Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Archive for May, 2011

Oh, What a Weekend!

The three amigos

trading horses is the best thing we could have done.

So we went horse camping for the weekend, with our friend Brenda. Two weeks ago, after a very “exciting” ride, Gary and I agreed to switch horses. As you can see, everyone is much happier. Romeo is as calm as can be under Gary, and Rufus can go from 0-60 in three seconds flat without scaring me. In fact, I am sooooo sore from riding so much, we trotted and cantered quite a bit. The poor horses are sleeping in the barn, their suppers barely touched.

Camping in general, and horse camping in particular teaches you many things.

  1. It teaches you to be grateful for indoor plumbing.
  2. To be extremely grateful for modern housing, electricity and hygiene.
  3. It teaches you proper respect for your ancestors, and what they lived with, and to wonder at their strength, resilience and ingenuity.
  4. You learn to focus on the immediate. Everything is more difficult, so you have to pay attention to what you are doing if you want to eat.
  5. You definitely learn to get along with others. You need each other in ways you don’t back home. That also means you learn to tolerate each other. Total strangers who’s dogs ticked you off have now caught your escaped horse. They are your new best friends. Even if you still are wary of their dogs.
  6. Gary on the inversion table.

    You'd better have a sense of humor if you put yourself in this position.

    You learn to laugh at yourself. When you are complaining about the dirt, the flies, the rain, the heat and the “neighbors”, that you know you did this for fun, and that you will do it again. The whole concept that something difficult and at times arduous can be fun is weird too. How much fun? Three days living in a space smaller than a prison cell, and like that cell, the bathroom is in the same room with you. Yippee!

  7. There is such a thing as too much love. Rufus and Spike had a love fest going on to the point we had to separate them. Rufus chewed Spikes halter right off. Luckily it was just unbuckled, but that was the first of three escape attempts this weekend.

What did you do/will you do for fun? Remember the ancient philosophy-“That which doesn’t kill you,…makes for a really funny story later.”


My Gym Saga Continues

I just wanted to get this out there. After two weeks at the gym, I’m starting to settle in and get comfortable. Here are my current impressions:

  1. I work harder at a gym. I don’t know if it is pride, excitement or what. I end up with shaky muscles at the end of every workout.
  2. I work less. See number one. Two days a week are plenty. After the first round of the smith machine, I couldn’t walk for two days. While it is building on what I started at home, my legs are starting to look like my arms.
  3. I’m still finding things out. It is hard to just go explore. There are always people there, and they are strangers, so I am a bit uncomfortable with just playing. I just found out, after seeing someone else use it, that there is a piece of equipment perfect for doing I’s,Y’s, T’s and W’s. I might even use some of the machines. Maybe.
  4. I have worked up the nerve to do some crazier stuff.  There are foot pegs on some of the weight benches, just the right height for hooking my feet under to do hamstring curls.
  5. It is still strange to do things that would be embarrassing in other circumstances. I don’t make eye contact with people too often, and they ignore you too. Or if they do watch you, they are surreptitious about it, which is fine by me. You can laugh at me, as long as I don’t know it.
  6. I’m still in no-woman’s-land. While there are women at the weights, we are still outnumbered, something like 8 to 1.
  7. I don’t know how someone who is not exercise savvy would join this particular gym and get anything out of it if they didn’t get help from a trainer. Just having the equipment there, without direction, would be very daunting and uncomfortable.

So that’s the state of things now. I will keep updating this as I go.

In Defense of Moderation

Yahoo just feeds me stuff. I had another article in mind, but when I came across “In Defense of the Daily Doughnut“, I couldn’t resist. My initial reaction is that there is no good reason to eat a doughnut. Same with hot dogs. After reading the article, I remember what it was like to crave something like that and they make a very valid point.  If you create a cycle of refrain, binge, remorse and refrain, you get little or no benefit and plenty of pain. If you find there is a certain food, or class of foods that are irresistible, find a way to incorporate them into your diet. The one point they made, but I don’t think they emphasized enough is portion control. If you are in maintenance, meaning you are not trying to lose weight, a daily doughnut could be incorporated. If you are trying to lose weight, I would have to say no more than 2-3 a week.

There are two concepts I would like to add to theirs. The first I just read about last night in a book my son gave me, “The Smashing Book”. In it, the first author mentions the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen-the focus on continuous improvement through small, gradual steps. I think that is a perfect philosophy for eating. I say eating, not dieting. I am not on a diet. I maintain my weight by eating. “Dieting” is always the idea of eating differently for now, to achieve a goal, then returning to the pre-diet eating pattern. Nothing could be more self defeating. If you clean up your eating, step by step, the rest will take care of itself. That does include goodies. I eat cookies, cake, ice cream and chocolate, every day. (Not all in the same day!) I do however, keep the portions small. A half a cup of ice cream is a serving.

The second concept is honesty. If you are going to be honest and straight forward with allowing yourself treats, be honest about the rest of your diet. I had a friend who said her husband shouldn’t be heavy, and gave the example that he had half a sandwich for lunch. It became apparent, she meant half a sub. There is a huge difference in calories between half a bread sandwich and half a sub. Any food can be made more calorie rich, by adding amounts, or condiments, or fudging serving sizes. What is the point of playing games with yourself? It’s like cheating at solitaire. If it is a case of ignorance, then take the time to read the serving size, and measure your food, until you can see what half a cup of something looks like.

The article didn’t even mention the concept of “refeed” days in dieting. That is the idea that you take one day a week or so and eat whatever you want. The fact that it is scheduled in, gets you out of the “all or nothing”mentality. It also makes it easier to stick to a calorie deficit over the long haul. There is even some evidence that it helps to stop the plateaus people reach in weight loss, although there are different thoughts as to why.

The last point I want to make is that weight loss is hard. The longer you let it go, the harder it is. It is mentally and physically difficult. If incorporating treats makes it easier, then by all means do it. Just be honest as to how much can fit into your plan, and still allow you to reach your goals.

Your Cheer for the Day

I either really like soapboxes, or else I’m the world’s cheerleader. I came across this article, and I have to share it. If you are gluten intolerant, you’ll really love it, as Erin’s blog is about that. When I read what she wrote, I just had to share it:

“I know.”

“I know I should eat better.”

“I know I should sleep more.”

“Exercise? I know, I would like to exercise.”

“I know, I should floss every night.” (This one is mine.)

The “I knows.” We all have them. I know, I should, I could, etc. What those all mean, even though we don’t say it, is that we could, but we are choosing not to.

Yes, you are choosing it. I am choosing to floss less than daily. Some choose to eat poorly despite knowing better. Some choose to sit on their asses instead of move. Some choose to eat foods that they realize are hurting their health. We can all make excuses until we turn blue, but the bottom line is that they are choices.

Not good choices.

But choices none the less. Own your choice.

I know usually goes hand in hand with I can’t. And usually, I can’t actually means I won’t. I can, but I choose not too.

See where I’m going with this?

I wish I could have written that! I’m not an original writer, thinker, or speaker, I just sift other people’s gems. Which reminds me, “This is not a dress rehearsal, this is your life.” Look at yourself in the mirror. Pretend you are another person. Tell them about yourself. Are you embarrassed? Or proud? Do you need to accept yourself more? Or change? To quote an old song, “Someday never comes.” If you need to change, get moving. If the change you need to make is to accept yourself more, get moving on that too. Weight is an easy topic to pick on, as it is obvious and self created. What isn’t so obvious is what made you that way. Just like the anti-drug ads say, no one says “I want to weigh 400 lbs when I grow up” but, just like the drugs, it doesn’t “just happen”.

One of the best people for covering the mental aspects of weight gain and loss is Leigh Peele. Unfortunately, her speaking/writing style is not terrible accessible. She tends to make convoluted sentences that are hard to follow. If you can stay with her though, she is really on top of the mental processes that lead to both gain and loss. I throw that in here, as what is going on in your head is more important than what is going on outside of you. When Paul said “I have discovered the secret of being content in all things.” Ph4:11, he meant in Christ. Meaning that he put that thought ahead of all others, subordinating hunger, thirst and well being. How do you think people finish marathons, climb mountains or get though trials? They put their focus on one thing, above all others.

Today is your canvas. Your mind, followed by your actions, are your brushes. What will you paint  today with? Good or bad? Don’t think getting down on yourself will make you change. It didn’t work in the past, did it?

Seize the day. It is a cliche, but cliches get that way because they are true.

Too busy to eat? That may be why you are gaining weight.

I just ran into two articles that made an interesting point. If we don’t pay attention to what we are eating, we eat more. Both articles are from Men’s Health online magazine. The first cites several studies that show many factors that distract you from your food cause you to eat more. Dim light, paying attention to the tv, video games or  reading while you eat all caused people to underestimate the amount they ate, and to snack more later. The second article focused on “foodies” and why was it that people who focused so much on eating aren’t necessarily fat.  Again what they found was that paying attention to your food, savoring every mouthful, keeps you feeling full longer, you eat less and enjoy it more.

Remember, being healthy doesn’t mean we are war with food. Junk food yes, but if you ever tried to savor a Twinkie, that’s when you notice all the chemical taste and the greasy feeling it leaves on your tongue. Good food however….I know I keep going on about the curried chicken I made, but talk about trying to make a meal last! Or the sushi crab salad. Tonight is Chiavetta’s chicken. I know my daughter is drooling. I don’t think they have Chiavetta’s where she is. Eat healthy and ENJOY it. Make it last. Your body will thank you.

Spring Horses

I think this is my first or second horse post. I keep threatening my husband that I will sell my horse if we don’t start riding them more. They are very expensive lawn ornaments. In any case, I am giving it my best shot. I have ridden Romeo every day for the last three days. Considering that I am coming home from work, working out or karate, that is pretty impressive.

What is making riding him much easier is that he is being unnaturally good. I titled this post “Spring Horses” as that is a condition most riders implicitly understand. After a winter of not being ridden, and the excitement of smelling grass growing, horses get “spring fever” worse than we do.  The first few rides of the year can be very interesting. I took Romeo out into the pasture last night. Normally, as soon as he is out of the corral, he “puffs up”, his head comes up, his nostrils dilate, his ears are up, and he gets real jerky and nervous. He also gets that way when he doesn’t like the footing, like mud. Last night we were trotting around the pasture, his head was low and even, his gait was too. I nearly fell off him in surprise. (Is there anything more embarrassing than falling off your horse for no good reason?)

I did something else that made me impressed with him. I reached down off him for the cones and picked them up, (one at a time) holding the reins in my teeth. Had he decided to something stupid, the results would have been ugly. He was a perfect gentleman. The funny thing was, later, when we were done, he went over to the cone and attacked it. He doesn’t like being made to go around them.

What are your spring adventures?  Are you keeping a new discipline? Learning something new? Just enjoying what God gave us? Isn’t it much easier to enjoy what God gives when it is above 40 degrees?

While This is Not a Cooking Blog, I am Impressed With Myself.

Ok, maybe not with myself, as much with certain recipes. I don’t how many of you use “allrecipes.com”, but I love that site. It’s quick, easy, and it appears to have every recipe ever thought up. I got this one for coconut curried chicken, and oh my goodness. you’d have thought we had Indian take out here. I love ethnic food, from every country’s cuisine that I have tried. The only two I might not be crazy about are German and English, but even they have their good points. I’d have taken a picture of the curried chicken, but it isn’t the most appetizing to look at. The aroma and flavor are heavenly.

The second success on the cooking front was sushi crab salad. I love sushi. As sushi fans know, part of what makes sushi so good is the wasabi and ginger. Well, I made crab salad as usual, with imitation crab, celery, onion, green pepper, pickle and carrot, covered in Mayonnaise. Then I added wasabi and ginger until it tasted like sushi. I didn’t have fresh ginger, but with the pickle already in there, it tasted remarkably similar to pickled ginger.

MMM-mmm-good. What’s your big culinary achievement of the week?

Wh-Wh-What? Is This True?

I was reading an article by by Eric E Noreen, MS, PhD Candidate“on the benefit of fish oil for losing weight, and ran across this paragraph:

“Determined to find a way of dealing with my asthma, I started doing a lot of reading on exactly what happens when you have an asthma attack. I found out that there’s a family of chemicals called eicosanoids that are produced in response to the stimuli that causes the attack. These eicosanoids are produced from fats found in your cell membranes. The eicosanoids that are formed have different chemical properties depending on what type of fat is incorporated into them. To make a long story slightly shorter, omega-6 fatty acids are very pro-inflammatory (asthma and allergies are mainly a disease of inflammation), whereas omega 3 fatty acids (those found in fish oils) are not. Well, I quickly switched my diet. I tried to completely eliminate omega-6 fatty acids and eat as much omega-3 fatty acids as I could.”

Now if anyone lives with someone with asthma, other breathing problems, or allergies, you know what a big deal this is, if it is true. I read the titles of his references, and it was all on fat loss or insulin effects, as that was the main point of his article. Because of the rise in breathing problems and allergies, I find that one paragraph more intriguing than the rest.

What do you think? Has anyone heard of this before?

My First Day at a Gym

So I finally broke down and joined a gym. I joined Planet Fitness, a big chain here, because it was cheap and convenient. I had little idea of what to expect, other than what I have heard others say. My first impressions were mixed, but mostly positive. The girl behind the desk, on the day I checked the place out, immediately made eye contact and asked me if she could help me. When I went back to sign up, the young man was equally helpful and friendly. I went back today to work out. It felt so strange. First, they made it clear I could move anything I wanted to, anywhere that I wanted to, which I did. I did somewhat of the same workout I would have done at home, using mostly dumbells, the swiss ball and the pull up contraption. I tried out the smith machine. They don’t have a squat rack per se. They do have a bar and weights. It’s hard to describe, as I have never seen equipment like this before. I think I could have just taken the bar off the thing they had it on, I don’t think it was a machine, more of a rack? rest? Maybe for bench pressing. There were a lot of guys over there, and I felt intimidated. I did my clean and presses and my deadlifts with the dumbells. Ouch, talk about having to stabalize yourself! Everything felt so strange, having other people there. I got a REALLY good workout in, in my excitement to try things, I definitely overdid it a bit. My one shoulder is sore, I did some t pushups with weights I wasn’t used to and over balanced on one. As you can tell from the way I’m writing, my feelings and thoughts about it are all over the place. I’ll let you know more when I get more used to it.

A Post is a Post

I realized I hadn’t posted in awhile, and while I have few to no subscribers, I do feel it is my duty to continue what I started.

First, Happy Mother’s Day to one and all. If you aren’t a mother, you certainly had one. For better or worse. Give a random woman a hug and wish her happy mother’s day. If that doesn’t create social tension, nothing will.

I am going to join a gym. I have talked about it, debated it, resisted it and finally gave in. I want the equipment, the community, and the psychological boost. Plus, the gym I want to join is so cheap, I can’t even say I can’t afford it. There is probably a catch, but there is no commitment, so I can bow out if it gets too expensive.

That’s all, my duty is completed. Unless you are have bad weather, which we are not for a change, go out and have some fun. Take a walk, bike ride, horseback ride, move!

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