Category Archives: Exercise

Cape Cod Nature Trails

2016 came and went with quite a bit of mixed emotions.  Another year older, another year of supposed wisdom. Yet, I find that with everything that happened in 2016, I still had a sense of helplessness and odd mix of anxiety about what this year held. Another year older and yet i don’t know that I have much to show for myself.  Another year of opportunity lies ahead and I plan on reaching again. If I don’t, then next year I will have even less to show for myself.

One goal for 2017 is to get out more.  Living on Cape Cod provides so many opportunities to get out into Nature. Some even believe walking in the woods is as good as getting therapy.  Everyone knows about the pristine beaches, but there are also many acres of preserved woods and trails all over Cape Cod that are free to the public.

We started the day after Christmas and have been off discovering trails we know and trails we have never even heard of.  It’s been fun exploring the beauty of the Cape in a new way. The woods have been relaxing and a personal experience, yet sharing the walks with family has been nice too because we are able to share in the beauty of the place we call home.

hiking_trail_sign_sticker

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Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Names will Make Me Fat

I read this article today from NPR, “Hating On Fat People Just Makes Them Fatter.”  It’s interesting because here we are in 2013 and it’s one of the first time a study like this has been done.  I am a little amazed by that fact but, given the state of America today compared to even 20 years ago, I suppose it’s not that shocking.

eating cinnarolls

The study observed over 6,000 people who had been discriminated for whatever reason.  Four years later, they followed up with those people and found that those who had cited weight as their discrimination factor were still obese and possibly even heavier than they had been before.  While I’d like to think America is over being racist and discriminatory, I know that it’s not.  Look in the department stores.  See if you can find the “Women’s” sizes.   If you can, how small is the section compared to the rest of the store?  Then compare the prices…

I remember having times in my life where people would tell me that no one would want me if I kept gaining weight.  Mind you I was around 13, 14, 15 when those things were said.  It makes an impact to hear words like that come from someone who thinks they are “trying” to help you.  I remember feeling like I wasn’t good enough then so what was the point?

If only that were as deep as it went...

If only that were as deep as it went…

The worst part about it all was trying to understand that what was being said was being said out of love.  I remember on time, for a birthday in middle school, I had a friend come and stay with me at my Nana’s and she made a comment along the lines that it was too bad I wasn’t thin and pretty like my friend.  It was her weird way of trying to encourage me to work on my weight.  Needless to say, that was the last time that friend did anything with me.  I wonder sometimes if I reacted badly after that comment – it’s quite possible.

I am fascinated that people needed a study to realize that these types of “motivators” are really detrimental to people who are struggling with obesity.  Some people think it’s as simple as “Just don’t eat it.”  Sadly, for some of us, it’s not that simple.

The worst part is when you are working on it, because there is no quick solution that instantly transforms your body, people don’t always know you are working on it.  People just let their mouths flap, despite the fact that you are going to your doctor every three months for check-ins and you go to your weekly weight watchers meeting.  They don’t see it.  They just see the fat person that they assume is lazy.

As I work toward my goals, I have to not get angry at those comments.  I have to let go of the hurt that was caused by those “helpful” comments.  I have to just move forward and keep working toward a better me, no matter what names are thrown my way.

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Can You Bottle Some of That for Me?

Energy is something I pretend I don’t have.  Why do I pretend I don’t have it?  I am not totally sure but that is why I am recommitting (for the millionth time) to my lifestyle change.  I just need to find the energy.

As a kid, I remember having   a lot of energy.  I would stay outside all day and into the night, riding my bike everywhere, running around, playing.  I could wake up easily at 6 am without the help of an alarm. I never thought about where my energy came from, it was just there.  Just oozing from every bit of me was that childhood energy that I now watch the Daughter enjoy.

Now, I find that I am more productive between the hours of 9pm and midnight.  But my productivity during that time is not physical, it’s more mental work, writing, and planning the next day, and of course playing my games.  It doesn’t require the energy that I feel I am now missing in my life.

The solution is simple on paper, a little harder in practice.  I know that if I get moving more again, I will have the energy to get moving more.  I know that once I get moving, I will want to keep moving.  The energy from moving will keep my mind moving.  Will give me new avenues to explore.  It’s hard to not have the energy I want to have.  It’s hard to make the time for the steps that I need to regain my energy.  I simply have to choose my hard.

So on this first day of 2013, I’m making a promise to myself to have more energy.  More energy to play with the Daughter.  More energy to have fun adventures with the Family.  More energy to be me, the real me.  I’m nervous and excited all at once, but I am going to hold on to that memory of riding my bike and swimming and just living life to get me through the hard parts.

This year is going to be a grand adventure!

jumping

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Walking Through the Woodlands

Living on Cape Cod, we are blessed with so many preserved pieces of land. Many of them offer trails and the ability to walk through them and enjoy the quiet peace that only nature can give. It’s no wonder that Thoreau wanted to spend time here, exploring and meditating.

Yesterday, since it was gorgeous and we had no Sunday plans, I decided to take the Daughter to the Mashpee River Woodlands and explore.

Back in elementary school, the field trip to the Mashpee River Woodlands was a fun one. We learned about the brackish water that was at the end of the river and how the river flowed from Mashpee-Wakeby Lake to Popponesset Bay and the animals. I will never forget learning about Wintermint and tasting a leaf of it to discover it did taste like my favorite flavor of trident gum!

Wintermint – I don’t know if I would recommend tasting it though – might not be wise and DEFINITELY DO NOT eat the berries!

The Daughter insisted on bringing her camera when we couldn’t find her binoculars which was fine with me. I was bringing my camera, it only made sense. It was such a perfect day for a walk through the woods.

There are three parking lots and depending on how long you want your hike to be, you may choose one parking lot over the other. Also, there are places where you can put your kayak or canoe in and view the woodlands while riding the river. We did this once, back when I was in high school. We took three of our Spanish foreign exchange students who were with us for the summer and oh man…that was one crazy canoe and kayak trip. I wish I had pictures to show you of that…just thinking about it has me smiling.

At any rate, since the water is a little cold this time of year, it is a great time to hike. The fear of ticks was minimal since the weather is getting colder (though we still did tick checks afterwards) and the trees with fewer leaves let more sun in through the canopy.

The Daughter taking a snap of something cool.

You can print out your own map of the trails and then head off for your own adventure. The best of the trails, in my opinion, is the Long River Trail. We parked at the Mashpee Neck Road parking lot and took the Partridge Berry Trail (marked PB on the trail markers) down to the Long River Trail. We turned up the Chickadee Trail and then went the opposite direction down the Partridge Berry Trail to Whitcomb’s Landing.

Along the way we saw a few amazing things:

So many trees were uprooted and down, exposing amazing root structures like this one.

This was deemed the “U” tree for obvious reasons.

At the end of the Whitcomb’s Landing trail where it connected to the Long River trail, there was a bench and a gorgeous spot to just sit and take in the peace and quiet of the surroundings.

Looking down the river, away from the bay.

Where the river bends and curves are known as “meanders.”

The Daughter asked that we come back some day and have a picnic lunch. She then told me I could carry it all for her in her backpack and we would spend all day there, basically, I would be her pack mule on a grand expedition, but I’m quite ok with it . While I agreed that next summer we could do that, I began to think of the possibility of snow-shoeing through these trails if we ever get enough snow. My mother, who came with us, actually said that out loud. I guess great minds think alike.

If you are looking for a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon and it’s not too cold out (or if you don’t mind walking in the cold), take advantage of this underused natural resource. It’s beautiful and peaceful, the perfect recipe for smiles like this:

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A Loss on the Scale and a Doctor’s Advice

I have been toying with this post for a few days now and when the power went out today during Sandy, I had lots of time to really get my thoughts in order and write it.  Thursday was my weekly date with the scale.  If you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted much in this department.  Why?  Well, dear reader, the results haven’t been so great lately.  I gained back quite a bit since my surgery back in August.  By quite a bit I mean almost 10 lbs.  In the grand scheme of my personal weight loss journey, that’s a drop in the bucket.  But considering how hard I have to work for every single ounce, I was slightly devastated.  It was slow coming back on.  I am slowly backtracking.  Not good.

This week, I had a very good loss, a loss I needed to have.  Down 2.2!  That’s amazing.  Movement in the right direction.   A loss to keep me moving forward and not giving up. Why, then, was I not thrilled?

There are so many things that I allow to get in my path.  Emotions, stress, conversations, and all the small things in life get some kind of weird power over me and I let them.  It’s as simple as that.  I. Let. Them.  Part of it is because I have somehow worked it into my brain that when I talk about my emotions with anyone, I’m burdening them.  When I eat my emotions, I’m not burdening anyone.  Well, correction, I’m only putting the burden back on myself.  It’s quite ridiculous.  I have said it before but for some reason I cannot seem to make my brain accept it.

Over the past two weeks, there have been quite a few stress inducing incidents: news, doctors, tests, storms.  Normal people don’t eat through these things…or maybe they do but then they know how to stop or how to counteract it.

This past Wednesday,  I had my final appointment with the surgeon.  It was nice to finally be discharged from gall bladder issues but it was with some interesting advice.  My surgeon said that my goal over the winter months was to “not lose any weight but not gain any weight.”  I asked him to repeat it.  He did and then added that over the winter I should just maintain and then in the spring really go at my weight loss.  I was a little surprised at what he said.  Considering the amount I still have to work on getting to my end goal, it was a first to have a doctor not tell me to keep working hard.  I don’t know that I’m going to follow that advice 100% to be honest.  In my life, as far back as I can remember, I have never had a doctor tell me to not worry about losing weight for any period of time.   It was a bit of a shock.  My other two doctors are encouraging me to continue losing, though, because it will help fix some of my other issues, namely the PCOS.  I’m going to stick with two out of three doctors.  Plus, I really want to buy some new clothes.  I’m really tired of what’s in my closet right now!

Tomorrow is a new day.  A new chance to start fresh and a take today as my own.

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Letting Go of Control

Even though the weight didn’t go on overnight, it sure feels like it sometimes.  The emotions got to me this past two weeks.  I have been stressing over things that are completely out of my control.  I like control.  It’s unnerving to me to be out of control.  I think that a lot of people have trouble not being in control but the difference is how we all deal with it.  Because I tend to internalize a lot, this often results in me being a not so pleasant person to be around when I’m stressed.  I eat which makes me upset with myself and adds to that sense of spinning out of control.

Now you may be asking yourself, kind reader, if I can recognize this behavior, why not simply change it?  Good question.  A lot has to do with the fact that I learned to be an emotional eater at a very early age.  It was the only thing I could control – what I put in my mouth.  And since emotions were not something we were encouraged to talk about (I should note that it was only by one of my parents who unfortunately had too big of an impact on all of our lives), I learned to control my emotions by feeding them.  It took me years to realize this and accept it.  But if I have accepted it and recognize it, why do I fall back into that pattern so easily?

Because I am human and prone to mistakes.

That’s the only answer I can come up with.  I get scared and even if I have been doing well, that fear is almost paralyzing so I go back to old habits.

Today is weigh in.  Last week was a terrible gain.  Today is most likely going to be another gain.   I am bracing for it.  It’s a mental blow every week there is a gain.  I know I deserve it but it still just hits that spot in my heart where I have let myself down.  The fact that I’m even going to go to weigh in tonight is a victory.  In the past, I would have blown it off and just written it off as a bad week.  I can’t afford to do that any more.  It’s part of breaking the habits.  It’s part of changing life.  It’s part of being in control of the right things.  Gaining control of the things I can control.

There is a saying in many of the 12-step programs:

Let Go and Let God

For years, I heard this saying from people and kind of just would shake my head in a “yeah, yeah, sure” kind of attitude.  This past year, however, I have really come to a full understanding of this.  There are things that are completely out of our control.  There are things that we cannot change simply because they are things we cannot change.  But, there are some things that we can change.  There are some things that we can improve on.  All the rest, we have to let it go.  We have to have the courage to say that it is not something we can control.  It is not something that we have the power to change.

All the fears, the doubts, the worries…they are not something you can control.  All you can do is trust in whatever you believe in and know that “it will all be ok in the end and if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.”

Call it a realization of Faith.  Call it common sense.  Call it an awakening.  Call it whatever you are comfortable with.  When you get there though, to that point in life where you fully and truly embrace this thought, you will feel a sense of peace that is so precious it will be your beacon  for those days when you need to hit that mental reset button.  I know that the struggles have been partially built up by my own mind but it’s my own mind that I need to quiet.  By letting it all go and realizing that the fears are not in my power to control but what I put into my mouth is; what I do for exercise is; how I treat others is all within my control, I can be a little less upset with myself and this gain and move forward.

 

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The Metal Square that Spits Out Numbers

Last week, I was bad.  I skipped my Weight Watchers meeting.  I wasn’t proud of it, I just couldn’t handle a gain.  This week I knew I had to be back OP ( which means on program as the WW people say) so that I could get rid of that gain and then some.  I was careful, aside from my choking episode.  I tracked for the most part. I still was a little lazy about tracking.  Need to fix that.  I made healthier, whole food choices.

I went to my weigh in tonight and was nervous.  I usually peek at the scale on Tuesday night just to see where I’m at.  I didn’t do that this past Tuesday because I was having the fish bone removed from my throat.  Yesterday, I didn’t peek either because I was just too nervous.  So, tonight, I made myself get in the car and drove to my weigh in.  I was ready to accept whatever that scale had to say.  I knew whatever it was, it was not going to define me.  It was just one more week, one more number.

Well…

I lost 1 whole pound from my last weigh in. That means I lost last week’s gain plus one pound!  Yay!

So, what lesson can we take away from this?

Skipping weigh in didn’t really do anything.  It was silly really because I didn’t know how much I had gained.  It was also silly because it was like I let that stupid metal square dictate how I was going to feel.  Why does that metal square have that power?  Why do I let it have that power?  I know that I’m not perfect.  I know (now) that I have to forgive myself more easily.  I know that I’m making changes.  So why does that number that comes from stepping on that little metal thing make me feel like crap if the number isn’t what I want it to be?

I think the answer is that I want results.  I want to know that I’m getting that much closer to my goals.  I just need to remember that the number that I see each week is just ONE indication of my progress.  There are other things I can look at if I need confirmation that I’m making progress.  I can look at the fact that when I go out to eat, I look for the chicken and the fish.  I ask for modifications to my plates (no butter, no mayo, steamed veggies).  I move more.

Why do I rely on that scale to be the main source of my progress? Is it because once you get to the number you’re supposed to be at, it’s more acceptable?  Or is it just that the number I’m currently at is a sad number?  Whatever it is, I need to let that number just be a number.  I need to look at other measures and put a little Pollyanna spin on this whole journey.

The week resets tomorrow.  The plan is to just keep tracking, just keep moving, and just keep thinking ahead.  I’m going to use the one foot in front of the other kind of thinking to get through each day.  That should close that 1.8 lb gap between me and that 50 lb charm that I keep playing with.  I will have it in my possession very soon!

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Refocusing After a Not So Stellar Weigh In

Weigh in was a bust tonight.  I gained.  I knew I was going to gain. I gained 1.4 to be exact. It’s this thing I do to myself.  I come close to a milestone and I freak out.  Not like seriously freak out but it’s like something says “You’ve got a little wiggle room.”  I do not have a little wiggle room.  Tomorrow is a new day, a new WW week, a new shot at that magic number.

This coming week, I have a second post-op appointment and hopefully I’ll be able to get back swimming soon.  Yes, walking is fine but I get bored and the Daughter likes to come for walks and that makes for slow walking, even though I am secretly thrilled that she likes go for walks.  I got a ball-hopper and a case of tennis balls for my birthday so I really want to start using that now that the super humid days are over and it’s not torturous to be outside.

Cannot wait to get out and play more!

Today, I was thinking about getting back on track and what I need to do this week to do that.

1) I need to make sure I track everything.  I mean everything.  I need to write it down immediately after I eat it or before I eat it like I used to when I was doing really well.  That is one habit that really does help curb mindless eating.

2) I need to make sure that water is my main beverage of choice.  Definitely need to cut back on the calories I am drinking.  It’s silly.

3) I need to make sure that I am eating all five servings of my fruits and veggies.  No more excuses.  Just eat them.  They fill me up and prevent me from eating junk.

Nature’s Fast Food

4) Walk every day.  No more excuses for that. Even if it means pawning the Daughter off on someone.  Make time for this walk.  It’s just 30 minutes.  I can leave her with someone for 30 minutes.  I just need to do it.

They aren’t hard goals.  They are actually pretty simple goals.

Now for the rest of my week ahead, I have two more personal goals, not really weight loss related.  After all, there’s a little more to life isn’t there?

1) Write for at least 15 minutes a day.  I have been doing pretty well with my goal of every other day thanks to this blog where I spew out what’s in my head.  Now I need to get back to that story that’s collecting cobwebs.  Those characters have been resting in my brain for a while.  Time to wake them up.

Calvin may be right, but you can at least practice getting into the right mood by writing a little every day.

2) Work on the quilt project I started.  I need to dig out the sewing machine and just do it.  Practice makes perfect.  Just keep sewing until I get it right!

3) Breathe.  There’s been a lot going on lately.  I need to remember to breathe.

This week will come to an end and I am not sorry to see it go.  As Tom Petty sings, “It’s to move on/ Time to get going / What lies ahead I have no way of knowing…”  Odd – that is the second time this week I have quoted Tom Petty.  I guess I’ve been listening to him a lot this week.  Not a bad thing.  Just funny that I have used two of his songs this week.  At any rate, it is time to move on.  Time to move forward and not look back, just keep moving forward.

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This Pool Workout Kicked My…

You know how you sometimes read a pin on Pinterest and it has a title like “Hardcore Pool Workout” and you think really?  Is it really hardcore?

I tried this particular workout the other day.

Tone in the Pool

First, let me start off by saying that the water is where I feel most at home.  I love the freeing feeling of the water and the way it ignores all flaws of a woman who is not a bathing suit model in any sense of the word.  I have been a swimmer since I was three.  Took swimming lessons at the YMCA and have not stopped swimming since.  I love it.  So, if given the chance to do a workout in the pool, I will gladly accept this challenge.

That being said, this workout kicked my butt (insert a stronger word here if you like).  It says it’s like fun in the water.  Yeah, fun if you already have some kind of muscles and are not built like a sea mammal with layers of blubber that lives in the arctic.

The first of these exercises was the K-Tread.  Basically you tread water while doing Rockette kicks underwater in the deep end.  Not too hard.  Just keep your toes pointed.  Don’t want to be kicked off the line for not having pointy toes.

 

The next move was called “The Otter Roll.”  In this amazing move, you had to take a beach ball and roll around like one of those cute otters eating a sea urchin.  Doesn’t seem like it would be hard, but let me tell you, holding that ball, not so easy.

The “Ball Lever” was also seemingly easy until you try to do more than three in a row.

The “Pike Skull” was actually pretty easy.  I liked this one the best.  I could do this one all day and be happy.

Then to finish out this workout, you are supposed to end with the “Wave Maker.”  First, do not attempt the wave maker if there are children in the pool with you.  They may end up swallowing water.   Second, do not attempt the wave maker if your mother and her friend are sitting on the pool deck in the shallow end with their feet in the water, they may get soaked.  So, after you have adequately warned and/or cleared the pool of any potential drowning victims, you may begin this torturous exercise move.

All of these moves are to be done for 30 seconds and then repeated.  Eventually, the idea is to build up each one’s time and ultimately “tone” your body.  If you survive the first set of 30 second reps then you might end up with the ideal bathing suit body, or at least as close as us real people can imagine getting.

I don’t know that I will be as skeptical now of pins that are labeled “Ultimate,” “Hardcore,” or “Killer.”  They might not be lying.

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