Fight the Funk Friday

IMG_1922.JPG

So, this week is all about getting back into habits. 

I'd like to blame it all on the foot surgery, but the fact of the matter is that I've been slacking for some time on planning my meals, tracking what I eat, and being consistent with paying attention to my FitPoints and such. I've also not been keeping up my meditation. It shows in that I haven't lost any weight in about three or four months. It ain't a plateau unless you're actually doing everything you need to do. And I'm not.

Now that the foot surgery is over and I'm on an upward trajectory (a slow one, but a trajectory nonetheless) , it's time to pull it back together.

8051C253-1ED2-4E2F-82AE-3FB2E427990E.JPG

I'm proud of myself today, though: We had thunderstorms moving through in the morning and in the late afternoon, but we had a few hours of heat and brilliant sunshine around lunch. After I'd spent most of the morning thinking, "Sheesh--I hope it doesn't start raining when I'm done with my school work this afternoon so I can do my pool aerobics," I realized... "Wait! I can set my own schedule! I'll take a break and get in the pool now and then go back to school work!" Sure enough, after lunch I was able to get a full 30 minutes aerobics session and another 20 minutes of yoga while the sun was still shining. About half an hour after I'd showered, changed, and gone back to work, the heavens opened up and it was pouring again, and continued for the rest of the day. (Those towels had been left out there from previous days. I got everything pulled back inside when I went inside for the afternoon.)

Farmer's market tomorrow morning, which means I'll be spending the afternoon prepping veggies. Always a happy day.  

 

 

 

Fight the Funk Friday

Well, the first news is, we have power!

For those of you just coming into my blog for today's post, our area was one of those affected by the terrible windstorms mid-week. My house lost power early Wednesday afternoon. We were among the fortunate ones, though, who had ours restored late last night (Thursday). There are still about 80,000 people in the area without power even as I'm writing this. I'm sending them warm and electrified thoughts!

IMG_2147.JPG

It certainly could've been worse. My biggest problem was that I was already down with a cold and my symptoms were exacerbated by sleeping in a house with no heat on (despite piles n' piles of quilts). I dragged my sorry butt out of the house for most of yesterday afternoon and evening just to stay warm and to recharge all my electronics. I was thrilled that our power came back on just in time to go to bed last night--with the heat on. I still slept under the piles n' piles of quilts just to make sure. I woke up feeling terrible this morning (probably because I was out and about so much yesterday) but as I've been quietly working at my desk this morning--and taking drugs--and pounding the water--I'm feeling somewhat improved now at lunchtime.

I haven't done my 5k training--or anything, for that matter--since Saturday. I'm not planning on doing tomorrow's group run as it's supposed to be bitterly cold out again and the run is scheduled for an area park on the opposite side of town. I'm apprehensive I'd get halfway into the run and have to cry "uncle," and be out in the middle of nowhere. So I'll do tomorrow's homework but I'll do it on a treadmill inside and at my own speed, not trying to overdo anything as I'm really still in recovery here. I'm just anxious to get back into the habit of activity, even if I'm still not quite back to my previous levels.

So, this week's "Fight the Funk" doesn't have much in the way of healthy living to report. Instead, I thought I'd report on my plans for the future. Suddenly I've gone from someone who's never done a 5k to someone who is now signed up for four of them! 

5k Number One: I did Zombies Run Virtual Race last year. How could I not? It's still my favorite running app and, in fact, when I started going back to the gym this fall I went back to Season 1 and started over again. The Virtual Race is a 5k you do any time you want, any way you want, but by signing up you can be part of the "Rofflenet" (you need to know the story in app) and be on leader boards and all that. I'm not into the leader board thing, but I like the trappings. Last year, I did it on the elliptical and I only bought the starter pack--I got the medal and the number sign for my shirt but I didn't wear it when I did my virtual race (you can tweet pics of yourself with it on as part of the fun). This year, I upped my game and got the pack that included a running shirt--the pack contents are pictured at left. It's a nice shirt! I do plan on wearing the shirt when I do my virtual 5k, and I also plan on really doing a 5k, although I don't know yet if I'll do it outside or in--depends on the day I do it, mostly. The dates of the Virtual Race are April 7-18 (you do it anytime during that span you choose), which is close enough to the graduation 5k I'm working towards that I should be actually going that distance by then. You can still sign up if it appeals to you!

5k Number Two: The "graduation" 5k that my running club is working towards is the Wegmans Family 5K on Sunday, April 30. We'll be able to run the course with our club once or twice before the actual event so I'm not particularly worried about completing it. Fleet Feet Sports NoBoundaries 5k program--the one my husband and I are doing--really does everything they can to help you be successful. My only problem is I'm double-booked. I have a speaking engagement that same weekend so I'll be going right from training on Saturday and the 5k on Sunday to having to be showered, professionally dressed, and "on" an hour later both days, LOL. We'll see how that goes! (I suspect I'll sleep heavily by Sunday night!)

5k Number Three: The Color Run. I'm SO FREAKING EXCITED! This is the 5k that even got me wanting to do a 5k in the first place! The first two times I tried to train for it myself, I developed knee issues and couldn't do it. That's why I joined the Fleet Feet program--I want to make sure I'm doing everything the best way possible to stay injury-free. So far (colds notwithstanding) so good! This one is on Saturday, May 20th, and my husband and I leave for our 30th anniversary vacation on Sunday, May 21st. The timing couldn't have been better. I've got some family members doing this one with me, I think, including my husband. He's not as into the whole "having people throw dye on you" thing as I am, but he's a supportive guy and will be my running buddy. And they apparently have foam "clouds" you run through now too! Woo!

5k Number Four: DirtyGirl Mud Run. This one is a 5k through an obstacle course. In mud. Who can resist?! It's in the middle of July so that gives me something to stay in tip-top shape for after my vacation. I watched some videos and a lot of folks define "run" very loosely, so I'm also not particularly worried about keeping up or anything. I'm sure some people race it, but most seem to do it for the experience. I found out about it last fall and couldn't get it off my mind, so yesterday, sitting in the library waiting for everything to recharge, I got on my phone and registered, then started rallying the troops. So far, my daughter and one of my nieces are doing this one with me, but we're still working on the rest of the crew. It's women only, so DH will have to wait and cheer me on at the finish line...where he'll get a big, mud-covered hug! 

I've already got my eye on the Disney 5k in January, LOL. 

So, once I've gotten over this cold....I'll be off and running!

Fight the Funk Friday--More Recommendations

My primary way of fighting the funk this week is by being on a quilt retreat with my peeps as you're reading this! If you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter, I'll be posting pics along the way. 

Meanwhile...

  • The Weight Watchers Coaching that I'd mentioned a few weeks ago is now complete. I only needed a couple of sessions with her to get myself back on my mental game (it was all mental, in this particular instance). I found her helpful for a shot in the arm but nothing I need long-term. However, I'll have the name of the coach I had in case I need to get another shot in the arm at some point down the road.
  • I decided I needed new sneakers this week when I had yet another session of painful feet during my cardio kickboxing class earlier this week. I know foot cramps can also be due to dehydration but I really don't think that was the problem in this case--it's a different kind of all-over soreness. I'd bought the Reeboks I've been wearing maybe only three months ago, but my feet have never been comfortable in them when I'm in a class. They were on sale when I bought them so I'm fine with transitioning them to a "bop around town" sneaker--they're fine when I'm just walking in them--and replacing them as my primary gym sneaker. I know some of it is just needing to strengthen my foot muscles (sitting behind a computer for years on end really does do a number on your entire body), but the right shoes can make a world of difference. Rather than going back to the minimal brand selection of my local mall, I ordered a pair of Rykas online. I love Rykas--I've had them in the past and they fit my foot beautifully. I don't know why I ever left them. They're not cheap but being able to get through a cardio class of any kind without gritting my teeth because my feet are whining is seriously worth it. 
  • I also had to buy new workout pants this week. Not only were my feet whining during cardio kickboxing, but my pants kept wandering downwards and, as they were long yoga-style pants, they kept getting caught under the heel of my sneaker. Not only annoying, but just a little dangerous! In the grand scheme of going down in size and what that would do to my wardrobe, I'd never given much thought to workout pants. But yay--I need new workout pants now!
  • While I'm on retreat, I'm going to focus on trying to move every hour. My BFF/BQF Lori will also be on the retreat, and she plans to take a 20 minute walk every day, so I'll probably join her for that. That largely depends on the weather, however. It's supposed to be in the 20s this weekend and the retreat center is on a lake so we could get more snow. We'll see.
  • Finally, can I recommend a couple of cookbooks to you? These have quickly become my primary sources every week when I'm doing meal planning. 

The Skinnytaste blog is well known and she does post a bunch of recipes there, but the cookbooks are well worth having. My particular favorite is Skinnytaste Fast and Slow (link at left). "Fast" are recipes that take 30 minutes or less--primarily skillet or stovetop types of meals. "Slow" are slow-cooker meals. I do a lot of slow cooking this time of year, particularly now that I'm going to the gym several times a week. When I get home from my trainer I can't handle standing at the stove. I've done a bunch of recipes from this one--including this week the Slow Cooker Pollo con Potacchio which got a 10 from both me and my husband. She provides nutritional info for each of her recipes and, if you're a Weight Watchers person, she also gives the SmartPoints, although they're on her website rather than in the cookbook itself. (The nutritional info is in the book.) I just wrote the SmartPoints in for every recipe when I first got the cookbooks so I had it all in one place.

Her other cookbook, self-titled, is also very good. My favorite go-to recipe in here is the Buttermilk "Oven Fried" Chicken. It's fantastic. 

This one doesn't separate out slow-cooker recipes--it's just a normal cookbook--but it does still have some in it. There are a wide range of recipes to suit most tastes, though, including vegetarian. I pay attention to that because my daughter is a vegetarian but my husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy--so when she's over for dinner and he's gone for the evening, I get to play with the vegetarian recipes.

Having these two cookbooks on my shelf has really helped me in my endeavor to eat healthier!

(This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links--by using them you're helping to support this podcast and blog. Thank you!)

Fight the Funk Friday--A Bit of a Setback

Fightthefunk.jpg

So I had a little bit of a set-back this week. 

When I went to the gym on Monday, I did a full arm strength-training set and about 30 mins of cardio. It wasn't much compared to what I've done before, and only one move was new but somewhere, something I did must've been too much for my neck (see previous post about vertigo and PT).

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday feeling like the back of my head was in a vise. Serious pain. Fortunately it didn't set off a major vertigo attack like it could have, just some mild head spins here and there. But my PT had shown me an app with a diagram of all the nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that I've been having problems with and boy, if you'd colored all of that a really bright, angry, pulsing red, you'd have a visual depiction of what I was feeling. I ended up having to take Tuesday off from work because even after it had largely settled down by late morning, just sitting at the computer made it all start spasming again. I spent lots of cozy time with my neck heating pad and popping Excedrin. 

I already had an appointment with my PT set up for Wednesday morning so we talked through what had happened and my neck was clearly still super-reactive, so at his advice I was fairly careful of what I was doing the rest of the week to avoid having a relapse. That being said, in response to needing to avoid upper body stuff, my personal trainer had me do leg stuff--serious leg stuff!--Thursday. I'm going to hurt tomorrow. It's always worse the second day. Epsom salts in my future, I think. 

I used my Tai Chi Temple app on Tuesday. I didn't want to do anything that strained my neck so no gym, but the Tai Chi/Qi Gong moves helped me feel like I wasn't being a slug and gave me a nice stretch. That felt great. I highly recommend this app. You have to work your way through the training but you're still getting the benefits even in the training portion. So yay.

Sad trombone, though: I found out Thursday my much-loved personal trainer is going back to school in January (for physical therapy, so I have to applaud that), which necessitates her moving out of town. I knew when I signed up with a 23-year-old trainer it was likely going to be somewhat short term...I'd just hoped for a longer short-term. A few more appointments with her and then I'll just keep my fingers crossed that I enjoy my next trainer as much!

Oh, and hey--here's another benefit to focusing on being more active and such: my resting heart rate has dropped about 15 BPM since last spring! Woot! I'm now "very good" for women my age. It's nice to compare positively for anything these days! 

Fight the Funk Friday

Still nothing stellar to report here. As you may have been able to deduce from my absence in the blogosphere of late, I've been a bit crammed up schedule-wise, and those times I have been home and had downtime, I pretty much just crashed. So not many goings-on going on. 

I've been keeping up with the physical therapy. Clearly there really was a problem given how much my knee aches every time my PT pokes around at it, but there has been improvement so that's a good thing. And the PT exercises are as good as going to the gym from a strength-training perspective, although only focused on certain areas. I did one of my Daily Burn videos this week, and I had to do a few modifications for the knee issue but mostly it went well so, again, I did see improvement in my knee from the PT--nice to have that confirmation. I've been trying to occasionally get out for walks with the Doofus, something both he and I appreciate. (He has his fan base on the canal trail--Goldens always make people smile.)

  Love my little stretch of the canal...

Love my little stretch of the canal...

Today we leave for my daughter's college for her Graduation Weekend Extravaganza. Most of that extravaganza involves helping her move out of her dorm room on Saturday so I'm sure I'll be building up some steps that day! 

Eating-wise I haven't done too badly, although I'm really working hard to re-focus this week; a tricky proposition given that I'll be eating out all weekend. Still n' all, it's easier to eat light when it's warm out, and it's supposed to be a pretty warm weekend.  And I've only got a couple more weeks before my CSA kicks in--I can't wait!

 

Fight the Funk Friday and Food Friday--on Saturday (oops)

I couldn't quite get it together enough yesterday to get my usual Friday post out. Oops. So I'm catching up today.

I'm still a bit of a slacker in terms of exercise--or, rather, I'm focusing on my physical therapy exercise and not so much getting to the gym. The PT exercises are increasing each session and lots to do at home so there is that. I guess it's a good sign when your PT exercises leave you a bit sore afterwards--yep, those muscles were pretty underdeveloped, clearly! So there's good progress being made there.

On the other hand, I did show a loss at my Weight Watchers meeting this week--yippee! First loss in a while, but then, it's also been awhile since I was consistently attending my meetings and really paying attention to what I was doing. Gee, funny how those things go hand-in-hand, isn't it? 

We were encouraged to share favorite healthy recipes at this week's WW meeting. One of the other members shared her recipe for Southwest Chicken Chili. I'm not generally a big fan of Southwest flavors but when I read through the ingredients to this one, it sounded pretty good. Even better? It's a "dump it all in the crockpot and walk away" recipe. It was simple enough that, when I discovered the recipe had fallen out of my purse somewhere in the grocery store, I could remember everything and recreate it easily in my kitchen. My son and his BFF were coming over for dinner and I'd heard rumor a few others may be joining us, but no actual count or ETA (life with young adults), so a simple crockpot recipe was the way to go. It was really, really good. My son, his friend, my nephew, and his girlfriend all came and, basically, licked the crockpot clean. 

So, here's the recipe (again, from memory, but I'm pretty sure it's very darn close. If not, it was good anyway!)

  Southwest Chicken Chili

Southwest Chicken Chili

Southwest Chicken Chili 

  • 1 1/2 lbs of chicken breast (she suggested, and I used, frozen grilled chicken strips for simplicity--worked fine)
  • 2 cups medium salsa 
  • 3 @ 14.5 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 @ 15.5 oz cans black beans
  • 1 @ 15.25 oz can corn (could also easily use frozen or fresh, of course)
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I didn't have any on hand, so I used chili seasoning instead)
  • 1 package Ranch dressing mix

Put all ingredients in slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, etc.

Clearly, it's a chili so all the amounts are fungible. Chilis are pretty flexible. I would say you probably don't want to go any more on the tomato products as it would quickly get too soupy.

When I put this into my Recipe Builder in WW etools it comes out to something like 5 points per serving (not including toppings), assuming you're getting about 12 servings out of the total. I didn't measure but I went by the number of people eating and the number of times they refilled their bowls.

  It's finally really spring! And that really does help me fight the funk.

It's finally really spring! And that really does help me fight the funk.

I have another tricky week coming up, although in a different way, as I have a work trip for the early part of the week. However, in the grand scheme of work travel this is one of the easiest for me to continue healthy habits: I have a fairly normal schedule, time to use the work-out room in the hotel, and the ability to choose what I'm eating. (Most trips aren't quite that straight-forward!) So I'm not overly worried.

Meanwhile, Sammy and I are warming up our fetch muscles again, now that it's far more consistently warm and dry out. My pitching arm was a bit rusty last week, but I'm giving him more of a run for his money now--and boy, does he need the run! 

Fight the Funk Friday

Fightthefunk.jpg

I'm home! I've had a whole week home! Woo woo!

Don't get me wrong--my trip last weekend was a great one. I just had a string of travel that prevented me from being in any sort of decent exercise routine at all. In fact, the two most recent trips involved hours spent in planes or cars--so they were even more sedentary than usual.

And then, just when we had a beautiful weekend and I was out walking for the first time in weeks, my knee started whining at me again.

But here's the good news: Because I'm home, I finally had time to deal with insurance referrals and back-and-forth with my doctor and...yay...had an appointment with a physical therapist yesterday. She did things. Painful things. I cried a little tear inside.

Actually, it wasn't bad, but my knee was quite ticked off with me by the time I got home so there was more Advil and ice in my life. That being said, it turns out it's not my knee muscles I need to be focusing on, but my hip muscles. Who'd-a thunk it? I'm now armed with a series of hip-focused exercises and a resistance band. I'm planning on trying to get some gym action in again this weekend; basically, she gave me the go-ahead to do anything "unless it hurts." Words to live by.

So, exercise--not so much, unless you count physical therapy. Which it does count, I suppose. But it's not really racking up the FitBit steps. I hope for better this weekend, though I'm going to keep reminding myself to take it slow for a bit. But just you wait until my knee is fully back in working order. The dust will be flying behind me!

  A CSA delivery from 2013

A CSA delivery from 2013

On the food front, I'm back to planning and tracking pretty well, and getting lots of fresh produce in the house. I'm counting down the days until my CSA deliveries start--June 9 can't come fast enough! Yep, for those of you in warmer climes, early June is the first we can really expect to start seeing any harvest in these parts, and even that's pretty early--I imagine it'll be mostly greenhouse stuff at that stage. Most of our gardens start producing for real at the end of June or early July. Then we get swamped. But that's a zucchini story for another day.

Oh, and I also got my temporary crown put on this week, in the continuing saga of the broken tooth that started last 4th of July. The final crown is May 7. Can't wait to have it completely done--and I'll be pretty vigilant the rest of my life to make sure I never break a freakin' tooth again. What a pill.

All that means is this week's Fight the Funk post is mostly about preventative medicine and getting myself back into shape for making good progress later. This is a more "reactive funk-fighting" at the moment, but I'll be back to proactive mode shortly!

Fight the Funk Friday

Today, I'm fighting the funk by gettin' outta Dodge. 

I'm heading into a spate of travel for the next couple of weeks--some fun, some work.

No Thinkin' about It Thursday or Fight the Funk Friday posts for the next couple of weeks. But hopefully some of this travel will up the step count for me!

Fight the Funk Friday

I'm determined to keep doing these weekly posts even if I've been a slug all week without any progress to report. Because at least typing is moving my fingers and therefore burning a few calories, right?

This was not a good week in general, although there's a happy ending to the story. My very, very intense week last week extended into a very busy weekend which culminated with yet another presentation followed by an evening conference call on Monday and my guild meeting Tuesday night... Introvert Sandy was racing pell-mell towards full melt-down by then. 

I wasn't sleeping much at all during most of that time, and what sleep I was getting was due to sleeping pills which, after a few days of taking them in succession, significantly affect my mood and not to the better. So I've not been sleeping, which means I've not been exercising and I've not been eating well. And because of my mood, I couldn't even bring myself to care.

Basically, everything went to pot this week and I finally had a full-on (mostly introvert) crash Tuesday night/Wed morning. 

In terms of the "fighting the funk" category, however, I did try to take care of myself in some ways through all that by using various relaxation techniques just to get me through. Addressing symptoms only goes so far, however, until you can sort out the causal factors. 

  Three days of gorgeous sun and over-freezing temperatures--woo! But there's still a lot of snow left to melt...

Three days of gorgeous sun and over-freezing temperatures--woo! But there's still a lot of snow left to melt...

That being said, I feel like things finally took a big turn for the better midweek, after my crash. Wednesday really seemed to be a turning point for me. First of all, WE HAVE SUN!!!!! So that's a big boost. I haven't been using my light box this week because I'm actually getting real live sun from the windows and when I go outdoors. Wow. That feels good. Plus Wednesday was the first day, after 12 days in a row of stuff going on, in which I had no conference calls, no presentations, no in-person meetings, no one other than my husband and dogs I needed to interact with. Blissful quietness. I didn't talk much to my husband or dogs that night, either.

Therefore, no surprise here, I got my first really solid night's sleep Wednesday night without the help of any pills at all! Thursday my mood was vastly improved but I still had some residual tired going on so I allowed myself to take it a little easy. Because I knew I'd be spending part of my day off today (Friday) with a bunch of people for my guild sew days, I let Introvert Sandy stay in hiding for one more night and didn't attend my WW meetings or go to the gym. I will start doing Daily Burn and/or the gym again this week--I know I have some lost ground to make up for.

Meanwhile, I did have a little fun with the current Craftsy sale and picked up three new classes. (One was nearly 60% off! Woo!) In my defense, however, one is a cooking class about vegetables that I have had on my wishlist for awhile. Since I just signed up with a new CSA for the summer (another woo!), I figured it was a timely purchase.

So although I have little to report this week, I am happy to say that all signs point to vast improvement for this coming week. We're supposed to keep getting sun and mostly-decent temperatures, even though we're also due for a little more snow sometime in the next few days. DD came home last night for her spring break this week; DH will be gone on business for some portion of next week so DD (a vegetarian and very good cook) and I will be playing in the kitchen with some healthier, adventuresome recipes that DH would never eat--he's generally a meat-and-potatah-kind of guy. So I'm really looking forward to getting back on track.

By the way, here's a very entertaining view of what an impending Introvert Melt-Down looks like. All I can say is, yep.

(As per yesterday's post but with new information: I'm testing out some problems I've been having with this site for a long time. If you haven't already done so on yesterday's post, it would really help if you'd leave comments so tech support can see what's going on. If you leave a comment, just mention in parentheses how you've accessed the site--phone, tablet, PC/Mac, iOS or Windows, directly or through a feed reader, etc. If you try to leave a comment and are unsuccessful, use this link provided by SquareSpace tech support: http://supportdetails.com/. This will give technical details that you can then forward to me to send to tech support. It will allow them to test the problem further. All information is confidential. Do, however, remember that you can sign in as "guest" if you don't have one of the other accounts that the comment feature mentions. Also, be sure to check that your browser is the most recent version--something you should be doing on a regular basis anyway for security purposes. Here's a helpful link for the most updated versions of your browsers: http://outdatedbrowser.com/enThank you!)

Fight the Funk Friday

I had a pretty stellar weekend last weekend, especially considering I spent hours n' hours in the car on a quick overnight trip to see my daughter at college for her birthday. 

I am proud of myself that I got to the gym before we left on Saturday.

I am proud of myself that I got to the gym as soon as we got home on Sunday.

Maybe not so proud about the pancake breakfast at the diner near her school Sunday morning. But that's become a bit of a tradition, and we only have a couple of trips up there left before she graduates. So it needed to be done. (Hence getting to the gym as soon as I got home.)

Exercise: Other than the two gym sessions over the weekend, I did my Daily Burn program pretty much every day except one; the video classes are definitely progressing in challenge level. I can still do everything, but one or two of the upper body exercises are giving me something to work towards as I have to take a couple of breaks in the middle of the routine, shake it out, and then go back to finish it up. My goal is to get all the way through each routine without a break. Still, not much cardio to speak of in the program I'm doing, so I really want to work towards getting some elliptical time at the gym back into my schedule. It felt so good this weekend! It didn't work out this past work-week as I had stuff going on every evening and couldn't get out of work early enough for the time I'd need for a gym trip. But that's why I like having Daily Burn at hand--I can generally fit that in every day regardless of what I've got going on.

And by the way, those Daily Burn videos garner me little in the way of steps, so my step count is pretty low even though I've been diligently exercising. I also got stuck on my computer for hours on end with a remote-service tech support call for two days in a row--I couldn't walk away because they kept needing me to do stuff, so I couldn't even do my walk-around-the-house routine.

Schedule/Priorities: My schedule/priority focus hasn't been great. Whenever I have evening stuff going on it seriously messes with my ability to get to sleep at a decent hour. (It's an introvert thing and it seems to get worse as I get older.) So I've been going to bed well past midnight and only then because I've drugged myself which makes me draggy the next day. Next week will be a repeat--I have a 9p conference call every night. But I'm going to really stay focused on getting in cardio or Daily Burn every day because that does help counterbalance the sleep issues a bit. 

Goals for next week: 

  • Get in a really solid grocery shopping trip so I have healthy food back in the house again (a major issue this week as we were gone last weekend)
  • Three cardio sessions at the gym; Daily Burn the rest of the days (and maybe doubling up if I have the time on a given day)
  • Planning all my meals ahead of time, which I really fell flat on this week--see first bullet point.

 

Fight the Funk Friday

I did well in terms of doing my Daily Burn exercise program this week. I think I only missed one day. The series I'm working on did get more challenging this week, so that's good, but it's still largely strength-training without much cardio. I really do need to start getting back to the gym for the cardio--I miss it physically, plus the strength-training emphasis is doing nothing towards weight loss.

In fact, I think the weather is working in the opposite direction. I've been planning and tracking meals this week and did fine in terms of what I was eating (calories in vs calories out), but when I got on my home scales today they hadn't budged. I suspect with the negative wind chills outside, my body is very reluctant to release any of its protective layer at the moment. Still, I will once again step it up a notch. 

Mood-wise, though, I've been solid. I'm doing all my usual habits (sun lamp, aromatherapy, trying to make sure I sit in sunlight coming in through the window even if I can't get outside much), and I do feel more energetic than I usually do this time of year. In fact, normally this is when I get no exercise at all because I just can't bring myself to do it. It's always a vicious circle: I know getting regular exercise really helps with the seasonal depression, but when I'm in the throes of the seasonal depression, I could care less about getting exercise.  This year, I'm keeping up my exercise program in February. Woo! In that regard, having Daily Burn really does help--it's in my house and it's a manageable amount of time so it removes several layers of excuses.

I missed my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday because my husband had taken my car to drive out of town for work--his car stinks in the snow, so I far preferred he be driving mine. But that left me at home with his stinky-in-snow car. That wasn't an issue earlier in the week as I had nowhere to go anyway. But he was supposed to get home in time for me to grab my car keys and shoot out the door for my meeting yesterday...which didn't happen. He did his best, but winter driving just slowed things down. I'll try to get to a meeting Saturday morning instead.

Goals for this week:

  • plan and track, plan and track, plan and track
  • Make it to 5000 steps a day. This may not sound like much but being as house-bound as I've been lately, even with the bits of cardio in my Daily Burn program I've been only barely pushing 4000 steps. I'm starting small. (It's hard to get my head wrapped around doing enough laps in my house to get to 10k...yikes. How boring would that be?)
  • Hit 15 flights of stairs a day. This I can do. I've got stairs in my house, for sure!

Fight the Funk Friday

Have I said recently that I'm cold? 

No, really. It's just a bit nippy up in here.

As a result, I think my body has gone into "store up the fat to make it through winter" mode. Sigh.

I had a gain at my weigh-in this week. I was expecting to be about the same, as I'd been about the same the couple of times I'd gotten on my scales between weigh-ins. However, I did go out on Wednesday evening with the family, and I didn't sleep well Wednesday night so I had a few salty crackers with lunch in my overtired-carbo-load reaction. But I didn't overeat this week and I did get more exercise in than usual, so I'm thinking it may have been a temporary gain due to excess sodium or something. If I'd been just a hair up, I would've bought it. But to be up as much as I was? Completely unexpected.

So that happened.

Still n' all, I'm pleased that I did more exercise and more tracking than I'd done in recent weeks, so the gain just means making some adjustments this week and doubling-down on exercise. 

  Some little critter got out walking in this snow--sure wasn't me!

Some little critter got out walking in this snow--sure wasn't me!

Exercise and Steps: My steps haven't been that high but I have been doing my Daily Burn exercise programs just about every day. They're primarily strength and floor work, so they're not adding up to tons of cardio or steps--which I think is also part of the gain. I miss my cardio. I've checked in with my Daily Burn coach (might as well use her as much as possible while I'm still on the free trial) and she says that (1) my current program will get more challenging in the third week--which I start in another couple of days, and (2) she suggested a couple of other programs I might want to add in if I want to up my cardio. So those are both in the plans for this coming week. If the weather lets up at all, I may also try to get to the gym. 

Eating: I'm really focusing on planning out my meals for the day the night before--I always do better when I don't leave meals up to the whim of the moment--and tracking them afterwards as well if I changed anything mid-stride. I've also told my husband I really don't want to ever go out on a Wednesday night again, urgh. It's happened several times that we end up out on a Wednesday and I have that Thursday weigh-in. No matter how healthy a choice I make off the menu, I know it's always higher in salt than what I'd eat at home.

Schedule and Priorities: I did use my sunlight alarm clock a couple of times this week. I do like it! Well, notwithstanding the one time I was trying to turn the light off again to snooze a bit and managed to throw the whole lamp down the back of my nightstand. The whole "snooze" thing doesn't work as easily as the manual says it should. At least I couldn't see the light anymore. I've also used my sunlight lamp and desk humidifier daily. I can feel it when I skip one or the other!

Goals for this week: 

  • Stay warm
  • Plan and track, plan and track, plan and track
  • Do 30 mins exercise daily
  • Get good sleep every night (I've been staying up too late again)

Fight the Funk Friday

Not really an amazing week, but I'm still working on small goals that will eventually all work together for good--one hopes.

Eating: Although I've not been stellar about planning ahead or tracking, I did make it back to my Weight Watchers meeting last night for the first time in three weeks or so, and I was down half a pound. I was expecting to be up, given that I hadn't been paying that much attention. Which means some healthy habits have truly become just that: habits. Yay for me. Goal for this week: plan and track, plan and track, plan and track. Did I say, plan and track?

Schedule/Priorities: I didn't end up using my sunlight alarm all week because my husband complained about the fact that it woke him up too early the couple of mornings I used it last week. Go figure: He's normally up and out of bed well before me. Apparently we need to communicate better as to what mornings he might want to sleep in. I do really like using that alarm--it's a much more gentle way to wake up. So goal for this week: Try to ascertain ahead of time what days my husband will be up early enough for me to use my alarm. I do still need to work on getting up earlier in the morning.

Exercise: Ahem. But there's hope.

After a few more days of "It's way too cold and snowy to make me want to leave the house to get to the gym," I finally subscribed to a 30-day free trial of Daily Burn on Wednesday. I also decided to subscribe to the month's free trial of their personal coaching system. February is really my most critical time in terms of keeping me motivated, so 30 days works for me. By March things are starting to break up around here--although March is our big ice month, but at least we start seeing some sun here and there it makes me think, "spring is almost here!", and I'm much more likely to find the motivation to get to the gym. But until then...

Daily Burn is a collection of exercise videos of a variety of types (strength, cardio, pilates, yoga, etc), rated for fitness level and exercise experience. You can use your mobile devices or stream them to your TV, so they're very portable--good for those of us who travel. When you sign up on Daily Burn, you fill out a short assessment questionnaire and then it gives you a suggested program of which exercise programs to do on each day. If you follow the program exactly, it'll slowly work you through to increased levels of difficulty which, of course, you can also control yourself. If you're not ready to move on, stay where you are. If you think you can skip ahead, skip ahead. I've only been doing it for a couple of days so I can't fully assess it yet, but I can tell you I'm feeling it! 

It has a nutritional component which I'm ignoring as I'm doing Weight Watchers and perfectly comfortable with my knowledge of nutrition; I'm also completely ignoring the supplements section which, in my opinion, is really just them trying to sell stuff. But I do like the way the fitness programs are done so it's okay with me to skip the rest of it.

I've already had a couple of introductory email exchanges with the personal coach I was assigned--Meg. I was impressed in that the second email I got from Meg (after I answered all her general assessment questions in the first email) was relatively personal. I could tell some was copy and paste, but hey, we're just getting started. I'm more skeptical about how useful an email coach will be. It's an extra fee over the top of the monthly cost for Daily Burn so I'd have to be really convinced it was helping to go beyond the free trial. I've had a real-live personal trainer in the past but it's hard to keep up regular meetings with my schedule, so I suppose the one thing an email coach would have going for her is she'd be able to poke at me even when I was traveling. Hmm. We'll see how it goes, anyway.

As a follow-up to last week's reference to desktop and portable humidifiers:

  The portable humidifier attached to the top of my water bottle, steaming away.

The portable humidifier attached to the top of my water bottle, steaming away.

The good news is, the water bottle humidifier works. The bad news is, it only runs as long as the filter tip that hangs down from the unit can still reach the water level in the bottle, and the water goes down pretty quickly. So I'd say it maybe has 3-4 hours in it, which is only half a night. I suppose half a night is better than none. And I do often (ahem) get up in the middle of the night so I could refill if needed.

The other humidifier, on the other hand, goes all day! I turn it on around 9a and it's still kicking out the steam when I turn it off at 5:30 or 6. Sometimes I'll keep it running longer if I'm working on blogs or whatever. I believe it has an auto shut-off if it runs out of water but I haven't run it long enough yet to find out. And it's fun to decide what mood lighting I might want for any given day--blues and purples have been popular, so far--although I usually just keep the light part turned off. I love that thing!

Fight the Funk Friday

Just realized I never scheduled this to post Friday! Oops...

This week (in this case, my week goes Friday to Friday) didn't start out stellar in terms of eating and exercise as I had the weekend away with my husband for his birthday. That meant a weekend of restaurant meals, and as it was pretty dang cold, we didn't do a lot of hiking as we often do. We walked an outlet mall, though, so I got a few extra steps in on Saturday. Sunday I came home with vertigo due to overactive heaters in our room at the inn (my vertigo is triggered by sinus issues), so most of the week was spent getting my balance back. It does look like my weight has stayed the same, though, so I'm doing okay.

That being said, it was a great, relaxing weekend away and we did a lot of reading, so that's fighting the funk in a different way.

Products

  Travel humidifier

Travel humidifier

So here's a new thing. When I was mentioning on Twitter about the vertigo, one of the #twilters (@jimtami) mentioned that there were travel humidifiers on Amazon. I'd never even thought about a travel humidifier, so I quickly checked it out. Yep! I'm now the owner of a humidifier thingamabob that fits down into the next of a water bottle so I can run it next to my bed at night when I'm in hotel rooms. Since my worst bouts of vertigo and sinus-induced migraines have always been in hotels, this should do good things. I don't have to travel for awhile, though, so I'll just have to test it out at home.

  My current diffuser

My current diffuser

I also finally ponied up for something I've been looking at for awhile--an electric aromatherapy diffuser. I've had an aromatherapy diffuser on my desk for probably 18 months now (largely for eucalyptus and peppermint for said sinus issues) which I really like from a symbolic aspect, but it uses a tea light candle and a bowl of water. I'm limited as to where it can sit and have me still feel the effects, so it's front and center between my two computer monitors. As careful as I am, I can't tell you the number of times I've moved a book or notebook and sent water cascading across my desk. (I haven't, however, ever left the candle burning when I was gone or set anything on fire, so there is that.) So when I ordered the travel humidifier, I finally also got myself an electric aromatherapy diffuser/humidifier for my desk. No more floods, no more risk of going up in flames.

  New diffuser--look at that puppy crank out the mist!

New diffuser--look at that puppy crank out the mist!

I guess you could call this "Fight the Funk, Sinus Edition." 

Fight the Funk Friday--Feel Good Edition

Because yes, finally this week, I feel good.  

Holy freakin' cow. This took awhile. I thought I was doing pretty well last week Thursday, but when I had to fly for work on Friday, I had a set-back due to having to jog/speedwalk from Chicago's B terminal to F terminal in 10 minutes. By the time I got onto my plane, I was back to coughing and in pretty bad shape the rest of the day. The waitress at the airport restaurant in Kansas City where a few of us had lunch while we were waiting for the rest of the team to arrive slipped me a couple of Dayquil "Severe" and the team made me take a nap when we checked into the hotel a little later. Fortunately, I was doing somewhat better by the next morning, and by Sunday I was back to feeling on the road to recovery again. No sprints needed during my flights home, so we're good to go.

So--I had Tuesday as a comp day and was able to get to the gym for the first time in weeks. And it went very well. Plus I've started dragging my eating habits back into the healthy zone again. So all-in-all, not a bad end to a week with a very shaky beginning. 

Exercise

Tuesday: 35 mins cardio/cool down, 15 mins weights (core)  Total: 10,359 steps, 14 flights of stairs (gym, running errands, and getting snow dyeing set up in the basement added in a few flights).

  From my plane window, somewhere over Missouri, heading home. It was nearly 60 there--arrived home to under 30 degrees and snow.

From my plane window, somewhere over Missouri, heading home. It was nearly 60 there--arrived home to under 30 degrees and snow.

Wednesday: no time for the gym, but I used an app on my phone (Stand Up) to remind me to get up and move around every hour, plus I stood up during part of one conference call and side-stepped back and forth--the most movement I can do while my headphones are plugged into the USB on my computer. With the extra effort, I made almost 5,000 steps compared to my usual lucky-if-I-break-2000 when I'm just sitting at my desk with no errands to run.

Thursday: no time for gym again, unfortunately. (See below about Wed and Thurs schedules.) I tried to do the walking thing again but got really involved in some intense work that had to be done by the end of the day so I wasn't able to take quite as many breaks. Hence, I only got in about 4000 steps.

 Eating/Cooking

I made an all-Weight Watchers recipe dinner on Tuesday. Thumbs up on the Dijon Pork Chops, thumbs down on the potatoes and the broccoli recipes. But at least it was healthy. 

Wednesday and Thursday were my husband's birthday celebrations--we went out to dinner Wednesday, and his mother had us over for dinner on Thursday. I did what I could with choices--not bad, all-in, but still, it'll be good to not be eating out as often.

Priorities/Schedule

Umm...I finally have a schedule again! Woo! I've been using my sunlight alarm clock this week which has been working well, although on Thursday morning I did find out it's disturbingly easy to turn that light back off and dive under the covers again. My priority at the moment is planning my eating as much as I'm able to the night before, and getting in some exercise. We're going out of town for my husband's birthday this weekend so I'll have a lot more restaurant meals in front of me, but we're also hoping to maybe get some walking in if the weather cooperates at all. Next week settles down considerably schedule-wise so I should be able to make better progress.

 

 

Fight the Funk Friday

When this posts, I'll be on a plane heading to meetings in the Midwest. Here's hoping I'm not delayed anywhere. I get home Monday afternoon--again, if there are no delays. Fingers crossed!

This week, I just had to submit to the funk. It's just been the last couple of days I've been feeling up to moving around much at all, and at the same time it dropped to the single digits outside so I've not been leaving the house. It hurts, that cold.

Schedule, eating habits, exercise...blah. It was all about hunkering down, popping antibiotics and tea, and weathering the internal storm.

I'm definitely on the upswing, though, so unless this weekend's work trip sends me back into a tail spin (there are airplanes involved, after all), I have high hopes for next week. My daughter just got a FitBit herself, so I've got to start giving her some competition!

By the way, Craftsy is having a "New Year, New You Flash Sale" this weekend--check it out! Up to 50% off top classes through January 18. Hey--some of you have a long weekend this weekend; perfect time to start a new class! Use any Craftsy link on this blog or in this post to check it out, or use one of the more direct links below. (I may succumb, now that I'm on the verge of finishing another class--look for a review in the next week or so!)

Shop Craftsy's New Year, New You Flash Sale
Yarn & Fiber Arts Classes – Craftsy's New Year, New You Flash Sale
Sewing & Quilting Classes - Craftsy's New Year, New You Flash Sale
Jewelry & Paper Crafts Classes - Craftsy's New Year, New You Flash Sale
Home & Garden Classes - Craftsy's New Year, New You Flash Sale
Cake & Cooking Classes - Craftsy's New Year, New You Flash Sale
Art & Photo Classes - Craftsy's New Year, New You Flash Sale

(Using Craftsy links in this post helps support my podcast and blog. Thanks so much!)

Fight the Funk Friday--A New Year

Well, technically last Friday would've been the first FtFF post if I'd been on top of things. Oh wells...

I'm logging more aspects of my Fight the Funk now based on my 2015 personal goals: addressing my health, reworking my schedule, and doing more cooking. This week's is sort of long, but it'll get more concise as things fall into routine.

Exercise

Gym attendance: Zilch. Steps: Near nada. Just when I was starting to build up a head of steam for getting back in routines, I built up a head of gunk instead. (Achoo.)

 

   Slow-cooker apple cinnamon oatmeal  getting ready for me to enjoy in the morning!

Slow-cooker apple cinnamon oatmeal getting ready for me to enjoy in the morning!

Eating/Cooking 

I started out the week with a big vat of beef barley soup on Sunday night--and leftovers! I worked off that most of the week--all sorts of healthies in there. I also made myself slow-cooker steel-cut oatmeal for Tuesday morning which means leftovers for a second breakfast. I began the week strong but as the days wore on and I wore down, I started comfort-eating again. Not a good week all-in. But I made myself track everything, so at least I was staying in some decent habits. And I'm now officially throwing out any remaining candy or cookies left in the house from the holidays. Yikes. 

Weight Watchers: I dragged my sorry, coughing and sniffling butt to my WW meeting last night (Thursday evening) for the first time since before Thanksgiving.(Don't worry--I sat way far away from everyone else and didn't shake anyone's hand!) I'd lost 7 lbs in Burma due to the malaria med kerflaffle, and was pleased to note during my weigh-in that I'd only gained 3 of that back; IOW, I'm down 4 lbs since my last official weigh-in. I'm fine with that. Whenever I lose weight due to illness, I know I'm going to regain some of it when my body recovers. I just didn't want to work my way all the way back up--which is why I dragged my sorry butt to the meeting in the first place.

  Chicken and brown rice soup--perfect for a sniffly Sandy

Chicken and brown rice soup--perfect for a sniffly Sandy

Our meetings are right next to a grocery store--which may seem uncool but on the contrary, it's very cool. Every Thursday evening after meeting I go next door to restock on fresh produce to get me through until my regular shopping trips on the weekend. This week, since I was still coughing and sniffling, I picked up fixings for a fast homemade chicken noodle soup--a plain rotisserie chicken and pre-diced mirepoix because I knew I didn't have much energy for standing and chopping. I had homemade turkey stock still left in the freezer. When I got home, I dug through the pantry for the noodles I thought I had, only to turn up zilch. So I substituted brown rice, making it even healthier than I'd originally planned. And now I've got leftovers for the next couple of days, so I'm sitting pretty.

Priorities and Schedule

I finally bought something this week I've looked at for a long time--a sunlight alarm clock. Rather than being awaken with some sort of intrusive noise and the related shot of adrenaline, I do better with a slow, gentle wake-up. I had tested an app on my phone for awhile that measured my sleep patterns and then woke me with a vibration at whatever time it figured I was in the right part of my sleep cycle around when I needed to be up, which worked pretty well. But the phone had to be on the corner of my bed fairly near my head. You can see the potential problems. I gave up. Now that I'm trying to rework my schedule, I just have to get up earlier in the morning. Enter the sunlight alarm clock. Have you seen these things? My sister uses one and really likes it. Rather than an annoying, heart-attack-inducing buzz or music blaring, it starts 30 minutes before your alarm time with a gently-increasing light. When it gets to your alarm time, it's a full-spectrum light, and then a quiet beep goes off just in case you haven't gotten the idea yet. I know I'll start waking up early in the light cycle--it'll be a much more gentle way for me to come to in the morning. 

I was supposed to get it Wednesday morning but it got held up in shipping due to weather (go figure) so I didn't get it until Thursday. I'll let you know how it goes in next week's post.

Mood 

My mood was so-so all week, mostly due to being under the weather. Ahem. Pun intended, I guess. A head cold inside when it's below-zero-cold outside--poetic. I've been using my light box in the morning consistently so at least that much is okay; I've also been using my aromatherapy oils at my desk--mostly to keep my breathing passages clear (love that eucalyptus!) but hey, I throw some peppermint and other energy-related oils in there too. I don't know if they do anything, but they smell better than Dog so it's all good. 

Here's to a healthier week all around next week!

Fight the Funk (Fitness) Friday

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot to report on the fitness side of things. I was way busy over the weekend and through Tuesday--and then I completely crashed. Plus I forgot to wear my FitBit on occasion.

So, this week, I thought I'd give you this. My Fight the Funk efforts from May through October. Enjoy.


Fight the Funk Friday

It's Friday, and time to check in on my overall health and fitness goals.

Umm...suffice it to say that I took a stab at getting back into some healthier habits earlier this week after a Traveling October (yikes). But today is really the official restart, I guess.

I went back to my Weight Watchers meeting last night--I'd missed a couple due to travels over the last couple of weeks. And it's true--although I know what I should be doing and I have all the tools (internal and external) to do it, when I'm not attending those meetings I tend to slack off. It's not so much the accountability as it is the mental refocusing. For 45 minutes I'm sitting there thinking about nothing other than my health, so it helps get healthier thoughts back in the forefront of my brain, and carries me through the week until that next refocusing meeting. In the past, I've been most successful at weight loss when I consistently attend those meetings. I've done WW online for years--and I still use the website and app on my phone--but I've found in-person meetings to be more helpful to my focus, and I use a paper journal tracker thingie for planning ahead, then actually track after-the-fact on my phone. It involves time, but it keeps me in the zone.

Last night as I was creating my skeleton sketch of meals for the week, I decided that it was time to  make my first slow-cooker oatmeal of the season. I only rarely eat oatmeal in warmer months--it's definitely a cool weather meal for me. So I prepped it last night and had a lovely, tasty bowl of oatmeal for breakfast this morning. I diced up an apple and threw some cinnamon in there last night, then added just a titch of brown sugar this morning. Yum.

Admittedly, it's hard to take a picture of oatmeal that looks appetizing, though.

As for exercise, not so much. I got to the gym for a great workout on Monday. Then I was out Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings too early in the evening to be able to get any exercise in after work. I've been trying to walk a bit here and there during the days but it wasn't enough to build up significant steps. I participated in a FitBit "Workweek Hustle" challenge and did wonderful early in the week, but got quickly bypassed by most other people in the challenge by the end of the week.

Next week, though, watch out! I'm really going to work hard to flip my schedule around and get to the gym in the mornings, even though I'm so NOT a morning person. But then I'll know it's done.