Monday Musings

Happy Monday you crazy kids.

I’m heading into a new week like….

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Well, I wanna get back to beast mode, at least in the realm of my athletic shenanigans.

I shared in a post last week, it’s the Small Things,     https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/16/its-the-small-things/   that I had hurt my hand and it was hindering me from everything but running.

I did get in some runs last week so that felt good. I did try and lift one of my light little weights yesterday (15lbs) and just the weight of it resting in my palm reminded me it might be a little longer till I’m hitting heavy metal again…weights that is…. music is an every day thing 😉

Anyway, it’s healing. Two nights ago I slept without any bandages on it. It’s been a cover of “protection”. I felt so free without it 😛

Today is the first day I haven’t automatically put one on, again, it shields it from those unexpected surprises.

‘Cause like, if you’re gonna hit any part of your body, ever, it will always be the part you may have wounded, right???

So yeah, hitting the week in uh… lurching beast mode… haha

Last week though…

I was a working woman.

Well. Wait. When am I not??

From the time I hit the floor till I pass out at night, I’ve got something going on.

This work though was actually going to a … job.

One where I showed up and worked certain hours and was given some money at the end of the week.

My boss was my son. A real tough cookie haha

He has a small engine repair shop and the lady who handles the front was going to be out and kinda let him know…last minute…

Could I help some? Anything? Please?

Well, me being me and Mom, how could I not get him through the week?

True, some discussion of mechanical parts was over my head but I’m pretty fast on my feet, and I’m good with customers and talking to people. I can talk on the phone and I have no problem dealing with difficult people.

I can take charge and I can see things that need done and do it.

Being strong doesn’t hurt either as I had to use my girl muscles to help him load a generator onto a truck.

Heavy. Those things are stupid heavy.

Grateful I had at least enough muscular strength to help him handle that.

A work horse and secretary all in one.

I may have done my job too well as he’s been broadly hinting he’d love to have me there all the time….

I’ve had part time jobs off and on over the years of being married and having children. I’ve been blessed to be a Mom who could be home and run the roost and all that goes with it. There is always so much to be done!  I’ve also worked the direct sales “business” for awhile ( not for me).

I’m having fun with my furniture flipping and sold enough last month to pay for some car work I needed done ( I felt like such a grown up) I’m actually, finally writing a post on that topic ( not car repairs, my furniture flipping 😉 ) it should be launched tomorrow.

Finally. I know. I’ve only promised for weeks.

All that to say… my work week.

I’d be up early, go for a run, clean up, and get a couple things done before I left.

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They just don’t make a “messy, sweaty” filter. I gotta dial that up myself. haha

 

When I got home in the evening, I’d do whatever was waiting.

I’ve always given a big nod to women who work outside home and have to come in and pick up the household reins again at the end of the day.

I continue to admire you.

This week reminded me of all that goes on at home when I’m not there or what will still be waiting when I do get there.

On topic of cool things that make me smile

I’m trolling the produce dept loading up on veggies and whatnot when I hear…

“Hey girl!” and see one of the women who works back there hurrying over to me.

She said “do you notice anything different?”

I laughed and told her “Yeah you look really thin!”

It should be mentioned here, I’m not uh, socially awkward, hubby frequently asking me if I could get a stump to talk.

I sassily remind him, it’s a gift 😉

Anyway, over months this woman had asked me questions that I get sometimes.

“What do I do?”, “How or what do I eat?” “What kind of exercise do I do?” etc etc.

I’d chat with her, encourage her, as she talked to me about wanting to lose weight and get on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

I asked her what she’d been doing and she said ” all that stuff you told me to do. I’m eating more green veggies and laid off junk food and alcohol. I’m sticking to lean meat and watching my food intake”

I gave her a high five applauding her efforts as she told me she’d dropped over 30 pounds in the last 3 1/2 months.

She said “Now I just need to know what to do to look like you do” ( as she gestures to my arms kinda flexing haha)

I told her.. “You’ve just gotta get faithful about lifting heavy stuff”

I gave her some suggestions and she got ready to scamper back to work looking back laughing she said “Hey, 61 is the new 50 for me!”

You know… some days… I wonder if what I do matters.

I use my voice fearlessly.

I’m to bold for some, and yet resonate with others. I’m at an age that I don’t care if I’m someone’s cup of tea or not.

Then I get a gift like that, someone who I had casually talked with, encouraged, answered questions and applauded her efforts come to me and share and it’s so freaking satisfying to hear stuff like that.

It reminded me again, I need to just be me. Do what I do. Use my voice, be bold, be who I am.

My voice can impact the world.. I tend to forget that.

You.

You are no different. You have a voice and a personal world to touch and interact with.

Our “vehicles” might look different…. I have a health and fitness blog and a talkative mouth and an occasional… um.. attitude.. ha.. but I use of all that and then some.

You might have coffee with a friend at your kitchen table and that is where you excel and make an impact.

Use your voice in whatever way that looks like.

I’ll stop preaching now….

I finally got around to listing some of my furniture pieces I finished off last week. You may remember my fun bright pink chair?

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it was the first piece to go! Now as a creative person I know this and I do what I want to do, but there’s that “what if I have a pink chair for the rest of my life??” thought too.

This piece was so easy and I had such a clear vision for it and honestly I just let my free spirit out all over it.

I also understood that I might have to wait for another fun, free spirited person to come along and embrace it…. however long it might take.

An hour after I posted it a lady messaged me she wanted it. That it was “perfect” for her daughters desk.

And off it went to it’s new home.

Yet, the clean, “safe” neutral one that I absolutely adore and love and “want to maybe keep” that I thought would go first, is still with me.

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I think it’s just so feminine and pretty….

 

Go figure.

 

I told hubby this business will teach me patience in a myriad of ways.  It can be one of my um.. short comings… that patience thing haha

I can’t end this post without talking about food, right?

 

As mentioned, it was a busy week. Crock pots are always a hero for, well just about any time. This hooked me when it said I could “toss chicken in, whip up sauce, pour over it and leave it.”

6 hours later I steamed broccoli and made some rice and dinner was good to go.

Oh. It was super tasty too.

Oh but wait…

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Why yes, yes that’s an old weight on top of my crock pot….

So I decided to make beans last night with a ham bone left from a meal this past week.  I guess I got a bigger bag of beans than usual, and the ham bone was pretty big too. Anyway, the lid wouldn’t entirely sit flat like it needed to so I kinda improvised.  I used one of these old sanded weights that’s probably as old as I am that I had laying around… it neatly smooshed the lid down so the crock pot could do it’s magic.

Ham and beans… I’ve now neatly labeled myself for sure as a southern girl haha

A final thought….

 

Apples have been on my snack list a lot this week. Crunchy, sweet, good for your teeth and your body, I’d say they are up there on the perfect snack list.

Hmmm maybe a food spotlight on them for an upcoming post?

Ok your turn! Top my week. What have you been up to? Do you have a favorite healthy food you’d like to see me spotlight? Let me know!

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It’s The Small Things

You know that saying “it’s the small things in life?”  Meaning it’s those things we might not think much about that really matter in big ways. Things we seemingly take for granted and don’t often give maybe a lot of thought too.

Sometimes, the small things really are big things.

For example, my week. I hurt my hand last week.  And not just “a little hurt” but hurt enough to make some things not only painful ( as in make me sick to my stomach pain)   but also super inconvenient as well.

My advice… don’t stick your hand in when two dogs are at odds with each other.  Dumb I know. It’s an unthinking move at the time.

Of course, it was my left hand.  And yes, that’s my dominant hand. I’m one of the few unique ones operating with a hand many of you still express surprise over when it’s revealed.

Ha… where… do you think all my artistic creativity comes from ? 😛

I’d never view my health or body wellness as a “small” thing, it’s just that I’m used to going through my days fairly effortlessly and without dealing with inconveniences.

I never really pondered the ease of doing zippers, buckling belts, tying shoes, doing my makeup, driving! , writing,  waking up without my hand instantly aching or attempting to grasp things with my hand.

I have now pondered it a lot.

What physical activities?

Given my hand had some serious injuries, it’s curbed me from activities like boxing, rowing, cycling, weights.. pretty much anything that requires me to have a good strong grip.

Yes, I can still run but my hand was swollen and I didn’t think it was a great idea to be out swinging it and running and all that would come along with it.

Today was my first venture back out, a short 5kish distance to see how it felt. I tried to be mindful to hold it up more and not let my arm move as freely as I usually might. I guess it worked ok ’cause I didn’t feel awful after.

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It’s a good thing I like running ’cause it appears I will only be doing that for awhile. I’m ok with the idea since there are so many ways I can adjust running to mix it up and not get bored.

Running let’s me plot different routes, distances and I can determine how easy or hard that will be.

Do I include a route where I know I’ll get plenty of hills? Or do I keep it mostly flat? Better yet, do I want to do just hill repeats which is a strength and speed workout all in one? I really, weirdly, love doing hill repeats. If you’ve read my posts before on them, they aren’t your average “hill” but literally are mountains that have been paved over. It’s really quite a nice workout.

I was picking up my mail one day and one of my neighbors was there at that time. Our conversation went like this…

“Hey! I saw you running up that big hill this morning!”

Me… “yes, yes I was.”

Neighbor… “Running. You were running up it.”

( he said it like a statement of something I may or may not have been aware of)

“Yes sir, I was running up that hill. You are correct.”

“Girl you are crazy. I don’t even think I could manage to walk up it.”

Ha I should be semi amused he called me “girl” and  it should be noted this isn’t the first time my neighbors may have referred to me as a little crazy in regards to my cycling and running on some of the tough terrain we live on.

So yeah. Hill workouts will definitely be a part of my regime as my hand heals until I can get back to that other stuff I love doing.

But I digress….

in this week as I’ve dealt with it I have thought about those things, big and small, I can take so casually. Perhaps it’s when you go through struggles or difficulties that you focus in on it more.

It should be noted, I really don’t do confinement well. I don’t do good with clipped wings. I don’t do well not being able to confidently take care of the things around me I need to.

I literally have grass threatening to grow over my head…. I need to have a strong enough hand for that push mower.

Perhaps it’s in these times that I am more aware of those seemingly small things I assume is a privilege and it’s really not.

small things

 

None of us are really, entitled to anything. Which makes the gifts we have so much more treasured and valuable.

Being able to freely use my hand to drive, to cook, to grasp, cut, lift, do my makeup or blow dry my hair, to do all of the creative artistic things I’m enjoying ( ha I’ve just sucked it up and endured some pain to keep on with a few of my projects) write something without looking like someone hijacked my penmanship, so many things I’ve found myself considering.

In the course of life, this isn’t earth shaking and awful.

Certainly people daily go through so much more. It doesn’t have to be huge to make us stop and think and reflect on what we’re given and how precious it is and how we should value the abilities and gifts we have.

It’s all about gratitude

perhaps it comes down to that. Understanding that no matter what our situation we can choose to have a grateful attitude. Not for what we’re going through necessarily, but for all the small things, big things and everything in between.

For me, it’s simply easier to stay there than focus on the negative.

So I will try and appreciate all those small things in life that I previously hadn’t. I will celebrate daily improvement getting back to “normal” ( hahaha well that will most likely never happen as I’m far from that 😛 )

I will fully embrace my abilities when I get them again to wrap my hand firmly around heavy metal and lift it. To ride my bike at swift speeds and feel my hand clamp down on the brakes slowing my speed.   To slip into my boxing gloves and sink my body weight into the bag. To be seated on the rowing machine hands wrapped around the pull as my entire body responds to the work.

Sometimes the small things aren’t so small. Sometimes it’s those very things that make us feel alive and quicken our spirits.

Tell me, how do you embrace difficulty? Have you ever given much consideration to those “small things” in your life? Can you choose to be grateful in those times or are you annoyed to be in them?

 

 

Monday Musings

Hello beautiful people! It’s Sunday evening as I write this and I find it ironically funny I’m tossing down black coffee like it’s free beer night at the bar and following it down with some Peanut M&M’s while I get ready to write a post for my health and fitness blog.

I have weaknesses ok? Don’t judge me.

Anyway, life without some chocolate is just boring, can I get an amen?

I once was on a committee  with a man who always brought chocolate to our meetings, usually M&M’s. He called it brain food.

I called him a smart man.  I always angled to sit by him. We all worked better with that brain food 😉

It’s ok though, I’ve been grinding it out this week with my workouts so I’m thinking my treats are ok.

One of my training sessions was miles with a lot of big back to back hills thrown in. And I’ll tell you, I always know where my glute muscles are after those sessions!

 

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Yes, I’m standing on the hill in the middle of the road. Check out the scenery I have to suffer through while doing hills.

It was one of those cooler than I anticipated when I took off kinda mornings. Perfect opportunity to rock a beanie for maybe like, the last time this season.

It’s cute. It doesn’t matter that my hair was soaking after 😛

But hills. Yeah, speed work in disguise so I try and make sure I hit them a couple times a week.  I weirdly like doing hills even though it really is hard work. It’s satisfying hard work.

Of course the week in training also contained things like heavy doses of strength training and some cycling.

Spring is coming though and I’m really looking forward to getting back into heavier workouts.

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Hello spring 🙂

and by that I mean longer miles on the bike and back to once a week brick sessions, (run/bike/run ) to start whipping those legs back into shape. I am planning to do the duathlon again this year. I think it’s good to make those sessions a part of my weekly training even if I am months away from it happening.

On the subject of spring….

Am I the only one who lurched into last week with the whole daylight savings time business? Like those first few days feel all wonky. Midafternoon I think I have hours till dinner and I realize I gotta quit what I’m doing and make plans to feed the natives. Worse is morning when it’s pitch black out and I’m stumbling around looking for coffee trying to not think it’s really only 5 a.m. and that’s why my body feels like its still in a fog. Forget the fact I’m up to my usual time the night before which may contribute to said fog. Of course then I still think it’s early morning when it’s really later, especially if it’s cloudy or foggy out… bleh.

This week has been better though… I’m doing it… go me.

In other shenanigans of the week…..

My furniture adventures… yes I know I promised a post on that and it’s coming… sometime….

Meanwhile, while you wait…

I picked up some more cool stuff I just can’t live without being stored in my work barn. Ha, I kinda joke. Some pieces are for flipping and a few are because I don’t want to part with them.

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I only celebrate my win after I bag the game and am heading home.  A few treasures back there…

It’s kinda hard, flipping stuff. I mean when I  invest time into it and love on it, well, maybe I don’t want it to leave. But for real, I pick certain things I know I’m going to specifically give new life to and then hope someone will want to take it and love it after I finish it. Then there are pieces that make my heart sing and I want to have hang around for awhile. Look at one of the little things I had stashed back there….

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I loved this little piece immediately. It’s on castors, which I think are kinda old school cool. Those drawers are cute too. The top was a mess and I wasn’t sure what would be underneath,

 

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Look at it’s fixtures
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Look… some elbow grease and those water stains were only surface. Some pretty wood hiding under there.

So, yeah I kinda love this piece so for now, it stays with me…

I got this turn of the century Sligh desk on Saturday… gah… look at it….

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Sligh desk circa early 1900s
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So much pretty detail…soooo much work to do on her…

They just don’t make things like this anymore. I of course bought it off a lady who lived in the middle of nowhere and had it in her barn…lucky me.  More on this project later… oh and it should be mentioned I kinda name my projects ’cause “desk” and “dresser” just sound dull and boring.

Say hello to Anastasia. It’s the perfect name for such a lovely piece with so much lovely detail and delicacy.

ok and finally for this week on my side project… I introduced you to my early 30’s china hutch weeks ago. I did not tell you her name however.

Say hello to Scarlett. I’m sure you’ll understand why I chose it for this piece….

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Look how lovely she looks now.
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A peek in the drawer. I love how old and vintage it looks with the wood still showing through and some stenciling to dress it up a little.
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The day I brought it home. Sad, dirty and in desperate need of an updated look

So there’s a little snap shot of some of my projects. I’ve got several in the works right now that I hope will be finishing in the next week or two. A few are flips so here’s hoping they find new homes quickly 🙂

And before I leave you….

You know I’ve gotta talk a bit about food right? Have you ever realized when you are really, truly, deeply hungry it tastes amazing in a way it doesn’t when you aren’t that needy? It’s true.

That being said, I’d be remiss to not share a couple tasty things I whipped up this week. One pan meals… cause I’m all about getting a healthy meal together without being in kitchen all night….

 

 

And that’s a wrap boys and girls. Tell me how this past week went? Have anything fun or exciting ahead of you?

Strength Training And Every Day Life

So I’ve been kinda lazy lately… you know with the writing thing. Sometimes I just feel like there’s to much up there in my brain and it’s all clamoring to escape and in turn it comes out with multiple ideas and story lines. Sometimes, I’m just lazy and don’t want to be still long enough to write.

That my friends, is the usual more likely culprit.

It’s hard for me to contain myself at blocks of time to sit and write. Probably why I will never be the next Stephen King or whomever.  It’s why I  remove myself from home so I don’t start thinking about the projects beckoning me to come play with them,

And if you’re following me then you know what I mean by projects, my antique furniture flipping adventures. I have my list of what I’m doing with each and seeing that by my laptop makes me want to go get creative. And yeah, I’ve heard you. You want a post on my furniture flipping shenanigans and it will be in the works. It will be a fun post on some of my recent projects and what I’ve done with some of them.

So, I remove myself to get creative with words for awhile, ’cause you know, use it or lose it.

I mean, in actuality, I’m not really you know, lazy. I can be selective about things I give my time to, is that different?

Over the weekend I was sharing some stuff with hubby, namely how my legs were tight and whining that I needed to be more diligent to rolling them out on my pvc pipe to keeps my muscles loose from what I do to them.

Rolling on the pipe is the poor mans equivalent of a deep tissue massage.

Yes, I willingly hurt myself to get my muscles loose to keep doing the things I do.

Mind you, I like what I do. The running and cycling and lifting heavy things with doses of boxing and rowing in the mix.

I like it.

But putting my body through constant rigors also demands that “after/before” self care that goes alongside being athletic. Sometimes I get lazy with that too.. I will admit it…

So I get these words from hubby “You need to remember you aren’t indestructible”

Me: ” Uh, yeah, I tend to forget that” hahaha

I’m not reckless, I’m just a bit fearless and don’t like backing down from things. I do believe there is a difference.

So with a nod to the reminder I’m not indestructible, I’ll seque into the topic for today, building strong bodies.

Today was strength training day. This usually unfolds for me with my time involving some type of cardio warm up for 10-15 minutes then spending the remaining hour (ish) on strength training, using my body and weights.

I’ve evolved a lot in knowing what I want over these past few years getting fit. I finally know where my “loves” are and what makes me feel alive. That is, being outside and going at 90 on foot or bike. I’ve also learned the  weather can shut those activities down and strength training was always a good plan B. But then I started understanding how important those days were to my other activities and strength training days stopped being the ugly step sister.

Strength training is important for you too

You might be reading this thinking it’s not so important for you, but really, being strong for life IS important for you. My training time takes a small part of my day. The rest of it, I’m on the go doing life. Sometimes, it’s heavy work.  I like to be able to do tough stuff on my own. I will freely admit to wanting to be able to handle it without waiting for someone ( and boy do I get frustrated when I have to!)

I don’t mean “oh, I can get it done and grind it out” I mean, I like doing it with ease, and there is a difference. The stronger you are, the easier things are.

It makes me laugh every time I go get some big piece of furniture and get on the end to lift it when I get the warning:

“It’s heavy”.

I kinda like being underestimated.

Now I’m not reckless ( see my comment above on that) nor am I stupid. I hear the warning, I engage my body just like when I’m lifting stuff in training, preparing for the weight of it, and it turns out to be a piece of cake.

Why? I practice getting strong so when I’m doing life, those things are easy.

Same for you. You are doing life and I’m pretty sure encounter things that require you to put some energy into your activities. When you practice it, then in real life, your body just does what you’ve trained it for.

I’ve upgraded

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Curling up a bit more now days to build those arms.. I’ve made progress.

 

 

I didn’t start off this way. It’s what I remind people when I get asked about my journey and where I am. I didn’t wake up one day and just grab the heavy stuff. No, I had these baby 5lb weights that looking back were, really, useless. I mean I carried several grocery bags at once weighing more than 5 lbs why would I think that would help. I then made the “huge” jump to 8lbs and that offered a bit more challenge esp on high reps. I stayed there for awhile till it felt to easy.

I then upgraded again. I remember the trip to the sports store. Hubby bought me what I wanted, 15 lb little suckers. I could just do about 6 reps before my arms were shaking.

Perfect.

That’s what you need to do as well if you start. Find something you can barely do like 6-8 times and start there. That’s a challenge for you.

Over time that got easier although my 15 lbs are my go to for high reps. I have a variety of things  I use including a 35lb kettle bell that I use for everything from kettle bell swings to deadlifts to single leg deadlifts and everything in between.

This weight works for me ’cause I can use both arms to toss it around but I cannot curl that weight with one arm.

I have however recently upgraded to curling like 25 lbs so I’m kinda excited over that.

And by that I mean I’m in the “curl 6-8 times before arm falls off zone” and that’s good ’cause it’s gonna make me work harder and well, build my girl arms some more. I rest a minute, and go at it again.  And it’s almost tank top season and I live in those so the arms get some decent exposure 😛 time for that hard work to hang out in the sunshine haha

It’s a progression

When I talk to people they always feel overwhelmed like they need to start where I am or their friend or whatever.

Uh. No.

It takes time, energy, patience and a whole lot of stubbornness to keep at it and for your body to grow and adapt to the changes you put it through.

You cannot jump in where someone else is.

You can find where you are, what you are capable of and start there. As I always suggest find a weight that is hard for you, that you have to really work at doing those 6-8 reps on. Even in the beginning if it’s all you can do at a time, start there. You most likely will be able to do those reps, rest a bit and do another set two or three times.

My weight progression has been gradual and I still have tons of room for growth and improvement! I have lots of body building friends who spend way more time lifting than I do, but then, ha they spend a lot less time on cardio than I do 😉 In time I will slowly and steadily increase what I do. Of course my goals are also different from those who have a focus on body building.

Get your equipment

You can use things as simple as milk jugs with some water in them and lift those, adding as little or a lot as needed. You can add sand too.

Craigslist  and local sale sites have  a plethora of “better ideas” people are looking to unload for cheap. I’ve spent very little money getting stuff, and no, I don’t go to a gym. I work out with lawn equipment and  my projects in a building with no heat or air. This is probably good as it keeps me acclimated for my outdoor activities. But there have been mornings I could see my breath in the air and I will just say that metal is crazy cold.. but I do it.

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One of my projects photo bombing me 😉

 

 

 

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My toys

Of course, using just your own body is the perfect way to build more strength by doing body weight exercises that can work specific muscle groups.

Some life thoughts

You may never care about having a defined muscle, although, they are cool to have. But do you know the reason so many people are in nursing or care homes? They lack muscle strength to get out of chairs or off the toilet and a whole lot of other reasons as well. As we grow older, our skeletal muscles tend to wither and weaken, a phenomenon known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia, which begins to appear at around age 40 and accelerates after 75, is a major cause of disability in the elderly. Exercise can help counter the effects of age related muscle loss. We begin to lose muscle mass as we age and if we aren’t actively using them they can become weak and not support us in the normal daily activities we need to do. That might be a good reason to schedule some active strength training several times a week, right?

If you need help getting started, look around you and see who’s out there doing it and learn from them. I shamelessly pick brains of people who know more on things I’m interested in to learn from them.

And of course, there’s always Google search and the internet too, right? Just find your place where to start, make it a commitment to yourself several times a week and then break out those sleeveless tops 😉

Tell me, do you do strength training? what do you incorporate? Or, do you want to get started in it?

Focus, Perspective And Weight Loss

Focus. Perspective. Seeing something in a different way. Clarity.

Focus: the center of activity or attention .

Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.

When it comes to pursuing personal goals regarding weight loss or improved health and better eating habits we all have that “thing” we focus on that keeps us in forward movement to (hopefully) achieve that goal.

 

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We might post a picture of ourselves from years back from a time where we felt like we looked good or were at a good weight.

We could use certain items of clothing as a goal to work back to wearing that we’ve out grown.

We may restructure some of the foods we eat and how much we eat of them.

For many, the scale is the judge and jury of our success, or lack thereof.

The scale of course, offers a visual reward or assessment of how we’re doing in our week with our weight loss goals.

Back in the day, when I was just starting my journey, I’d hop on it almost daily wanting positive rewards and feedback from it.

I’ve written a couple posts on the scale…. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/03/29/why-ive-given-up-on-the-scale/

If it told me what I thought was “good news”, my day was made. I felt awesome. I felt like I was being a superhero in the weight loss department.

If it told me less than good news ( in my mind) and by that maybe I lost no weight that week or had “only” lost a pound ( have you ever seen one pound of fat?? You’ll never say that again once you do) or worse yet, worse than the coffee pot not working one morning, was the dreaded I had gained a pound or two that week.

That was enough to make me feel like a failure. A bit of a loser. Those nagging self-defeating thoughts could creep in….

“why bother? You are never going to do this anyway?”

“wow, after all you’ve done and no weight loss, but a gain?”

“Just give up”

“Might as well just eat ( you fill in the blank here) whatever thing I had withheld from myself.

Lots of ways for me to get de-railed from my goals. The scale was definitely one of the bigger challenges to overcome.

I know I’m not alone in this misguided perspective of the scale and our weight loss and fitness journeys.

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The scale and I  are like friends who meet twice a year for coffee.

 

 

Where it changed for me.

When I first started out, the scale was a tool to show me that I indeed, was having less gravational pull 😉 that did help to offer motivation.

But after I’d had my mental “ah ha” moment of keeping the scale in it’s place it became easier for me to embrace other things that offered a “reward” for my work and diligence.

This shift in thinking offered me the encouragement I needed to keep going. Maybe it will offer you encouragement too.

My perspective had to change.

When I first started getting out and moving again, I realized after finishing up my walk one night how good I felt. I felt proud of myself for moving and getting out, I felt happy and I felt strong. None of that had to do with any weight loss. The numbers on the scale had no bearing on how good I felt overall when I finished what I was doing.

Not a lot had changed at that time, really, as far as obvious outward changes.

But there were things that  I felt that made me feel good, mentally and physically. I liked the tired feeling, or having sweat running down me from exertion. I liked how I felt good and strong just from the act of doing it.

I loved the accomplished feeling of doing it.

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Nothing feels better mentally than wrapping a good workout. I’ve come a long way since my beginning evening walks

 

My perspective changed in learning to embrace new changes in myself as new disciplines were being formed and slowly put together. These changes had nothing to do with a changing scale or looser jeans.

 

What does your perspective look like?

If you’ve been on a journey to get fit yet are often side tracked, where is your perspective? How do you approach getting to your goals? Is it based solely on having less gravitational pull ( i.e. the scale? ) Do you determine your success by that alone?

Learning to shift your perspective to the whole picture will help you move along celebrating other things that are happening with you as well.

You know that discipline you are building from making a daily commitment to get your exercise in?

Don’t underestimate that. When you learn to train yourself to daily exercise it makes other things in life easier to be disciplined in.

As an endurance runner, I’ve learned I have to put out a lot of strength and not just physical, but mental too. Once you’ve run 26 miles, or better almost 32 you realize you take can anything in life head on.

I learned that strength I built in training carried over into all areas of my life and that was pretty cool.

Building your new habits and practices can help give you confidence in all areas of your life too.

Focus or perspective

So as you pursue whatever you’ve set before you the question to ask is are you focused on it? Or do you have a positive perspective on it?

If you are “just” focused on weight loss, making it the center of your attention, then it will be all you can see.

If you have a broad perspective approaching weight loss and fitness then you will be able to see all different aspects of the process and can embrace those things alongside the visible change of numbers of the scale.

You can learn to celebrate changes in how you are eating, the choices you make in food, your approach to eating, and how much you eat.

You can see improvements in your overall fitness when you climb a flight of stairs and aren’t out of breath, when you can walk briskly and it just feels good, when you can lift heavier things with ease, or when your body begins to reflect a new overall strength in tasks.

As your perspective changes and you embrace all of the changes you are going through you will begin to see there is more to having a whole balanced perspective on health and wellness than the ever shifting numbers on a scale.

Are you a more focused person or one who has more perspective on the big picture?

The Tortoise And Hare Weight Loss Approach

Do you remember the kids story “The Tortoise and The Hare”? It’s been in existence since the dawn of mankind.

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A quick summary, the rabbit challenges the tortoise to a race, confident of his abilities to win he dashes so far ahead that he decides he’s done enough and has it solidly in his paw to win, so he decides to take a quick nap on the roadside.

Meanwhile, tortoise who has been plodding along, is taking it slow and steady, keeping his little beady eyes on the goal of the finish line.

He eventually passes sleeping hare and ultimately winds the race and the big time bragging rights in the forest that he beat the mouthy, sassy hare in a race.

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I hope tortoise worked it for all he could.

Today we’re gonna talk about the goal of weight loss and fitness journeys in that context.

I did a mini post on it for my social media last week and the idea has kinda kept growing. Basically, I thought about how there were two types of people when they decided to get serious with the idea of weight loss and fitness.

They are either the tortoise or the hare in their approach to it, go all out, or slow and steady.

The Hare approach

Don’t get me wrong. I think the hare had a crazy amount of confidence. I like that. Confidence is good. It can help you take on things you never thought possible and help you own yourself in a whole new way. Hare was a bit too confident though in his approach to being successful at reaching his goal. I’m pretty sure he didn’t plan well or make provisions for the unexpected.  Hare was going to go all out with everything he had and thought he’d accomplish his goal in a quick amount of time.   Unfortunately, by the time he knew what was happening his prize had slipped away from him and he didn’t hit his goal.

All to often I observe people decide that they are going to lose weight and start exercising. It’s a common wish and desire among thousands. Making it happen for them is often another story.

So when they decide it’s time, they are possibly armed with a little information and a long ago workout idea or plan they haven’t done in years.  They decide “come Monday, it’s time to diet”. All the negative not “good” food is gotten rid of, sometimes by consuming it in preparation for Monday.

They make radical, broad, sweeping changes in their daily nutrition often cutting out the very things they enjoy. They restrict their calories in a way that leaves them feeling miserable most of the day ( hungry) and embark on a to vigorous exercise plan that their dormant body isn’t used to.

They may often have goals that are to lofty for the time frame they have in mind ( to much weight loss to soon, a fitness level achieved that might take longer, getting into a certain size etc) they weigh in constantly hoping their restrictive diet and new exercise will work wonder miracles in weeks.

They are often very focused and determined, but miserable along the way. After weeks of drastic restricitions and their bodies hurting from doing to much to soon, they begin to make excuses or begin to revert back to those comfortable old eating habits. Eventually, they lose sight of the goal, their prize, and lose the race they set out for.

The Tortoise approach

Those who are the tortoise in the pursuit of weight loss and fitness know that it will be a slow, steady race. They understand that getting to the goal isn’t going to be fast. They don’t look for weight loss schemes to get them there faster. They understand that they just need to settle into a new routine and let their bodies naturally do what they are meant to do.

They don’t wait for Monday or a special occasion. When they determine they are going to do it, they just start.  Even if it is on a Wednesday.

They won’t throw in the towel if they have an off day. They will simply keep going focusing on those positive changes.

The tortoise people will learn to make slow steady changes in how they eat, and they will eat enough food to keep the hunger away and not to much to allow for weight loss to occur. They will not have a “last supper”  mentality that says to eat everything “bad” in the house because they will never have it again. They begin to understand that if they want a chocolate chip cookie along the way, they can have it and still keep moving to the prize. They learn to appreciate healthy, nutritious foods and not view them as punishment because they aren’t eating a big burger and extra large fries.

They start to see how their body feels and looks from eating healthy foods and then those less nutritious foods seems not so desirable anymore. They have new energy and realize, hey! I think I’m gonna win this race. Along the way, they may pass others who sped off in the beginning with some weight loss gimmick or shake or whatever but because they’ve learned to sustain their bodies with real, whole foods they’ve not only got energy but they’ve been slowly, steadily losing a bit of week each and every week and those little amounts are now starting to add up.

Each day that has gone by they have tried to make small, healthy, choices and decisions everything from passing on the stale office donut to getting up 30 minutes earlier to get a workout in and the prize is in their reach. At this point the tortoise is so comfortable living a new lifestyle with healthy habits they have no worries about getting to the goal.

It may have taken a bit longer, but their results will be permanent.

Which are you?

If you are among the many who desire to make changes in their life by  losing weight or getting more fit how do you approach the race?  Does the speed off and get there fast seem appealing? You just want the weight, flab and lack of energy to disappear over night so you’re willing to try whatever the new kid on the block is with weight loss sorcery. Maybe you don’t buy the sorcery but you just think the extreme cut everything out and be restricitive approach will get you there already.

Or perhaps, you’ve already been around the block a time or two with that approach and know it’s a process going nowhere.

You’ve learned and know and understand you haven’t gained weight and gotten out of shape overnight and it’s going to take some time to reverse the process. You just settle in for the long haul, taking it one day at a time celebrating each new day as you make decisions that will transform your life, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I want to win this race!

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The first step to being successful is having a desire to do it. An understanding that it will take time is your first move to being a tortoise and not a hare.

Allow for changes to take place that need to take place. You didn’t gain weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight.

Make small daily dietary changes, not broad sweeping ones that leave you feeling hungry and deprived.

Eat a bit less. Don’t eat seconds. Add in a veggie or fruit if those are low on your nutrition list. Go for a walk if you haven’t exercised in a long time.

Schedule activities for yourself that you enjoy that make you feel good, mentally and physically.

Make new healthy recipes instead of eating out.

Learn to find activities to do when you feel like eating.

Weigh in only once a week. Look for other ways you are improving mentally and physically.  There is much more to process than your gravitational pull on this earth.

Settle small realistic goals. Continue to adjust as you reach them. ( i.e. focus on losing only 5 lbs at a time and not the whole 50 you really want to lose)

With some consistent, slow and steady moves, you will reach your weight loss and fitness goals and maintain them forever.

Tell me. In your approach to help and fitness are you the tortoise or hare?

The Rewards Of Rest Days

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as an athlete is the importance of rest and recovery times.

You’d think it should be easy, right? It should be easy to just take a day off and not train. It should be easy to come off of months of heavy training for an event and greatly reduce my training volume and just enjoy some easier workouts.

There’s a couple factors that can come into play here, well, at least for me. Once I’m disciplined to something it’s very hard for me to not do it. I can be rather driven with whatever I’m focused on.  Mentally as well, it’s hard to not do it although I intellectually grasp the importance of focused rest. My body and mind thrive on it, that structured often intense training.

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When I work this hard, rest days are essential.

 

My mind and body need the work but they also need the rest.

I’ve also learned active rest doesn’t involve laying on the sofa eating crappy food and being lazy.

Well what is involved with recovery?

Recovery times are designed to let our muscles heal and recover from all we put them through in training. It allows the body to repair and strengthen itself between workouts.

In a crazy way, when we exert stress on our muscles, it damages the muscles fibers causing them to break apart.  During recovery these fibers heal stronger than before, which in turn makes your muscles stronger.

When we rest and eat good foods, our body heals, recovers and builds new tissue.

Active rest for athletes can mean anything from a brisk walk ( what I’ve used when I recover from running a marathon for a couple weeks after) to short easy runs, cycling or anything that doesn’t stress the body.

For me in the past year, yoga has been a good form of not just active recovery but  it’s also a wonderful, different form of strength training. Not only that, it also stretches and works those areas that tend to get tight from my running, cycling and strength training.

I’ve come to embrace so many of the moves that although sometimes at the start are a bit stretching, lead to feeling so good. It gives me some looseness and I feel better with it.

And although it helps with recovery, I think it’s also a wonderful strength tool as well.

I did a couple articles on my yoga shenanigans, find them here….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/08/29/yoga-again/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/04/15/athlete-meets-yoga/

Stretching, bending, flexing and whatnot

Ok I’ll admit. For years I was awful, totally awful, about taking time to do some dynamic warm ups before running or anything else athletic.

I just wanted to get at it.

I was a wee bit better when I finished, but after always feels so good and my body has earned it after working hard.

Since then I’ve learned more importance in taking that time to do activities to  help keep me loosened up and prepared for what I love to do.

…..although… I can still be bad about short changing myself on it….. you have permission to give me a hard time if I don’t.

Tools of the trade

There are other things I’ve been schooled on my road to being a ordinary, middle aged female athlete.

It took me a few years to get through this  “school” but now I know how important some things are.

For instance a foam roller. I would’ve never believed how amazing a cylinder of hard foam could feel on my body.

Foam rollers if you don’t know, are a method of self massage that lets you really key in on areas that are tight and achy. They also can help promote blood flow to recovering areas and break up knots and tension in muscles.

Then I went to Airosti for some treatments a couple years ago and the therapist told me I should be using a pvc pipe to roll on ’cause my muscles would adjust to foam.

I laughed. I told her she was crazy.

A hard pipe??? to roll my body on?

Ah well, laughing isn’t what I do with it now days as it’s my favorite device of torture… I mean… recovery haha

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She was right. The pipe presses into muscles in a different way and doesn’t give as foam will. I use it on my back and roll up to my shoulders.

My quads seriously have a love/hate relationship with it. It kills my calves in a good way.

The pipe wasn’t the only thing I was schooled on.

A lacrosse ball became really good friends with me too. It’s perfect for working into arches of my feet into those muscles and tendons that need released. It also becomes a device of torture when you lay on the floor and position it in a tight muscle in your shoulder and press into it.

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A solid ball of torture

 

Sweet mother of heaven. It puts me somewhere near death and blissful relief, I’m not sure which.

Another acquisition I got for Christmas is a roller with knobs all over it.

Are you seeing a weird pattern here? Devices that hurt, yet weirdly help haha

it looks something like this…..

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and it’s perfect to get areas that are knotted or tight.

All of these are wonderful tools for recovery to help tight muscles, to increase blood flow, and promote healing.

And of course, let’s not forget ice and heat which not only help recovery, but gosh, they can feel so good too.

Of course other factors like staying well hydrated and eating good whole foods also contribute to a good rest/recovery day or days.

Learning to embrace days of rest and recovery goes with the athletic process, I’ve learned. slowly but surely. You too should learn to embrace those days as times of healing and restoration for not only your body, but your mind too.

Tell me, if you train or workout, do you allow or take rest and recovery days? Is that hard to do? What are some methods you use for recovery?