Sunday, December 18, 2011

Health and Whimsy: Staying well and merry!

Hello ladies,

I spent part of this past week fending off a cold. Thankfully my regimen of oscillococcinum (homeopathic), echinacea (herbal capsules) and Vitamin C (EmergenC brand powder), clementines and many pots of loose leaf, black tea kept sickness from progressing. I felt tired for a few days, but didn't have to endure any other cold symptoms. Since I am vigilant about employing natural therapies at the first sign of illness, it's rare for me to fully succumb to cold or flu. On average, I get sick once or twice a year.

By rearranging the order of the program, I was able to complete all six P90X workout DVDs. I did the yoga routine midweek when I had the least energy. As long as I'm not on bed rest, I think gathering the energy to stretch is possible.

The sunflower stands tall. 

One of the benefits of doing a program that is more weight and resistance training than cardio is the body tones as it slims. While I didn't lose weight this week, I look like I did! I have visible biceps after two weeks of starting P90X and my waist is trimmer. I am happy to be building muscle, gaining strength and for my clothes to fit a little looser.

Behaviors that helped this week:
  • Listening to my body. I took care of myself the second I was starting to feel run down and managed to stave off illness. 
  • Accomplishing what I could. While it would have been easier to skip a day or two, choosing a lighter routine when my body was tired helped me to stay focused and in turn served to energize me.
  •  Grabbing a chair! My friend David changed the seating in his cafe and I was able to claim a simple, sturdy chair for tricep dips and raised leg lunges. 
  • Reading fitness magazines regularly. My favorites include Health, Women's Health, Fitness and Shape. Self Magazine is good for a fashion/fitness combo. Having these on hand is useful for tips and ideas. A stack of fitness magazines can serve as visual reminder of health and exercise goals. 
Goals for next week:
  • Keep portions under control. There's nothing wrong with having a treat during the holiday, but I intend to keep my focus during the week and not indulge leading up to the weekend. 
  • Sticking to my workout routine. I am already scheduling exercise around work and holiday related errands. 
How was your past week? Do you have a game plan for healthy eating and fitness over the holiday? 

Health and Whimsy is intended to be a journal of my personal experience. Please consult your doctor before making changes to your health regimen. 

Happy painting, ladies!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Health and Whimsy: The Good, the Bad and the Humbling

Hello ladies,

Beginning this past week with my usual four mile (6.4K) walk, I shifted my routine to utilizing my P90X DVDs due to persistent rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. I was anticipating using P90X as a supplement to my walking regimen; I found the program motivating enough to work through a one hour routine each day over five days.

Because the program rotates through a diverse range of exercises, I was able to easily identify strengths and areas for improvement. I was very pleased with my endurance, especially the cardio segments. I discovered I absolutely love plyometrics (jump training). There were jumping intervals during several of the core conditioning and weight training routines. The workouts do not require a jump rope, for which I am thankful. It would be difficult to battle Mermaid for rights to its use.

My biggest struggle throughout the various programs was completing the push ups. There were many sets and complex variations. At times, I simply fought to hold a plank position with good form and that was the best I could do. I also did some of the push ups on my knees when necessary.

The majority of P90X is boot camp style with added yoga and martial arts training.  The yoga portion was like coming home for me and also humbling. I was able to maintain my equilibrium through the majority of the balance postures, which is challenging even for those who practice regularly. My flexibility has really waned. In forward bends, I once was able to stand on my own hands; I am now using a yoga strap to get a little extra reach.

Mermaid appreciates the benefits of new sneakers. 

Always best to try them on for size. 

These laces seem to measure up. 

The Nike trainers have passed Mermaid's strict quality assurance tests. 

While I didn't lose any weight this week, I feel confident I gained muscle. The size large pants I bought a month ago slid down while I practiced yoga vinyasas. I had to pause the DVD and put on the medium pair I had waiting in my closet. A few of my large tee shirts also became too roomy for proper wear. I'm really impressed with the early results of strength training and I'm looking forward to continuing.

Behaviors that helped this week:

  • Maintaining a sense of humor. I was talking with a client about some of her career options and I involuntarily groaned, alarming her. I had to explain I was trying a new workout and it wasn't her career that pained me, it was my abs. 
  • Tenacity. The first few days I was experimenting with new routines, my muscles were aching, which is to be expected. I continued waking up, having breakfast and putting the DVD in the player. A new routine is bound to be challenging at first. The only way to make it easier is through practice. 
  • Acceptance. What I could do with ease a few years ago is not the same as what I can do today. Since I already understand the movements, I should be able to regain strength and flexibility with greater confidence than before. 

Goals for next week:
  • Donate or give away some of my clothes that no longer fit. Since I was able to maintain a lower weight for years, there seems no sense in holding on to things someone else can use and enjoy. 
  • Get some rest! I am continually booking activities into my schedule. Some of this comes as a result of living in a city. There are always friends nearby and something to do. 
  • Pick up a day planner. I think I need the old fashioned paper variety. I want to get a handle on fitting more blogging back into my week because I really do enjoy it! 

How has everyone been doing this week? Are you considering your New Year's Resolutions? 

Health and Whimsy is intended to be a journal of my personal experience. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your health program. 

Happy painting, ladies!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Health and Whimsy: Breezy days

Hello ladies,

The past week seems to have swept by like an unexpected breeze. I did continue with my walking program, four miles (6.4K) a day, six days this week. I achieved my fastest time to date. On Friday, I walked four miles in one hour and four minutes, 16 minutes per mile. I'm closing in on my goal of walking a 15 minute mile.

Continuing to build upon my home fitness accessories, I discovered a beautiful yoga mat at Whole Foods. The Tree of Life yoga mat from Gaiam has a tonal leaf pattern spreading from curving branches. I find the sage green hue relaxing. I'm excited to try it out this week.

My much anticipated replacement DVD player arrived midweek along with my ill timed monthly cycle. I decided to postpone adding core training until Monday. Unfortunately, the end of this week didn't seem an auspicious time for abdominal exercises. The DVD player kept me entertained with Lord of the Rings. The movies felt like a suitable backdrop as I explored the nether reaches of closets in search of weights and resistance bands.

Hydrangeas, a Spring memory.

I lost two pounds this week, bringing the total to 21 pounds since September 1st. I'm at a comfortable size, between a 10 and a 12. I lost the weight I gained over the past year relatively quickly. It was definitely a stressful year with my sister's illness, a major romantic breakup and financial issues. I am thankful my sister's health has improved dramatically. I am also grateful I have made the time to focus on my own wellness. 

Behaviors that helped this week:

  • Attending to the needs of my body while overriding my impatience and desire to stick to a plan. The mind/body issue can be tricky, especially since I have done similar workouts to the ones I have waiting by my DVD player. What looks familiar to my eyes is still going to feel new to my muscles. 
  • Cooking root vegetables and squash. I enjoy eating the fresh foods of the season. I prepared stir fries including beets, sweet potatoes and pumpkin this week. US ladies, check your grocery aisle for freshly cubed pumpkin. It's easy to prepare in a steamer basket and a nice alternative to zucchini. 
  • Trying new healthy foods. I picked up Lentil Sage Field Roast vegan deli slices at Whole Foods and tried Favorit Mango Peach Jam with my 0% Greek yogurt. 

Goals for next week: 

  • Get started with P90X DVDs. My plan is to complete one yoga session and two strength training workouts along with my walking routine. Even though I would love to do the cardio portions of the program as they are outlined, walking is essential for circulation and healing of my nerve damage. 
  • Record the number of reps I am able to do along with the weights I choose for each strength training exercise. It's useful to be able to chart progress as well as to remember which weights were the most appropriate for me at this time. 
How has your week progressed? I'm working on some future Health & Whimsy posts including topics about favorite snacks, body image and self esteem. You will also be seeing some new nail art this week before Sunday. 

Health and Whimsy is intended to be a journal of my personal experience. Please consult a doctor before making changes to your health care regimen. 

Happy painting, ladies!