October Goal

OctoberSeptember has been a difficult month and I’ve allowed things like health and energy to get away from me again.  This past weekend I realized I was back to feeling sluggish and a little irritable.  But instead of focusing on what I failed to do in Septemeber, I’ve decided to focus on October and make it my month to succeed!

I’ve learned through time and failure that I’m not good at following things to the absolute dot.  Instead, I come up with general goals that I know will make me feel fantastic and push me to keep going.  That way I start succeeding right away instead of feeling failure at every turn.  If my goal is to eat mostly vegan and today I ate completely vegan, then I had a major success today!  If one day I eat some meat, then I haven’t fully fallen off the wagon, and my month goal isn’t already defeated.

With that in mind, here are my general goals.

I’m going back to almost full Vegan.  I’ve been eating roughly 80-90% Vegan most of the summer, but September took me back to around 60% .  I’m bumping that number up to 90% for the rest of the month!  (We had an early thanksgiving this year so I’ve already done turkey and stuffing!).  I’m re-focusing on my water intake once more.  Water for me is the one thing that is the first to drop off the side.  I’m going to limit my gluten and stick to whole grains.  And last but not least, walking.  I’m not going to make big lofty goals about exercise.  Instead, I’m going to say I want to walk in this beautiful fall weather as much as I can.

I started writing out in my brand new journal exactly what my goals were.  Right away I realized that I was writing ‘no’ way too much.  No sugar, no candy, no chips, no… it’s a very negative list!  I think the first step towards failure is setting it up to be deprivation.  So I quickly tore out that page and started again.  I will not use the word ‘no’ at all in this list!

1.) Water! Water! Water!

2.) Only healthy sugars to keep energy flowing smoothly.  You know how bad you feel after a handful of candy!

3.) Whole grains and fibre rich carbs to keep me full and on goal!

4.) Let’s hit the sack! 7 hours of zzzz’s per night.

5.) Stretch and relax every day for mind and body.

6.) Enjoy this beautiful fall as much as possible.  Get out those walking shoes!

To me, this list is so much fun.  I can’t wait to go for a walk, crawl into bed at night or feel limber and relaxed.  The only ‘rules words’ or ‘only’ and a few ‘!’.  It’s a list of inspiration, not deprivation.  It’s so important to set yourself up for success rather than creating a tiny little box you need to work too hard to fit into.

What are your inspiration goals for October??  Can you re-write them so they feel fun instead of depriving?

Daily Stretching

StretchingI read in a magazine all about the benefits of stretching.  I’m sure it was Women’s Health, or a similar one.  I like those sort of magazines more for the inspiration and recipes than the ‘quick diets’ and ‘fast weight loss’.  But this one about stretching felt… beneficial.  It wasn’t about yoga or hard work, it was just about waking up your muscles and getting them going to begin your day.  Soft, long stretches that don’t take a ton of work.  The benefits were supposed to be ‘more productive days’ and ‘banish that feeling of fatigue’.  Those are two things I want, so I thought ‘why not!’.

Day one:  I felt sort of crappy about how tight my muscles were.  I mean I used to be a soccer player.  I could stretch through anything.

Day two: I decided to focus mostly on my legs and hips, because I sit all day at work.  I stretched my lower half for a good 20 minutes.  The day I got a ton done.  I bunch of jobs I’d been ‘meaning to do’.

Day three: Stretching is already easier, and calming.  Instead of focusing on the stretch, I focused on my breathing.  But I got bored.  Breathing is just… boring.  So I pulled up my computer and distracted myself while I stretched.  It worked.  I ended up stretching longer than before.  That day I got all my errands done, and got fully prepared for going back to work in a few days.

Day Four:  I looked forward to stretching.  I mean I was tired and kinda didn’t want to do it, but I was looking forward to feeling stretched and limber.  I realized that I could bend just a little further, a tiny bit more flexible.  Only four days in!!

Day Five:  I stretched in morning and at night today.  It’s like every time I feel like I have nothing to do, I want to stretch.  I looked up some better stretches for hips and legs, and really worked it out.

Day Six: This is today.  I got up, had breakfast, stretched, and got about my day.  I didn’t even think about it.  I don’t feel tired, despite not sleeping well last night, and I’m calm.  I can’t believe how much calmer I am after a few days of stretching.  Not yoga, but stretching.  Normal, everyday stretching.

I’m not going to scoff at the quick ‘if you do this once a day’ ideas I read in those magazines anymore.  I mean I don’t buy into anything that’s going to lose you all your weight in three weeks, but this stretching thing really makes a difference.  Such a small thing and I feel like crazy good most of the day.

And here’s a kicker.  When I crave sugar and sweets, I stretching instead, and it totally distracts my mind!  Because my body feels good, I find it easier to eat healthy.  I haven’t really started exercising yet, but that’s to come.  This is a good start in making me feel better.  I mean it’s only January 4th, and I’m down a pound and feeling like I’m down ten.  Not to shabby 🙂

Day Two Pains and Detox

Most Funny Drunk Animals (5)Holy hell.  I’m never taking that long of a break again.  After my day yesterday, waking up to run and a quick weight session at the gym after work, I woke up this morning to the kind of pain only experience when sedentary muscles are forced to work hard.  Not wanting to stop my streak at one day, I got up and went for another run.  Day two.  Every step jarred something, some muscle, so that every step my brain said ‘go back, you’ve done enough’.  I had to fight every step to get through it.  It was definitely a day where any lack of motivation would have kept me in bed an extra hour.

But I put my running shoes on and went out into the cold.  I pushed myself to do it.  And you know what?

I feel awful.

Yesterday was all about the endorphin rush of getting back into it.  Exercise boosted my mood, my energy and my determination.  Today, totally the opposite.  I got back from my run and felt tired and drained.  Showering wasn’t relaxing.  My head started to hurt half way through the morning, and I had to take breaks when blow-drying my hair.  Why?  What was the difference?

My diet was the difference.  I started working out again, but I didn’t start eating for it.  I managed to have a relatively healthy dinner, but overall I’m certain I burned more calories than I took in, and I wasn’t taking in anything good enough to fuel my muscles.  Continue reading

Does Exercise Really Make a Difference?

runningI know I said I would stop talking about work, but I have to mention it to set up this post.  Work has sucked.  I mean, seriously.  I hate going in, I hate being there, I hate the anxiety… it just all goes together.  Yes, I’ve already started looking for other work.  And yes, I’m doing what I can to make changes.  But that’s not what I want to talk about.  If you’ve read my posts before, you’ll already know this.  I’m a stress eater.

Oh yes.  The last few weeks have seen piles of wrappers and take out containers suddenly fill my garbage.  I’ve even gone to the KFC down the road more often in the last month then I have my entire life!  Sushi, pizza, and most of all, candy.  Yup, I slide down hard.

The last week I’ve been really down on myself about it.  Because of the rain, I’ve stopped riding my bike to work, but I haven’t replaced that exercise with anything else.  I’ve thought about running, even enough to pull out my running shoes, but I’ve never gone.  My anxiety level has slowly crept up on me until I lay awake in bed thinking about the next day.

Until this morning.  After once again failing to have a vegetable for dinner last night, I threw my hands up in the air and said ‘you’re not going back to where you were!!!’.  I worked hard to get where I am weight and health wise, and I felt stupid for allowing myself back into this cycle of bing eating for feelings.  I forced myself to get up this morning, put on my running shoes, and went outside.  I went for a 25 minute run.  Not my longest, and certainly not my prettiest.  One run.  And guess what? Continue reading

It fits… and then it doesn’t…

Plaid ShirtI have this shirt I bought probably two years ago.  When I bought it, it was a tiny bit snug, but I really wanted it.  I thought ‘I’ll lose five pounds and then it’ll fit’.  Well that shirt hasn’t fit at all since I bought it.  I’ve never worn it unless it’s over another shirt and unbuttoned.

A few weeks ago, I put it on.  I was so shocked when it fit that I smiled all the way through the day.  I mean talk about seeing progress when you don’t expect it.  Even my larger cleavage was contained without making the shirt look about to burst!

Yesterday, I put the shirt on again.  It’s too big…

Seriously?  I was torn between being happy, and rolling my eyes.  I mean of course.  For the first time in years, I’m successfully getting healthy.  Every day I feel better, look better, and just am better.  I couldn’t be more happy to see progress in having clothes that no longer fit.  Amazing.  But this shirt I’ve always wanted to fit into.  I bought it hoping that I’d have the strength to lose five pounds.  I kept it in my closet, looking at it longingly.  And now it’s simply over.

I’m not going to hope I can fit into it again.  That would mean gaining weight and becoming unhealthy once more.  But I’m disappointed. Continue reading

Muscles Weighs More than Fat

fatHow many times have you heard this?  Muscles weighs more than fat.  I’m thinking hundreds by now for me.  I’ve never put much thought into it other than to understand that a thin, well toned woman might weigh more than she looks because of the muscle.  But a few days ago I needed some motivation, so watched one of those Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition shows with Chris Powell.  They were talking about this idea that muscle weighs more than fat, and how it’s stopping people from being honest with themselves.  If I’m 200lbs, it’s probably because there’s some fat there.  I can’t justify the weight thinking I’m a lot of muscle.

I’ve always been muscular.  At least, I used to be.  Years of soccer growing up gave me lean, toned arms and core, and yet I had thick legs.  I always did.  At that time, I knew that I had muscle.  I could look at myself in the mirror and think ‘I wish I was thinner, but at least it’s not fat’.  For years I used that excuse.  I was always heavier than my friends because I had muscle.

What in my life now would give me that muscle? Continue reading

Post Workout Anger

rageA few years ago, I noticed that sometimes after a really amazing workout, I get sort of moody and angry.  I mean initially I feel amazing!  But then, after half an hour, I get kind of sour.  I used to go home and those were the nights I’d finally bring up with my ex the things that were driving me crazy, and we’d have a big fight.  I just got so short tempered.  At the time I related it to the fading relationship.  Now, I don’t have that excuse.

A few days ago, after a nice run, I found myself on my way home in my car, having those ‘what if’ arguments in my head.  You know the ones.  If this is the argument, this is what I’d say.  If he every said this to me, this is how I would react.  I was having arguments in my head with my ex, who I now haven’t spoken with in months, who has nothing to do with my current life anymore.  But I would be having arguments with him about things that used to bother me about the relationship!  How absurd is that?!?!

I did some research on it for us all 🙂  Apparently the most common reasons for post workout anger are dehydration and poor nutrition.

I am totally a bad at eating before/after a workout.  Apparently if you workout on an empty stomach, then you may burn some fat, but you’re left with hunger pains afterwards.  And when you don’t drink during and directly after a workout, all that sweating has officially dehydrated you.  You could have managed to drink ten buckets of water that day, but the post workout hydration is ridiculously important.

I’m the kind of person that works out just before dinner.  I don’t usually snack in the afternoon, so I go to the gym or put on my running shoes, work out, and then eat afterwards.  Perhaps this isn’t the best way to maintain proper nourishment.  A snack an hour before a workout, and one directly after, and then a small dinner might be more beneficial.  It would be worth it to stop the post workout rage that can happen and maintain that happy endorphin rush we always get!