Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Squat Challenge

I'm starting a 30 day squat challenge over on my FBook page, Fit after Fifty-five (yes, I started it a few years ago, lol.) I searched the web to find a beginner friendly challenge and I found what I think is the perfect one. Travel Strong offers a great challenge that has variations for beginner, intermediate and advanced exercisers. That way, your challenge will not stop at 30 days and you can keep building on the progress you have made.

Counter Balance Box Squat: The counterbalance box squat is simply a basic squat, but done to a surface like a chair or stool. You use your arms as a counterbalance to make the exercise easier, and the surface as a way of measuring your depth. Don’t sit down on the surface; touch your butt to it to make sure you are going to the same depth with each rep. You can make box squats easier by using a higher surface, or harder by using a lower surface.

Prisoner Box Squat: Instead of using your arms as a counterbalance, place your hands behind your head to perform what is known as a prisoner squat. A prisoner squat is more difficult than a counterbalance squat because it requires more balance and stability. Once again though, you will be using a surface like a chair or stool to make sure you hit the same depth with each rep.

Counterbalance Air Squat: After a couple of weeks of squatting to a box you will have built up an awareness of how low you need to go until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Parallel (or lower) is the depth you should be aiming for with each rep. An ‘air squat’ is simply a bodyweight squat performed as per the instructions earlier in the article. ‘Air’ is used to distinguish it from other variations.

Prisoner Air Squat: This is the toughest variation of the 4 in the beginner squat challenge. Again, make sure you are getting as close to parallel as you possibly can, but this time place your hands behind your head to make it more challenging.

The link above also gives you tips on doing the exercises correctly and warm ups.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Healthier Diet

Okay, a confession to make, I'm just starting to adjust my diet to a healthier mode. I've been stressed a lot since early Spring when I stopped keeping a food diary or going near the scale. That departure was prompted by an injured shoulder which put everything else except physical therapy on hold for a while. I was sticking to the healthy diet even without keeping track....for a while. Then the stress started, family and friends becoming or being sick, the death of a friend, a tree hit the house, the transmission went out on my truck and then my own health scare a few weeks ago. That last one sent me into an unexpected emotional tail spin and a junk food eating spree. I will confess, "My name is Sande and I'm a stress eater and sweets addict!" I realized last week how these stress induced over indulgences were affecting my health, my body, even my emotional state. I'm ready to make some major changes now and eating healthier and cleaner is tops on that list. I also plan to lay off the sugar and starchy foods as much as possible. Lunch is one of the hardest to change because I tend to grab the easiest thing to prepare and eat and that often is the least nutritious and often downright unhealthy. So, I very much look forward to reading this article.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Another New Month

Okay, I have made quite a lot of progress over the month past but considering that my only diet update was on November 1st, I'm thinking it might not have been the month to start my new diet. December is already looking as if it might not qualify either (especially since I just had cake for breakfast!) I have to say though that I have learned a lot during the past thirty days. My health coach, Lee, says that I've made much more progress than I think. I have made progress on the house and organization although there is still a long ways to go. I am walking at least once a day and often twice even though I'm not on the schedule I'd hoped to be or increasing distance, intensity or time at all. Still, Lee keeps pointing out that I need to celebrate my triumphs and stop beating myself up about what I perceive as failures. He says that "failing" is just figuring out what doesn't work and moving on to what does. So, I think my plans are finally coming together in what will be a productive way with both my fitness, my health and in getting organized, my work and life.

Firstly, I'm changing our master bedroom into my studio. This was the original plan when we moved our bed and other furniture to one of the smaller bedrooms. There have been challenges with the size but I think we've finally overcome those and personally, I like the cozy feel of the small room....Steve still needs a bit of convincing, haha. We've been moved out of there for nearly a year now but Steve took it over for a while wanting to turn it into a den. Then, the cats arrived and took over the entire house but especially that room. Now, he's decided he would like the TV in the bedroom. That turned out to be a good move because I purchased an indoor antenna which is actually attractive and sleek and also picks up local channels we were unable to get with the roof antenna. So, now, the room is mine again and I'm working this week on cleaning it out, pulling up carpet and carpet nails and painting the floor and repainting the walls. I'm hoping, by this weekend, I will be painting the furniture I plan to use in there. Much of it has been stored away for years but by the end of the weekend, I plan on having a ready to move into and very functional, new studio!

As for health and fitness, despite the sins of holiday table, I have realized how what I eat affects how I feel. I have a mammogram this Thursday and I hope to pick up some groceries afterwards...healthy ones. A note on the mammogram, I found a hard lump under my right arm so I'm hoping for the best.
I think the exercise will fall in line once I finally have the mess of a house organized and rearranged. I've told the story before of how it went from comfortable house to looking more like a stacked up warehouse and has stayed that way for fifteen years or more. I'm over it. I want a social life again. I want to have friends over for dinner while I still have friends. I'm tired of blocking people at the door or rudely telling them they can't visit. I am making progress and if I can also make some money to pay for repairs, my wish is that it will be "visitable" again by the summer of 2016. I'm also hoping that I will be more presentable, too, slimmer, fitter and healthier. That's my new goal and I'm sticking with it. I will try to start the daily check in on here again because I think that will help keep me on track. So this is my Day ONE post....again, lol.

Today's Challenge.....

Make a conscious choice to eat slowly during 1 meal today.

When I was much younger, I worked at a place that only allowed 30 minutes for lunch and that included travel time from your workstation to the cafeteria and back. I got into the habit of eating very fast. The problem, it stuck.....even though my husband says that time is ancient history and should have no affect on me now, it still seems to. So, I think I eat too much before my stomach signals it is full which adds to my ever widening girth. I think becoming more mindful of my eating will help me quite a lot.

I recently read an article which said that people who could concentrate on one task at a time tended to be slimmer. This challenge has pointed out to me why that might be true. My brain and life tends to be scattered. I'm doing one task while thinking about another. I jump around a lot with what I'm doing and have a difficult time finishing a task anymore. There was a time when I was an excellent juggler of life but now, I'm starting to drop the balls more often than not. So, I'm thinking, what if the reason those single minded souls are slimmer is because they are mindful of what they are eating, concentrating on each bite, savoring, enjoying and getting full much faster than I do? And perhaps, this explains the uncomfortable over fullness that I feel after so many meals. Ya think?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November 1-DAY 1

Hitting re-wind and re-start on my fitness goals. As most of you know, our insurance company gave me a wellness and health coach. He's a great coach but the poor fellow has been struggling with me for at least six months now and I'm still flailing about in the murky waters of my life. He keeps encouraging me though and telling me that I am making progress even when I feel discouraged because, in my eyes, I'm accomplishing little. He pointed out to me, this last session, that even when I feel like I've failed, I'm actually just figuring out what doesn't work. That's a great way of looking at it. I think I finally have a plan to get back into a routine with my life as well as my exercise. It's just a matter of making it routine and that has been a problem. Life doesn't always cooperate and things come up constantly to disrupt the plan. My body also does not always cooperate. It seems that I am a wee bit overly enthusiastic on some days and then, it takes me another day to recover. lol And there are just some days when it is easy and others when it is not. So, I guess I am learning what works and I'm learning to be more flexible and more forgiving of myself and life. I have been doing better on all fronts. I have walked every day. Some days, I actually walk two or three times with vigor and other days, well...just once and not so vigorous....but I do walk. I'm learning to walk for my own pleasure as well as for fitness. I'm learning to set the things I love as a priority instead of a reward. I sat myself down and worked out why my previous plan wasn't working. Before, I'd say to myself, "I'll go play with the horses or take the dog walking or work on my soon as this task I don't want to do is done." Well, how do you think that turned out? Not well, I can tell you. No, I'd procrastinate and procrastinate until the day was done and I felt like a failure because I'd accomplished nothing good or bad. So now, I'm doing the pleasurable things first. Then I do the bad, yucky tasks and if I want or feel I need to, I take another walk or go see the horses just to get away for a while and come back with a fresh outlook and more drive to accomplish my task. So, the exercise is not only becoming a pleasure but a habit, the organization and house cleaning and revamp is progressing and I'm working on that schedule. Once I get this all in hand, I'll start working on the diet..... not only because I don't want to stress myself all at once but also because trying to work out a new working schedule also means I'll need to order the occasional pizza...sans salad because I don't always have time to get the the grocery. But the final point is, I am improving and making progress and I've had so many epiphanies, revelations about myself that that alone is an indicator of growth. So, I will just keep teaching this old dog some new tricks. :)

I will weigh in tomorrow morning and add much as I hate doing both! I will also add my daily exercise and my triumphs and fails. I'm trying to really make this work this time but I'm trying to take baby steps instead of just leaping in without planning or looking. 

First goal: making exercise not only a priority but a habit!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day One Again

There is no rule that says you can't rewind and restart anytime you want. I've gone through a few difficult months and my how ever many day plan has died a painful death. But I'm ready to resurrect my goals and set a restart for tomorrow, November first.

I've been talking to my health and wellness coach Lee. I told him that I was ashamed to say again, "I've made no progress." He told me that he thought I'd made a lot of progress. He said that I'd just been figuring out what doesn't work. That's so true and I think I've also figured out why certain plans don't work.

He's been talking to me about priorities. I thought I had that all worked out but I didn't. I never seemed to have time for the things I loved, for my horses, walks with my husband and our dog, working on my art, exercise. And despite putting all of the good things in my life on the back burner, I wasn't making any progress with the things I hate. Why was this happening? It happened because I kept saying, "I'll go spend time with the horses...or walking, exercising, cooking, working on art....after I finish this task I don't want to do." But instead of working toward that reward, I would hide in my room, in front of the TV or the computer and I'd avoid getting that work done. So, decision time.....from now on, the rewards come first. I'm finding, if I do what I love, it's a lot easier to do what I hate. Who knows, by November 1st, 2016, my house, my life, and my body might all be in better shape and I might just be happier, too!


My friend Pamie was the sweetest most giving soul. She was also a card sender. She sent cards for all events and occasions or just because. She rarely would send just one card but several would arrive within days of whatever we were celebrating. She always found the funniest, clever cards and they always made me smile and made me feel so loved. The pain of her passing is still so fresh and raw. It's painful and it's with me constantly but because I didn't get to mourn her with a ceremony of any kind, I also have a sense it's not real. I catch my self thinking about seeing her or telling her something funny or discussing some TV show we both loved and then, it dawns on me that I can't. That doesn't keep me from talking to her just like I still talk to my mama, Candis and Huston. I mainly tell them how much I miss them and how much I need them. Pamie has been especially on my mind lately and that might be because my birthday is drawing near, my big 60. It would have been so nice to have had her here to celebrate with me. I had just been thinking that I wouldn't get that card this year. I've lost lots of friends that I loved but there was something really special about each of those four people. It wasn't just that I considered them my best friends, even my mama, but also because each of them brought something unique to my life that no one else did. Maybe it was understanding because all of them "got me" or at least a certain part of me. Pamie's specialness was hard to explain. She was just this joyous person. She had so much sorrow in her life but she always had a way of making me feel so happy whenever I was around her. Those cards she sent reflected that joy she gave me. Today, I was, once again, attacking this monumental task of organization and I came across a box of memorabilia. It was a very random collection. There were ticket stubs from concerts, an article written about Bonnie Raitt from a local paper, guitar tokens thrown by B.B. King and a signed Tshirt from Chris Isaak. There was a mask from New Orleans and my mom's old purse. Amid that mish mash of ornaments and totems, there were two cards. I started to just pack them away with the rest but something made me open them. I was surprised to find they were from Pamie and they were sent on the event of my fiftieth birthday. You may think that is just coincidence but I don't. I think it was my friend sending her love to me again, her joy and her wishes for a happy birthday. I miss you Pamie and I love you. I worried that, because I didn't get to tell you good bye, you might not know that.......but I think you do.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I have a new target now....good health and fitness. Those strong, muscular legs I use to hate
will carry me to that target with a little effort on my part. ;)
As most of you know, I participate on's daily health challenges. Each day, you are given a challenge with the concept that little daily changes can lead to major benefits and changes down the road. So, yesterday, it was all about accepting your body. The question was, "What are two things you like about your body?" What I realized in answering this challenge was that my perception and acceptance of my body has changed drastically over the past thirty or so years. The first thing that came to mind was health because I am far healthier than I deserve to be considering my often horrible diet and sedentary ways. I've become all the more aware of this blessing of health over the last few years. I've lost so many good friends and three people I considered my BFFs, as the kids now say. I have so many friends who are dealing with major health problems, conditions and illness. All of this has made me aware that I can't take good health for granted, as a given. I'm going to have to start working at it. I also noted my body's ability to change and improve with just a bit of effort on my part. I've always heard that phrase, "Use it or lose it!" associated with fitness. My fitness and wellness coach, Lee told me that statement is true where muscle is concerned but it doesn't have to be permanent; we can rebuild muscle. So, I'm grateful for that fact and I'm grateful for this short, muscular body that I use to see as a bad thing when I was younger. Now, I see it as an asset. My dad use to tell me that I could play linebacker for the Green Bay Packers with my muscular legs. Now I think,these sturdy legs are going to carry me back to fitness. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Okay, what day am I on? I've lost track. I'm still pushing forward but I've not been making the progress I'd hoped for or planned back when I began this journey. I should be happy for progress though. I've been stagnant for a long time and so any progress is wonderful! What day is it? Today.....and it is the only day I can plan on.......but it is day 58 in case you've been keeping track better than I have.

My Daily Health Challenge over on was to name two things I liked about my body. I answered that I'm healthy despite myself. I've lost so many good friends over the last few years, three of them my best friends or bffs as the kids say now. One of them, had lived a full life and passed away at ninety. I still miss him terribly and giving him up was hard despite his age but the other two friends and the ten or more others that I've lost over the course of two years, they were all my age or younger. Cancer took my other two best friends. The world doesn't seem right without them in it and I feel lost without them. Still not quite able to deal with it especially since one of them was just a few weeks ago. Because of them and their sudden and hopeless diagnosis, I've started looking at myself differently. I realize, given that I'm over weight, don't eat as well as I should and don't exercise as much as I should and sit in front of this machine far more than I should...when I'm not watching TV or reading......, that I'm very lucky not to have any major health issues. I am grateful for that but I need to stop taking good health for granted and as a given. I know this challenge is more about body acceptance but I think my priorities have changed where living a healthy lifestyle is concerned. Now, I'm more concerned with being healthy than I am about fitting into a size four again....although that would be very nice! So, what do I like most about my body? Actually, now it is something I always hated as a kid, my sturdy, muscular legs. My dad use to tease me that I could play linebacker for the Green Bay Packers with those legs. Looking back at photos, they actually weren't bad legs then or maybe it's just that muscles are in fashion now but I'm grateful for strong legs that are going to walk me back to fitness. As for what people have always complimented, my eyes. I've always thought they were too large but that's what many find attractive about them. I like them because my eyesight is still good despite glasses for seeing at a distance...of more than three feet, lol. I'm able to appreciate this beautiful world, easily read the printed word, see the smile on my husband's face and the love shining from his eyes and express how I'm feeling to my friends with just a look. I've not always been very satisfied with this body I was given but now, I appreciate it much more than I ever have.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Day 44

I'm still working on the reorganization and my exercise is still hit and miss. Then there is my diet...which we will not go into because it is that bad! I've put on nine pounds in the last few months. I sadly just found out that my best friend, Pamie Haythorn, passed away last week. That certainly put a dent in my previous happy, carefree mood. Losing her is like having a light go out in my heart. She brightened any room she entered, like walking sunshine. She kept everyone laughing with her wicked sense of humor right up until the end. I have to admit, I'm very upset that they are having no sort of ceremony for her. I do understand that funerals cost money...too much money but a private, informal gathering of family and friends to celebrate her being and all the joy she brought to our lives, I wish we had something like that. That would at least allow us to mourn and share our grief and our happiness in the blessing which was she and her life. But, in the end, it is not my decision. I will miss her so much and the light she brought to my life.

My good news will sound trite in the face of that sadness but I have my final therapy session for my shoulder this week. I'm hoping.....fingers and toes crossed....that I will be back to work on my wood sculpture and other many the next week. I still have things to finish up to get both my workshop and studio/office in shipshape but I'm finally headed in the right direction and I'm getting wonderful response over the new angel series of colored pen and inks I'm doing. Here is an example or two:


Well, I got my exercise in this morning......

This morning I thought I'd finally captured the stray, mystery horse that has been roaming our property. I woke up to Bodie barking furiously. He met me when I stepped out of the bedroom and led me back to my office window, indicating I should take a look, lol. It was foggy but I could distinctly make out a large creature grazing out in our front hay field....and dangerously close to the road! Steve yells from the bedroom, where the commotion had evidently woken him up, "What's going on? Does Bodie just need to go out?" I shout back, "No, I see the stray horse in the field. I'm going out to get it." Steve screams, "YOU CAN'T HAVE ANOTHER HORSE!!!!"
Still wearing my pajamas, I rush out the door with feed bucket in hand. I kept looking around for a halter but couldn't find one. The closer I got to the field the more familiar the horse looked and then when it looked up and started walking calmly toward me, I realized it wasn't a mystery horse but my own naughty, Danny! I yell back to Steve...actually standing outside in his underwear unsure emoticon, "It's just Danny. Bring the truck." While Steve ran back in the house to dress, I walked Danny across the field and back toward his own pasture. He ran away again but only to greet his mama, Mouse, who was standing at the fence, craning her neck and looking on with concern. She was not happy. Dan went back in the fenced pasture with no trouble. Now, I need to search for his escape route....the not so little anymore demon.

Monday, September 7, 2015

From My Fitness Pal (which I also use as my online food diary), an article(click on title to read) on

5 Low-Impact Exercises that Burn Crazy Calories

Day 38

I finally ventured to the scale this morning. I've gained seven pounds since I last weighed in two months ago. I could tell I was putting on weight by not only how my clothes fit but by how round my face was becoming. Sigh....I guess this just gives me a bigger goal to aim for and more motivation. The good news.... the physical therapist told me on Friday that this week's session should be my last. My shoulder has improved tremendously over the last three weeks. I see the Orthopedist on the sixteenth and he should release me to get back on schedule not only with my work but with my workouts. Yay!!!

I'm still cleaning and organizing the house and my life. I've started working on my art again. It's only a few drawings at first. Colorized pen and inks of a series of angels.

I've renamed my business/shop, Ginny Pearl, in honor of my late mother. The angels are for her, too. I'm hoping to finally get back in my studio/workshop working on wood sculpture by the middle of this month. I already have orders for several witches for Halloween. For the first time in a very long time, I'm really excited about how my life is moving forward. My fitness-health coach, Lee, was right, the more organized and balanced my house becomes, the happier I feel about my entire life. I truly believe that, over the next few months, I will start becoming who I've always known I could be both physically and as a woman and artist. So, I guess I'd better get to it, time's a'wastin'. ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This is such a good article and this is also the advice that, my fitness/wellness coach, Lee has given to me. And remember, if you do have a set back and feel as if you've taken a step back, just step forward again and pretend you're doing the cha-cha. :)
If there is one fact that everyone knows in theory but not in practice, it’s this: You’re not perfect. You’re going to struggle. You’re going to have bad days. You’re going to eat more than you pla...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ernestine Shepherd didn't start working out until she was 56. She didn't start body building until she was 71. Today, she is 77 and just look at her! What an inspiration she is!!

Ernestine Shepherd is in better shape than most people, decades her junior. Up at 3 a.m. every...

My New Motto!

A Few Articles That You Might Want to Check Out:

I've made all of these mistakes at one time or another. Live and learn and then move on with new knowledge. smile emoticon

From food bloggers to television shows to Pinterest boards, there’s an overwhelming amount of nutrition information, everywhere you turn. How’s a normal person supposed to identify the difference b...

Definitely, adding these to the workout!
There’s no doubt that total-body high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you get the most out of your workouts. Research has actually shown that just six 15-minute sessions of high-intensi...

And of course, you must have something healthy to substitute for what you're giving up. Some of these look down right delicious!!!
For better or for worse, snacking is a common side effect of our on-the-go lifestyles. Since snacks can easily make or break our daily calorie budget, it’s important to choose smart options especia...

....chocolate.....chips........cherry pie.......and of course, the diet Dr Pepper to wash it all down, lol. I try but I think I definitely need to read this article and follow its advice.
Addiction does not always have to involve an addictive substance or drug, as the term can be used to describe an excessive behavior such as compulsive eating. While there are different schools of t...

This is an amazing article! I have been struggling with this for months now. I finally realized something this morning, it's impossible to make exercise a habit if you (or at least I) don't have a schedule. Fitting the exercise in when I have the time just doesn't work. It's too easy to say, "I'm too tired.", "I'm too busy.", "I'll do it later." So, I'm determined to get my life back on track so I can get back on track with exercise.
8 Hard Realities About Making Exercise A Habit By Dina Many of you have been trying to make exercise a habit. Some of you may have already succeeded in that goal. Either way, I’m proud of you for making fitness a part of your life—even if...

Day 23

Sorry to have neglected this journal once again, so much going on in my life lately. Much is very personal and I don't want to get into it....despite the fact that I've shared so much personal stuff in the past. There may come a time I will want to share it but for now, it's between me and the angels. 

My fitness-wellness coach called for our scheduled session last Thursday. I told him there was good news and bad news. The bad first, not any progress on making exercise a regular part of my life but the good news, I've been making great progress getting my life organized again. I told him I was proud of myself and he said he was proud of me, too. It's a process is what he is always telling me and it involves balance in your life. I'm in the process of finding that balance right now. So, that is the main goal he's set for me for the next month. I'm not to even go near the scale or worry if I get the exercise going; my only goal is to get my life more organized. I also will be doing my physical therapy on my shoulder for the next month. We usually have our coaching calls every two weeks but I put the next one off two more weeks just so it would fall the day after I finish my physical therapy and see the orthopeadist again. Not only will two additional weeks give me that much more time to complete my organization task but I'm hoping, I'll literally be able to hit the ground running on the exercise front. smile emoticon

Monday, August 17, 2015

Day 17

It's day seventeen and I've skipped quite a few daily posts. Part of the reason, and it's a good one, is that I've been busy. Some good busy since my last assignment from Lee, my health coach, was to get my life organized before starting a new workout schedule. So, I've made a good start at that. I tackled the kitchen this weekend. I'm still not done but I've made wonderful progress. This was a job I've put off for years. I'll try to add a few photos later. I've made good use of the new chalkboard labels I bought several weeks ago. So much so that I may need to order a few more.

I did all of this, the climbing, the lifting, the scrubbing, with a very sore and painful shoulder.... of course the pain radiates so the left arm, upper left chest and shoulder area are all involved as well. Of course, it's hurt since I injured it but usually it is a dull ache just irritating because it is constant. Last week, I had my MRI. It was the first full one I've experienced and I have to say, I have new found empathy for all of the friends and family who have complained about these things in the past. The only way I survived the close quarters was to close my eyes as they were sliding me in and even then, I felt as if I didn't have enough air. I hyper ventilated for the first few minutes and then the shoulder pain set in and took my mind off everything else. My shoulder had to be in a holster to hold it still and my arm was strapped to my body in a very awkward position. My entire shoulder was pushed backwards and I was terrified it would begin to spasm as it has in the past. It was the longest fifteen minutes of my life but I lived through it. Still, for two days, my arm was in awful pain and kept waking me up at night. So, not only was I working with a sore arm but with little sleep. But I prevailed...yay, me!

So, I'm close to checking one room off of my reorganization and clean list. This was the best assignment ever because I've realized that the chaos that is my home is the main cause for my procrastination with exercise, getting back to my art, redoing and repair so much around the house and generally living my life. I realized also when I was in that MRI and felt as if I couldn't breath that I had felt like that for the last ten or fifteen years. My life isn't over and it is time I dug myself out of this mess and got on with living. So, I'm off now to chip away at that mountain.....within the next two weeks, I plan to knock that sucker down!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Day 07

I have so much planned for today, so much I need to be doing but what have I spent the last nearly three hours on?!....rearranging and sorting through the over 700 recipes I'd pinned to Pinterest and categorizing them. Sigh...At least, I did get some great ideas for what to cook for dinner. I think when my health advisor recommended that I get my life more organized, this isn't what he meant. 

Now, I'm off to do the job I've been putting off all day (and most likely the reason that my recipe pins are now in such wonderful order), it's time to scrub the cat litter box and the litter can. Whoo HOO! What an exciting and glamorous life I lead. HeeHee 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Day 06

This is an amazing article! I have been struggling with this for months now. I finally realized something this morning, it's impossible to make exercise a habit if you (or at least I) don't have a schedule. Fitting the exercise in when I have the time just doesn't work. It's too easy to say, "I'm too tired.", "I'm too busy.", "I'll do it later." So, I'm determined to get my life back on track so I can get back on track with exercise. Click on the title for the source page.


by Dina

Many of you have been trying to make exercise a habit. Some of you may have already succeeded in that goal. Either way, I’m proud of you for making fitness a part of your life—even if you’re not always perfect at it. A consistent exercise routine offers so many benefits to your mind and your body, many of which you are probably already beginning to experience.
Now it’s time for some tough love.
We all have our own ideas about exercise: what “counts” as a workout, how much we need to do, and how it benefits us. But some of those ideas are flat our wrong (or simply misguided). If you’re exercising and not seeing the results you had hoped for, it could be that you’re missing out on these eight truths about exercise. Now they may be hard to hear, but trust that I’m sharing them with you for good reasons. Understanding these realities will only make the habit of exercise easier for you—and help you get even better results from your efforts.


Exercise is work. It elevates your heart rate, makes you somewhat breathless, and causes your muscles to burn. It’s tiring—sometimes exhausting. Yes, exercise does get easier with time, but it will never be “easy.” If it were easy, it wouldn’t be exercise. You see, beyond just getting your body moving (which is great but will only get you so far), exercise has to challenge you. You have to work past your comfort zone in order to train your heart, lungs, and muscles to get stronger and fitter. Over time, yes it will become easier to walk at the 3 mph pace you started, but once that becomes easy, it’s time to walk faster, which brings me to another cold, hard truth: You have to work harder as you get fitter. Think of it exercise as a challenge to continuously improve on what you just accomplished.


Let me preface this one by saying that any body movement is good for you. Whether you’re fidgeting at your desk, walking across the office to talk to a co-worker, taking a single flight of stairs instead of the elevator, or playing Wii tennis—all movement is good, especially when you’re just starting out. But here’s the real truth: Not all movement is “exercise.” The two are very, very different. For any activity to count as true exercise, it has to meet certain parameters, like lasting at least 10 continuous minutes (so those stairs you took or that walk from your car to the store doesn’t count as a workout), it has to elevate your heart rate to an aerobic level (that “hard” feeling I mentioned above), and more. If you count all of these “activities” or body movements you do each day as workouts, then you are only shortchanging yourself—and you could be hurting your weight loss efforts.


Working out really matters for your health and longevity, but more research these days is telling us that simply exercising—whether 10, 30, or even 60+ minutes a day—may not be enough to offset the effects of an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Just because you exercise doesn’t mean it’s OK to be a couch potato the other 23 hours of the day. Sitting, driving, working from a computer, sleeping—all of these “inactivities” make up the bulk of many people’s days, and the longer you sit still, the worse the effects can be on your health. I talked a little about “activity” vs. exercise above. This is where those extra non-workout activities DO matter. They may not be true workouts, but they do have benefits. More movement is good—and that is how you achieve the benefits of an active lifestyle.


“Burn up to 800 calories an hour!” How often do you see phrases like that advertised on workout DVDs, group classes, and other fitness products? The truth is, most of these numbers are seriously inflated, and the average person won’t burn a fraction of that claim. This is the case for treadmills, stationary bikes and other cardio machines, too. Those “calorie burn” screens can be off by 30% or more. SparkPeople tries to be a little more conservative with the numbers we use on our Fitness Tracker, but just remember that calculators/trackers are estimates. When it comes to weight loss, you’re better off with a conservative approach to calorie burn. Assume you’re actually burning fewer calories than a tracker or machine says you are. A better way to gauge what you’re really burning is by wearing your own heart rate monitor. While a general fitness tracker would tell me that an hour of Spinning burned some 600+ calories, my HRM (using my gender, weight, and actual heart rate during the workout) showed closer to 400. That’s a big difference that could really affect one’s weight loss.


A walk around the block doesn’t earn you a brownie. That yoga class doesn’t mean it’s OK to indulge inan ice cream sundae this weekend. How often do you “reward” yourself for working out by undoing most of your efforts with one or more dietary splurges? Remember, exercise really doesn’t burn as many calories as people assume it does, so a single workout—even a rigorous one—won’t come close to offsetting just ONE big splurge. Yet I know many people who justify their food choices by saying “I worked out today.” If weight loss is your goal, you have to keep these splurges in check; otherwise, you’ll be fighting a losing battle and never really get ahead in the calorie equation.


This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions I see. Most people believe that simply by exercising more, harder, or with some “magical” combination (think “muscle confusion”), they’ll get rock hard abs, chiseled arms, and toned legs. WRONG. Exercise will not change your body much at all unless you are also cutting calories. To really change your physique, you have to do both: watch your diet, consumer fewer calories than you burn, and exercise with a combination of cardio and strength training. Same goes for dieting. Cutting calories will result in some weight loss, but your body will not necessarily look more cut or toned if exercise isn’t also part of your plan.


A lot of people don’t like to exercise, but they manage to stick with it in order to lose weight. Once they reach that goal, it becomes easier to slack off and then lose the habit entirely. But whether your goal is to lose weight, look better, improve your health, or just plain feel good, you’re only going to reach—and maintain—that result by continuing to exercise after you reach that goal. The benefits of exercise are quickly lost, too. You actually lose your strength and endurance far faster than it took to build up (unfair, right?). You can lose muscle strength in just a couple weeks off from pumping iron, and cardiovascular endurance? It starts diminishing when you rest just 2 days! This is why it’s important to find a routine that you enjoy and can stick with for the long haul.


I love routine as much as the next person, but the gym is not the place for it. For the best results, you have to change up your workouts often. This is good because it can help prevent boredom so you’ll stick with it, but also prevent plateaus in your progress. For creatures of habit, or exercisers who lack creativity, it can be a real challenge. There are tons of ways you can mix up your workouts without becoming a gym rat or earning a personal training certification. The important thing is that you do it. Don’t let your workouts become stale, and don’t let your muscles get too conditioned to doing the same old thing for months on end. That’s why lifelong exercisers are always reaching for new goals and trying new things. Not only is it fun, but it challenges their bodies in new ways so they always stay fit—and have fun doing it.
There you have it. Sometimes the facts are hard to hear, but ultimately, the truth can be liberating—and help you really become your best in the gym and in life.

Late with Day 05 also!

So, yesterday (day 05) I saw Josh the NP at Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinic. He said the problem with my shoulder has gone on too long and it is getting worse. Injections and physical therapy helped but not enough. So, he's scheduled me for an MRI next week. I know that it will certainly help me to get back on track with my life and exercise if my shoulder wasn't (literally) such a pain.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Day 04....a day late... and Day 05

Well, I did accomplish a few things yesterday but not what I would have liked. Today is here and I'm already running late. Nothing done this morning and I have a doctor's appointment in less than two hours. Bodie is outside and barking so I guess he's alerting me that the mail has arrived. I hope he doesn't jump on the mail lady. I still have to feed the horses and shower and get ready to head to the doctor and I haven't had lunch yet! Ooooh, so typical of my day. This plan of mine is not off to a great start now five days in! More later.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Eat to Lose Weight and Be Healthier

When you're trying to lose weight, it's important to think of the healthier foods you should be eating—not the foods you are missing out on! Weight-loss expert Nicci Micco explains how to build new and better habits. She shows how thinking ahead—by using prescriptive meal plans, eating with a divided-plate method or building your own scheme—can all help you drop pounds.
When you're trying to lose weight, it's hard not to think about all the foods that you shouldn't be eating. But the key is to come up with a meal plan that you should and can follow. Perhaps you're most successful when you can follow a plan that tells you what to eat so you don't even have to think about it. Detailed menu plans with healthy meals and snacks designed to help you re