Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fitness Tuesday Update - Appetizer

My Facebook status update today:

Tuesday Fitness Project Update -spent a lot of time this week feeling grateful at how well this is going, at new limberness, flexibility...and the weigh-in shows I've lost another 2 pounds, for a grand total at the end of Week 9..do you hear a drumroll? I hear a drumroll.....18.4 pounds (drum turns into chant: new jeans, new jeans, new jeans)

The above was my late-morning nosh yesterday. I want to title this picture "Why I Don't Get TOO Hungry and Why I Am Totally Enjoying My Food."

That is 1/4c organic cottage cheese, 1 multigrain cracker, 1/3 peach, sliced, 3 carrot sticks, and 6 oz Snapple Red Tea. That is about 150 calories.

The other elements of this satisfying mini-meal between breakfast & lunch, were calorie-free: a small blue plate, a pretty rice bowl, a tablecloth in pleasing colors, sunflowers, a good book. What you can't see is the wider ambiance in which I ate: the rustic screened porch, the sublimely balmy summer air, the deep greens of grass & leaf, the clear blue sky and my beloved dog friend, Clover, dancing in and out.

I'll be the first to admit I'm a lucky woman - that the circumstances of my life right now allow me to make my fitness and weight loss Priority #1, that I can afford to buy organic cottage cheese, fresh vegetables & fruit, the pretty little bowl, and that the weather this summer is so glorious.

I have the time - and I make the time - to prepare my food and eat it with a bit of ceremony and thought. My calories come from small amounts of a wide variety of foods, and are not consumed mindlessly, but thoroughly enjoyed.

There are times, like yesterday's elevenses, when I feel nourished by just the sight of my meal.
That's the perfect appetizer for someone on a 1200-calorie budget!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fitness Tuesday Update - Metabolism

Here's my Facebook status this morning:

Tuesday Fitness Project Update: still feeling great, stamina & strength & flexibility up & Sophia's birthday cake notwithstanding, lost 1.4 lbs this week for a grand total at the end of Week 8 of 16.4 lbs.

I've written a little bit about my food & exercise choices and this week I thought I'd write about another component of the personal fitness/weight loss plan I've created for myself. In addition to cutting calories by eating less & better, and moving to burn calories, it seems wise to support and possibly enhance metabolism - the rate at which we burn calories, a rate which naturally slows as we age.

There are a zillion tips on things to add to the diet which are supposed to boost metabolism. I have added some. I did not have conscious criteria for what of all those things I would add, but in thinking about it, I believe it has to:

be sensible (i.e., not wacky or risky) & easy to add.
be tasty & not add too many calories if any.
have other possible benefits to my health in addition to raising metabolic rate.

So I have added the spice turmeric, red pepper flakes, green tea, and ice to my water.

Other things I'm paying attention to that I believe help my body to run more efficiently:

protein - I'm getting it from a small amount of meat & tofu, beans, lentils, eggs (super protein & I make scrambled eggs with 1 whole, 2 whites a couple of times a week)

good fat (I take an Omega 3 supplement & I use freshly ground flaxseed here & there)

quality & quantity of sleep


strength training

frequency of meals (I eat every 2-3 hours, hearing the voice of Winnie-the-Pooh in my head, " Time for a little something!" Little being a key word!)

This isn't meant to be comprehensive on the subject of metabolism. I'm not sure why what I'm doing is working so well for me, except perhaps that I have chosen to approach my fitness goal holistically - to do a wide variety of things in moderation, to support my mind, body & spirit, and to create a way of eating & moving & being that won't end when I reach my weight loss goal.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Fitness Tuesday Update on Thursday - Exercise

Running late on everything, but better late than...you know!

On Tuesday, my Facebook status report:

I am loving what I eat, am rarely hungry, have boatloads of energy - need to be better about cardio exercise - Lost 1.2 lbs last week, so at the end of Week 6, the total lost is 12.6 lbs


So I seem to be settling in to about a pound a week weight loss, which is what I had originally planned. It was a big boost to me to lose 2+ pounds each of the first couple of weeks, but I'm pleased to have a slow & steady pace.

I thought I'd write about my exercise this time. Exercise is always the hardest part of fitness for me. I truly hate to exercise to exercise. It seems to me that's a very modern problem - once upon a time, human life was filled with moving as part of daily work and life.

I remember reading a study that showed that even the simplest things (like having to roll down car windows manually rather than push buttons) burned calories here and there, adding up to hundreds in a week.

So my goal was to figure out what would get me moving and keep me moving. I needed to find ways to make my exercise be (a) part of my daily work & life and (b) tolerable, if not pleasurable.

So to meet the "a" requirement, I park farther away from where I want to go, I take stairs instead of elevators, I go up and down the stairs in my house more often (it's very nice not to feel chagrined that I've left something upstairs or downstairs, but instead see it as an opportunity.)

Theoretically, I could clean house for fitness, and I am doing a little more. A LOT more would help the decluttering, too. Another thing is to stand rather than sit while doing something.

The cornerstone of my moving for fitness & weight loss is Tai chi.
I love Tai chi. I have been doing it for nearly two years and it is astonishing to me that I've kept with it for so long. That's because I love it. It does things for me physically & on another level entirely - an emotional/spiritual level. Here's a poem I wrote during the National Poetry Writing Month challenge: When i do Tai chi sometimes

I do the Tai chi forms created by Dr. Paul Lam, called Tai Chi for Health, in classes at The Maple Center. Pretty soon, I'm going to expand my range a bit in another class and learn 24.

I do my Tai chi practice every day, along with some stretches. I do it outside early in the morning (it's been glorious) and I do it for 30-40 minutes. Many days, I do a sunset practice as well. Calorie burn tables show 30 minutes of Tai chi is very close to 30 minutes of walking.

In addition to Tai chi, I have my choice of walking or exercising with a small pedal exerciser called the Magneciser. I do my walking at the nearby mall because the air & heat just don't agree with me.

When I walk, I generally do 2 miles. I have an iPod and I listen to lively music or interesting podcasts or audiobooks. I try to do 18-min. miles. I stretch afterwards, a special stretching that I created using one of the benches. Sometimes I even do Tai chi there at the mall. It feels good to do it right after the walking.

The pedal exerciser can be used with the arms on a table or with the feet. Sometimes I do both. I try to do at least 20-30 minutes. I have my online friend fiber artist Diana to thank for sharing her experience with the Magneciser and the link to getting one at the best price I've seen. (About $112 with shipping.) I'd put the link here, but the company site seems to be inaccessible.

Finally, I added some strength training - the very simple program in Marian Nelson's book "Strong Women Stay Slim." That's on my schedule for 3 days a week.

So - I feel like I have created a plan for myself that is very tolerable - and truthfully I feel SO good when I exercise that I have become a tad less averse to exercising to exercise.

I'm not doing the walking and pedaling as often as I should, though, and so my current goal is to step up the efforts in those departments.

Finally, I'm thinking of adding "dancing improvisationally and wildly" to my exercise choices.

Movin' on....

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