One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Hand writing Time to Adapt concept with red marker on transparent wipe board.

For those who have been tuning in to see how I am doing on my fitness challenge, you probably think I’ve given up or abandoned the blog again. Not so!

In my last entry, I reported that we realized the scale had malfunctioned. Well last week, it just completely died so I couldn’t weigh in. Secretly, I was kinda happy because it gave me more time to get my act together. It seems my efforts paid off. I’m proud to report that in the last two weeks, I have lost 4 pounds of fat!

I have to say I was pretty surprise since I took a different approach to the challenge in the last two weeks. First of all, I didn’t obsess about exercising. Instead, I focused on being more active. Parking further away from the store. Walking every aisle in the grocery store. Walking while waiting for the microwave at work.

Also, I didn’t journal what I was eating. I felt the the recording of every bite was making me a little food obsessed and hungry when I wasn’t. Now this approach isn’t for everyone. In fact, health experts suggest recording what you eat. And I don’t think this approach would have worked if I hadn’t previously recorded what I ate. But now I had a little bit of knowledge and wanted to venture out on my own. I will try this for a little longer. If things start to plateau or (gasp!) go south, then I will go back to keeping a food diary.

I think my new obsession with yogurt also helped. (I will explain more next time.) It meant less sugar and more protein.

I am going to step it up for the next week and I am looking for new running shoes so I can start that again. Wish me luck!

SlimPossible Points: 2

Advertisements

Yeah… Back on the horse

slide1

So I’ve been gone a while. The last few months have been non-stop crazy. While I have slacked on my goals, I haven’t given up on them. And thanks to some encouragement from my circle (thanks ChimChim and Yogi L), I’m getting back on track.

Strangely enough, I’ve also been lured back by some random and surprising motivators: boxing, running, Whitney, & the fantasy fitness challenge.

Boxing: While I have slacked on most of my fitness routine, I’ve still been going to boxing. Thanks to Trainer Wes, I still adore boxing. No matter how tired, stressed or crazy I’ve felt, I still make it to my lesson and am happier for it. I’m excited to say I’m advancing and feeling more confident in my strength and skill. Also, I think I have biceps now!

Running: While I haven’t been running (except that March Madness month I had with Trainer Wes), it has been on my mind. I am anxiously waiting for temperatures to drop so I can get back to it. In the last year, I’ve learned that I really want to hate running. Then a cool day comes along and all I can think about is stringing up my running shoes. (I blame Dr. N for that.) Yesterday, I ordered new running clothes and in the coming weeks I’m going back to RunOn to get a new pair running shoes. New clothes always motivates me.

Whitney: I recently discovered Whitney Thore and love her intensity for life. She motivates women of all sizes to not let your size deter you from what you want to do. Dance on, Whit! Dance on!

Side note, if you decide to watch the show, don’t watch the “Hate Mail’ episode; it will make you hate people.

Fantasy Fitness Challenge: Sooo we have a health coach person at work. This fall, she decided to have a fantasy fitness challenge. Basically, you pay $10 dollars to enter. Whoever does the best wins the pot of money at the end. What I like about this challenge is it is a healthier challenge. It is not based on BMI, which has been proved to be totally antiquated. It’s not even based on weight loss. It’s based on loss of fat. The health coach person has a really cool scale that calculates fat mass, fat %, how dehydrated (or not) I am and more. For every .25% of body fat I lose I get a point. I entered the contest using the pseudonym SlimPossible (those who are pop-culture savvy might catch the cartoon reference). Each week, I will try to report my SlimPossible points.

fail

So there you have it and here we go again. I beg you to stick with me and maybe occasionally send me some encouragement. With that, I will hopefully stay on the path (or fall off and get back on it) and not have to give up my chocolate chip cookies.

It’s the little things that matter

So, I can’t run a marathon (yet) or go a round with Laila Ali (not even going to happen!), but I can recognize how far I’ve come in the last few months.

My boxing trainer always starts my session out with jumping rope for 2 minutes (which I loathe – sorry, Wes!). When I first started boxing, I spent most of the time tangled up in the rope or jumping like a 3rd grader. This week, I noticed how much better I’ve gotten. I don’t quite have Muhammad Ali’s style, but I don’t get tangled up anymore and almost make it through the entire 2 minutes without wearing out (try it – it’s a long time to jump rope!). I smiled and celebrated my milestone. It shows how far I’ve come and proves there’s no limit on how far I can go.

“Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle for them.” — Mia Hamm

Healthy Triangle

Even though I’ve been silent awhile, I haven’t totally abandoned my goals. I just started to re-evaluate them. It started in August when I took a class on emotional intelligence. It was a very interesting class, during which we discussed balance and whole body wellness. The concept of whole body wellness means that to be truly healthily, you cannot just focus on fitness. You have to look at your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Whole body wellness also looks at the concept that physical ailments could be caused by mental and spiritual issues.

The body piece of the triangle is what people usually focus on: exercise and nutrition. This you know I am working on. I still box once a week. I’m going back to running once a week. I am working on adding in abs once a week, too.

The healthy mind part focuses on knowledge and intellect. I think I have that part more than covered with school.

The last part of the triangle, spirit, is what I realized to be the weak side of my triangle. This part is about relaxing, emotions, stress management and enlightenment. My class in August made me realize that there is one giant change I need to make. Unfortunately, it is not an easy change or one that can happen quickly. In the meantime, I am working on small changes. Once of these changes includes getting more involved in my church. I am also working to do more of the things I like, like spending time with friends. I’m also looking into getting regular massages. I used to think getting massages was a luxurious and indulgent act. Then, through the help of health care professionals, I realized they could be a needed part in living a healthily life. Massages help relieve stress and tension. Stress slows the metabolism, which prevents weight loss. You see where this is going. Besides massages, I am also looking to start practicing meditation. I think this will also be useful for stress relief.

So there it is-Whole body health. I can’t be really healthy without focusing on all sides of the triangle. It makes sense. And like everything else I have learned, it’s all about balance.

Betrayed

There are some things, places, people you come to rely on. When a day comes that they don’t come through, it can leave feeling disappointed, even betrayed. Today was my day. The culprits were my legs. When I started my run/walk today, I felt off but I blew it off. Then one minute into my second run time (I am currently learning to run through the run/walk method), my knee started to ache. I slowed down and finished the time. About 45 seconds into the next run, my calf on the opposite leg started to throb, forcing me to slow to a fast walk. I was totally frustrated and mad at my legs for punking out. In their defense, I hadn’t ran in over a week due to a family emergency — but still! I spent the remainder of my gym time walking. The walking still hurt a little, but Kayne (West) reminded that what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger. During my walk I decided that that I would use this experience to remind myself that all days won’t be good, but if it is important to trudge on and not abandon the journey I have set forth. At the very end, I mustered in two last good run sessions, thanks to Melissa’s (Etheridge) reminder of why I set out on this journey. In the end, I got about 2.25 miles in. My pace sucked, but my motivation prevailed.

“Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger, more than ever, hour after hour, Our work is never over.” — Kayne West

Sooooo, why the blog?

The short answer to the question is “Why, not?”

The long answer has many parts. First, for those who didn’t know, I am in school right now. I am getting a Masters in Marketing and 2 graduate certificates – one in social media marketing and the other in nonprofit leadership. This blog is part of a class requirement. Beyond the class requirement, I wanted to keep track of my journey into transforming into a healthier me. Also, this blog gives me a creative outlet beyond work. Lastly, this blog is also a motivator. I have friends reading it who keeping up with my progress and journey. This is my way of letting them know how its going and letting them know when I need to be put back on track.

My current class has given me lots of tips on how to write a blog and set realistic expectations. So far, I think the funniest, best advice and reality check I have come across was from the article Let’s Talk: Social Media for Small Business. The author, Josh Jantsh, said “If you’re one of those folks who has resisted blogging because you don’t think anyone would read your blog, don’t worry; they probably won’t.” While the line was humorous, the point was to write content that people want to read. Hopefully, I’m on track with that.

jpegbooksI also have Jantsh’s book, Duct Tape Marketing. Between his book, his article and the book, Groundswell, I have learned 3 main things about blogging: develop a plan so people can find the blog, encourage others to comment on your blog and be honest.

 

 

A little bit of a warning on the last tip, though: don’t be too honest. I learned from award-winning blogger Pamela Ribon that you can be too revealing. Beyond being a blogger, Pam is a screenwriter, best-selling novelist, and a friend (and she has amazing taste in shoes!). I have followed her writing for years. From her, I have learned to keep some info to yourself and maintain some line of privacy because what you reveal is out there forever.

One final tip that seems to be the most common is to read and learn from other blogs. So far, some of my favorite fitness blogs are the Daily Julie, Lazy Girl Running and Plus Size Princess. All three of these blogs seem to follow the 3 main tips I have learned. Out of the three, Plus Size Princess (#PSPfit) is my favorite. I can relate to the blogger and her posts are interesting, engaging and real.

Screenshot 2014-08-11 21.54.50 Screenshot 2014-08-11 21.55.02

So, why the blog post on blogs? – to keep me on track. If you are reading this, I need you to comment often and remind me to follows the tips I have just given to others. In the end, hopefully I will help others as I help myself.

The Social Truth

Currently there is big business in social fitness, including health apps. Prime example, according to research2guidance, the market for smartphone health apps in 2012 was $1.3 billion.

Screenshot 2014-08-08 20.21.33Big brands such as Equinox, Under Armor, Lululemon Athletica, Zumba and Crunch Gym have developed successful approaches to social media (catch a full review of their social ways). These big brands offer a social experience beyond sales and discounts. They offer followers quality blog information, well-produced instruction and inspirational YouTube videos, shared quotes, life inspirations, health tips, and a chance to engage with a fitness community.

 

Screenshot 2014-08-08 20.17.34While sites like these promote good health and community engagement, big brands and their followers can sometimes walk a risky line when they go social. Crossfit, whose tagline is forging elite fitness, is experiencing controversy with its high-speed, high-impact approach to fitness and exercise. As Brook Ross points out, “Searching for the words “pain” and “CrossFit” on Twitter yields hundreds of results, nearly every one praising the sting the workout provides”. Unfortunately, the word-of-mouth praise is not may be doing harm to the novices who don’t understand the dangers of pushing your workouts to the limit and knowing when to quit. Most know that pushing your workouts too far could lead injury, but many don’t understand it could lead to riskier problems that could cause kidney issues.

 

Screenshot 2014-08-08 20.18.20Fitness brands and followers also need to be aware of what they are inspiring others or being inspired to do. Fitness instagrams, known as fitstagrams, are a great way to inspire those looking for a fitness pick-me-up. Brands like Under Armor, REI, Nike, CrossFit and New Balance post and encourage followers to post images of people in action and tackling fitness feats. While these images can be engaging and motivational, they also risk encouraging people to set unhealthy body image goals. Followers see other “regular” people reaching their fitness goals, but may forget what is attainable by one is not attainable by all. Example: While Halle Berry’s (image from @emilymaksoud) reveal worthy shape would be awesome to have, realistically, Queen Latifah’s (image from @queenlatifah) gorgeous new figure is more attainable for me.

 

Hallefinal  Screenshot 2014-08-08 19.53.40

Bottom line: Know your body and your limits. Fitness and a healthier lifestyle can be great for you, but pushing beyond your limits and having unrealistic goals can be dangerous.