Fight the Funk Friday

Oops. I've missed week? Two weeks?...of posting for Fitness Friday. That is not entirely indicative of my level of activity the last couple of weeks, but it's probably not too far off. I've had some great days step-wise, and I've had a couple of days where I got other kinds of exercise that didn't rack up the steps (snorkeling, anyone?). But still, with travel and being knocked for a loop by that darn root canal last week, things weren't good overall. This week I've been trying to get back into some healthier routines again, although it's been tricky because this has been the Week of Conference Calls. My organization is hosting a special online week-long educational experience with conference calls every night at 9p that I facilitate, with guest speakers n' all. Plus I've had a boatload of conference calls during the day for other matters, which means I'm behind on other deadlines, which means working late, which means not having enough time between end of work and beginning of conference call to get to the gym or have my usual canal walks.


I will say, though, that even when I wasn't getting my exercise in, I've been working on other ways to "fight the funk," paying attention to general self-care and healthy practices. Sometimes something like having your jaw lock up on you for several days on end after a dental procedure is a bit of a wake-up call. 

Anyway, I've been trying to get outside every chance I get. Soon enough we'll lose the sun entirely for months on end in my part of the world, and I'll have little choice but to be in the gym several days a week. For now, I'm putting an emphasis of soaking up that Vitamin D, plus helping Sammy get some exercise in before he goes winter-dormant, the big galooph.

The one day I did get out for a walk on the canal, it was beautiful.

The one day I did get out for a walk on the canal, it was beautiful.

Next week Friday I'll be on my anniversary weekend trip, racking up the steps but unable to blog about it. And the week after that I'll be out of town for meetings again, probably not doing much in the way of steps as I'll be on my butt in a conference room chair. So sorry, Ozzypip, I won't be linking up for the next couple of weeks...but I'll come back, I promise!

For today, though, linking up with Philippa's Fitness Friday linky party!

Fight the Funk Friday

This week was a little more hit and miss. I had some great days with steps and others not-so-great. But the difficulty with counting steps is it doesn't take into account how much I'm on my feet versus sitting in a chair, and for us desk jockeys that's actually a big difference. Even though I didn't get a ton of steps in on my days off (see below), I was on my feet most of those days so it was still a drastic improvement. (FitBit does let you input that kind of thing as activities but I've not been doing that lately.)

Friday, Aug 29: 11,261 steps (45 mins elliptical)

Saturday, Aug 30: 9,111 steps (helping DD finish moving in to her dorm room and walking around campus) 

Sunday, Aug 31: 5,030 steps (part of day in car coming home, getting groceries--then spent afternoon in dye studio so while I was on my feet, I wasn't walking around much) 

Monday, Sept 1: 3,835 steps (gym was closed for Labor Day and annual updates, and it was blisteringly hot out so I wasn't in the mood for a walk--but I was on my feet most of the day and cranking a pasta machine so I did burn some calories!)

Tuesday, Sept 2: 3,351 steps (Had an after-work engagement and not enough time for gym or a walk after work, but I was conscientious about trying to move more through the work day) 


Wednesday, Sept 3: 12,678 steps (60 mins elliptical on a higher elevation so fewer steps overall than I may have gotten otherwise, but burned more calories) 

Thursday, Sept 4: 4,113 steps (I took a walk around the store plaza parking lot just to try to get a few more in--added about 1500 steps that way, so it did help.)

The good news is, even though it wasn't a stellar week steps-wise I showed a 4 lb weight loss this week--woot! That's unusual, but I've basically restarted all my healthy habits again so it's like a first-week-loss. The biggest effort I made this week was actually planning and tracking my meals. It does help to pay attention. Next week we'll be back to normal weight loss rates.

I did break my tooth again yesterday (or, more specifically, the repair fell off again) so now we're looking at more extensive repairs and living off smoothies until I have a full tooth in place again. So we'll see how that effects the scale next week, LOL.

Fight the Funk Friday

Linking up with Ozzypip--You go, Philippa! Way to do a linky!

No great shakes on the exercise front this week.

I blame no less than four birthday celebrations in five days.

Saturday and Sunday were already discussed in a previous blog post. Then my husband took me out for dinner on Tuesday for my actual birthday. Then my husband and I met friends for dinner on Wednesday for my friend's birthday. (I'm exactly 364 days younger than her, which I remind her every year.)

I was on my feet quite a bit Saturday and Sunday, but didn't really rack up a lot of steps. My husband and I went for a very long walk on Monday and I have the mosquito bites to prove it. Tuesday and Wednesday were exercise-free since I was having to bounce for dinner as soon as work was done. And last night, Thursday, I chose to go to my Weight Watchers meeting rather than the gym. Going to those meetings helps me stay focused--I've learned they're pretty critical to my personal success, especially on weeks I haven't done so hot. I use the eTools but I've found doing it online only doesn't work as well for me--far too easy to lose focus. I compare going to WW to going to church: For 45 minutes once a week I'm completely focused on health and I get my jam on again for the rest of the week.

Friday, Aug 22: 8,477 steps (good walk on the canal but not much moving around otherwise during a long work day)

Saturday, Aug 23: 5,225 steps (but several hours on my feet and also working a pasta machine with a hand-crank!)

Sunday, Aug 24: 7,801 steps (groceries, party prep, making pasta with a rolling pin which has to be a good upper body workout, and again, several hours on my feet)

Monday, Aug 25: 10,717 steps (a 3 1/2 mile walk on mostquito-infested roads)

Tuesday, Aug 26: I celebrated my birthday by getting the lowest step count of the week, only walking 2,525 steps. But that's about 1000 more than I would have otherwise--I took a few laps around the backyard every time I took the dogs out.

Wednesday, Aug 27: 4,463 steps--I had a short errand to run before meeting our friends for dinner so I did pick up a few extra steps, anyway.

Thursday, Aug 28: 4,483 steps. Better than I thought I'd be, but still not where it needed to be. But this week is a new week!

My eating wasn't terrible-horrible, although there was some cake that may have been involved. Still, there's bunches of room for improvement. I'm sure learning how to make pasta will fix that. (Umm...well...that's my story and I'm sticking to it, anyway.)

More playing with #Waterlogue app while enjoying my birthday bouquet while it lasts...

More playing with #Waterlogue app while enjoying my birthday bouquet while it lasts...

On the other hand, in terms of "fighting the funk," I did spend a whole lot of time outside this past week, soaking as much sunlight up as possible. I really can feel November's cloud cover looming. And, of course, there was a ton of family and friend time, which is also good for mood improvement in my case, as I'm blessed with great relationships with both family and friends! Although I was also happy for the recovery time of being alone in the house afterwards.


This week's Fight the Funk recommendation:

Spend time with a happy dog.




Fight the Funk Friday

Two quick notes before I begin:

1. I've noticed that the Fight the Funk image--and often other pictures--don't show up in Feedly for some reason. They used to, so some glitch happened somewhere. I haven't had time to figure it out yet--so if you want to see the pics, you'll need to click through to the website. Sorry!

2. For those of you who were asking: Princess Doggie (Spencer) has experienced a full recovery from whatever her mysterious malady was. By late last night she was back to her usual freakish self. It's good to have her back, as annoying as she can occasionally be. Freak.

And so, on to my Fitness Friday/Fight the Funk Friday. Be sure to check out ozzypip too! Sandy at Quilt Cabana Corner is on vacation this week, racking up the steps and ready to knock us all down a few pegs on that leaderboard. Looking forward to hearing her report when she's back!

Friday 8/15: Walked the canal with Sammy for 90 minutes. Total 10,455 steps for day.

Saturday 8/16: Planned on walking the canal with Sammy for 30 mins. Ended up walking the canal with DH for 90 minutes instead. I told him he was almost as fun a walking companion as Sam but not as nice to scratch behind the ears. Total 13k steps for day. (Also got groceries in the morning which accounted for nearly 2500 of those steps--we were way behind in our grocery shopping!)

Sunday 8/17: Slept. A lot. Apparently my body needed some recovery time. (2,325 steps--woo.)

Monday 8/18: Gym and elliptical for 45 minutes. Total 11,183 steps for the day.

A very happy walking companion wearing his "oopsie" bag--which remained empty--and my wrist wallet with car keys and ID attached to his collar. He's happier when he's got a job.

A very happy walking companion wearing his "oopsie" bag--which remained empty--and my wrist wallet with car keys and ID attached to his collar. He's happier when he's got a job.

Tuesday 8/19: Beautiful day with lousy weather predicted for the rest of the week, so I opted to do a canal walk with Sammy rather than the gym. I was dragging a bit again, and my shin started cramping up partway through the walk. I completed the entire walk (45 minutes, about 2.5 miles) but slower than usual with a couple of breaks for stretching; total 7,464 for the day.

Wed 8/20: Gym and elliptical for 45 minutes. Total 11,210 steps for the day.

Thur 8/21: I went to my WW meeting--which is during my usual workout time after work, so Thursdays are a little trickier in terms of getting steps in. Total 3,071.

This week, I moved from somewhere in the 30s to ranking #17 on my leaderboard in FitBit. I'd like to be in the single digits but to do that I have to get better at working more steps into the day rather than just when I'm getting to the gym. Still n' all, not too shabby for my first full week back in the game.

This week's #fightthefunk recommendation: Good sleep is key to a good mood. I've often had a cup of chamomile tea at night to try to help me sleep, but to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the flavor of straight chamomile. Meh. I was much happier when I discovered this wonderful Chamomile Lemon Tea. (The link is for Amazon, but I get this in my local Wegmans grocery store.)

It's not a strong lemon flavor at all--just very nice and mellow and tasty. Although some insomnia nights still require actual sleeping meds, this tea helps me settle down on an average evening, and get in the mood for some zzzs.

Fight the Funk Friday (And Some Happy Just Has to Happen)

Welcome to the inaugural "Fight the Funk Friday" post!

I came to a realization this week. It's not actually the first time I've had this epiphany, but every so often it strikes me again and feels like a fresh, new thing.

If I think of exercise and eating right and all that as being about weight, heart health, strength, and all that, it's just not that much fun. I know it's good for me, but what I tend to end up doing is thinking, as I'm working out, "How did I let myself get this out of shape?"  It's not so much that I'm beating up on myself because I learned long ago that's not the way I want to be. But it does tend to lead me more towards comparing where I am now to where I'd rather be. Sure, that can be motivating, but too often it just seems way too far away. So calling a weekly blog post "Fitness Friday" was only partially motivating to me. I couldn't help but mentally add in "Or not-so-fitness..."

The realization I had this week was that, for me, the main benefit of getting serious cardio is this:

Exercise is a mood-altering drug.

I've been in a funk this summer. It's unusual for it to hit me in the summer--my funkiness is usually pretty winter-related. However, it's been a rough summer, I've not gotten outside a whole lot except when I was working, and things just haven't gone the way I'd normally like them to go. Bring on the funk. Cranky. Perpetually imagining the worst-case-scenarios. Insomnia. Hermit-ing.

On Wednesday, I made myself get to the gym, regardless of how little I was in the mood for it. Once I was on the elliptical (for the first time since the beginning of the summer) I felt good that my body was moving again. And then Pherrell Williams' "Happy" came on my playlist, and I was grinning. Suddenly, I was in a completely different mental place than I'd been for the last several weeks. Endorphins abounded. By the time I was in my car driving home, I had the windows wide open and was treating my neighboring cars to a concert of songs from E.L.O. to M.I.A. while doing the "driver's seat boogie." Memories of that feeling got me back to the gym on Thursday even while I was still feeling the stiffness from Wednesday's workout. I wanted that drug again.

We have a strong strain of what my older sister once referred to as "melancholia" that runs through our family. Various leaves on our family tree have it with more severity than others, but it's definitely a genetic thing in these parts. One thing I've learned about myself over the years is that the best way to control my version of it is by getting really solid cardio sessions in at the gym. I enjoy walking along the canal with Sammy, I enjoy swimming laps in my backyard pool. I know those are good for me too, but they don't quite click my brain into another place the way 45 minutes of serious sweat on the elliptical does.

So from now on, I'll be labeling these posts "Fight the Funk Friday." I made a nifty little logo for myself. And I'll be hashtagging #fightthefunk (a quick search on Twitter didn't turn up anything untoward already using the same hashtag--hopefully that'll stick!). It'll be my way of reminding myself that regardless of how fit or unfit I may feel on any given day, the best way for me to stay in a good mood is to get myself some serious cardio.

I'll be fighting the funk by getting that heart rate up. Join me?

By the way, I may also be fighting the funk in other ways, so other non-gym-related things might occasionally get #fightthefunk 'd. Feel free to fight your own funk however you need to!

I've been inspired to do these posts by Ozzypip and QuiltCabana. Thanks, y'all! (Go give 'em some love, won't you?)

Side note:

The other thing I've been enjoying again this week is my favorite post-workout treat: Thistle Farms shower gel in Tea Tree Mint scent. I seriously love this stuff. It feels and smells great. Be sure you read all about Thistle Farms--great organization. (I've interviewed Becca Stevens for my work podcast,  had a tour of their facilities, and had conversations with some of the women. Great stuff! And no--I'm not an affiliate. I'm just making a suggestion!)

And just to leave you with a smile on your face...My other favorite version of this song on YouTube.