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

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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

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

 

 

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

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.

About That Playlist

Dear Erin,

What am I listening to at the gym?

First, let me freely admit that I am a teeny-bit tired of my playlist. It has been my go to for exercise for a while, and will likely be updating it soon. But when I do, I’ll let you know that too. My gym attitude is that tv is boring, books are boring, magazines are boring, but the RIGHT music gets me all fired-up and motivated. Right now at the gym, I am rocking out to:

  • Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • C&C Music Factory
  • Sean Paul
  • Pink
  • Outkast
  • Len
  • The Bloodhound Gang
  • Right Said Fred
  • Aqua
  • Spice Girls

I TOLD you I’ve been using the same mix for a while. This week I will definitely be using some of your inspiration, and throw some Eminem onto that playlist, along with downloading some Mumford and Sons. Which I have been meaning to do for like a year – since you called me up saying how awesome they were. I will also be exploring some new (old) music choices for download – maybe some Kid Rock and Carrie Underwood.  Its either that or go buy one of those mid-nineties compilations – Jock Jams! – I have to admit that now I bothered found the link for it on amazon, I kind of want those Jock Jams.

I think my musical taste has three basic categories I gravitate towards: late eighties, early to mid nineties, and local/live stuff. Must. Broaden. Horizons. More workout song suggestions welcomed!

~S

PS Photo shamelessly stolen from Amazon. Sorry Amazon, if you want me to take it down, just let me know.

Some Say Mantras…I Say Playlist.

Dear Sarah,

My secret confession is that, often times, I skip my multi-vitamin because it is a horse pill that makes me want to vomit. I think that the gummi-vite idea is brilliant. *mental note: buy yummy gummies*

Yesterday I hopped over to the gym to get in a small workout in-between jobs. I was happy to lift, squat, plank, repeat for a bit. I ran for about 10 minutes and did a few asanas to stretch and relax.

I started thinking about my mantra. The thing that lights my fire, calms my mind, keeps my feet moving, and grounds me in whatever moment I am in. I haven’t found that feeling in the traditional Sanskrit mantras or chanting. I don’t understand it enough,and I  haven’t connected my heart with those sounds.

The thing I have connected with is my playlist. 

Let me backtrack…

When I was an angst-filled teenager, I could sit in my room and play the same song (Pictures of You: The Cure or  In Your Eyes: Peter Gabriel) over, and over, and over again. I would think about whatever boy I was crushing on/in a relationship with and get all wrapped up in the words and the drama. (Think Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club)

As I have matured, I have not lost the ability to connect music and my soul. I use music to propel me forward when my mind tells me to stop. I flood my brain with the  sounds of “can do: won’t stop” and, magically, I don’t stop. And I progress.

So, what’s my most recent mantra?

My workout playlist:

Better Things: Bouncing Souls (originally a Kinks song)

Walk: Foo Fighters

Lose Yourself: Eminem

‘Til I Collapse: Eminem

The Cave: Mumford and Sons

I’ve shown you mine. Now show me yours.

~ E


Awww…

Dear Erin,

Thanks for saying nice things about my picture. I am lucky to have 3 especially talented photographing friends.  Jody, Garry, and Craig.  Craig took this one on a recent hike. He is my favorite photographer because he seems to be super-mindful about only posting flattering pictures of people (or at least of me). I didn’t actually ask him if I could use this picture. Ooops, I guess i know what I am off to do next.

Along with signing up for the gym for AN ENTIRE YEAR yesterday, I went totally off the deep end, admitted I needed <gasp> help, and also hired a personal trainer for 9 sessions.  We are going to work on adding some strength training to my cardio. I will talk more about her next week when we actually get into some training. Yesterday was just an assessment because my back was all sore and out-of-wack.

Your goals are great.  I already added one of yours to mine. I am already keeping track of weight, but I am off to do my measurements this evening too.  Not especially looking forward to that, so thanks for nothing. I can’t want to see some of the creative artsy stuff that flows into your written journal! (You KNOW you are going to sneak us a peek when its cool enough.)

A big shout out to our Rhode Island friend Jenny, who is blogging (probably way more frankly than I plan to) about her own journey over at: Farewell Curves. Lots of luck, good vibes, and actual support if she wants it coming her way from here.

That’s all from RI today. I’m off to find a REALLY BIG tape measure.

~S

PS The asparagus have already started coming up in my garden!!

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