Sunday, December 7, 2008

What’s “Consuming” You?

I laugh when I read my last post because so much has changed in the past few days. I am consumed, but, unfortunately, it’s not with Christmas, organization or decluttering. I am consumed with cars. Our car suddenly burned up on Tuesday, so we have been consumed all week with what happened, insurance, and car shopping. This is not how I wanted to be “consumed.” ( )

It’s less than 3 weeks before Christmas and we have not begun to feel any Christmas spirit or holiday mood. I feel stressed about all the things I have to do that are preventing me from facing Christmas with open arms, which is what I’d prefer to do! Fortunately, people are inviting me to holiday parties, cookie parties, etc. which I’m hoping will put me in the holiday spirit. What do you do to get into the holiday spirit?

I was hoping to be consumed by my Christmas Planning chart, which is based on the Holiday Control Journal of FlyLady ( ). FlyLady starts her Christmas preparations in Mid-October : “Imagine you are going on a 3 week cruise at the beginning of December, so you have to finish preparing for Christmas by Dec. 1.” Pre-Halloween is far too early for me to prepare for Christmas. I start a week before Thanksgiving, because it’s really helpful to have Wish Lists ready when we see family on Thanksgiving and they ask. When do you start to prepare for Christmas?

Yesterday, we bought a tree and are planning to decorate it today, although it’s getting towards time to go to our 3 appointments at car dealerships. Bah humbug, the car has returned to consume me again . . .

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December Goal: Ambition!

I was talking to my husband about ambition and whether it was innate or could be learned. It seems there are entire families of ambitious people. While I don’t think it’s genetic, I do think the example of ambition on the part of parents could lead their children to have that mindset. When I think back, there have been times in my life when I have had the drive to excel at certain things. Nick thinks that people can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. I agree. When it comes to any goal, if you focus on it, you can do it. I achieved my goal last month because I set my mind to it. So why did I fail so many other months with the same goal? Was my mind not focused enough on my goal? Were the steps to my goal inappropriate or not followed? What do you think?

In December, the goal I want to achieve is not related to health or exercise (except to do more cardio), which is the type of goal I try to set for this blog. My goal is to get organized, clear out clutter, and to prepare for Christmas in advance in order to enjoy the holiday spirit and not feel rush or stressed. What’s your goal for December?

Steps to achieving this goal:
1. Have the right mindset: Be ambitious & have the drive, determination and motivation to achieve it! Let it “consume” me.
2. Post my goal on my wall for easy viewing as a reminder. (done)
3. Keep my To Do List front & center and complete something every day. (done) (Ideally, I need a way to sync it with my Iphone, so that it’s always with me as I update it.)
4. What else do I need to do to achieve my goal?

Obstacles to achieving my goal:
1. Life & distractions of 2 toddlers.
2. Daily things to do, which prevent me from accomplishing anything more.
3. Lack of sleep, lately.

Ways of overcoming these Obstacles: See Step #1.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Big Weight Loss Goal --- End of the Month

The idea behind the “big weight loss goal” was to make major changes to my lifestyle, as if I wanted to lose 10-20 lb. Then, when I failed, I still would have lost some weight, rather than none. My actual goal was that I wanted my clothes to fit, and all the strategies I’d tried hadn’t worked.

So I figured out a combination of lower calorie consumption and additional calorie burning through exercise to meet my “big weight loss” goal. I thought the extra exercise would be easy because the cardio machines at the gym tell me how many calories I’m burning. But the reality was that I didn’t use those machines much this past month, so I don’t know how many calories I was burning through exercise. However, I did exercise 22 times last month! Consistency is the key!

The hard part was tracking calories. I started to make food choices based on which foods were easy to count the calories, which are not always the best food choices. For instance, packaged foods have the calories marked, but aren’t as healthy as fresh foods. So after a week or two of diligent calorie tracking, I didn’t write it down much, but I still knew in my head how many calories foods had and what size portions I should eat. I’m not online enough to take advantage of one of the online calorie trackers; some of them will tell you how many calories the amount of food you ate has and will add up your calories for the day. Smaller portions were the key here, and I became aware of which foods have a surprisingly large number of calories!

I’m happy to report that I achieved my goal of losing the extra 5 lb. I’ve been hanging onto for most of this year! Yea! My clothes fit better, and I feel stronger, both physically and mentally.

Monday, November 24, 2008

In these bad economic times, should you cancel your gym membership/Personal Trainer?

As a Personal Trainer, I’m touching on a very personal topic here. Am I going to lose business because of the economic downturn? Is the gym I work for going to lose memberships? Is the average person wasting his/her money by paying for a gym membership every month?

Maintaining your health is a lifelong investment in the sense that it takes your entire life to maintain your health and that you’ll reap the rewards of health throughout your entire life. Since it takes your entire life to maintain your health, yes, you do need to exercise. However, you don’t need to spend money in order to exercise. You can run, walk, hike or bike outside, and you can spend a mere $10 on a resistance band to do strength-training exercises at home. How many of us do this? Unfortunately, most people don’t have the self-motivation to exercise consistently, especially in the winter. Therefore, if keeping the gym membership or trainer, especially through the cold, dark winter, will keep you in shape, then that is a worthwhile expense for your lifelong health. How many times have you felt guilted into using your gym membership? It’s not a great reason to go, but it works.

Some of the long-term savings and rewards of maintaining your health are: saving money on insurance premiums, healthcare costs, prescriptions, doctor visits, tests and exams, larger-sized clothes, etc. How much do you (and your insurer) pay for these items per year? You don’t have to if you maintain your health. My doctor called me “medically boring” because, besides my annual exam, I never see him. He doesn’t make much money off me. Strive to be “medically boring” by living a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Do everything you can to be healthy. Besides, health helps you handle stress in these difficult times.

My opinion of the best ways to save money and improve your health are: buying and eating healthy, homemade food and walking more while driving less, if possible. Here’s an article on ways to save money: and of its seven suggestions, none of them included cutting gym memberships. Here’s another article about 30 ways to save money: and, again, no suggestion to cancel your gym membership. Do you agree with these money-saving suggestions, compared to quitting the gym?

The humongous successes of the healthcare industry, pharmacological industry, processed food industry, and clothing industry are all thanks to Americans’ lack of health. Invest in your own physical health instead of these industries’ financial health.

New Exercise Guidelines & Reactions to Them

I recently became aware of the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association’s new recommendations for minimal exercise ( ).

They are:
“Guidelines for healthy adults under age 65
Basic recommendations from ACSM and AHA:
Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, twice a week.

Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.”

I discussed these recommendations with each of my Personal Training clients and emailed them to my friends and family. I was surprised at the response from friends. They said things like, “O.k. so I’m a slug. Thanks for making me feel out of shape!” “This is perhaps the most depressing news I have read since... Prop 8 passed? McCain pulled ahead in some polls? Something bad, anyway!!” “That's a LOT of exercise just to maintain a healthy fitness level. Wow!” Those were the first responses. Then I received a couple generic replies, like, “thanks for sending this along.” I eventually received only two positive responses to this objective information sharing!

Why would people react negatively to general health information? Why would it make people feel badly rather than inspire them?

Big Weight Loss Goal --- End of Week 3

I’m happy with my results at this point: I’ve lost a total of 6 lbs and am back at my previous weight. I like to jump on the scale often to make sure it’s real and not a one time fluke.  I feel leaner and tighter, especially in the legs; it must be all that Gliding ( ). Also, my clothes fit better; it’s nice to have a little breathing room in my clothes! However, I am still squishy around the middle; I try to hide that by wearing a bulky belt to smooth out the silhouette from my muffin tops to my hips. Ah, the little tricks we use! Any other suggestions, besides Spanx ( )?

Despite what I said I would do, I didn’t keep good track of my calorie intake last week. I only wrote down breakfast Monday, and all day Thursday and Friday. I usually kept track in my head for most of the day, but forgot by dinnertime. However, I only ate 800-900 calories during the day, so I didn’t need to worry too much about what I ate for dinner; I just tried to keep the portions controlled. BTW, if you need a user-friendly calorie counter (to find out the calories of foods you don’t know), try this one:

I exercised a lot last week: 6 days, partly because I’m practicing Gliding in order to teach the class.

So what now? I’ve reached my weight goal, but not my lack-of-squishiness goal. Thanksgiving is Thursday, and there’s one more week in the month. I guess I’ll continue the same through the end of the month while starting to think about a goal for December. With the holidays upon us, what’s a realistic, achievable goal for December? Maintenance only? Exercising despite the cold, dark weather? Not overindulging at holiday parties?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Big Weight Loss Goal – 2nd week in Review

Well, I did so well the first week that I didn’t follow my calorie counts as closely the 2nd week. Resting on my laurels a bit early? My focus was on preparing for a big trip to Seattle ( for my grandma’s 100th birthday party, which I was also planning. How many opportunities do you have in your life to celebrate someone’s 100th? In addition, my exercise was a bit scattered and didn’t include as much Gliding as I would have liked, but still 5 workouts. I gained a pound, but it was a week of temporary weight gain anyway. I didn’t attempt to keep track of my calories while in Seattle; it’s always easier said than done, but I am back on track starting today (Monday).

I can feel that my legs are getting stronger and my body has slimmed down a bit overall. I bought some new pants: cute, saturated dark jeans (blue & black) that are low, slim and skinny (-waist, -hips, -legs). As usual at the Gap (, one pair is a size 8 and the other size 6. I always have to try on both sizes at that store. Either clothing sizes are continually being cut larger or my old jeans didn’t fit that well because they may have shrunk a bit over time, or they are so old that they don’t have stretch in them. Ah, Spandex, gotta have that 1%!

So this week, I’m going to keep better track of my calories, and I really need to focus on Gliding: practicing, creating my class or using Leslie’s current workout, getting music, & practicing cueing. I’ll start teaching it in 2 weeks! ( ) Right now I teach Aqua Aerobics and Stretch, in addition to Personal Training, so I look forward to adding a different type of class.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Big Weight Loss Goal – Day 8

The rest of the week was much easier than Day 1. Pretty easy, in fact. It helps that I already eat healthy foods; I just need to pay attention to the calorie counts. As I keep track and get used to doing that, that gets easier too.

I treat myself for a job well done. Originally, it was going to be one piece of Halloween candy, but in practice, it’s been a beer with my dinner. More calories than a little piece of candy, but it’s more enjoyable to have a drink with my husband at dinner.

So, in the past week, I’ve actually consumed ~1450 calories/day, instead of 1200, but it’s still in my range of 1200-1800 that will result in an overall calorie deficit.

My exercise has been “unmeasured” this week. I’ve been doing a lot of Gliding DVDs in preparation for teaching a Gliding class next month. But I don’t think Gliding burns 400 calories, like my plan.

This weekend I’ve had some meals out, which are difficult to track in calories. I just ate carefully for the meals when I was home and didn’t worry about it when I was out. Since I don’t eat out often, it shouldn’t have a large effect on the overall plan. They always say to follow your plan 80% of the time and not to worry about the other 20%.

I’ve lost 4 lb. in a week! I don’t really believe it, but then again, I didn’t really believe it when I gained 10 lb. last spring! My clothes fit a little better, but I’m still squishy around the middle. That’s why I don’t like depending on the scale: According to that, -1 more pound will put me at my goal weight; however, my goal is really for my clothes to fit well, which they don’t yet.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Big Weight Loss Goal – Day 1

I divided my measly calories/day into 3 meals and a snack and started measuring at breakfast. 300 calories for breakfast was satisfying, and I was amazed at how much more I was used to eating then. Then I went to the gym and stayed on the elliptical machine until 400 calories were burned. Only 37 minutes, compared to my usual 30 minutes. Not bad. By the time I got home at noon, I was starving and looking forward to lunch. My leftover chicken & rice dish had 350 calories, leaving me 50 more calories to consume in a few bites of veggies and fruit. So far so good.

About an hour later I was starving! It was going to be a long afternoon! I was preparing dinner in the slow cooker, and it’s always hard to be surrounded by food when you can’t eat! But then I remembered that I’d planned a snack into my day, so I only had to wait a couple hours until snack-time. I drank water; I chewed gum; I did anything I could to convince my stomach I wasn’t hungry. It didn’t help that I was planning meals, menus and grocery lists for the week! Finally, at 3:15 I decided to have my 100 calorie snack. But I was smart and thought about it: what would make me feel the most satisfied at 100 calories? Protein always makes people feel more satisfied, so I ate ½ cup cottage cheese. Mmm, creamy, cheesy, protein. I tried to eat slowly; I almost resorted to a kiddy spoon. I felt satisfied afterwards. Good. Half an hour later, I was starving again! When’s dinner?

I guess what it comes down to is that it’s supposed to be hard. I was doing it the easy way before and not seeing any results. (pep-talk to self:) I need to change my lifestyle if I want to see results. It’ll get easier in a few days as my body adjusts to the change. Besides, it’s designed to fail: Losing 10 lb. in a month is unrealistic; eating 1200 calories/day while exercising off 400 cal/day is extreme. The plan is designed with a cheating function: I can eat an extra 600 calories/day (that’s another meal!) and still lose the 5 lb. I actually want to lose.

The Difference Between Losing 5 lb. or 20 lb.

I think that it’s easier to lose 20+ lb. than 5-10 lb. If you need to lose 20+ lb. you know that you need to make major changes to your lifestyle. You need to exercise, and you need to eat less and healthier foods. Those are not at all easy things to do, but you know what you need to do. However, if you only need to lose 5-10 lb. you are already doing most things right. You are already exercising, and you are already eating pretty healthy. Your lifestyle just needs a little tweaking, but how? It’s hard to know what is keeping that little bit of weight on. At the same time, why bother losing so little weight? My answer is that I want my clothes to fit. (So, yes, if you have been following along this blog, you now know that I did not achieve my goal for October. I’m saddened by the fact that I have no more tricks up my sleeve, no more strategies to try.)

So my husband suggested I shoot for a big weight loss goal. Then, when I failed, I still would have lost some weight, rather than none. Hmm, interesting idea. . .

(First of all, let me say that I’m against the idea of losing lb. The number on the scale is meaningless, and I can always adjust my scale to say the number I want to see. My goals have always been abilities or frequencies or something more concrete than the number on the scale, which is affected by muscle mass, water weight, and body fat.)

. . . However, taking his advice as something new to try, I calculated how much of a calorie deficit I would need to lose 10 lb. in a month, instead of the 5 lb. that would make my clothes fit better and be a more realistic one month goal. Then, I figured out a combination of lower calorie consumption and additional calorie burning through exercise to meet that goal. The extra exercise is easy in the sense that the cardio machines at the gym tell me how many calories I’m burning, so I just need a few minutes more each time and continued consistency (20x this month).

The hard part is counting calories, which I hate! I don’t remember how many calories foods have. I looked online for a good calorie counter, and the ones I tried were not easy to use. I dug up a little pocket-sized calorie booklet that I used 20 years ago, which is easier for me to refer to. If you know of any good online ones, let me know! So I started keeping a food journal, awful! But by writing it down, I can refer back to things I eat often, like my daily coffee, 67 calories. I can check the packages for some other things, and my favorite cookbook has calorie counts for all the recipes! Helpful!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Diet Outlaw

I read this interesting article about the Diet Outlaw (, who “accidentally” lost 150 lb! She didn’t follow any traditional diets, which is why she called herself the Diet Outlaw. The article reminded me of certain people and situations and their affect on weight.

The first was a couple of friends in high school. Diane was always stick thin, and Cindy became a little heavy. Then she lost weight; her secret? She just ate like Diane did. What do you know, eating like a thin person makes you thin!
The article also reminded me of two people from my freshman year of college: my roommate Bettina and my boyfriend Don. Both were naturally thin people who could eat anything they wanted and not gain weight. But, actually, they didn’t eat a lot. If they did eat one big meal, then they didn’t eat much for the next 24 hours. The fact was that, even though they could eat “anything they wanted”, they didn’t.

Then there was the time when I moved to Monterey and lost 10 lb. in the first month. How did that happen? I wasn’t trying to lose weight. Since I’d just moved from a different place and life, I’m sure my diet changed. Since fall in Monterey is so beautiful, I probably walked around more than I had been. The biggest change to me was that I was starting graduate school and I was very happy. I was happy with where I was living; I was happy to be back in school; I was happy to be meeting new people. Happiness seemed to make the pounds drop off.

I think of that even now, when the pounds creep back on, despite my eating and exercise habits: what’s making me unhappy? It must be something. Once I figure that out, the weight slips off again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Injury is No Excuse

Follow-up from before: I wrote that there’s no excuse not to exercise while traveling because most hotels have a fitness room. However, in Paris, Las Vegas, the fitness center is part of the spa, all of which is available to guests for $25/day. $25 for 30 min. on a cardio machine?! Forget it! But we did walk a lot the day after our big buffet dinner! Now, my left foot hurts! I think it’s related to walking around the concrete, tile and marble floors of Las Vegas with uncushioned shoes.

Wednesday, I took a break from cardio because of my injured foot. However, when I was at work at the gym, I noticed the lowly rowing machine. Little used and tucked in a corner, the rowing machine doesn’t really use your feet! Perhaps I could use that with my hurt foot! So I looked around some more . . . how about a recumbent bike? You sit and bicycle your legs forward; that might not hurt my foot. How about a regular bike? I’d be sitting, taking a lot of the weight off my injured foot. Here I’d thought that I couldn’t do any cardio exercises because they all require being on your feet, but, low and behold, there were three machines that don’t require standing. I tried out all three and found that the stationary bike did still put a lot of pressure on my injured foot. However, both the recumbent bike and rowing machine felt fine on my foot! Yea! Cardio I could still do despite a foot injury!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mid-Month Re-motivation

It’s the middle of the month. Are you halfway to your monthly goal? I’m not. Last week, I was unmotivated, with other priorities. At this point (Oct. 13) I still have ~3 more weeks of October; that’s still time to make a difference, an improvement. I’m re-energized! Why? I took a weekend, anniversary trip with my husband and no kids! Wonderful!

However, most people can’t say the same, so how do they re-energize themselves?

Well, revisit your goal: Is it achievable within a month? Is it specific and measurable? Is it relevant? If your goal is too general, like “lose 10 lb.,” it will be difficult to achieve because you don’t know if you are losing fat, muscle or water. If you do it through exercise, you are probably gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat and can cause the scale to tip higher. If you do it through dieting, you might be sending your body into “starvation” mode, lowering your metabolism to adjust to the lack of caloric intake. Perhaps your goal needs to be modified to something like, lose 1% body fat (if you can measure that) or for your clothes to fit better, a much more relevant goal than what the scale says.

Do you have specific steps to take, everyday, to achieve your goal? Make sure your steps are small enough to complete every day. Modify steps, if needed, to be more specific and relevant. “eat less” is too general; “only one serving” especially if you are used to eating 2, is more specific and relevant.

There’s still time; there’s always time, to make adjustments and improvements in your health and lifestyle. Find something that works, so that everyday you can answer the question, “What did you do today?” healthfully.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

“No excuses not to exercise while traveling”

While most people I know exercise less while traveling, I have one client who always says, “There are no excuses not to exercise while traveling!” What a wonderful surprise to hear! And why is that? Because nowadays, almost all hotels have a fitness room. There may only be the basics, but what more do you need while traveling? And it’s just down the hall from you! How hard is it to throw a pair of sneakers and a t-shirt & shorts in your bag while you pack? See, that’s the first step: being conscientious enough, while packing, to take workout clothes. Step two would be to actually put on the workout clothes with the intention to workout. Step 3: just do it!

So let’s see if I put my money where my mouth is this weekend in Vegas and actually use the fitness room at our hotel . . .

Calories & Overeating & BMR

I read an interesting article (sorry I don’t have the reference; I’ll see if I can find it) about BMR the other day. BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate, which is the number of calories you need to consume to continue basic human function, at rest. We need to consume more than our BMR, of course, because we don’t lie around in bed all day. This article explained how to calculate your BMR and how to use a multiplier to add the number of calories you need, based on your activity level. It also discussed which types of people tend to have higher BMR’s and who has lower ones and a list of things that can and cannot change your BMR.

The article also discussed safe ways practice “calorie deficits.” Doesn’t that sound nicer than “diet”? Really, calorie deficit is what losing weight is all about. No matter how many calories you burn exercising, if you eat more than that, you will still gain, not lose, weight. Even if you eat healthy foods, even if you stay in the “fat burning” heart rate zone on your cardio machine, it still comes down to basic math: calories in < calories out.

Their suggestions for calorie deficits are: minimum 500 – 1000 maximum calorie reduction and never below 1200 calories/day. Or -15-20% of the calories you need per day.

I calculated my BMR, my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), my “calorie deficits” needed, etc. then remembered that I don’t count calories, so all those numbers didn’t really matter.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What did you do today?

This question occurred to me in terms of achieving goals. We have to work at our goals every day, not just “in general.” As such, we have to squeeze in goal achievement into our regular lives of work, parenting, house maintenance, friends, family, etc. even though we have many distractions from our goals.

And so: what did you do today to work towards your goal? We can’t put it off until we have more time, until tomorrow, until the weekend, etc. We have to take little steps towards our goals every day or else we won’t achieve them.

Personally, I was not a good example, Saturday, because I didn’t take any of the steps I outlined to achieve my goals! That’s fine, for one day. But multiply that by 30 days, and I haven’t achieved my goal for the month! There may be days when I can’t work towards my goal, when it’s just not going to happen that day. That’s fine, once or twice a week. However, if I can stop myself during the day and ask myself what I’ve done to accomplish my goal, then I can regroup and still end the day with a positive response. Better yet, if I can wake up and plan ahead, then I can surely answer this question positively every day. If I can answer it positively most days, then I will accomplish my goal.

So, what did you do today?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Goal for October

New month, new goal: By the end of October, I will have smaller love handles and all my winter clothes will fit. I accomplished this goal successfully in Aug. 2007 and maintained it for months (until I became overworked and over-stressed in the spring 2008).

Steps to Achieving my Goal:
1. Measure my waist-hips and cardio output to have a starting point.
2. Do abdominal endurance exercises 5x/week.
3. Add 10% more cardio (time, distance, calories, whatever) to burn more calories.
4. Eat more healthily & conscientiously, following the SWEET Life Plan.
5. Drink more water, 8 cups/day.

Obstacles to Achieving my Goal:
1. It takes more time to do the above; however, these are all things I can do with my kids, so they don’t take my little “alone-time.”
2. Being gone all day (like the past 2 days) it’s difficult to follow the SWEET Life Plan; however, one person I introduced it to remarked that it’s easy to carry around one piece of paper. I’d really like it to be online, so perhaps this is an incentive to make that happen . . .

So, to get started, October 1, I woke up and took my weight and measurements. Shockingly large waist! When I biked to pick up the girls from preschool & daycare, I measured my cardio output: 49 min., 8.78 miles, 567 calories, 10.8 ave. mph. (Having the fancy training watch helps!) Step #1 is done!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Accomplishments of the Past 6 Weeks

August 18 I set a goal to exercise 5 x/week, including ab exercises. I’m happy to report that since then, I have exercised 5x/week, 2x toning exercises and 3x cardio. Occasionally, they have been “low intensity” workouts, but most have been “moderate” to “high” intensity. That’s 30 workouts in 6 weeks! I’m proud of myself for accomplishing that goal. I definitely feel stronger and more toned. I can bike better (in higher gears), too.

But I didn’t do abs 5x/week. My abs are strong; I can do really difficult ab exercises, but they don’t have endurance. You know how you wake up with the flattest stomach of the day? Well, mine is hanging out by noon. The ulterior motive of my goal of exercising more often was to fit into my clothes better, and I fit into some a little better.

In the end, although I often had to think about how I was going to fit in a workout that day, I am happy to have accomplished my goal. I know I am a stronger, healthier person for doing it that often and I feel better overall. I also know it’s not over. I can’t just stop now; I have to continue exercising 5x/week. The goal was just to establish the habit. Now I have the habit, and I know it’s a good habit to have. . .

Next time, my goals for October. . .

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Working out with a friend

I saw my friend Lee at the gym the other morning. We used to work out together early in the mornings, but we stopped months ago. She said that nowadays, early morning is the only time she has to do it, so she’d be going to the gym in the mornings, lately. I jumped on the chance to go with her, encouraging me to get the workouts over with before the day started. For months I’d tried to workout first thing in the morning, and even in the early morning daylight of summer, I just couldn’t get myself up unless I had to. So why, now that it’s dark in the early mornings, was I suddenly so eager to go with Lee? Well, I think it’s the motivation of going WITH someone that got me excited. If I know I’m meeting someone, I can’t talk myself out of it, like I can do SO easily to myself.

This week, I have Personal Training clients four early mornings, so I will be at the gym, but not working out, myself. And yes, the motivation of meeting someone will get me there, along with coffee.

It was nice, back when, to shower and get my day going at the usual time, knowing I had already worked out before my family woke up. Nowadays, a little extra sleep always sounds better. But if I had someone to work out with, maybe I’d do it.

Body Fat Analysis

At the Harbor Bay Club, we got a new Tanita Body Fat Analyzing scale! My first impression of it, after receiving 9 different numbers about me, was that it was too much information! In addition to your weight and body fat %, it gives your total body water %, muscle mass (lb.), physique rating, BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), metabolic age, bone mass (lb.) and visceral fat. I spent some time playing with it and learning about all the information it gives and, more importantly, what it means.

Then I “analyzed” myself in two different modes: as a female adult and as a female athlete. Tanita defines an “athlete” as someone who exercises 10 hr/wk, which I do not, or someone with a lifetime of fitness, which sounds more like me. As an “athlete” I had higher total body water, muscle mass, BMR, and bone mass. I also had a lower body fat %, metabolic age and visceral fat than as an “adult.” So all the good things were higher, and all the bad things were lower in “athlete” mode. Hmm, that’s a good mode to measure in! What’s surprising, though, is that my metabolic age was 39 in “adult” mode, whereas it was 26 in “athlete” mode, 15 years younger than I am! I would think that compared to the average American adult, I might seem much younger, not only 2 years younger, while, compared to other athletes my age, I’m not much of an athlete, so I would seem closer to my actual age. Anyway, the fancy scale is a good diagnostic tool to use to see improvements over time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuning It Up and Turning It Up

I shaved 3 minutes off my bike ride from HBC to WA Park to pick up Maya from preschool! How’d I do that?! Well, I will contribute some of it to Mother Nature and her lack of wind today. Otherwise, I contribute it to tuning it up and turning it up.

Last week we were at Alameda Bike, and I had a coupon for 15% off parts & accessories. I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but the coupon made me think about what I might need. I got a new seat, fitted for my “sit bones.” I bought new grips that are surprisingly comfortable, and I knew I needed a new bell (gotta have a bell on Shoreline Ave.)! They also oiled my chain a bit. My bike doesn’t squeak anymore and it rides more smoothly. All told, I spent $75 and shaved 3 minutes off my time! Aaah, the wonders of a tune up!

The other time improvement was due to intervals. In the Intro to Spin class I took, one exercise was to ride no-handed but still bent over the handlebars. So I tried it for just 10 pedal-spins. It took a lot of abs and put all the force in my legs. With more force in my legs, I ended up going much faster. So every now and then I’d do another 10 spins no-handed, which revved up my speed.

So a bike tune up and turning up the intensity in my riding cut 3 minutes off my ride. Let’s see how my abs feel tomorrow!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Balance Exercises

In my month of 5x/wk of exercise, I have come to realize I need to adjust my toning workouts to address my personal needs better. My core needs more toning, and my legs and shoulders need less bulk. I still need to keep them toned, but I’ll focus less on them and more on my core.

I’ve recently had my Personal Training clients do a balance exercise every session because as we age, falling can result in more serious injuries. As they balance, I tell them to keep their knees soft to absorb and adjust to the wobbly surface they are standing on and keep their abs tight to keep their bodies upright.

So I decided to do balance exercises myself. I’ve cut out leg-focused exercises and instead balance every time I do upper body exercises, engaging my legs and core while working my upper body. I’ve also cut out shoulder-specific exercises, and I do exercises where my shoulders are used as secondary muscles instead. I do lots of abs, using balance and focusing on all the different ab muscles, and then stretching to keep my muscles long and lean. The next day, I could feel it in my legs and upper body! The day after that, I could feel it in my abs!

Meanwhile, Nick noticed the amount of balance that could be used on BART. He calls it “BART surfing.” If you stand without holding on, you use a lot of balance to keep from falling over! It’s a great challenge and keeps you awake! But stand near something in case you need to hold on!

Biking to Preschool

So my latest cardio plan is to bike, instead of drive, to pick up my kids from preschool and daycare. Originally, I thought I’d bike them in the morning, but c’mon, seriously, how unrealistic is that!? I can hardly get them there on time, in a car, even if I do as much as possible to prep the night before! (set out clothes, make lunches, set out breakfast, program the coffeemaker, etc.)

Wednesday was the first day of my plan. I have a Personal Training client at the Harbor Bay Club (HBC) until 11:30 and preschool ends at noon at Washington Park. That’s enough time to bike between the two, dragging a trailer. But I was slow out of the gates due to paperwork, saying “hi” to familiar faces, receiving phones calls, etc. By then, I only had 17 minutes to bike to preschool, but it took me 22 minutes to do it! Fortunately, I saw all the other parents and kids leaving, so, although I was the last parent to pick up her kid, it was only by a minute. Altogether, I rode from HBC to WA park, to Zoe’s daycare on 5th St., and home to Krusi Park, about 7-8 miles. Not far, but I was pulling a trailer weighing 35 lb. empty and 100 lbs. full! Total time: ~1 hr.

Note to self: leave immediately after Personal Training session ends to pick up Maya on time!

With time, I’ll get stronger and faster, and then it’ll get cold and rainy, and I’ll get back in the car instead! LOL!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Exercise Alone or With the Kids?

After dropping off Zoe at daycare and Maya at her first day of preschool, I spent some time, alone, thinking about what I want to do during those 3 hours 2x/week of alone-time. I listed all the things I do, divided into groups of things I can do with the kids vs. alone.

I’d always thought I needed to exercise alone, yet I felt I was wasting my alone-time doing it then. Confusing contradiction there. Once I broke down “exercise” into specifics, it became clear that I could do it with my kids around. For example, I can bike with the girls in the bike trailer. I can do toning exercises at home while the girls and I watch a 30-minute video. Maya gets a kick out of watching me exercise and enjoys trying to “help” me by sitting on me or pushing me up from underneath while I do a plank. My other option with the kids is to put them in the HBC daycare while I work out, which costs much less than their babysitters do. Really, the only exercise that I need to do alone is running.

So now I have fewer excuses not to exercise, and I realize I can do it with my kids, saving my precious alone-time for things I really need to do alone.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

My one-month goal, set August 18, was to exercise 5 days/week, which I’m happy to say I have done for the past 4 weeks! Lately, I’ve been doing double workouts, so it’s better to say that I want to do 2 toning workouts/week and at least 3 cardio workouts/week, rather than counting the “days” I work out.

The results of my workout efforts are many: Some shirts fit better in the belly, which was a big goal. I can see that I’m getting more of a waist and less of a log-shaped torso. That’s really important because, besides it being unhealthy to carry excess fat in the abdomen, I think a round belly makes me look older.

Unfortunately, though, my shoulders have gotten too big for some of my shirts, and my jeans are tight in the lower thighs, which means my shoulders and legs are getting too muscular. I need to cut down on the shoulder & quad exercises and keep stretching a lot to keep them toned but lean.

My goal date is Sept. 18, but I might just draw this one out through the end of the month and start fresh next month. That would allow me to tweak my workouts to focus less on shoulders and quads and continue focusing on abs and cardio. I’d like to slim down, stay toned but lose bulk, which means eating less. Unfortunately, that’s really hard for me, so it’s easier for me to add cardio instead.

In the next couple weeks I’ll think of the next one-month goal.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Double Workouts

Funny that I should happen to do a double workout last Sunday because I’ve been doing that this week too! It’s just worked out that I’ve had lots of time to work out on Tuesday and Thursday, but not on Monday and Wednesday.

Tuesday I did toning exercises in the middle of the day, and then biked to pick up my girls from daycare late that afternoon. The problem was that I was stinky and sweaty all afternoon between workouts. Why shower if I knew I was just going to get sweaty again a few hours later?

Because I didn’t really like being sweaty all day, I changed my plan on Thursday. I met a friend for a fast walk, and then did toning exercises afterward. The toning exercises were really tough, and a few times I felt light-headed when I stood up. What was up with that? Was it the double workout that left me listless?

Then I remembered that I’d eaten a small breakfast 5 hours earlier and I’d only eaten a power bar for dinner at work the night before! Well, no wonder I had no energy! It wasn’t the double workout that made me so tired; it was trying to workout while running on fumes! Yes, the power of food: it gives you energy!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Accounting of Exercise

Sunday, my family went on a lovely bike ride around Alameda. Nick was pulling the bike trailer with Maya & Zoe in it (~100 lb. total), which means it was a slow, leisurely ride. So my questions is whether a “low intensity” bike ride for 70min. followed by “low intensity” toning exercises are considered exercise? And, can I count them as 2 workouts (to meet my goal of 5x/wk)?

I used my fancy heart rate monitor which tracks all my info. and made it clear that the intensity was, indeed, low. My HR was mostly 50-60% of maximum, sometimes lower, which is definitely low intensity. We rode for 10 ½ miles at a speed of 5-12 mph, averaging 8.8 mph, which is quite slow. It says I burned 568 calories, which I find very hard to believe. When we returned, I did some toning exercises, but I was also distracted, so I took a few minutes’ break between each exercise.

So this is the accounting of exercise: adjusting the numbers and justifying them to make them sound good. Yes, well isn’t low intensity also called “fat burning?” Don’t I burn more “fat calories” by keeping my heart rate low? And if the computer says I burned 568 calories, it must be true, right? And if I did a cardio workout (biking) AND strength training, isn’t that like 2 workouts?

The most important thing I learned is to just work out during the week so that I don’t have to worry about it on the weekends. But I’m still going to count it as 2 workouts!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Initial Improvements!

Yea! I’m starting to notice some progress after 2 ½ weeks of commitment to exercising 5x/week! (Of course, it always takes 2 weeks or so before starting to see improvements in a health/fitness program.)

I’ve been biking, rather than driving, when possible, and I’ve noticed my legs are getting stronger. I’m downshifting less and upshifting more.

Also, I’ve been swimming laps once a week and have noticed I’ve improved my cardio. I can swim 10 laps non-stop more easily than before.

Most importantly, my girth is decreasing! A couple of my tops that used to be too snug, now, fit in the belly!

That’s my real goal: for all my clothes to fit me comfortably again. Even so, I hop on the scale now and then and have gained 2 lb. since starting this venture. Nine months ago the scale read 7 lb. less than now, but if all my clothes fit, I don’t care what the scale says.

This weekend, I’ve got to make up for the 2 days this week that I skipped exercising. Now that I’m starting to see progress, I need to be sure to keep it up!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I'm trying to accomplish more, so I'd planned out the day in detail, especially what I'd do, alone, during the 4 hr. I'd have a babysitter. But my babysitter didn't show up. I called after 15 min., to no avail. This was the stumble, the question was: Was I going to recover or fall to pieces? Could I go through with my plans for the day with kids in tow? Uh . . . I guess so. That's the "recovery." It's psychological: I had my plan, which included 4 hr of "alone time." Without the babysitter, then what? It's the same when someone gets sick: Do you throw all plans out the window or "recover," modify plans as needed, and continue with the day?

The same is true of living the SWEET Life: If you stumble, you need to recover, not fall. If I miss Sleep too many days, I need to decide to either take a nap or drink some caffeine to wake up, rather than slogging through the day unproductively. If I Eat junk food for lunch one day, I need to eat a healthy dinner, rather than thinking my eating plan is ruined and continuing to eat crap the rest of the day. If I don't Exercise, I need to plan ahead to exercise the next day, rather than dwelling on what I didn't do. In short, I need to "recover," not give up, and not fall to pieces.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Santa Cruz & "Weight Management"

Today is Labor Day, so we went to Santa Cruz for the day. It was a beautiful day to spend at the beach, but you can imagine how well we ate: chips, corndogs, sodas. On the way home this evening, we picked up fast food Chinese, supposedly healthier than other fast food chains? And I was starving, so I ate too much, too fast. Ugh! My stomach feels like a beach ball right now.

And so much for exercising every weekday; I didn't exercise today. That means I'll have to make up for today, next weekend. I've decided not to try to exercise first thing in the morning. I just can't do it anymore, and I've been trying with little success for the past nine months! I'm going to give in to the fact that it's just not for me and plan to exercise later in the day. I've planned my times each day this week; now I just have to follow through . . .

My sister-in-law Linda was in Santa Cruz with us, studying Weight Management on the beach. She's a Registered Dietitian. "Weight Management" is a buzz word these days; it seems to be the polite way to say "obese." Interesting juxtaposition: swimsuit-clad people, many of whom need "weight management" next to lithe Linda, a dietitian, reading about weight management. It was interesting to learn from her about how overeating leads to so many health problems and how some medications cause weight gain. All the while, Nick and I were munching on chips an soda!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

End of the Week Follow-Up

Why am I surprised that I actually followed through with my goal plan (to figure out a time to exercise every weekday)? I did it! It’s Saturday and I already exercised 5 times this week! Hmm, when was the last time I actually did that?! (beyond saying I’m going to). Huh!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • · Monday: 35 min. cardio at the gym after my shift at 9 p.m., plus 15 min. of abs & stretching.
  • Tuesday: 30 min. of toning exercises from a magazine after a stretch class
  • Wednesday: same as Monday
  • Thursday: 30 min. of toning exercises from a magazine first thing in the morning
  • Friday: swam 50 laps (30 laps freestyle, 20 laps kicking) after teaching Aqua Aerobics

The swimming was easier than I had anticipated. I don’t swim laps often, and the last time I did (last month?) I had a hard time swimming 10 laps non-stop. This time I did it more easily, so that’s good.

So how do I feel? Well, not any stronger or slimmer or more fit. In the last two weeks, when I’ve exercised 5x/wk., I’ve gained 2 lb., feel the same, and my clothes fit the same. L Not encouraging. But I have to keep up the faith that things will change in the long run. Two weeks isn’t long enough to achieve any fitness goal; I need to give it at least a month. I only feel a small sense of accomplishment at achieving my weekly goal. Beyond that, I have to know that I have had “invisible” improvements.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

“Invisible” Achievement

I realized that I saw more improvement in my ESL (English as a Second Language) students, in 16 years of teaching, than I do in Personal Training clients, in the last 3 years. Huh! Is English easier to learn than physical fitness? Certainly English can be studied more hours per day than the average person can work out, which would lead to more improvement. But, say, each were done 5 hours/week; then how would the progression compare? In that case, I think the development would be about equal.

A big difference between the two is the “visibility” or lack thereof. I can “see” ESL students’ improvements in writing and speaking. I can ask comprehension questions to “see” whether they understand what they hear or read. However, fitness improvement is often “invisible.” The first progress my clients always notice is improved energy and sleep, which are imperceptible to me. That’s usually followed by increased strength and functional ability (i.e., climbing stairs, getting up from a chair or the floor, lifting groceries, etc.), which are indistinguishable to me. A doctor’s visit might inform them that their heart and bones are stronger, their cholesterol is better, their metabolism and immunities have increased, and their blood pressure, stress, and risk of injury have decreased; all of which are unseen. Consequently, their doctor might have them decrease their medications, which is also invisible to me. Lastly, their clothes might fit better, even if their weight doesn’t change.

So, rather than thinking that my clients aren’t improving, I need to think of them like advanced ESL students: They don’t advance by leaps and bounds, like beginning ESL students do, but their English becomes refined, fluent, comfortable. Even if I don’t “see” my Personal Training clients’ progress, their workouts result in a wide range of “invisible” improvements.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New, One-Month Goal: Exercise 5 days/wk

I’m having all my Personal Training clients set one-month goals, so I am too. My problem is that my goal since May -- to fit into all my clothes again – has become stale, so I set a new goal: to exercise 5 times a week, including abs. I’ve been good at 3-4 times a week, but that 5th day is a really tough one. That used to be a habit; now it’s a goal!

Steps to achieving my goal: Figure out a 30-60 min. time each day to do it!

1. Monday, 30-45 min. of cardio + abs after my shift at HBC: 9:00 p.m.

2. Tuesday & Thursday, 30-40 min. of toning exercises at either 6:30 a.m. (if I sleep well) or at 11:00 a.m. (before I take a stretch class at noon).

3. Wednesday, 30-40 min. of running at 6:30 a.m. If not, 9:00 p.m. cardio, after my shift.

4. Friday, 30 min. of cardio either before or after I teach Aqua Aerobics at 10:30

5. If I skip a weekday, this weekend I’ll make-up that damn 5th day.

Obstacles to achieving my goal are:

1. Lack of a regular exercise schedule

2. Chaotic sleep pattern (depending on whether my kids wake up during the night)

3. Toddlers to raise alone 11 hr/day

Ways to work around the Obstacles:

1. Plan when the best time will be each day, being flexible

2. Either push through the fatigue or have alternate exercise times planned

3. Tu, Th, F put the girls in the HBC Childcare Center while exercising there

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Getting Organized

These days it seems I don't get enough sleep Sunday - Thursday nights, but I do on the weekends. By Thursday or so, I'm ready for a nap! Over the course of a week, that doesn't add up to enough sleep. :-(

With this hot weather, I'm really trying to stay hydrated, and the heat makes me thirsty, so it's pretty easy.

I was taking an exercise class yesterday and realized I'm kinda bulky. It's muscle, but I'm bigger than I want to look, and the #1 key to bulking up is to eat more than you burn off. For that reason, I need to eat less, so I'm taking advantage of the lack of appetite brought on by the heatwave and trying to really cut down. I eat balanced, healthy meals, but I just need to trim the serving sizes.

I was going to exercise first thing, at 6:30 a.m., but I didn't sleep well, so I was going to take an exercise class at 9:00, but I had a hard time getting up after not sleeping well, so I was running late and didn't make it. Then, I was going to exercise by riding my bike to pick up Zoe, but I needed to get her quickly, so I drove. Then, I was thinking of going to the gym after dinner, but I had to help get the girls to bed and it was too late. How many times have we told ourselves the same story? I suppose most people don't have as many opportunities to exercise in one day as I have. It's pitiful when the end of the day comes and I haven't exercised and I have no good reason why not.

Today was a backyard pool day. I filled both of our inflatable pools, a 6'x10' rectangle and a 5' circle. I started them just 1/3 full of water, which heated quite nicely during the hot mid-day. In the afternoon, I filled them up to 2/3 full, mixing the heated water with cool, refreshing water. That's a lot of water! I also stuck our little play structure slide into a pool. Then, we had at it! First it was just me and Maya; later, a couple of her friends came over with their moms. We ate popsicles, drank mint lemonade with coconut rum and ate strawberries and little cookies. It was wonderful! I look forward to playing in the pools all this hot week.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Today, I had a _WE_T Life.
I feel good (except for the lack of sleep and exercise) ever since I finally sorted out my desk mountain of papers. I did that last weekend and have felt better ever since. I feel less overwhelmed, mostly because, in merely sorting the papers, I realized there wasn't much that required immediate attention. The biggest sorted piles I ended up with were trash, magazines, filing, and mail to open. Most of the mail was stuff to file. There was very little To Do in that huge mountain. I recycled the trash, stacked the magazines in a magazine rack, and told myself I was going to spend 15 min/day filing papers. Now, 2 days later, my filing stack is very small; I should finish tomorrow. In addition to filing, I'm spending 15 min/day tidying up my house, and I'm making sure to wash one load of laundry and spend some time completing things in my To Do file. I just feel more clear-headed and in control. :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I'm determined to live the SWEET Life today. I've been keeping track, all day, on my SWEET Life Plan and will see every letter highlighted on my SWEET Life Cycle. Why the big push today? First, I went camping last weekend where two things happened: We ate a lot! Everyone brought so much food to share with everyone (there were 22 of us), and we were snacking all the time. Also, the shorts I brought in anticipation of the hot weather were uncomfortably tight in the waist, which they didn't use to be! Tight shorts on a hot day is a bad combination! In addition, it's the last week of the month and I'm not near my goal, which was the same goal as last month, which I didn't achieve either. I need to stop the negative cycle, now! I have to focus and live the SWEET Life fully and consistently to see the results I want to see. It's that simple.

Sleep: Despite a midnight interruption and two kids coming in to join us, I slept well. It was nice to be in my own bed again after two nights in a tent.

Water: I've been keeping track of each beverage I've drunk on my SWEET Life Plan, and I've drunk plenty.

Eating: After three days of camp food (i.e., too much and of varying nutritional value), I was ready to eat healthy and make sure I was eating balanced nutrition, marking off each portion on my SWEET Life Plan.

Exercise: I laid in bed this morning, awakened by my "exercise" alarm, asking myself if I needed more sleep. Eventually, I realized I was wasting my time laying in bed, awake! Either sleep, or get up! So I got up and exercised, using my new adjust-a-weight dumbbells. I'm now trying to do toning exercises on Mondays & Wednesdays and cardio on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Tranquility: There was a surprise knock on the door at 8:30 a.m. It was our babysitter! I'd forgotten that I was starting to use her every Monday morning. What a pleasant surprise! That meant I got some Tranquility this morning, not doing anything in particular, just getting organized post-camping.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Today, I lived the SWEET Life.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I need Tranquility!

Surprisingly, I have been living the SWEET Life the past week. I say "surprisingly" because I don't feel like I've lived a balanced, healthy lifestyle:
Sleep - 5 nights last week I slept enough hours.
Water - 7 days last week I drank enough water, although I'm not sure how carefully I paid attention to it.
Eating - Also 7 out of 7 last week, supposedly.
Exercise - 5 out of 7 last week, but I'm not challenging myself enough.
Tranquility - 5 out of 7 last week
Yesterday, I had a SWEET Life.

I really miss my girls' naps. I used to be able to count on 3-4 hours of Tranquility every day while they napped. That has suddenly dropped to zero! Not even a decrease to 1-2 hours, like some other kids! Not even a later start time for the naps, like some other kids! I spent a week or two wasting a lot of time trying to get them to nap, to no avail. I'm finally accepting that they don't nap, which means I have no breaks from motherhood for 11 hours/day. That makes for a . . . really . . . long . . . day, with no Tranquility.

But, no, it's actually not even as simple as that. They're still tired, but they don't nap, so they're cranky and hit each other -- quite the opposite of Tranquility. Or, I'll take them to do something, and one will fall asleep on the way there. So, then what? Once, I laid a blanket in a shopping cart, and Zoe slept the whole time we were in the store! Then, Maya fell asleep on the way home! So, they each got their nap, but I didn't' get any Tranquility! I have a photo of them both asleep in a Costco shopping cart, another unexpected nap. Since they were both asleep, I considered going home for some Tranquility, instead of shopping. Unfortunately, food shopping was a must that day, and I had other things to do later in the day, so I had to shop then.

Their lack of naps and Maya being out of preschool mean it's really hard for me to get any Tranquility. I don't feel like I have time to think or plan, and I was really looking forward to having time to think and plan and accomplish more once I finished my ESL class. That was two weeks ago!

The one thing I'd say I've accomplished, related to Tranquility, in the past couple weeks is that I've kept my house tidier than it'd been, which makes me feel relaxed and content.

Fortunately, things are starting to improve because I've arranged for babysitting! That's really what was missing: scheduled time when both my kids would be taken care of. It used to be during Maya's preschool/Zoe's daycare, but preschool ended a few weeks ago. Last week a friend reminded me that we'd discussed a babysitting exchange, so we put it in place. Unfortunately, I spent my entire free time preparing for Maya's birthday party. I also ran into our babysitter, who reminded me that we'd discussed her babysitting the girls half-day starting in June! So that allows me to write this blog right now. I feel more relaxed just knowing I have time to think.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Light at the End of the Tunnel is Getting Brighter!

Lately, I have not been a very good example of living the SWEET Life, but I see myself turning a corner . . . My ESL class at Chabot College ends on Tuesday, which will mean more nights at home, eating dinner with my family, making sure my girls get to bed at a decent hour, and ideally, having more time to spend with Nick!

Sleep: The last two nights I have slept well, despite whatever musical beds were being played with my daughters. But I only slept well 6 out of the last 12 nights!

Water: I haven't been drinking enough or paying enough attention to it. Some days I'll fill my pitcher, determined to drink it all, but then I'll be out of the house much of the day or something that throws off my water intake. I'm sure I'd feel better if I drank more and cleaned out my system. It's been about 10 days since I know I drank 8 cups of water in a day.

Eating: That's been a mess too. Mostly, I haven't been paying attention to what I've been eating. Also, I haven't been grocery shopping very much because I'm gone for dinner so often. The end result is that we don't have great food around the house, and I can't honestly say that I've eaten a balanced, healthy diet for the past week.

Exercise: I've been a bit sick this week, so I only exercised Monday and Tuesday. Today, I really should have, but I didn't. Surprisingly, I just bought a new pair of running shoes, which usually really motivates me to go running, but despite having them for a week, I haven't used them yet! It doesn't feel like it to me, but besides this week's illness, I had been exercising 5x/wk.

Tranquility: I don't feel like I've had much Tranquility lately. It seems that whenever I have free time, I spend it doing things that need to be done, like preparing my ESL class, rather than what I would like to do. I don't even know what I would like to do anymore! There are just so many things that I don't know where to start! I've had Tranquility 3 out of 6 days this week.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Today, I had a S_ _ _ T Life.

I've been looking forward to finishing my ESL teaching for so long that that has been my only focus. Everything else has been put aside until after that class is over, so all free time has been devoted to doing what I can to finish the class (lesson planning, grading, thinking ahead to the final exam, etc.). I was smart enough to set aside 4 hours today to spend preparing my final exam. Nick took the girls out of the house, and I worked and worked. They actually came back, lunch in hand, after 3 1/2 hr, and I think I could have finished writing my final if I'd had that extra 1/2 hr. But it's good to know that I'm 90% finished writing it. Working, focused, for that block of time made me feel really relaxed afterwards, like I could just enjoy the rest of my Saturday with my family.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sometimes you need a new routine

Sleep: Zoe still keeps me up most nights, as I mentioned before. But I've gotten more sleep the last 2 nights, partly because I'm not getting up to exercise at 6 a.m.

Water: Yes, I still drink enough water, but I have to focus on it these days; it's not automatic to drink enough.

Eating: I've been using my SWEET Life Plan, front and center on the fridge, which helps me focus on what I'm eating better.

Exercise: This week, I'm focusing on a new exercise routine. I'm giving up my early morning exercise in order to get more sleep because Zoe keeps me up most nights. I'm also interested in teaching group exercise classes at the gym where I work, so I'm trying to take more classes. I planned for a class every day this week, but I only went to two because Maya's been sick and stayed home from preschool (when I was going to take classes). However, I did, also, do some new exercises from Fitness magazine one day, and I biked, dragging the kids in a trailer, one day.

I'm getting into biking these days. I always feel silly when I drive 1/2 miles to Park St. to run errands. When the kids were babies I strollered over there a lot, but now that they are toddlers, they want to walk, but can't walk that far. I biked one mile to the Harbor Bay Club twice this week, with kids in tow. I feel like I just discovered it even though we've had the bike trailer for 3 years. The main problem was that the bikes were not easily accessible, and I had to drag out the trailer, put it together, etc. It would take 1/2 hr just to get set up to ride 1/2 - 1 mile to run errands. Now we have the biking stuff more easily accessible so that it's much faster to set it up and go. Unfortunately, we don't have a garage where we can simply leave the bikes & trailer all ready to go. I'm hoping the combo of biking and exercise classes will keep me motivated to exercise for the next month or so.

Tranquility: I don't feel like I've been getting a lot of tranquility lately. I have some down time, but not a lot of time where I feel very relaxed and content.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a SWEE_ Life.
I was feeling very down and depressed last week, and this week I feel much better, more motivated, happier, etc. I still don't have enough time for the things I want to do, but I don't feel as overwhelmed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Girls Gone Wild at Night

My life hasn’t been very SWEET lately, so I haven’t had much to blog about.

Sleep: A new trend of night terrors and waking has become a bad habit. Zoe wakes up screaming bloody murder, nightly around 12:30 a.m. It’s extremely loud, and if I let her “cry it out,” she ends up waking up Maya and Nick. Then Maya is screaming because she’s been woken up by her little sister’s screams. I thought we’d hit a turning point because Zoe started crawling out of her crib (which she’s known how to do for months but just didn’t do). I thought she’d just walk into our room during the night, which is its own problem, but is much quieter and less disruptive to me. But that only lasted about a week; she’s back to screaming again. Zoe also kicks like crazy in our bed. She’ll push herself down under the covers to the foot of the bed and then crawl back up to the head of the bed, constantly, down & up, down & up, for 2 hours! Seriously! It’s impossible to sleep with her kicking in my bed, but she’ll scream her head off and wake the family if I put her in her crib. It’s crazy.

Then there’s Maya. She regularly wakes up around 3:30 a.m. and comes to our room. At least she’s quiet; I don’t have to get out of bed, and she falls quickly back to sleep after climbing into our bed. However, that puts our queen-size bed total up to four people, including one wiggler, who, alone, is one too many people to sleep with. I often move to Maya’s, now, conveniently empty bed, where I sleep wonderfully, alone, however many hours there are left to sleep.

Yet, I have not even mentioned the difficulties we have in getting our girls to GO to bed. This problem started, as I expected, shortly after I started working 4 nights a week. I knew I would lose all control over bedtime and bedtime routines. I was, in a sense, happy to relinquish all responsibility for bedtime to my husband. However, I did not expect to come home at 10 p.m., exhausted and ready to go to sleep, and, on the contrary, find dinner dishes on the kitchen table, girls wide awake, laughing and running around, fully clothed, and without their teeth brushed! At 10 p.m.! After a couple months of becoming grumpy the instant I walked through the door to the excited greetings from my wide-awake girls, I finally had to tell Nick that it would make me . . . “less unhappy” . . . if I came home and at least the dinner table were cleared and the girls were ready for bed. Of course, what would make me HAPPY would be that the kitchen were clean and the girls were asleep, but I decided I might get better results if I asked for the minimum that would keep my mood neutral. So now, after a few months of girls gone wild at night, they are used to (1) staying up until 10-11 p.m. (they are 2 & 3 yr old!) and (2) passing out from exhaustion, with mom/dad, on our bed, which they affectionately call “snuggling.”

Well, I’m at a point where I can definitely count down the days until my Tu, Th evening ESL class ends: May 27, within this month, 3 weeks away, 7 class days left. That’s encouraging but still feels far off. Once it’s over, I’ll be home more evenings to get the girls in a “bedtime mode.” When I AM home for bedtime, it starts right ager dinner, which I make sure ends by 8:00. At 8:00 we brush teeth, put on p.j.’s, use the potty/change diapers, put away toys, and read stories, with lights out at 9:00. But then they want to “snuggle” or the aren’t tired enough to sleep because they’re used to staying up 1-2 hours longer!

The problem is that it’s really taking its toll on me. Why not on anyone else? I’m grumpy, less productive, hooked on caffeine, more emotional (for example, less patient), generally run down, and unhappy. The SWEET Life starts with Sleep, but I haven’t been getting enough for a few months now. That means I’m too tired to Exercise in the morning; too tired to pay attention to drinking enough Water or to Eating a balanced, healthy diet, and I spend what could be Tranquility time “survival napping,” which isn’t the same thing as Tranquility.

How do I get my girls to (1) go to sleep in their own beds (2) at an earlier time? And (3) sleep through the night? In their own beds?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

End of Cycle Recap

The past, 4-week, SWEET Life Cycle ended Sunday. My goal was to "Be Able To see that I lived the SWEET Life 5-6 days every week." Well, I did a pretty good job of it. I did keep track every day, no days with question marks. My one weakness was that I only exercised 4 days a week instead of 5. I also wrote a few notes on it, explaining why I didn't do some things, like "chocolate, coffee" one day when I didn't eat well.

So let's see how things went today:

Sleep: I did sleep 7 hr, in Maya's bed, which was otherwise empty. However, that didn't really make up for the little sleep I'd gotten the night before.

Water: I did make sure to drink 8 cups of water today, 4 tall glasses-worth.

Eating: I cleared off the front of my freezer and prominently displayed my SWEET Life Plan so that I would remember to keep track of and check off the amounts of each food group. Yesterday, I ate no vegetables (!) so I made sure to focus on those today. I need to buy some easy to eat veggies, like baby carrots. Looking at the food groups on my Plan actually helped give me ideas for what to eat.

Exercise: I got up early and did my toning exercises at home.

Tranquility: That's right now because I didn't have tranquility all day. I set up a Skype account and want to use it to call my mom so that she can see her granddaughters and vice versa. It's too late at night to call anyone, so I'll have to try my first web cam/internet call tomorrow.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Today, I had a SWEET Life!
It's unfortunate that I'm up so late (11:30 p.m.) because I want to get up at 6:15 to exercise, which would not give me enough exercise.

I feel motivated because I've set a new goal and really put some thought into how to achieve it. But more about that the next time. . .

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All or Nothing?

Tuesday I did it all! That, unfortunately, doesn't happen very often. I usually miss something or other every day. Is that bad? Does living the SWEET Life have to be all or nothing? If I can't meet my goals of 5-6 times per week of each aspect of the SWEET Life, is it even worth putting in the effort? If I'm constantly left feeling unsatisfied and not completely successful in living the SWEET Life, what's the point? I could just live my life and feel happier, . . . fat and happier. Hmm . . .

I was thinking I need to write this blog later at night because I tend to get a little more giddy and creative when I'm a little tired. That might make my writing more interesting, because, frankly, I think it's boring.

Sleep: Last night I got enough sleep only because I slept in instead of exercising. I went to bed late and was interrupted by Zoe at 1:30.

Water: I drank a lot of water yesterday.

Eating: I ate well yesterday. Having gone to Costco to stock up helped.

Exercise: Yesterday, I was too tired to meet Lee to go to the gym in the morning (because Zoe had kept me up the night before). However, I did hop on a cardio machine for 30 min. at the gym after my shift ended there.

Tranquility: I got tranquility because both my girls napped in the afternoon.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a _WEET Life.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

1/2 Week Synopsis

I feel a light at the end of the tunnel at the moment. Of course, it will be short lived. I was so backed up with schoolwork to grade and yet another test to write that it was having an adverse effect on my SWEET Life. But I've finally gotten caught up, only to give a test (which gives me a break during class time), which I will, then, have to grade.

The first few days of the week, I was skipping one aspect of the SWEET Life daily, but a different one each day. Today, however, I've already skipped both Sleep and Exercise, both of which I've already skipped once this week.

I slept enough Monday and Tuesday nights, but not the past 2 nights. Right now I'm ready for a big night's sleep!

Somehow, I didn't drink enough water on Monday, and I don't think I have today, but I did on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, my 2-a-day caffeine drinking has become a habit. :-(

I've eaten pretty well this week, a healthy variety, but on Tuesday, due to stress, I ate a lot of chocolate.

So far, I've only had time to exercise Tuesday and Wednesday this week, but I want to the rest of the days.

I have had Tranquility every day this week! Hurrah! Of all things, during a stressful time, at least I've gotten a break from it a little every day.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
This week, the past 4 days, I have had a SSWWWEEE EETTTT Life.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Weekly Recap

Sleep: Last night I slept enough. However, since my kids kept me up the first three days of last week, I only slept well 4 out of 7 days last week.

Water: I filled my pitcher with water, but didn't drink much yesterday! That's rare; I drank enough water 6 out of 7 days last week.

Eating: I've been focusing on eating better, and I did 7 out of 7 days last week!

Exercise: I was too tired to exercise, after not sleeping well, Monday and Tuesday, and I was too busy Saturday, so I only exercised 4 out of 7 days last week, but that seems to be my norm since I started teaching ESL in January.

Tranquility: I got tranquility every day last week! 7 out of 7!

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a S_EET Life.
Last week I did pretty well. The lack of sleep 3 nights in a row was out of my control and affected me the rest of the week. However, the main thing is that I'm paying more attention to living the SWEET Life. I'm also trying to get my husband to live the SWEET Life too.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Renewed Motivation

I'm renewing my motivation for living the SWEET Life. Having Spring Break last week helped encourage me because I had more free time to focus on it. Last week also started my latest 4-week goal cycle. My 4-week goal is simply to consciously live the SWEET Life, which I had become increasingly worse about doing over the previous 6 weeks.

We went to Lake Tahoe for 4 days with another family, which was great fun. I took my SWEET Life tools, with copies for the other adults on the trip. It was a lot easier to live the SWEET Life while on vacation because I recruited the others to live it with me for those 4 days.

Last night I slept horribly! I went to bed late because I was trying to get some stuff done, and Zoe cried out for me, then squirmed around in my bed the rest of the night. Horrible!

I drank enough beverages yesterday, although they weren't all water.

I ate well, but surprisingly, I didn't eat a lot of grains.

I went running on the beach yesterday.

I got a lot of stuff done while my girls were napping, so, yes, I had tranquility.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a _WEET Life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A New SWEET Life Goal

I've started a new SWEET Life Cycle, which is a 4 week calendar tracking my SWEET Life. I circle the letter corresponding to each aspect of the SWEET Life each day that I achieve it.

The first 12 weeks of this year, I'd used two 6-week Cycles; however, it's easy to blow off the first couple weeks, then get really serious about it the last four weeks. Therefore, I think 4 weeks is a better amount of time to work towards a goal.

In the last cycle, it was the first time (in 8 cycles) that I didn't achieve my goal! :-( There are a variety of reasons why, mostly because it was based on an exercise manual I loaned to someone for a week, who still hasn't returned it, a month later!

In any case, I didn't live a very SWEET life five of the last six weeks. I simply didn't keep track of my water or eating very consistently. Also, I exercised four instead of five days a week, which makes a difference for me, personally. I have to eat less and pay more attention to what I eat when I exercise less than five days a week, which I didn't do!

Therefore, my SWEET Life goal for the next 4 weeks is to be able to see on my SWEET Life Cycle that I lived the SWEET Life 5-6 days every week for the next 4 weeks. So how did I do yesterday, the first day of my 4-week Cycle?

Sleep: I slept 7-8 hours Sunday night.

Water: I didn't drink enough water, especially considering we were in Santa Cruz, outside in the sun all afternoon.

Eating: I ate a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I also ate some junk food at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Exercise: I didn't exercise, per se, but we were on our feet walking around most of the afternoon in Santa Cruz.

Tranquility: It was a very tranquil day, a wonderful day with family and friends at the beach!

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a S_ _ _T Life. Not a good start to my new goal. This week is going to be difficult because we are going to Tahoe Wed.-Sat., where it also might be difficult to live the SWEET Life. But I have to put an effort into it and make it happen.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A semi-SWEET Life is better than nothing!

Over the past month or two, I've been blogging less frequently, about every 7-10 days instead of every 2-4 days. The reason is that I've been so busy that (1) I haven't had time to blog and (2) I haven't been living the SWEET Life as consistently. Because of that, I have to grudgingly admit that my scale has tipped up a few pounds and my clothes are a bit tighter than they used to be.

At the same time, I know that living the SWEET Life has prevented me from gaining a lot more weight due to the stress of being overly busy. I'm not stressed, my diet isn't out of control, exercise isn't a thing of the past, and plentiful sleep isn't a distant memory. Before living the SWEET Life, all of this would have been the case, being as busy as I am right now. In the past, I would have just focused on completing the tasks I needed to complete without regard to any of the aspects of the SWEET Life. Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise and Tranquility would all have suffered and my body would have been a mess.

Therefore, I do thank the SWEET Life for mitigating most of the effects of living an overly busy life. In the past month or so, I've been generally pretty good about getting enough sleep and tranquility, and I've been exercising 4 times a week instead of 5. However, I have not been good about paying attention to eating well, and I haven't been drinking 8 cups of water per day. So today, once again, I try to be diligent and live the SWEET Life fully.

I slept 7 hr last night. Zoe did come in at her usual 3 a.m., but she fell right back to sleep and didn't move around much, so it didn't bother me too much.

I filled up my pitcher and have been drinking it. I also made homemade mint lemonade with my girls, which I've had 2 cups of. Mmm, good!

I'm keeping track on my SWEET Life Plan today so that I eat a better balance of food groups (i.e., enough fruits and vegies)

I ran at the gym and did my ab exercises.

My girls are napping, so I'm trying to get stuff done, which makes me feel good.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Today, I 'm living the SWEET Life!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Exercise Variety

I've been sleeping well this entire week. I'm 7 for 7!

I've been trying to drink my water, but honestly, I haven't been keeping track very well this week.

I generally always eat healthy, but I really have not been keeping track this week.

I've had a variety of exercise this week. Monday I tried a Gliding DVD that a colleague lent me. It uses special pads to slide your legs or arms across the floor, like skating. It was tough! Tuesday, I had a very light workout. I ran in the morning on Wednesday, which was a nice change from going to the gym. It was light early enough in the morning to do so. However, today we started Day Light Savings time, which means it'll be dark in the mornings again for another month. :-( Friday I did a hard strength workout at the gym, based on exercises in a magazine. Typically those magazine exercises don't give me a very good workout, but I did them in a more intensive order than the magazine suggested to get a better workout. Saturday, my family took a bike ride, and it was beautiful weather to do so! So that makes 5 times this week.

I got some tranquility every day this week, 7 out of 7 days. However, I'm realizing that tranquility isn't as simple as getting both my daughters to nap at the same time. I do need more time to do relaxing things, rather than catching up or having the time to do necessary things. When my girls nap, I do work: housework, ESL work or personal training-related work, but work. I actually have very little time to do whatever comes to mind, and typically when I do "whatever comes to mind" I end up feeling like I didn't spend my time efficiently to get "work" done. Hmmm . . .

How did I do, and how do I feel?
This week, I have had a S??ET Life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Commitments and Priorities

I forced myself to catch up on sleep last night, sleeping in instead of exercising. Boy, I needed it after two nights of too little sleep. Two nights of sleep deprivation isn't much, but I'm too busy during the day to lose the productivity associated with being tired.

I've been more consistent with filling my pitcher and making sure I empty it by the end of the day.

I've been keeping track on my SWEET Life Plan, which means that by afternoon/dinner time, I refer to it to see where my daily diet is lacking so I can catch up.

My exercise has become sadly inconsistent so that I feel I have to make up for it on the weekends (instead of taking off the weekends). It's all about priorities, and sometimes, exercise is not as high a priority as other things. For instance, this morning, sleep was more important to me than exercise. On Tuesday, preparing for a meeting was more important than exercise. But I made up for a lack of early morning exercise today by taking a long walk with my girls. It's not the same intensity, but it was a beautiful day to check out the early spring flowers.

I feel like I haven't been getting tranquility recently. Or perhaps I've been getting at least 30 min/day, but not the 3-4 hours that I used to get when my girls napped well. It's a really long afternoon if they don't nap, and I feel they intrude upon my tranquility time if they don't nap.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a _WE_T Life.
I'm constantly interrupted, so I can't concentrate on anything. I like the idea I heard yesterday about committing to a specific hour of the day to focus on one thing that needs focused attention. I always say I'm going to spend an hour a day on something, but that hour always gets pushed around. The idea of saying, "1:00-2:00 I will do _____," like it's an appointment, might help me.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Living the SWEET Life Saves the Day (or Month)!

I slept well last night. It's nice not to have to set an alarm on the weekends. However, a couple other nights this week, I didn't sleep well. Once because I woke up at 3:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, and another night because I woke up extra early to get some stuff done while the house was quiet.

I need to pay more attention to drinking enough. I don't think I did, yesterday. Well, I guess that depends on whether you count the 2 cups of coffee and the 3 alcoholic drinks I had yesterday. I don't usually count alcohol and caffeine because they are dehydrating.

I've been trying to pay closer attention to my eating, to make sure I get the variety of nutrients I need.

I'm a bit behind on exercise this week, only having exercised 3 times so far. I need two more times to make my goal of 5 times/week. Strangely, I feel like I've been getting out of shape, even though I've continued to exercise!? I've been doing some exercises from a fitness magazine, but I think some of them are too easy for me, so I'm not getting as much of a workout from them. Also, I've been using an AMT cardio machine at the gym, which I don't think gives me as much of a workout as running does. It also seems to hurt my lower back, so this week I switched to the treadmill instead. I feel like I'm hunched over, my belly is pooching out, and my lower back hurts. Also, my pants seem to be getting tighter in the waist. So what do I need to do?
  • For my hunched shoulders, I need to strengthen my upper/mid-back to pull my shoulders back in place.
  • For my belly I need to strengthen my abs to hold them IN place.
  • For my lower back, I need to strengthen and stretch it to relieve the pain. Stronger abs will also help my lower back feel better.
  • For the tight waistbands, I need to cut out unhealthy calories (i.e., Valentine's chocolates) and make sure my workouts are burning calories and building muscle. All of those will increase my ratio of calories out vs. in.
I think another problem I have that could be contributing to all of these problems is that I need a new computer chair. Poor sitting posture, especially if it's for extended periods of time, can definitely make all of these problems worse.

I had one of the few massages I've ever had in my life yesterday. It was wonderful! I told the guy my aches, and he spent most of his time working on those parts of my body. Unfortunately, I felt like I rushed around all morning before the massage, and my girls didn't nap after my massage, so I didn't get to spend some time relaxing myself before it (i.e., in the sauna or hot but), or afterwards. I had to jump full speed back into mommy mode. But it was definitely a special, tranquil treat.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a S_EET Life.
Honestly, because I've been so busy with other things, I have been paying increasingly less attention to living the SWEET Life, and the result is that I feel like I'm getting out of shape, despite having the habit of exercising. I know that it's a simple matter of paying more attention to living the SWEET Life, which doesn't necessarily take more time. I just need an awareness of how I'm living the SWEET Life.

At the same time, I know that I would be in much worse shape, and probably sick, if my SWEET Life habits weren't already in place. Without the SWEET Life, in the past month I probably would have gained weight from poor eating and lack of exercise, which I haven't. I'd feel exhausted from dehydration and lack of sleep, which I'm not, and I'd feel stressed out from lack of tranquility, which I don't. So I thank living the SWEET Life for keeping me pretty healthy during the past month of an overly busy life.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Living Day to Day

Lately, I've only had time to focus on each day as it comes. "What do I HAVE TO do today?" is all I have had time to do each day. I've had very little time to think or prepare ahead of time. Everything else has been on the back burner. Because of that, a lot of little, daily, household tasks haven't been getting done, like laundry, dishes, watering plants, etc.

Fortunately, since I have SWEET Life habits in place, I've been living the SWEET Life pretty well, as busy as I've been.

Last night I chose to cut my sleep a bit short in order to grade some papers for my class tonight.

I've been trying hard to drink my water, and I think I've been doing pretty well.

I've been trying to eat well, even though I haven't had much time to pay attention to what I've been eating.

Today I chose to give myself the option of exercise, if I had time, preferring to give myself more time to grade papers for class tonight. I did get my papers graded, but I didn't have time to exercise, so I will exercise on Saturday instead.

Because the girls did tag-team napping, I didn't get my usual afternoon tranquility time. However, when I got home tonight, the house was empty, so I had a little time to myself. Realizing that was going to be my only Tranquility of the day, I made sure to take advantage of it.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Today, I had a SWE_T Life.
I hate when I have to ignore the big picture to focus on the shortest term deadlines, but it seems like life has been that way for the past month. What can I do? I envy those who are planning ahead or doing things that seem more pleasurable than essential. Now and then, I remind myself that this is only a phase. I will have a lot more free time when my girls are in school, and the reason I'm home now is to have my influence on them while I can, before they go to school. All I can do is set reminders for myself to make sure to do things ahead of time (such as set a reminder to pay a bill a week before it's due). I also need to enlist more help with the little, daily, household tasks, such as laundry, dishes, watering plants, etc.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Challenge the Body!

I slept really well last night. I woke up this morning with Zoe in my bed instead of Nick, but I don't really remember when that switcheroo happened. I'm 4 for 4 this week.

I haven't been paying too much attention to my water intake, but I think I have enough of a habit of drinking 2 qt. of water per day that I've continued to drink ample. I'm 4 for 4 this week.

The fridge is looking bare, but I've been trying to still eat healthy. The benefit of having mostly healthy foods in the house is that no matter what you have to scrounge up to eat, it'll still be healthy. What I really need to do is plan some meals, make a grocery list, buy some food, and cook! This week, I'm 2 for 4, but today is still wait and see.

On Tuesday, I tried some new exercises I found in a magazine. Boy, was I sore yesterday! It's good to change exercises every month to challenge the body and defeat boredom. The problem was that a lot of the exercises said they were for the "arms" when they really just used the shoulders, not biceps or triceps. There were a lot of exercises for the legs, which became the most sore, and shoulders, but not much for the chest, biceps, or triceps, so I had to supplement. I also started doing new ab exercises and will take an abs class tomorrow. I suppose I should change my cardio workout too. This week, I'm 3for 4, skipping today because I have a lot of other stuff to do.

I've had tranquility time this week, which I've used to do whatever came to mind. The problem is that I had some important things to do during that time, which didn't get done.
I'm thinking about getting a massage, which I've only had a few of in my life. I can get one pretty cheap at the health club where I work. I'm 4 for 4 this week.

How did I do, and how do I feel?
Yesterday, I had a SWEET Life.
I feel a little stressed and tired. I teach an ESL class tonight and I have a lot to do to prepare for it, which is why I feel stressed. I don't like being so dependent on the girls napping in order to get important things done. I'm tired for a variety of possible reasons: it's towards the end of the week, my family has been sick so I might be catching something, it could be stress-related, etc. I'm torn between taking a nap to feel refreshed or having some caffeine and staying awake to have more time to prepare for my class.