Tag Archives: yoga

Thirteen Weeks Way-In

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If you’ve ever seen Mame, then you’re familiar with the joke about Upson Downs.  I think I’m going to rename my life Upson Downs.

I’m still at a weight loss plateau.  I think I’m going on, oh, up to three weeks of a plateau.     I suppose I need to be a bit more vigilant about what I eat, and how, to make sure I haven’t become complacent with that aspect of my lifestyle.  Plus, I have several after-work events coming up in the next couple of weeks, so I should make an extra effort to eat healthy when I can to prepare for those events where it’s not so easy.  (Breaded chicken cutlets and pasta seem to be very popular at these kind of events.)

I should also mix up my exercise.  Case in point:  I didn’t do any yoga last week.  Zip.  Zilch.  I miss it.  I need to do it.

Speaking of mixing up workouts, Sundays have become my de facto day to shake it up.  Yesterday, I ran the trails instead of the treadmill.  I purposefully did interval training.  I have no idea how many miles I ran, but I was on the trails for an hour.  At one point, I really ran.  I mean knees-pumping-feet-pounding-the-ground-sprinting-flying ran.  It only lasted a minute (if that), but it felt great.  As for the treadmill, I averaged about 11:52 per mile.  On Wednesday, I ran 2 miles in 22:57 (or about 11:29 per mile).  Now that I know I can run on the treadmill for a mile or two, I feel like I should mix it up and spend some time doing interval training on the treadmill.  Maybe that will break my plateau.

How was your week?  What are your goals for this week?

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Twelve Weeks Way-In

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I’m twelve weeks way into my new healthy lifestyle.  The past week feels like a big fail.  I took not one, not two, but three days off from exercising.  Three.  No yoga, no running, no nothing for three days.  On Tuesday, I took the day off because I didn’t feel well.  Okay, I can give myself a pass for that.  On Friday, I skipped morning yoga, then went out after work and didn’t get home until late at night, so I didn’t do anything.  Okay, I could maybe–maybe–give myself a pass for that.  But Saturday?  I slept late, puttered about for a few hours, then hubby and I went out for the rest of the day and got home late.  I could’ve done something in the morning.  I could’ve, at least, done some yoga.  But no, I was a total lazy slob.

The good news is that I didn’t gain any weight, despite my laziness.  Also, when I did get on the treadmill, my pace improved to an average of 11:54 per mile.  And, my mood has been relatively stable.

The bad news is I haven’t lost any weight in two weeks and I’ve hit a plateau.  Weight loss is not my primary goal but, I’ll admit, it’s a goal and a measure of my health.  And, of course, I was lazy.  Remember when I ran 2 miles on the treadmill?  Yep, hasn’t happened again.  Today I made it about 1.85 miles, but I walked it after 1.5.

So, what now?  Time to refocus!  I figure I’ve been at this for almost 3 months now.  I’m in a new season and a new quarter, so why not set some goals for the next quarter?  Here goes:

1.  Try a new activity or sport, and do it at least twice.

2.  Run 2 miles at a time, at least once per week.

3.  Lose 10 pounds.

What are your goals for the next 3 months?

Eleven Weeks Way-In

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I’m eleven weeks way into my new healthy lifestyle.  Last week, I challenged myself to tackle the elliptical machine and recumbent bike at the gym, and to do a couple of days of restorative yoga.  I only met half of my challenges.  I tried the elliptical for three minutes.  I just don’t get it.  I didn’t feel comfortable on it, and I’m not even sure I was doing it right.  The ellipticals are really popular at my gym–there’s usually more people on the ellipticals than the treadmills.  Why?  I enjoy the treadmill a lot more.  As for my other goals, I totally skipped the bike.  My left knee is not 100% and I’m afraid the bike would wreck it.  (That’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ to it.)  As for yoga, I only had one yoga session that I felt was restorative and focused.  Maybe I should start doing more yoga at night, as opposed to before work, so that I can totally relax in it without watching the clock.

As for my other activities for the week, I averaged about 12:20 per mile on the treadmill.  On Sunday, I decided I needed a break from the treadmill and ran around the hilly neighborhood instead.  (Everything in moderation, right?)  I followed it up with yard work.  (Now that’s definitely something I do in moderation!)

I’ve lost about 17-18 pounds overall, and I think it’s starting to show.  There are certain parts of my body that look a bit more toned, although there are other parts that still look just as soft and flabby as ever.  It’s a process, though, so it takes time.  However, I had to go shopping–had to, I swear!–because my black suit was literally falling off me!  I tried on a bunch of size 12 suits and dresses, and was amazed at how well they fit.  Shopping is definitely a more pleasant experience these days.

It seems, however, that my weekends are not as pleasant in the sense that I’m not as good with exercise and diet on the weekends as I am during the week.  On week days, I have a very structured schedule with meals and snacks at certain times of day, lots and lots of water (at least 64 ounces per day), occasionally yoga in the mornings, and the gym in the evenings on at least 4 week days.  But on the weekends?  Forget it.  My “meals” turn into sloppy foraging in the fridge at random times of day, and I don’t drink nearly as much water as I do during the week.  It leads to unhealthy choices.  For example, on Saturday I sorta forgot to eat lunch, so I was ravenous by the time Hubby and I were at a street fair on Saturday afternoon.  We decided to get lunch right away.  Rather than choose a restaurant offering fresh, healthy food, we dashed into a bar and ate nasty pub food.  I actually apologized to Hubby because the “food” was obviously thawed-out, microwaved crap.  I didn’t eat much of it, but I followed it up with a sugary drink from Starbucks.  On Sunday, I ate beyond feeling satisfied at lunch, then went to dinner with a friend and had a bit too much sangria.  My poor weekend food choices showed on the scale this morning.

So, my goal for this week is, again, to do more restorative yoga.  Also, I want to be more consistent with diet and exercise on the weekends, especially with my water intake.

What are your goals for the week?

Ten Weeks Way-In

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I can’t believe it, but I’m already 10 weeks way into my new healthy lifestyle.  I’m truly astonished and pleased that I’ve made it this far.  No matter how healthy (or unhealthy) I am right now, it’s quite an accomplishment to stick it out this long considering that my prior attempts lasted maybe 2 months.  Here’s hoping I’ve really developed long-lasting habits.

This past Tuesday, I joined a gym.  I went to the gym 4 times last week and used the treadmill and the weight machines.  (I also did yoga and other things at home.)  I definitely felt it as my muscles have been a bit tight or sore.  Nothing serious, but I wonder if it means I should work out more or less?  In any event, I really killed it on the treadmill and ran a mile in 11:47 on Friday!  Then I ran another mile!  It was a big day for me.  Not only did I run two miles, but I did it in 24:40.  Two months ago, I never, ever, ever thought I’d be able to run two miles, much less at a pace of about 12 minutes per mile.  I followed it up on Saturday by running a mile in 12:21, then I did a cool down for a quarter of a mile and called it a week on the treadmill.  (Yeah, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not the type to set big fitness goals for myself everyday.  I’m more the type to keep going slow and steady, and then be really surprised when it actually works one day.)

I’m surprised that I’ve been able to maintain the home cooking aspect of my healthy diet.  Last year when I tried a healthy lifestyle, I got frustrated at meal planning and preparation, and ultimately I gave up and went back to pre-packaged junk food.  I think that’s because, last year, I was focused on counting calories, so it was very easy to quickly throw up my hands at the thought of planning meals every day with a certain amount of calories.  It was overwhelming.  Now, I’m focused on eating real, whole foods, and it’s been more of a pleasure exploring new foods and new ways to cook them.  I’m also surprised by how easy it is to prepare a lot of meals with whole ingredients.  (I’m talkin’ to you, soup.)

For this upcoming week, I’d like to tweak my workout at the gym.  I’m kinda afraid of the elliptical machine, so I’d like to tackle that and see if I can handle it for a few minutes.  I’m also kinda afraid of the bikes, just because I’m worried it’ll really mess up my knees, but I’d like to try a bike for at least a couple of minutes.  Finally, I think I need to spend a couple of days doing some restorative yoga.  I feel like I’ve haven’t really devoted much time to truly practicing yoga lately, and the little bit of yoga I’ve done lately has felt rushed.  I need restorative yoga to balance everything out.

What are your health and fitness goals for this week?

Eight Weeks Way-In

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I’m eight weeks way into my new healthy lifestyle.  The past week has felt a bit bumpy.  I made strides in my jogging (sorry, pun intended) by successfully running three entire laps on Friday without passing out, but I couldn’t repeat the performance on my next jog on Sunday.  My weight dipped in the middle of the week, but by today I was right back where I started last Monday.  I have the nagging feeling that I should be doing more strength training, or spending more time on cardio, but it hasn’t really happened.  Maybe I need to find another activity to add to yoga and walking/jogging.  Any suggestions?

The good news is that I still feel good, emotionally and physically, and I’m still eating a pretty healthy diet.  In fact, incorporating fruits and vegetables in every meal and most snacks has almost become second nature to me now.  And once, I thought I spied that elusive creature known as a “muscle” lurking in my calf.  It’s an endangered species, but I’ll let you know if–when–I see it again!

Not Feeling So EnLIGHTened

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I recently read EnLIGHTened:  How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer by Jessica Berger Gross.  It was a promising premise:  young woman, trying to figure out life, yo-yo dieting, overweight, finds yoga and fitness and finally reaches a happy, healthy place.  I really wanted to like this book, and I did–at least the first half.

Gross talks about her childhood in Long Island and how her parents‘ habits affected her own love/hate affair with food.  She’s honest about the different moments in her life when she thought she’d made a breakthrough regarding her wellness–like a memorable semester abroad in Nepal–only to find herself sliding back into a poor diet and unhappiness.

However, early in the book there are hints as to Gross‘ emotional swings.  She has a chapter titled, “Why I Stopped Speaking to My Parents,” but…she never really tells us why.  I won’t spoil the whole thing for you but, while I understand her anger at her father, the blow-up that leads to her estrangement from her mother is underwhelming at best.

It also hints to what the latter half of Gross‘ book reveals:  she’s very much a holier-than-thou kind of person.  She claims to be spiritually enriched by yoga, to have found peace and forgiveness, and to have found how to be kind to other creatures, yet she refuses to speak to her parents, including her innocent mother.  Initially she seems like a real, down-to-earth kind of person explaining the ups and downs of her journey, but ultimately she is sanctimonious and condescending.  She starts fasting, which leads to vegetarianism, which leads to preaching against meat.  Don’t get me wrong–I have nothing against vegetarians, and I’m not a big meat-eater myself (more on that later), but it bugs me when people get really preachy about their beliefs.  (Feel free to call me out on that if I get preachy.)  So, while I enjoyed the earlier part of Gross‘ book, the end of it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Have you read this book?  What did you think?

Ben Folds Does Yoga

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Just a reminder to not take ourselves too seriously….

 
Tread slowly from the car to the spa
Like a weary war torn refugee
Crossing the border with your starving child
It’s a struggle just to get to Shiatsu
Present the waitress with your allergy card
And tell her all of your problems
Leave no tip at all
Down to the shoe store with your friends
Speculate who might be f**king the guru
Rock on, rock on with your fashionable frown
Rock on, rock on spread the love around
Rock on, rock on with the fashionable frown
Spread the love around
Or do you remember how we managed before
We could afford regular nervous breakdowns?
Or before the Anthropologie store
Was erected on Indian burial ground?
So, really, don’t you see a little bit of yourself in the bathroom attendant that you just scowled at?
Or the child who’s hiding inside, as you wipe the smile off your teenage barista?
Rock on, rock on with your fashionable frown
Rock on, rock on spread the love around
Rock on, rock on with the fashionable frown
Spread the love around
Spread the love around
Alright
You’re gonna be alright, baby
You’re gonna be alright, baby
Floating back from the spa to the car
State of bliss, and it wasn’t the steam room
Sometimes life’s not so bad
Now we know who’s been f**king the guru
Rock on, rock on with the fashionable frown
Rock on, rock on spread the love around
Rock on, rock on with the fashionable frown
Spread the love around
Smile for us now
Do it upside down

Your Moment of (Yoga) Zen

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Judith Hanson Lasater received a senior teaching certificate from B.K.S. Iyengar and has been teaching yoga for 40 years.  She’s the author of 8 books, including A Year of Living Your Yoga:  Daily Practices to Shape Your Life.  This book provides daily guidance in practicing yoga physically, mentally, and emotionally.  It’s not solely about the physical aspect or poses; it’s about incorporating the principles of yoga into every day life.  There’s a short entry for each day of the year so that you can focus your mind on one thought or aspiration for the day.  I enjoy spending a few minutes with this book when I first wake in the morning or over a cup of tea.  Just giving myself those few minutes to read and ponder Lasater’s daily yoga practice helps me to focus on what’s important in life and helps keep me balanced for the day.

One of my favorite entries is from August 8:  “Trust means I have faith in my ability to survive and thrive.  We want to trust others, but we are afraid they will let us down.  Today instead of focusing on trusting others, remember that there is something bigger:  trust your ability to be okay even if things are not okay.”

Today’s entry is also worth repeating:  “The emotions of daily life are the stuff of our transformation.  Spend today observing your emotions:  irritation, boredom, anxiety.  Let them rise and fall and remember, you are not your feelings.  They offer you insight into yourself, that’s all.  Let them go.”

Random Yoga Thoughts

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Allow me a moment to channel my inner Jack Handey.  While doing yoga this morning, I had the random, spontaneous thought that:  I will let the light in and shine it on others.  Has yoga become my religion?  Am I becoming a mat-thumper?  Will I start building altars to Rodney Yee and Suzanne Deason?  Eh, maybe not.

Perhaps my thought was inspired by advice I received from a fellow blogger, which I passed on to another blogger:  when things aren’t quite going right, try to focus on one positive thing in your day, then make a conscious effort to start the next day with a better outlook and fresh start.

Have a peaceful day.