Back on the Wagon

Hey all!  Well we’re two weeks into the school year and I am absolutely exhausted.  I haven’t gone to bed later than 9 o’clock in a week and feel like I’ve been hit by a Mac truck.  Despite this, I decided that I really needed to get my lazy bottom up and try to get back into some form of exercise regime.

Jillian Michael’s Ripped in 30

I got myself up and dressed, set-up my make-shift gym (in the living room) and plugged in my Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30Jillian Michael’s Ripped in 30 DVD.  I like it because it is intense, but short ~ 20 minutes. Seriously, no excuses, 20 minutes is doable for anyone.  I am not too proud to say that I have been too lazy to exercise. Everyone can find 20 minutes, I just have not made it a priority in my life lately and I really need to change that.  The premise of this program is to do 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio and 1 minute abs X 3, with each of the three sets being completely different. Clearly, I am not in very good shape as I don’t remember this ever being so hard.  I got through the workout with sweat pouring and total exhaustion taking over my body.  By the end of the two minute stretch, I started to feel very over-heated and had to sit with my head between my legs for several minutes before venturing outside to cool down. (A very proud moment indeed ~ sick after a measly 20 minutes…really?) After several minutes, I started to feel slightly better.  That is well enough to make it to the couch to lie down and have an hour nap.  I just love working-out and getting back in shape ~ NOT!!  So much to look forward to tomorrow!

Focus on the Why

It is now about 2 1/2 hours later, I have eaten 2 pouched eggs on a slice of toast and feel almost normal, but am still sporting a beet red face.  I know that I feel so much better when I am exercising regularly and really have to push through this stage.  I find that everything works better with proper conditioning ~ digestion, sleep, stamina, energy levels and over-all health.  With working close to fulltime hours, the kids activities and now daily blogging, I need to exercise more than ever. Jillian recommends working out 5 to 6 days per week.  I have done lots of reading on the negative impact of over-exercise and how it can actually cause inflammation and strain on your body. I will not be following her recommendations.  I may begin with 5 days this week just to get the kinks out, but I plan to aim for 3 to 4 work-outs per week in addition to my Thursday night volleyball.  I have never been an exercise addict, I do it for the results and health benefits ~ nothing more.  There is not a single work-out that I love, but there are some that I hate less and almost enjoy.  Yoga is definitely on that list.  I enjoy Yoga more than most programs and always feel like I have had a good workout.  There is a part of the P90X Yoga workout that I do actually love and that is the last nine minutes when you get to totally relax in the Child’s Pose and then flip over and do the Corpse Pose.  I usually fall asleep at this point.  (I can’t help it, it is in my blood ~ my dad’s family can literally fall asleep anywhere.)

I am a very determined person.  When I truly make a decision and am committed to a cause, system or plan, I am very good at sticking to it ~ be it exercise, eating plans, blogging or anything else.  For me, I can stick to anything as long as I focus on the WHY.  It is really the key to success in anything.  You must create a really strong case for WHY it is worth the effort to commit to something or even take the initial risk when stepping outside your comfort zone.  When you build-up the WHY and focus only on the results/goal, there really is no other option, but to stick to it.  Keep focussed on the WHY at all times and in all areas of your life.  I try very hard not to focus on the how, the when or the possibility of failure.

Having said that, exercise is definitely something that I have always struggled with.  When I do a structured plan like P90X, guaranteed I will not miss a single day for 3 months. However, when the program ends, my commitment is over and I have found I often slowly slip into a new commitment… of doing little to nothing. That is why for me, I now understand myself well enough to know that I need to take on a commitment that I will stick to long-term.  Again, that whole concept of being “A little, A lot” person, instead of “A lot, A little” person.  If I workout for less time (20 to 30 minutes), less often (3 to 4 times per week), I am more likely to do it for a long time.   This makes more sense than working-out like crazy every day (a lot) and then it only lasts a short time.  I like structure, so I often find it much easier to get up at 5:30am to workout before going to work.  On weekends and my day off, I find that there are more distractions with the kids up and around and a huge list of “to do’s”.  It is not uncommon for the whole day to pass by without exercising.

Back on the Wagon

I am really going to have to use my own advise and focus on the WHY, as I am really not looking forward to a repeat of today, tomorrow.  I sure didn’t feel well. However, I now have the added incentive and pressure of having to admit to you all that I quit and am not doing anything. The stakes now seem pretty high, so I guess I can add that to my WHY list!

Relax, Don’t Do It!

I generally pick and choose my commitments wisely because I can become totally goal focused and a bit obsessed.  The same is true for me with exercise.  Generally, I would consider myself a pretty active person. I grew-up loving sports and continue to enjoy playing volleyball most Thursday evenings. However, I have never enjoyed working out.  I have done it, but begrudgingly, because I wanted to look and feel better, not because I enjoyed it.

Years ago, a colleague told me that if I would just stick to running for 6 weeks, I would be hooked for life.  Liar, liar pants on fire!  Never happened, and I was committed.   I have had gym memberships, worked out from home with DVD’s (VHS too, I might add), tried running, and we own a Bow Flex and an elliptical machine.  To be completely honest I don’t really like working out at all.  There are some workouts I like more than others (or should I say dislike less than others), but I would be quite happy playing volleyball, going for leisurely walks/bike rides, actively engage in play with my kids, and completely avoid working-out all together.

My relationship with exercise is quiet extensive as I have tried many things over the years, but like other things in my life, I tend to be “all in” or “not at all”. I have difficulty doing something a few times a week and in the past have done better when I have a daily commitment (or at least 6 days per week). I can successfully complete a 90 day program, but that kind of pace can not be maintained long term (at least not by me). I often follow these intense programs with spans of time in which I fall into the pitfall of doing nothing at all. Unfortunately, lately I have been so busy with my blog and home projects, I fall in the latter category and am not doing much of anything.  Yes, I need to get moving, but at least there may be some good news for others like me!

What Are the Experts Saying?

I was pretty excited when I read Mark Stisson’s book and learned that he viewed exercise in a very different way than most.  In his book, The Primal Blueprint, Mark talks about the disadvantages of chronic cardio and recommends a fitness regime that is more reminiscent of our ancient ancestors.  The premise of his book is to eat and live like primitive man.  ( I am not totally on board with this and don’t follow The Primal Blueprint anymore, but he has some awesome ideas regarding health and wellness). Mark recommends sprinting once per week, HIIT (high intensity interval training) once per week and weight training twice a week for a total of 4 days/week. For Mark’s complete work-out follow this link.

I receive The Plan newsletter from Lyn-Genet and her latest issue was titled:  Do you exercise to gain weight, ruin heart health and hasten aging?  Now that’s a title that caught my attention.  Although the article is a bit of an ad for her fitness program, she does talk about the side effects of over exercising.  Here is an excerpt from her newsletter.

We have been compiling information for over 5 years and have found that:

  • Women (and men over the age of 40) who exercise 5-6 days a week may lose 25% less weight than those who exercise 3-4 times a week.
  • People who exercised every other day often had the best results for weight loss
  • Exercising for more than 30-45 min (depending on the exercise) may slow weight loss or caused weight gain.
  • The biggest culprits are bootcamp, crossfit style classes, Bikram and spinning.

There is more and more research coming out to support the idea that over exercise is not only keeping us from getting the results we want, but may also be harming our bodies.

Here are two more links to articles that have similar claims:  NY Times and WSJ

What Does All this Mean?

I know I feel better and sleep more soundly when I am exercising regularly, so I need to get myself away from my computer and get back on track.  However, it also means that I no longer have to commit to intense exercise programs like Insanity and P90X, as I have done in the past.  I think the key lies in the discovery of foods that completely agree with your body, so that you can begin to live each day without the inflammation that is resulting from specific foods in our diets.  We can then use exercise as a way to supplement our healthy eating, instead of killing ourselves trying to lose weight through exercise.  For me, I know that choosing the right foods has been essential in helping me to get my body to a place I feel comfortable.  I am not completely there yet, as I really do have to begin to get back on track with regards to regular exercise, but rest assured, there is enough research out there to convince me that killer workouts and bootcamps are not the answer I am looking for.


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The Plan and Prosperity

What is Prosperity?

PROS’PEROUS, a. L.prosperus. Advancing in the pursuit of any thing desirable; making gain or increase; thriving; successful; as a prosperous trade; a prosperous voyage; a prosperous expedition or undertaking; a prosperous man, family or nation; a prosperous war.

Prosperity is Not Just About Money

I believe that we are meant to be prosperous in all that we do.   That means we need to strive for abundance in all areas of our life… in health, happiness, love, relationships, family, finances, etc.  There is always room for growth and change, and we need to try to be examples of God’s goodness in all that we do.  “Blessed to be a blessing to others.”

Prosperity and The Plan

the planI am so excited to share something that could truly bless you, as it has me.  On May 16th, I embarked on a new adventure in my quest for optimal health.  People would not describe me as overweight, but I am someone who never feels great when I am carrying those extra 5 to 10 pounds.  Unfortunately, I feel like that has been most of my adult life!  I certainly have worked hard through both exercise and diet to rid myself of those few pesky pounds, but with little success.  I could lose the first 2 to 4 pounds without too much difficulty, but despite continuing to eat well, I would find the scale crawling back up.  It was usually at this point that I would throw my arms in the air and say “Really….I am working my buns off trying to eat well and exercise regularly, only to gain weight!  Forget it…pass me the cheesecake!”  I have literally tried everything….Blood Type diets, weight loss Shakes, Eating Clean, Paleo, The Primal Blueprint, Weight Watchers, etc.  Again, I achieved some success in all programs, but it was always short-lived and I really never felt great.  I was either hungry, had stomach issues or hated the food and it always ended in extreme frustration.  However, in May, I came across an article describing a book that was being endorsed by Dr. Oz.  I was really intrigued, because I have been a long-standing believer in the philosophy that there is no diet on the planet that will work effectively for everyone.  I believe that every individual reacts differently to food, but I just never had the tools or knowledge to figure it out for myself.  I immediately ordered the book from Amazon and became totally immersed in my new purchase.  Now remember what I said in a previous post, when I truly commit to something, I am ALL IN.  I don’t waiver or cheat, I stick to the program in order to get the results I seek.  So, when I say that I bought in to the concept shared in Lyn-Genet Recitas book called THE PLAN.  I mean I was/am 100% committed.  It has only been a month, but I can’t believe the results.  I am just 2 pounds over my high school graduation weight and what’s even more exciting is that I am learning how to test the foods I love and discover how my body reacts with each and every one of them.  I have already discovered that “healthy” foods like Rye (bread, crackers, etc), sole fish and chick peas cause me to gain weight and that my body is very sensitive to sleep deprivation.  When I have a bad sleep or go to bed later than usual, it shows up on the scale the next morning.  The most exciting part is, that I have also learned which foods are “friendly” and help my body to recover from the inflammation caused by those foods that I “react” to.  I have finally lost those miserable pounds and am now approximately 8 pounds lighter than I was a month ago.  I am not hungry.  The meals are easy and delicious and I love the idea that I have a “Plan” for when I do react to a food, so that I can immediately have a few “friendly days” to counteract the inflammation and get right back on track.  I have control and feel great, finally!!  Thanks Lyn!!

Be Committed to Make Positive Changes in Your Life ~ You Won’t Regret It!

Like The Plan and my health, I know that when you make any changes in life, you must be committed to make them happen.  You must focus and the choices that you make each day must line-up with that focus for your life.  My neighbor was saying that she has always had difficulty saying no to others and asked me how I do it.  I said that I often used to struggle with that as well.  That is, until I began working on my goals and purpose.  When you are clear about where you are going and what you want in life, it becomes really easy to say “no”.  I just ask myself, “Does that align with my purpose?”  If it interferes with my purpose, the answer is “no”.  If it does align with where I am headed, the answer is “yes” and I can feel great knowing that what I am taking on is helping to propel me closer to where I am going.   For example,  if I am offered a bowl of ice cream ~ it is an easy “no” for me, even though I love ice cream.  It doesn’t mean I will never partake again, it just means that right now it does not fit with my goals and aspirations.  If someone offers me an apple or another “friendly” snack, I graciously accept, because it does not lead me off my path to weight loss.  Like my journey into health and wellness, this philosophy also applies to my goals regarding prosperity.  If I am going to achieve my goals, I need to guard my time and my mind.  I need to make sure that what I am taking in aligns with my goals and beliefs and be sure that I am maximizing my time each and everyday.  My choices must line-up with my overall goals and purposes or I can easily be swayed off my path to prosperity.