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Get Up and Go!

We all have our own unique ups and downs while paving our path to wellness.  It could be a setback because you are momentarily unwell or other time vortexes (work, family, travel) may derail you from your typical health regiment.

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been sick with an Upper Respiratory Infection and unable to get to the gym. After a week of rest and drinking enough water to cause a drought in my state, I finally got my appetite back but my energy was still missing. I realized I was overindulging in food with the awakening of my taste buds where EVERYTHING TASTED DELICIOUS and I had no energy to burn off the extra calories.  I’ve been tracking my calories regularly and finally after a few days of reassessing my meal choices I was able to stay within my daily weight loss goal of 1400 calories thanks to the decision of choosing Smart Ones® as one of my daily meal choices.

If you’re unable to balance life and your calories on a daily basis, it’s empowering to know that you can start fresh with a clean slate the next day, or next week, and not feel you have to go all the way back to square one.  Occasional slip ups are part of any health journey, whether it be overindulging in calories or physical set backs, and tomorrow you can choose to get up and go!  Move forward from the crappy day or weeks you’ve been having and start fresh! Just be sure you are not overdoing it with physical activity after being sick and try not to limit your calorie intake in the extreme in order to to make up for a recent overindulgence in food. My advice would be to try and choose the right foods next time.  Life is all about finding that healthy balance, and some days the scale may be tipped against you but there is always a way to even the scale over time.

katywoods

Out for a short brisk walk after being sick for 2 weeks!

 

Zumba is the New Jazzercise.

I finally joined the masses of ladies hoping to shake their hips like Shakira, pop their booties like J Lo, and hip-hop their way to attaining Beyonce’s strong and shapely thighs.  If you have never heard of Zumba, then you’ve been living under a rock.  I may be late to the badass dance party, but this week I’ve taken two Zumba classes at Urge Fitness and I’m sore in places on my body I didn’t even know could get sore.   I learned from 2 different instructors, which was great because I was able to gain different views on the practice of this dance fitness program that combines a plethora of dance styles including hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo and martial arts.  I already prefer one of my instructors over the other, but that’s because the other shakes her belly dancing hips ready to create a tornado and the instructor I enjoyed more focuses on mixing in traditional aerobic moves that I can hack as a beginner.  With lots of energy and dedication, I know that over time I’ll be able to learn plenty of styles of dance from them both.

Zumba is not only a huge calorie burner if you put your all into it, but it is the ultimate in modern Jazzercise!  Seriously, it is like Jazzercise on crack, cocaine, caffeine, speed, and anything else that makes your body convulse like it never has before to music that makes you move before you can even think.  Zumba may not require a leotard or overly enthusiastic voiced instruction (Zumba instructors use hand movements to instruct you on their next move), but both practices do encourage moving those hips, smiling, and overall having a good time.

SO, here are 10 things I learned during my experience being a new Zumba student for a week as well as advice from friends who regularly practice this style workout:

1. Stand where you can see the instructor!

  • I took this advice from my friends and I’m glad I did because I was planning on staying way in the back.  At my first class I stood in the front row next to the instructor and now I stand directly behind her to get a better view of the moves. When I mess up it’s much easier to pick up and keep moving!

2. Focus on the feet first, then add hand and arm movements.

  • The more often you attend Zumba classes, the more you will pick up on the added arm and hand flair.  As not to get overwhelmed at first, just focus on the foot moves then if you’re up to it, add your jazz hands!

3. You are not going to perform the moves as flawlessly as your instructor.

  • Zumba Instructors are trained professionals, they may make mistakes, but their dance talent can be daunting.  If you are just starting out you need to remember your limitations while still trying to have fun!  I pushed my ability in the second class before realizing I have never belly danced a day in my life and I needed to CHILL OUT BEFORE I PULL A HIP MUSCLE.  I have also yet to get to the having fun part because I’m intent in learning the dance moves with a serious furrow on my face.  Zumba is srs bzns in my world…for now.

4. If you have ever played Just Dance on your video game console at home, then you already have a head start.

  • I am a Just Dance veteran, and Zumba class is pretty much a 3D version of this Wii Fitness game.  In fact, they have a multitude of  Zumba fitness games for the Wii now if you want to start off (or continue) in the privacy of your home.

5. There will probably be plenty of other people in the class who are beginners.

  • This will hopefully allow you the courage to take a step and attend your first Zumba class.  You are not alone in your trepidation.

6. You will sweat like crazy and want to drink as much as a gallon of water during and after the workout.

  • Bring a towel, wear a sweat band or bandana, and have your water bottle handy.

7. If you are lost with the steps, just do your own thing!

  • My Salsa moves pretty much turned into an Irish jig at some point, but as long as you keep moving to the music you are doing it right!

8. If you are large chested, double bra it!

  • Latin dance moves like to shake their shoulders and there is a lot of jumping with the hip-hop repertoire, so ultimately this will lead to excessive shaking of the tatas. Trust me, strap those puppies down with 2 sports bras.

9. Stretch and rest after your class.

  • Dancing for an hour is nothing to scoff at.  If you feel you need to stretch more after class then do it!  I love stretching and I believe it’s a huge part of any workout.  Resting your muscles is also important, especially if you’re just starting.  I’m hoping I soon won’t have to crawl into bed like this:

10. If you are self conscious, avoid the mirrors & don’t compare yourself to others!

  • I started my first class avoiding the mirrors to build my confidence up and I’m glad I did.  I focused on the moves of my instructor, and if my eye went to the mirror I would bring it back to her.  Now, I don’t really care how I look because everyone in the class is there to have a good time and not judge you, therefore you should not judge yourself.  You should applaud yourself for moving your body and enjoying your time bustin’ a move.  Now, Everybody dance!

Quick and Dirty!

I’ve been a busy bee this weekend.  I didn’t make time for the gym yesterday, and on top of that I had 2 social gatherings with delicious food!  I was determined to move my body today!

I got to the gym 30 minutes before closing to get in a quick cardio workout.  I was bummed I didn’t make it in time to do 30 minutes of weights, but I figured I can do some quick and dirty exercises once home.  I prefer the “back to basics” approach to exercises.  I look like an old lady every time I do my floor exercises, but the simpler the better for me!

Here is the rundown of today’s workout.  Please click through the image to be taken to another site with more details:

30 Minutes on the Elliptical, Level 12.

20 minutes ab and strengthening work at home.

  • Side Reaches (25 per side), Crunches(2 sets of 25), Leg Lifts (abdominal and side lying – 25).  Please see my post from the other day for a clearer picture of these exercises.
  • Arm Circles (25 forward and 25 backward).  Add weight if desired, or work up to it.arm circles
  • Shoulder Touches (25 per arm).  Add weight if desired, or work up to it. (this lady is workin’ it!  If you click the photo it takes you to some very simple home exercises for older individuals or people with limited mobility.)shoulder touches
  • Hip Raises (2 sets of 25)
  • hip raises

20 minute light stretching at home. I payed close attention to holding these stretches longer than I usually do to lubricate my joints as recommended by Kris at De-Stress Yoga.  One day I hope to try Yin Yoga (holding stretches longer than normal).

  • Pigeon Stretch, Lumbar Extension, Sitting Side Reach, Cat Stretches.  Please see my post from the other day for a clearer picture of these stretches.
  • Laying Quad Stretch
  • quad stretch
  • Groin Stretch.
  • groin stretch
  • Knee Hug Stretch and Knee Rolls for lower back.
  • knee hug stretch
  • Seated Toe Touch/Hamstring Stretch.
  • FLEX-hamstring-stretch-seated

    Total Calories Burned Today from exercise: 578

200 Calories.

I am a visual person, so this collection via wiseGEEK depicting what 200 calories look like is very helpful for me when it comes to visualizing portion control.   Hopefully it will help you too! Click through the image below to get a closer look at each pictured portion on the wiseGEEK website.  

200edit

200calories2 200calories3 200calories4 200calories5

Cravings and Self-Sabotage

Image

Public Domain Image by Shirley Hirst

When I get unhealthy cravings that are not satiated by healthy alternatives I tend to teeter on the brink of self-sabotage.  This week has been full of cravings of the processed sweets variety and giving into them, while at the same time trying to rein back the urge to eat everything bad for me in sight.  I just could not get full on Wednesday.  I am sure it’s the fact that I’m able to eat solid foods again post-tonsillectomy, coupled with that once a month time in most every ladies life between 12 and 51 year of age.  In order to satisfy these cravings I had to make a decision.  What am I going to eat, and how much am I going to allow myself to consume?

In the past, I could easily eat an entire box/bag of something I was craving then feel horrible about making that poor decision and think to myself, “Well I screwed that up, might as well eat like crap again tomorrow…and the next day…and the next day”.  I always had a problem knowing when to stop eating food in general.  This is something I still struggle with, so when I get the bottomless pit feeling I remember to breath and not freak out.  Something as simple as taking a few seconds to ask yourself, “what is the better choice” can make a huge difference in how you are going to feel about yourself later that night.  Though I still struggle some days, I am determined to change how I think, leading to changes in how I act.

Portion control is something to be kept in mind during these ravenous times.  When I am feeling insatiable, I make sure to purchase smaller portions of unhealthy items if I decide to give into temptation.  For example, I really wanted a dessert roll I found at the local grocery store.  Upon further searching, I found a container with a few tiny dessert rolls at 210 calories per roll.  This was a decision I made to feed my craving but not feed my self-hate.  Sure, I could choose to eat a lot more healthy food for 210 calories, but would it satisfy me?  Maybe.  But I wanted what I wanted.  I can usually get my sweets cravings satisfied by a piece of fruit, but there are certain times when that just doesn’t cut it.  I want that processed sugar in my belly!  These are the times I must remember to pay close attention to portion control.

Also during these times of dangerous cravings, I make it a point to avoid the scale.  This is a personal choice because I know my self-sabotage triggers.  The scale can trigger some negative reactions and actions if I see the numbers going up instead of down on my journey to weight loss.  I can be the poster child of self-sabotage if these numbers get in my head.  But these days, I keep reminding myself even if I decide to eat poorly one or two or even three days in a row, all hope is not lost and to not be so hard on myself.  Even if it’s a week of poor food decisions, a month, 2 months, it’s never too late to get back on track.  Given, the longer I allow myself to fall comfortable into the world of bad habits the more difficult it is for me personally to get back on track.  So if you feel you have the power to change how you think sooner rather than later, then do it sooner.  Also, keep logging your poor food choices.  It’s not fun to realize how much you went over calories, but it makes you accountable. For example, I went way over calories on Wednesday, but after averaging in the week via myfitnesspal I can still hit my weekly weight loss goal if I stay under my alloted calories through the weekend.

I’ve noticed a lot of my friends have been vocal recently about getting off track with their health and food choices, feeling hopeless about getting back on their own personal quest for health and happiness. I’m here today to say it’s not impossible, albeit not easy for some.  One may say it’s easy to not do something; don’t eat that extra piece, don’t eat the entire plate of nachos. etc.  To me, I laugh in their face!  I frikkin’ love nachos!  Food is my drug, it tastes delicious and makes me happy in the moment.  Why wouldn’t I want to feel that way all the time!?  Regardless of the negative aftermath of overeating, I still have these bouts of weakness and instead of fleeing or giving in completely, I try to hammer out a balanced plan.  If I choose to eat this, then tomorrow I will choose to not eat as many calories or I will choose to move more to burn more calories.  Food is something you cannot stop eating cold turkey (or tofurkey for the vegetarians) and you obviously need food to continue living in this world of ours.  Unfortunately we can’t take a meal pill ala The Jetsons…yet?  This causes my “all or nothing” personality to have quite an internal struggle.  It forces me to be strong willed and make the best decisions for my long term health if I want to live past 50 without a ton of ailments.  Making the right decision causes me to become friends with my food monster.  It reminds me I am a lot stronger than I think.

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