don't recognize (or vaguely do) the artist or the piece, but they have a strong beat. Helps one keep the pedals moving.

Not that I am turning up my nose at more modern genres... I love working out to ABBA (although my son laughs and makes fun of them), to the Beatles and the Beachboys, or the Eagles and collections of hits from multiple artists of the 50's and 60's. Music of one's youth does tend to make one feel younger and more like moving about... it is tied up in memories.

I became aware that I'm "out of it" when I saw the Spark Survey about favorite workout tunes and I didn't know any of them! Current music has passed me by. I might hear them in the background now and then when the radio is on, but I'm past the point of actively seeking new music.

I've been infected by virtue of having lived through my son's teenage years with some from a decade ago that stick with me: Greenday, Analis Morisette, and Tubthumpin'. Even a few country ones get me going (When a God-fearing woman gets the blues?) But even his "music of youth" has moved into a stability phase. I must need grandkids!

Still, nothing matches the classics for me in getting moving. Whether it is the lift of something like Messiah, or something that makes me walk faster, like Bach's Brandenberg concerti (No. 4 and 5 are particularly fast-paced)... music has the ability to feed the soul while I'm moving the body!

What's on YOUR soundtrack?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CEHALLA 12/6/2011 8:50AM

    Messiah and other works by Handel are some of my all-time favorites. I don't have an iPod, so I don't listen to music when I work-out unless I'm at the gym or using a DVD. But I love music and have plans to get one eventually.

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MILLERGIRL719 12/6/2011 6:50AM

    My tunes are so ecclectic it might make your head spin. But it is fun and keeps me moving. I need to get back at it. I've been sick since Thanksgiving emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 12/5/2011 11:38PM

    I don't know any of the modern stuff, but I do love country and anything from the 70's. Ditto what "Cookme" said! I love, love, love working out to ABBA....the soundtrack to Mama Mia, and especially "Dancing Queen." I will literally stop what I'm doing and dance to that. Kind of embarrassing since it's the ringtone on my cell phone, lol!

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DEBRITA01 12/5/2011 8:49PM

    emoticonI love any genre...and I usually have a song in my head most of the day. Nothing like music to lift the spirits and get one up and going... Enjoy!

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_LINDA 12/5/2011 7:03PM

    I am with you on that Spark list! Didn't have a clue who they were or what they sounded like. My rock musical tastes stayed in the seventies and thanks to digital TV, I can still listen to pure 70's. I can tolerate some of the 80's though, but hate this hip hop trash they play sometimes. I think ABBA has great music and love that my Curves has a Abba Friday every week :)))!! I don't mind the Latin rhythms of Zumba though. As I can't wear ear phones they make me deaf, I don't get to take my music with me anywhere :((.
Here is to SANE music!

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KARIDIAN1 12/5/2011 4:48PM

    I don't have a soundtrack, I usually walk with my husband and it's a good chance for us to talk and catch up.

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TISHTOES 12/5/2011 2:57PM

    P.S. I always have music in my head, whatever I played last (I'm a musician) or heard recently or am working on.

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TISHTOES 12/5/2011 2:56PM

    I bought a James Galway CD last year and was listening to it while driving down the freeway. When Flight of the Bumblebee came on I started speeding. Not recommended for driving, haha!

I like Gloria that was in Flashdance and an ice skating movie (don't remember which one). It gets me moving.

So glad you are sticking to classics. Whatever works for you.

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MSLZZY 12/5/2011 1:43PM

    I really don't have a soundtrack but I let my mind do it's wandering and play it in my head.
Anything BeeGees that has a good beat, basically whatever I can think of.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/5/2011 9:44AM

    Oh, so many: modern country, Billy Joel, Elton John, movie soundtracks (Mama Mia! & Chicago), Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, just about anything from the 70s. Nothing like good music to make you feel good and help you move!

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KALIGIRL 12/5/2011 8:02AM

    Just what's in my head emoticon

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