Slow and Steady!

Dear Erin,

This little guy was making his way across the path this morning on our walk. Since I weighed myself before our walk, I couldn’t help but make a comparison. My weight-loss on my new vegan for now (but just mostly vegan for later) clean foods eating has kept me right on track of loosing about a half a pound a week. I’m totally fine with that. As my weight slowly creeps down, and my body gets stronger from the Strength Training I’ve been doing 3 days a week at the gym, I also feel MUCH better.  Much.  I won’t attribute my well being completely to clean eating, since I have also been getting to spend a lot of time outside in the warm weather, doing landscaping and gardening, and generally upping my overall activity level.

The past few weeks, I have been spending my Friday night at the gym. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes by myself. I go in and do a strength training circuit, about 40 minutes of cardio, and then soak in the whirlpool or sit in the sauna or steamroom for a little bit before I shower and put on my pj’s to wear home. Its completely wonderful. And, because of the application of some sort of heat at the end of my workout, I don’t have any problems going to sleep when I get home like I do if I just go and work out.  Since I have plans for tonight, I had my Friday night on Thursday.  As an added bonus, I timed it so I could watch the Big Bang Theory while I was doing my cardio. It was great.

So that’s my report pre-weekend. Slowly loosing, good. Gym with whirlpool, good.
Have a great weekend. I know I plan to.

~S

Dear Erin,

I really like the link you put on facebook yesterday. Fifteen Powerful Things Happy People Do. Thanks for pointing me to some more good inspiration.

I would like to report that I skipped one of my gym workouts this week in favor of doing 1-3 hours of heavy duty yard work every day. I think my body has gotten the better end of the deal, as has my yard.  Tonight I return to the personal trainer for a good workout, and then out to a vegan dinner out with friends at a very non-vegan friendly restaurant for dinner. I’m bringing my own condiments (salsa and homemade salad dressing) for a plain garden salad and plain baked potato.

On the vegan eating…I would like to report that my body is really happy with my whole foods regimen. I cheated a little bit on Sunday night and has some cheese. I didn’t get sick or anything, but I just didn’t feel good, and it reaffirmed for me that I am feeling a lot healthier eating dairy free – with whole foods. This does not, of course, mean I won’t sneak a little bit of meat and dairy back into my diet on a limited basis later, or that I have stopped craving cheeseburgers. Just that I affirm that my body really appreciates the healthier fuel I have been filling it up with for the last week or so.

Also, I lost some weight – a whole shirt size now. Which is really nice.

Pictured above, me, playing at the playground on Monday (sporting that smaller sized shirt). I was there for an excellent mothers day celebration on Monday with my mom, sister, and nephew, pictured below. What fun!

~S

Bonus Workout

Dear Erin,

Here is a picture of those veggie burgers from yesterday.
Mine didn’t stick together very well, and I am eating the leftovers as a bowl of rice and lentils, with the toppings chopped up on top. Since I really like homemade veggie burgers, I am thinking I need to get a patty mold to squish everything together more. (I guess that will be a weekend mission.)

I would also like to report that I did a bonus workout at the gym last night, just because.
I usually go Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  This week I added in an extra 40 minute workout on Thursday night! And I’m still going to go tonight too.

~S

That Training Session

Dear Erin,

I am so excited for all of your changes in your life, and proud for your leap!
I know it will all end up the way you need it to.

Here is my report on the first (real) day of Personal Training:
Kenya had lots of exercises ready, and we ended up going through a circuit of 15 or 20 of them twice. (Yes, I actually lost count.)
Some of the exercises were really difficult, and some were vaguely familiar and a couple were variations on yoga moves I already knew. I made it through everything, even with a little joking. You know when you watch the Biggest Loser and they have the contestants in a position where their back is against the wall, and their knees are at a 90 degree angle with Jillian STANDING ON TOP OF THEM? Yeah, I did those last night. Just me, with no one standing on top of me. And I almost couldn’t hold the last rep of the second set for a full 5 count. That show is just crazy!
Anyway, when the session was finished she asked me how I was feeling, and asked me to text her if anything we did bothered my back injury. I was feeling fatigued but accomplished when I walked away. However, when I got to the LONG set of stairs to get down to the locker room, I realized I was in trouble! On a dare and a prayer, I made it down the whole set without tumbling, and was more proud of that than the session itself!

This morning I woke up sore, but none the worse for wear. Murph and I even went for our walk to the beach. (Pictured above.)

Today’s Exercise: Mowing the lawn for one hour at lunch. Necessary but not my favorite.

Hope your day, is filled with the joy of knowing you did the right thing for yourself!

~S

 

Running

Dear Sarah,

I am hoping that Kendra kicked your ass in the gentlest, kindest way possible… well… for a personal trainer.

I ran today. And, man, it felt great.

I am finding that running is like a new friend that feels like you have known them forever. Whenever I run after a long time off, I feel like my heart and head hit a stride that finally connect. (Remind me of that in the future when I get all whiny and talk about how hard it is, ok?)

I’m in a place of shaking up my life at the moment. Shifting from a job of 8 years into the unknown, transforming how I think about my happiness, health and intention. I swear, the feeling of being locked into an unhappy existence for the past few years has allowed me to pack on weight and limit myself so far as to always be feeling like the world rested on my shoulders alone. I can’t count how many times that I have told everyone that I’m doing “ok” or “fine” and washed my emotions down with whatever  could put into my mouth.  The truth is, I haven’t been happy for a long time.

Now, this feeling of general unhappiness has nothing to do with my husband or my man-cub. They are my touchstone and truly the reason I could keep chugging away at the things I locked myself into. And, my family and friends are amazing. I count myself truly blessed to have all of these wonderful people in my life that love me unconditionally.

The fact of the matter is, I couldn’t love me unconditionally. My internal barometer of happiness was so far south that I forgot it even existed.  I felt so disconnected from being able to be creative, to dream big dreams, and to make changes in myself that could result in a different path.

The simple act of throwing in the towel in one area of my life has led to this opening up of so many others. I feel like I want to take photos again. I want to get my ass up and run. I want to eat well, rest well, and take time for me. Why?

Simply because I can.

This is all not to say that I am not scared of what lies ahead. But the fear is tempered by pure, unabashed excitement.

And, I like it.

~ E

 

 

Back Update

Dear Erin,

Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words. Yours sums it up quite nicely.
Good luck on everything, and I hope that early morning run went well.

I wanted to give you an update on my back…
I personally report: the pain level is pretty low – like 4 advil per day instead of 12 (As prescribed by my doctor people, don’t go getting all crazy on me, I don’t self medicate anything not prescribed.)
The Chiropractor reports: everything looks like it is holding into place – and that I can come back in TWO WEEKS (instead of twice a week).
And the Massage Therapist reports: everything seems to be staying a lot looser from the last two sessions – I will go back for another torture session from hell (AKA deep tissue massage) in a MONTH as long as it stays loose.

About the massage therapist. At first I thought this was going to be a frivolous waste of my un-reimbursable health budget. Plus I really dont care for massages. Instead it has been the VERY BEST thing on my road to recovery from this episode. My muscles tend to want to stay in “guard” mode LONG AFTER the pinched nerves have started healing. The deep tissue torture really addresses a lot of those issues.

What does all of this really mean?
I’m pretty sure it means that Kenya the personal trainer is waiting in the wings to KICK MY ASS at the gym tomorrow.
Good thing I’ve been doing my homework.

~S

Planning to Eat

Dear Erin,

As you know, planning my meals is one of my goals. This weekend I sat down and planned several days of healthy meals that were realistic for me to spend time cooking, and even did some of the prep work.

Prepping ahead of time allowed me time this morning to make one of my most favorite breakfasts – beets and eggs.  This is a recipe that I adapted from Animal Vegetable Miracle (a book I highly recommend by the way). It basically has sauteed beet greens and stems with some sort of onion and canned tomatos (in this case the last can from my own garden last summer), with some hot red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.  After the greens are all cooked up, I remove half for another meal, and poach an egg on top, leaving the yellow runny so I can mix it in. YUM!! Here is the version from the book. Normally I only do one egg, but my other meals are pretty calorie low for today, so I snuck this second one in today.

Also, I overslept, but I am going to go to the gym at lunch instead! Small victories.

Hope you are moving forward.

~S

First Personal Training Session

Dear Erin,

Actually, it WASN’T my first personal training session. We will start next week. It was a session to set up my “settings” on the fancy Milon Training Circuit that my gym has in addition to their free weights and nautilus machines. It’s 17.5 minutes, and there are several weight training machines, plus four minutes on a stationary bike, and 4 minutes on an elliptical machine.  All of the machines are set up with back support in just the right spot, so its a perfect way for me to get in a little weight training along with my cardio, safely.  The cost of the circuit is included in my gym membership, although I did have to pay a one time fee for the “smartcard” that records how the machines should set your height and weight levels for each item. It also records your workouts so you can track your progress over time (or your trainer can stalk you and see if you’ve been doing it). Overall, I really like the trainer, and we set up a regular appointment for Wednesday evenings, so now I will have to work out before I can go have my regular wednesday night playdate with my friends.  A perfect reward.

Lets take a minute away from the gym and talk about before pictures.  Someone told me that if I am going to start going to the gym all the time, I should really take a couple of before pictures. Sister, I am here to tell you, every picture of me taken in the last 6-8 years is a BEFORE picture. Even the really flattering ones. Even the ones I really like.  Here’s one of me spinning (A good friend took it, and I really do like it):

No, not THAT spinning. If I had done a lot of THAT spinning, I wouldn’t be needing a personal trainer at the gym. I look perfectly presentable, I am out in public, interacting with strangers, demonstrating how to do something I actually really enjoy, and I’m fine with public speaking. But lets get a closeup on that face:

Girl, seriously, I love me, but its a BEFORE picture.

Speaking of spinning, the kind that DOESN’T result in making yarn, riding the stationary bike at the gym today made me resolve to get my actual bicycle out of the garage this week and fill up the tires and ride it around the neighborhood like I did when I was a kid. Because that was FUN!

Wanna know what else I did tonight? After the trainer was done with me, since I was at the gym anyway, I walked another 40 minutes on the treadmill. Pretty fast.

And Murph and I went for a walk before work this morning, so I am pretty exercised out.

I leave you with this – Sarah’s Gym Tip of the Day: Right Said Fred and Aqua should probably NOT be right next to each other on your workout playlist.

~S

Weekend Update

Dear Erin,

On Friday I went in for a (torturous) deep tissue massage. It helped a lot.

So this weekend, sore back and all, I went for a hike with these guys on Saturday. They are both super excited to be be stomping around in the woods and swatting at bugs, so it was pretty motivating.

Then I did a walk on the beach on Sunday morning with the Murph, and a walk around the park with my friends for a while on Sunday afternoon (poor Murph had to stay home).  We did a little bit of eating out, but none of it was fast food, and I really feel good about all the exercise I managed to do.

I got another torture massage today, and my back is definitely on its road to recovery…and I am happy to report that TOMORROW I will be meeting with Kenya (the personal trainer).  I can’t wait!!

Watch for tomorrow’s gym report!

~S

And Thats How We Roll

Dear Erin,

I wore my gym clothes to knitting last night, because that’s how I roll. OK, NOT USUALLY, but I really had a lot of stuff yesterday, and I wanted to fit in a visit to the gym. So I went to knitting for a little while, left early and went to the gym. And as a bonus reward, I went into the whirlpool for some “therapy” after my workout.

Pictured on the side, are my gym bag and my knitting bag are coexisting in harmony on the passenger side of my car.

Hope you continue to figure out how to “fit it all in” yourself.

~S

PS I picked up a couple of new gym outfits at old navy a couple of days ago, so I wasn’t completely grubby. I mean NEW gym clothes look a little better than the old broken in ones.