Progress Notes – Have I Stuck To My Goals?

So, a little more than a week ago I committed to raising my average weekly steps to above 30,000 steps.  I’m a little short, but better than I’ve been for a long time.  I’m averaging around 27,000. It’s really not that hard to bump that up.

This week I rededicate myself to increasing my average weekly step rate to above 30,000.

I have not been out on my bike, though.  With the kids at home I have been conflicted about just taking off for an hour. I think it’ll be a bit easier when they are in school next week.  Also, my step count will consistently be higher as of next week, too, when I start walking my youngest to school and back again.

I am going to start some weight work.  I bought a kettlebell a few years ago and I haven’t used it in a long time. So, this week I’m going to do a short KB routine every second day.  I’m going to definitely do some swings and some some bent over one armed rowing – I only have one 25lb bell.  I want another exercise, too and will add that in.

My hope is that I will create this habit and then when it gets routine that I will return to learning to run on my alternate days. I don’t want to do too much too soon, however. 

Also, I am going to start listening to some mindfullness/metta discussions on podcast. I’m going to check out the Against The Stream podcast by Dharma Punx author Noah Levine. I want to work on my stress and work up to meditating. This is going to require that I regularly update my ipod so I can listen in my headphones while I take some me time or while I am working around the house. 

Finally, I downloaded the TwoGrand app to my phone.  It’s a food and drink tracking app that only tracks with photos.  It’s a bit like mindfullness in the sense that it helps you become aware of what you are eating and drinking and how much.  I’m shit at tracking and find the process of trying to come up with either calorie or points counts for the food I make from scratch to be completely crazy and overwhelming.  Photo tracking my meals and snacks is not.  But I have to remember to do it. 

If you’d like to “friend” me on TwoGrand, my user name is, wait for it: LeanneP. I set a goal of 2L of water daily – I got a UTI two weeks ago and had to drink crazy to me amounts of water and want to continue – so that is kind of my final goal. 

So, I want to lose a bunch of excess fat from my body. I’m going to walk a little bit more, do a short weight workout a few times a week, listen to some inspiring talks, drink more water and take pictures of my food. Totally doable, right?

Brrr! What’s up, January?

bruiseThe -38C windchills on my Tuesday morning commute inspired me try and save a few minutes by taking what seemed to be a quicker route through the park versus down the incredibly icy sidewalks. I was almost in tears after five minutes in the brutal cold and it had taken me three times as long to get 3/4 of the way to my bus stop because of the ice everywhere. With one misstep, I pitched forward, completely lost my footing and was flat on my face. The image accompanying this post is my badge of honour from a Canadian winter. Blargh! That picture is from this morning and it’s actually looking much better, I think.

I'm restarting my 13 week running program today. Why don't you join me? It begins with a week of easy walking to prepare your body. Linkage: http://www.runstrong.org/13weekprogram.pdf

I had a full 9 hours of sleep last night and feel like a totally new woman. I’ve been sleeping 4-5 hours every night and it caught up with me, finally. My goal for next week is to tuck myself into bed at a normal time on Monday-Thursday.

Starting over, again

I’m participating in the crowd-sourced Quantitative Diet study going on through Lift. I’ve been given the Mindful Eating Diet. Essentially I’m going to eat more mindfully one step at a time.

Today’s task: eat one meal using a mindful eating technique. My technique tonight was to eat dinner at a table.  I still looked at my phone occasionally and I ate far too fast, bu I ate at the kitchen table and not on the sofa. Yay me!

I’m also doing the Eat More Vegetables plan on Lift. Today’s first task: make a list of veg and fruits you like and one’s you’ve never tried.

Stuff I Like

  • avocado
  • asparagus
  • apples
  • apricot
  • eggplant
  • bananas
  • beets
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • boysenberries
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • garlic
  • grapefruit
  • grapes
  • green beans
  • green onions
  • sweet peppers
  • melon
  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • canteloupe
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • cherries
  • coconuts
  • cucumber
  • corn
  • cranberries
  • kale
  • kiwi
  • leeks
  • lemons
  • limes
  • radishes
  • raspberries
  • rhubarb
  • raisins
  • rhutabaga
  • mangoes
  • mulberries
  • mushrooms
  • oranges
  • snow peas
  • spinach
  • sprouts
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • turnips
  • onion
  • parsnip
  • peaches
  • pears
  • peas
  • pineapple
  • plums
  • potatoes
  • zucchini

Though I’ve eaten them before, it’s not often; I’d like to try squash but I don’t get much support at home. I’d also like to try jicama, but I think I have a familiarity with a lot of veggies that I don’t really need the second list. I could easily eat a wide variety of fresh foods if I committed myself to it.

I’ll also be starting the Easing Into Running plan shortly. I’ll be starting on a day that is not snowing and not -22C. I really enjoyed my attempt at starting a running program but it was far too intense for me. This plan is much, much more gentle.

I’ll be writing about my experience with the Quantitative Diet program in the Lift Community on Medium. You can read my first piece They Don’t Carry Girdles In My Size.

 

 

Undertows

ImageOn Friday I was at a new yoga studio, one I think I’ll keep attending, in part because it is at a good time for me (early evening) when I’m feeling more energetic and also because the style seems less gym-centric while still being physical.

The teacher said some things that have affected me over the course of the last week and have helped me relax in a few ways. She spoke of how we are rivers with so many currents in them, complex and shifting, and how disguised within those currents are undertows. These undertows are what we discover in our yoga practice. They can drag us down and drown us. They make us only feel really strongly what is happening in that moment like there are no other currents and no river. Lost in the undertow. I dig the river undertow metaphor. Maybe growing up beside a river that drowned a few people in my lifetime makes me keenly aware how dangerous undertows can be and it resonates. 

When I have felt overwhelmed this week by whatever life situation, I stopped. “Undertow. Temporary.”, I thought.  I was still emotional but I was able to stop that cycle of self-soothing with food. I could see beyond whatever was going on in my life, take some deep breaths, and acknowledge what was happening and my pattern of thinking. 

I don’t know that it’ll work in all situations but it’s been a good tool and I’m grateful she spoke about it.

Getting More Of What I Love

There is one thing I know for sure: I hate Jillian Michaels’ 30Day Shred. I hate it. I hate it not because it not because it’s challenging; I hate it because it puts a horrible strain on my knees, Michaels is a smarmy and condescending asshole and all the jumping makes my belly flap even in compression pants.  I don’t look forward to doing the 30 Day Shred workouts. When I am in the middle of them I feel no joy. When I am done them I feel no triumph.

It’s kind of like going to the damned dentist.

Gym style exercise is not my thing. I’ve never belonged to a gym. I’ve never even been remotely interested in cardio classes or walking/running/biking nowhere on treadmills or stationary bikes or steppers, etc. For me (emphasis denotes caveat) gym-style cardio exercise seems a colossal waste of time.

I can’t go through life – especially as a larger woman wanting to be healthier – without some form of regular exercise, however. And, the truth is: I crave physical activity.

The same goes, of course, with food!  I crave certain “healthy” foods that I’m not eating regularly.

The challenge, for me, is to have those activities and foods clearly identified so I can make sure I have access to them.  So, please indulge me in some note keeping. Here are my lists of things I really like, that are also good for me:

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  • Running  Yes, despite having horrible shin splints that have led to my stopping my running practice for now until I reduce some of the excess weight I’m carrying around, I love running – well, walk-run training. I want to get back to it. I miss it.
  • Walking  I am incredibly lucky to live in an urban area full of historically significant architecture, beautiful parks and even a huge swatch of wilderness. This is the most easily accessible exercise of them all for most people and it always makes me feel great to get out and do it. It’s a bit like living in Manhattan – I can easily walk to the market, the library, the bank, the doctor’s, etc. And I do!
  • Hiking  This is really just walking in the woods. I grew up playing on the Bruce Trail, literally, every day. There is nothing so beautiful to me than to be surrounded by dirt and rocks and trees and plants.  I’m only about a 15 minute walk away from the Bruce Trail now and have the fortune of living in an area with lots of waterfalls and creeks. A 15 minute drive away is the Arboretum, a protected forest at the Western tip of Lake Ontario.  Walking the trails there, spying animals and plants and picking wild berries in summer is one of my all time favourite things to do. It makes me feel like a kid again.
  • Yoga  There is something about yoga that connects deep into my core, into my very soul. Yoga is a deeply spiritual activity to me – spiritual in the sense that I feel connected to the universe like someone shoved the universe’s network cable straight into my spine. I feel an awakening in my soul when I practice yoga, a physical joyfulness that lights up my very cells.

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  • Chickpeas  Oh you magical little bean, how I love you!  I put you on salads, I crush you up with olive oil and tahina, I mix you into quinoa and I roast you for a snack. Chickpeas make me fart like a one-woman alternate fuel plant, but they are so damned tasty.
  • Quinoa Salad  I make a delicious salad with quinoa that is essentially a Greek Salad (minus lettuce) with chickpeas (natch!) and quinoa. It’s light and refreshing, tasty and full of veggies and protein. A big batch means there is enough to have a bowl full for lunch as well as on the side of my dinner plate. It’s the pot luck dish I’m known best for. I grew up eating a lot of pasta salads but swapping the pasta for quinoa is a whole lot healthier.
  • Veggies and Tzatziki  What’s more delicious than something full of garlic, lemon and dill? Not much!  I have started making this myself so that I can guarantee the ingredients. Though it takes a little time and energy to make it, the zingy dip is so worth it!  When I get the munchies, which I frequently do late at night because I’m a night owl, a plate of cut veggies with a few TBSPs of tzatziki is an appropriate and healthy snack that doesn’t negatively impact my health.
  • Ice Cold Water  I forget how much I love water. I’m ashamed to admit that I can go for a week or two without drinking a proper glass of the stuff. And I even like my city’s tap water!  Too often, when looking for something bracing, I default to a diet soda (even knowing the evils of diet anything and soda in particular). I subsist on tea and sometimes a little home made lemonade. But water on it’s own is so often snubbed. I need to remember to make ice (the old fashioned way, in trays, in the freezer) so I can get that water super cold and refreshing.
  • Fruit  Too often I buy fruit with the best intentions and then let it go bad because some nervous voice in my head is whispering about not “wasting” it. I spent many years very poor where I could only afford a couple fresh things that I would then hoard to make them last. I’m not rich but I can afford to buy myself a pound or two of grapes if I want. I need to remember to just eat them, though. I love grapes and strawberries, fresh pineapple and pears. I love a lot more, but those are my top fruits. Not a bad bunch, either. Lots of good nutrition in there and a few handfuls of them are a better snack than a few pieces of toast with peanut butter or butter and jam.

There are my lists.  Those are the things I need to focus on.

What’s on your lists?

W2D2: Running On Shin Splints Worse Than Natural Labour

Here’s what I’m going to tell my prenatal students when we get to the part in the course about how much contractions actually hurt: the pain of contractions ain’t got nothing on running with shin splints!

There was a lot of self talk going on during this run. A lot!  I would stair up over the houses into the blue sky with a big, determined, smiled on my face and tell myself that my legs weren’t in pain, or that the pain was a happy feeling that my body welcomed, or that with each step my body grew stronger and experienced less pain as a result.

I tried to distract myself by focusing on the song in my headphones, by watching my running partner way up ahead of me, by examining the still naked but budding branches in all of the trees around me and by marveling at the most beautiful shade of blue in the sky.

Distraction and self talk are two big mental techniques for dealing with the sensations, very often painful, of birthing. I’ve been through two unmedicated births and as I went round and round the park this morning, I reflected on how I’d rather be doing that.

Finally, the best tool to motivate myself was to just keep track of how many intervals I’d run and how many I still had ahead of me. When I asked Whirlytwirl how many we had left, at one point, “4?” I asked, she replied, “4? 3? 2? 5?” For a moment it was like birthing and not knowing how far dilated I was. When I heard her confirm that we were indeed 4 intervals from being finished our run, something settled inside me. I knew the exact shape of the challenge ahead of me. I knew the goal. It was within reach.

It wasn’t a pleasant run, but I did it.

I did it and I iced my shins after, took a couple Ibuprofen and then took a nap.

I’m still a warrior, but today the battle took more of a toll.

W1D3: I Didn’t Cry

I won’t pretend it was easy. Except maybe the last set. That always seems to be remarkably easy.

By the third interval, my shins were hurting badly. By the fourth interval my right knee was twinging, at the inner bottom side and I was feeling a bit panicky. From intervals 5 through 7 I felt like crumpling up and crying. I felt like weeping and it took a lot of emotional control to keep my shit together.

Has anyone else ever had that before? I know they say that massages and yoga can sometimes release emotional tension leaving people crying for, seemingly, no reason. I hadn’t heard of running being like that.

It wasn’t fun.

But, after exploring a new running route, full of incredible natural beauty, my 10 year old son joined me for the last interval. That really helped.

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