Friday, November 06, 2009
Tell me: What changes are going on in your life?
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
So check it out and please consider a donation if you're so inclined. Breast cancer affects one in eight US women and the Susan G. Komen Foundation is doing everything it can to help find a cure. Please take a moment and click on the links to learn more about how you can support a great cause! Thanks!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
But at any rate, here is a link to today's article I wrote for Examiner, Is it a cold, or swine flu? I hope you find it helpful. Feel free to leave a comment on the Examiner page. Thanks! (and wish me luck with this darn internet connection!)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
How have you dealt with it?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
“Wow,” he said. “You handled that really well.”
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Here's a link for Week 5 of Biggest Loser 8. Feel free to leave a comment on the Examiner page. I asked lots of questions at the end and love the hear your feedback. There are also links to videos, trainer tips, and profiles of various contestants each week.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
But today, at 8 am, I pulled into my garage after dropping off the kids at school and realized the house was all mine for the next 7 hours. I honestly didn't know what to do with myself at first. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. First I spent some time just enjoying the quiet, going over emails, finishing a cup of coffee. Then I realized that I was just going to sit on my butt all day if I didn't get moving. I cleared away all the medicines that had been crowding the kitchen counter. All the papers that had just been left there until I could get to them "later." I gathered up all the table linens and tossed them in the washer. Then I did sheets. And then towels. I don't normally do laundry on Mondays, and in fact I find it a tedious chore (if only I could train it to fold itself!), but this felt like the right thing to do.
If everyone's getting better, then let's get rid of all the germs and START FRESH! I had a lot to catch up on from last week, but the more I thought about it, the more overwhelmed I became. So I figured this is just one day. I'll do what I can do today, and that will be enough. Some days it's more important to lay the foundation than to build three new floors, you know? Even SuperMom needs a day off once in a while. I looked at all my assignments, came up with a reasonable plan for the week, scheduled some appointments, did some very low-key research, and then ... I took some time to just relax. Could I have gotten more done if I really pushed myself? Sure. Would I have enjoyed it? Uhhh, hell no. But after the past 11 days, I wasn't going to let myself feel bad about it.
Now I've got the washer and dryer humming along, I have fresh linens on the kitchen table, my kitchen counter is recognizable again, my kids should be home from school in about 30 minutes, I'm not anywhere close to being "caught up" on work like I had intended to be by now, but I couldn't care less. I hate to go all Scarlett O'Hara here, but tomorrow is another day! I know what I'm capable of, and it'll all get done in due time.
What do you do to get back on track after your routine has been derailed?
Friday, October 09, 2009
So, I’m thinking of moving my blog to somewhere other than blogspot. It’s been good for my purposes so far, but it may not accommodate all of the changes I want to make. Would love to hear your opinions/suggestions in the comments if you are so inclined.
One of the features I want to add is a tab/section for workout playlists. When I was a fitness instructor—long before the days of mp3s, or CDs—I loved creating playlists with fun themes to complement different workouts. My fitness level has certainly changed from those days—tell me again, why did I give up a job that paid me to work out a minimum of five times a week?—but I still love creating playlists for different workouts.
Here’s one I like for a run/walk on the treadmill. It’s just the list, sorry. No links to download, but if you think you’ll like this kind of thing as a regular feature, I’ll look into it.
Run It Out Playlist
1. Rich Girl, Hall & Oates
2. Gonna Fly Now, Rocky Orchestra
3. By the Way (album version), Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
5. Rock You Like A Hurricane, Scorpions
6. Message of Love, Pretenders
7. I’ ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, U2
8. No One Is To Blame, Howard Jones
This playlist is about 31 minutes. I like to use it for what I call a “dirty 30,” one of those workouts when you don’t have a lot of time, but you still want to get moving. Hall & Oates is a nice, bouncy warm-up. Trying singing along, from your diaphragm, on the don’t you know’s. Rocky music, Gonna Fly Now & Eye of the Tiger, is great motivation. By the Way has a nice shift of speeds if you like to do intervals. If I don’t feel like sprinting, I’ll change the elevation on my treadmill to make it more challenging. Try to clap and keep pace on the oooh-ahhh’s. Scorpions—if this isn’t the best song for running on an incline, I don’t know what is. Admittedly, the lyrics are totally sexist. But that’s not really what I’m thinking about when I’m working out. Message of Love has a good, easy beat to use for pace. Dig with your elbows to get more momentum as you run. The U2 song is the pusher. Just push through that and you know you’re almost at the end. I think the lyrics help, “It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain, when you start out the climb.” Finally, a nice cool-down with Howard Jones.
Let me know if you like it/how you would use it.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
I'm at my local cafe today and it's not really helping my writing mood that they have the radio set to country music. Getting all serious into my work and they're playing Here's A Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares, by Travis Tritt.
Seriously, not helping ....
It's frustrating to feel like I'm losing ground on my big project this week, a project I really wanted to do for me, but I'll just trust that there will be time later on to get back to it. I started feeling a little guilty when I left them both home, sick, and told my husband I wasn't sure when I'd be back. But then I figured that this is probaby keeping me healthier and I shouldn't worry about it too much.
What do you guys do when you get sidetracked like this? Any thoughts?
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Well, the truth is, it’s been a really, really long time since I cared about what people think of me. Like, since I was a senior in high school. And I learned that lesson pretty fast. People who think less of me because of what I say, do or think, or how I look, aren’t really worth my time. Harsh? Maybe. But unabashedly true.
And then today it hit me that agonizing over not being where I want to be is subscribing to that same defeatist, all-or-nothing mentality that vaulted me up to the 200+ pound mark in the first place. And now look where I’m headed … again.
People always say I don’t look like I weigh what I weigh. For starters, I’m 5’9”. That’s five inches taller than the average U.S. woman. I got me a little more frame to fill. And—oh, how to say this delicately?—I’m sorta on the chesty side. I once read a medical chart that said I should weigh between 120 and 145. And I thought, “120? Sh*t, I have that much in my bra!” (Subsequently, that was the last time I paid attention to a medical chart.) I lost 55 pounds a few years ago, took 9” off my waist and only 4” off my chest. My jeans dropped from a size 18 to a size 10, thisclose to an 8, and I still have to buy an XL top, or shop at Lane Bryant for bras. (*cringe*) The girls are here to stay, no two ways about it.
But regardless, I could be doing better. In order to make progress, I think it’s necessary to revisit the past. What were my successes, and where did I fall short? My top weight, at least the top weight I admit to, was 229 pounds, just before I moved to Idaho in June 2004. (OK, don’t tell anyone, but just before I delivered my daughter, I was closer to 250. Linebacker size. Two weeks before she was born, the nurse weighed me and told me I was 248, and after that I told her not to tell me my weight anymore. But that’s just our little secret, K? All right, thanks.) I’m going to really go out on a limb here and post the picture, taken in August 2004. OK, look. What do you see? A fat girl, right? A fat girl with a bad haircut. (Short? What was I thinking?) But that’s not all I see. I see a girl who was really unhappy and unhealthy, just reacting to life, eating anything and everything because it was available, losing her temper a little too often and feeling very sorry for herself. Misery personified.
Now check out the next picture. That’s me just one year later, in 2005, 55 pounds lighter and much happier and healthier. That’s a girl who said “Eff you, misery! I got stuff to do. I deserve a better life than this, and I’m gonna fight for it!” That’s the girl who met her friend at 0:Dark:30 every morning to hit the gym. And then made time to lift weights at night when the kids went to bed. That’s the girl who stopped buying cookies because she figured out she couldn’t eat what wasn’t there. (Duh!) That’s the girl who found a way to be active no matter what, whether it was going out to play soccer (which she hates) with the kids or shoveling 49 yards of dirt out of the driveway to put in the backyard, busted ankle and all. She made it a workout, whatever it was.
So where is she now? Somewhere between those two pictures. Not where she wants to be. But she has come to the realization that it’s not all or nothing. It’s day by day, and each one is a new opportunity. And if she falls, she’ll get back up. It’s only a failure if you refuse to try again. So I’m officially dropping the guilt today. It never helps anything anyway. No matter what size pants I’m wearing, I know a lot about health and fitness. I have much to say and share and do. And I still want to help others achieve their own success, one day, one pound, one good decision at a time. Because THAT is where I want to be.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Wait, what was that last one? Oh, yeah. Be myself.
And there's the crux of it. Crazy as it may sound, I've been soooooo busy lately that I sort of forgot to do that. The simplest thing in the world. When I started this blog a few years back, it was for a couple reasons. First and foremost, it was to communicate the changes I was going through and, as a verrrrry close second, to help others who had given up on health and fitness. I wanted to show people that there is a better way to go through life than zooming through a drive-thru window or sitting on your ass (does that count as cursing?) and watching sports instead of actually getting up and playing them.
Like many work at home moms, my day is never done. No, that's not a plea for sympathy. Believe me, I could use it, but I have other things to deal with. The point is that I am continually juggling multiple deadlines, in addition to homework supervision, menu planning, grocery shopping, church activities, laundry, etc., etc., etc. Factor in the schedules of the other three members of my family, other numerous obligations, and the stress that has come from our world's financial meltdown and how it's affecting our household, and it's a lot to handle. I feel like I'm stuck in a hole right now and I need to get out of it. Fast. I find one of the easiest ways to deal with it all is to just work my ass off. (oops, cursing again) So that's all well and good when the paychecks roll in. Except I've been neglecting something: Being myself.
So ... with a much-needed break in my schedule, I am taking this week to give my blog a serious makeover. It may take more than a week. But that's fine. I want to do it right and if it takes a little longer, it's worth it. Speaking of what I want:
- I want to provide good, solid information that everyday people will find interesting and useful.
- I want to create a community of people who have both succeeded and failed at living a healthy lifestyle and see how we can help each other.
- I want to share my (eyebrow-raisingly intimate) love for food and demonstrate that it's not a crime to indulge once in a while. Some of the buzz words around here are "sometimes foods" and "all things in moderation." Life is not an all or nothing choice. Just be smart. You can make substitutions. You don't have to agonize. You can eat a smaller portion. Or you can just have the damn brownie, enjoy it, and hit the treadmill later. No. Big. Whoop.
- I want to gain momentum as I get myself back on track, too. It's been a while since I've exercised regularly. I'm not gaining, but I'm not where I want to be, either. I have dedicated so much time and energy to earning income that I've just let that slide. And I miss it. But every day that goes by, it becomes more of a routine to look past the treadmill and find something else to do. I want to feel that encouragement again and get back to the point where I wouldn't dream of a day without doing at least something to burn a calorie.
- And most of all, I still want to show others that a healthy lifestyle is possible. For all of us. Myself included.
I have had numerous ideas for this blog over the past several months and haven't made time to write about them or implement them. But that's going to change. I'm hoping to not only get back on a regular writing schedule, but make some major changes in the look of the blog as well. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time but just haven't made time for.
That ends today. Like Sam Cooke sang, A Change Is Gonna Come, and here's hoping it will be better than ever.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Feel free to stop by both places as often as you like. You can subscribe to both feeds, and leave comments.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
We start with dinner, usually a selection of cold cuts and cheeses, a sliced baguette, and loads of fresh fruit and veggies. Everyone can bring something to share, just make sure it’s simple. If you want to be decadent, add dessert. I like to make truffles—I know, wait! They’re high fat and high calorie, BUT, they’re small and I only make a few. Just enough for that little something sweet at the end of the meal, but not the same as eating a giant slab of three-layer chocolate cake! It usually comes out to one or two per person and no leftovers to wolf down after the party.
The great thing about this type of “dinner” is that you can grab a little something and then go back to the main activities: games and grooves. If we have a crowd, there’s usually a football game going on outside. Or baseball. Or Frisbee. In cold weather, we might skip this part and gather for dominoes or cards. But one of the highlights of Games & Grooves is the old school Atari that I grew up with. We love to play arcade games, and they’re fun for all ages.
Again, I know—wait! No, it’s not just an excuse to sit and play video games. Only two people can play Atari at the same time, so I also put on some mix CDs and if you’re not playing Atari, you’re dancing to the music. Hence, the Grooves part.
See how it all works together? This is a really fun way for everyone to come together, enjoy each other’s company, burn off some energy and just have a good time. I use a lot of music from when I taught aerobics and I love trying to teach my kids the steps. (Seriously, is any song better than Madonna’s “Holiday” for doing the Grapevine? My kids hear it come on and line up behind me.) And I love watching them to see their dance moves.
Now, most people don’t have an old Atari gaming system lying around. A lot of you might have a PlayStation, Nintendo or a Wii. And that’s fine. You can still integrate those games into your healthier lifestyle with no problem, especially Rock Band or Wii Fit. Just make sure you’re still getting plenty of physical activity and everyone keeps moving.
I almost forgot to mention the BEST part of Games & Grooves: you will spend most of the night LAUGHING your head off. They say it’s the best medicine. In any economy. So make some memories this weekend and have fun with your own Games & Grooves party!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
If you’re looking to save some money and don’t mind buying something used, try http://www.playitagainsports.com/, or look online at http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites or http://www.freecycle.org/.
Safety equipment includes helmets if you’re going to be cycling or skateboarding, knee and elbow pads for skating, shin guards for soccer, life vests and water wings for aquatic activities, mouth guards for various sports, and don’t forget a cup for your boy if he’s playing contact sports. (Pretty sure you’ll want to buy mouth guards and cups new, though!)
You can always ask the sales staff about each product to ensure that you’re getting the proper equipment for each family member. But in case you’re looking to save a little money and buy something used, some good general guidelines include choosing equipment that fits snugly, but not so tight that it is uncomfortable, and replacing equipment as it is outgrown or begins to show signs of wear.
With bike helmets, look for a seal of approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), or American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Be sure they sit flat on your head and don’t scoot back, and that you have proper visibility. You can adjust the fit with the foam sizing pads that come with the helmet. And parents: be a good example and make sure you wear your helmet, too!
Just a little preparation ahead of time can save you a lot of hurt down the road and keep everyone in the game.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
My first topic this week is the physical and nutritional benefits of gardening. Now that most of us are enjoying spring weather, the time is right to think about planting a garden. You don’t have to sacrifice a large portion of your yard. Even if you live in an apartment or condo, you can still use containers to grow your plants, or look for a community garden in your area. Tending a garden as a family accomplishes several things: First, it provides wholesome food to feed your family, which can also save time, money and gas, since you don’t have to make that trip to the store when you need a few tomatoes for a recipe. Second, it can be a great workout. Pulling weeds and digging in the soil can increase your heart rate and strengthen yoru arms and back. And finally, it gives each member of the family a chance to contribute to a group project.
Homegrown produce always tastes best! By growing your own, you will know exactly which products were used on your fruits and vegetables. Kids love to “get dirty” and can help by putting plants in the ground and watering. And don't forget the physical benefits: A 150-pound person can burn 286 calories by gardening for an hour.
A garden can also be a source of pride. Even young children can literally see the fruits (or veggies, or even flowers) of their labors and say, “I helped create that!” Taking care of something and watching it grow and prosper carries over to other lessons in life. Besides, at the end of a warm summer day, there is nothing like sitting on the back porch and enjoying a bowl of homegrown strawberries with your family.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Dr. David Kessler of UCSF suggests that millions of us can’t resist foods that are bad for us because we are slaves to the pleasure-inducing combination of fat and sugar. And because many foods that are marketed as “healthy” simply replace fat with more sugar, we wind up wanting to eat even more, our bodies can’t metabolize the sugar so it turns into fat, and we’re right back where we started. Thank you, makers of “light” ice cream everywhere.
It’s not major news that food can be addictive, just like alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs. Look at our obesity rate: we didn’t get this way because overeating is a challenge. The difference is that even at the height of addiction, any logical person can see the reason to stop drinking, smoking or taking drugs: your body doesn’t need that stuff. But you can’t stop eating. The key is retraining your brain to resist those foods that are so unhealthy.
One way you can do this is to stop buying it in the first place. If I don’t put the cookies in my shopping cart, I don’t have them in the pantry later when I’m bored and looking for a snack, hungry or not. So I might eat an apple or a banana, a piece of cheese or some turkey instead.
Of course, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and over time, if I really want that cookie, I’ll go to the store to get it. A little indulgence once in a while is fine, and it keeps us from going on a binge. So here’s another trick: buy or make a single serving. Just buy one cookie from your grocery’s bakery department, instead of a big bag that you will inhale in no time flat.
Or make one of my family’s favorite desserts: parfaits. We’ll layer pudding, whipped cream, and cake, cookie or brownie pieces in a tall sundae glass. You can also use fruit or granola. Get creative. The kids love it because it looks like a fancy treat. I love it because there are no leftovers to tempt me the next day. It helps when I can say, “I had it, I enjoyed it, and now I can burn it off.” And my craving has been quashed.
Finally, recognize that no food should be off-limits. Just enjoy it in moderation. Put a portion on a plate or in a bowl and then put the package away. It’s a lot easier to stop eating those chips when the bowl is empty, even if you know there’s ¾ of a bag left in the pantry. Seeing the portion size makes you feel satisfied faster, so you’re less likely to gorge.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I joke sometimes that I need a diet Pepsi "patch." I've given it up several times--as part of a new nutrition plan, for Lent, as a New Year's resolution--but I always seem to find myself running back to my old flame. I'll be out running errands and that cooler at the checkout will seduce me like Antonio Banderas holding a bouquet of roses in a candlelit room. Without thinking, I add it to my cart. As soon as my purchases are stored away, I climb in behind the wheel, open the cap and those fizzy bubbles start tickling my nose. I take a long sip of the sweet, dark beverage, savoring it as it bounces down my throat. OK, I'll say it: I might even let out a loud, raucous burp of satisfaction. But as is true with any addiction, the following sips are not quite as fulfilling as the first.
At one point, I was going through 2 to 4 cans every day. More than a 12-pack each week. That can really add up, especially if you're not the only one in the house drinking it. And I've found that it's true: I really do crave sweet things when I drink diet sodas. I try to avoid caffeine, but sometimes it's the only option. When I drink too much of it, I get headaches and I tend to develop fibroid tumors in my breasts, which can be painful, and may panic you into scheduling a mammogram if you haven't had one recently. Better to be safe than sorry.
Well, this year I took a different approach to giving up soda, one not entirely of my choosing. Like most humans, I have been forced to reexamine my spending during this recession and eliminate anything that's not an absolute essential, so soda has been out for the past few months. Instead, I usually drink water or decaf herbal tea. And guess what? No more headaches, no sugary cravings, my skin looks better, and I just feel better in general. I can't really say for sure, but I think I may have finally kicked the diet soda habit for good.
There will always be that temptation at the checkout, and it will be hard to avoid diet soda entirely. In the past four months, I have had maybe 8 diet sodas, a dramatic change from my 2+ can a day habit. Sure, I'll probably still order an occasional soda if we go out to eat or if we're at a party and there are some in the cooler. But from now on, I'm putting diet soda in the category of "sometimes food" and I think that's the way it will stay.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
For more information, click here: http://www.tvturnoff.org/
Friday, March 20, 2009
If April's a little too soon, there is also the Team Tillman Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon Challenge on July 19.