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?