Thursday, June 12, 2014

Weight Loss Tips #19: Don't Stop Moving

First off, I need to apologize for my blog sabbatical.  I was horrendously busy at the end of the school year, and since then I've been walking every morning and reading every night or gymming it.  I've had little time to sit down and blog.  I miss writing when I don't make it part of my life though, so here I am: back!

Weight loss is indeed a simple formula.  Expend more calories than you consume, and you will lose weight.  There are all sorts of people out there touting some miracle way to have the pounds float away: drink cabbage soup for a week, eat only carbs, eat no carbs; but the truth is the way to lose weight and to be more healthy is to eat less and to MOVE MORE

I love to be lazy.  I love to sit around and do nothing, especially after a long day at work or a long night up with a toddler who won't sleep, but I really do think the key to long term and long lasting weight loss (think keeping it off forever) is moving as much as you can. 

We spend a lot of time sitting.  If you have a desk job, then you're not moving much unless you make yourself.  If you're just starting this movement thing, then there's no need to jump into going to the gym five days a week unless you really want to.  You just need to start trying to walk 10,000 steps a day.  You can track steps by using a pedometer or a fitness tracker. 

I have the UP24. 

This little band goes on your wrist, and tracks your life.  The compatible app tracks your steps, and it tells you how many resting calories you're burning and how many active calories.  It tells you the most active you've been during the day, the most idle, and whether or not you've reached your goal. It tracks your weekly trends of movement and sleep.  The app also gives you advice and tells you interesting facts.  It will set goals based on your recent movement (or lack thereof).  It links up to other apps: Myfitnesspal and Mapmyfitness among others. 
When I started, I was amazed by my non-workout days.  I was generally moving less than 10,000 steps.  It led me to change little things about my life.  I started trying to take Skippy for a walk every morning to increase my steps.  I started parking at the far end of the parking lot.  I made an effort to get up every thirty minutes and walk around.  I noticed when I started moving more I started feeling better.  I slept better, and the weight started coming off more quickly, because I was expending those calories I was taking in.
Once you start moving more, you can make it a lifestyle change.  Similar to reducing portion size, increasing movement will lead to weight loss and better health overall.  I've replaced mornings of sitting with coffee and surfing the Internet to mornings soaking in the sunrise, communing with nature, and increasing my activity!  It's funny how after only three weeks, I feel like it's a way of life.  It's easy to make changes if you do it and you stick to it!  Make it a life long habit. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Darling Daughter Turns 4!!!

Today is Little Bit/Shoo Shoo/Darling Daughter's birthday.  She is four.  I can't believe how fast time has gone by.  I feel like only yesterday, I was holding her sweet newborn body in my arms.  I stared down at the lump of baby in my arms and looked into her blue eyes, and I could not for the life of me believe she was a girl! 

When I found out I was pregnant with Darling Daughter, I had mixed emotions.  Three children seemed like an awful lot.  I finally got used to the idea though.  On the day of my ultrasound, my Mom and Hubby met me at the doctor's office.  We had to wait and wait, because they were super busy. 

Mom said, "Now, Lauren--I don't want you to get upset if it's another boy.  Do you have any boy names picked out?"

"I know, Mom," I said.  "I'm fully expecting it to be another boy."

We were ushered into the back, cool little room.  The ultrasound tech went through measuring all the bones: the skull, the femur, etc. 

"Do you want to know what it is?" she asked.

We nodded, and she looked. She slowly but deliberately typed out: IT'S A GIRL across the screen!

My Mom and I both started crying and hugging each other.  I love my boys, but there's nothing like having a daughter.  My Mom and I are so close to one another, and I wanted a daughter I could share that bond with.  It was like a dream coming true. 

Darling Daughter was born on May 21st at 12:15 PM.  She was a content little thing, and so sweet!

Babies are like little lumps who can't do anything.  Your goal in life is to shape them and help them make the right decisions: give them the tools they need to succeed.  When I held Darling Daughter in my arms, I could see how sweet and special she was.  (So could everyone else, and that's why her nickname now is Spoiled Rotten!!!)  It was so funny putting dresses on her at first, and it seriously took me a month to get used to dressing her in girly clothes.  I'm all for gender equality, but after having two boys, I wanted dresses, frills, pink and bows. 
Darling Daughter has grown so quickly.  From her 1st birthday where she cried and only perked up when she saw the cake and opened a few of her presents. 
After that birthday, she developed an intense stranger anxiety.  The only people she was not afraid of were me, Big Mommy and Big Daddy.  She didn't even want to be around Hubby.  I can tell you--there were many days when I had trouble with this cling on. She would hold me, as if I was going to walk out the door forever.  We did Baby Gym, and she could not stand it when Coach Ken would get to close to her.  After three months of screaming through it--I decided we would just wait.  Stranger anxiety had to end at some point, right?
And it did.  By about 2.5, she was everyone's best friend.  We switched daycares, and I saw her become another person. She opened up.  She was bright and bubbly.  She also got the tubes she badly needed, and the quiet child I once had became an incessant talker (just like her Mommy). 
And now year three has come and gone in a flash.  This year Darling Daughter became so independent.  She loves her babies, and she often creates elaborate stories with them.  She uses her imagination all the time, and she walks around the house belting out songs.  She acts like a little Mommy to the boys (who despise it)!  She also likes to put on my high heels and say, "Now I'm the Mom."  She is stubborn, and if she ask for something and you say no, she'll keep asking hundred times until, exasperated, you have to walk away!  She loves princesses.  She loves Frozen.  She sings, "Let it Go," about a million times a day--almost as many times as we've watched the movie!  She can also keep up with the boys!  You'll often find her pedaling the spin bike right behind her brothers, flip flops on, and dress blowing in the wind!  How I love this sweet FOUR year old girl! 
Forever and always, my baby. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Hot Running is Not Nearly as Fun as Hot Yoga

I went for a hot, muggy run this morning.  As I started out, I thought it's 5 AM there is no way the air can already be this muggy. But, yes, it was.  With every breath I took, I felt like I was gulping a gallon of water into my lungs.  Painful and not fun.  I did 2.00 miles, but in 27 minutes 14 seconds, because I kept stopping to walk.  Now I remember why I stopped running last summer, oh, besides the stress fracture.

Speaking of injuries, my leg is about 50,000 times better.  And my hip.  I've been working out five times a week, and I've been doing weights, and I think I finally developed the strength in the muscles to work out the pain in both places. 

With my hip, I couldn't even do criss-cross apple sauce for about three months, but I diligently did some exercises I found online and I did the hip abductor and abduction machine at the gym.  Totally fixed the problem.

I love exercise.  Seriously, what better thing can you do for your body and your mind?  I always find when I start exercising my mood increases. I'm nicer.  I'm less stressed. 

And speaking of less stress, I'm reading an excellent book for my book club right now: 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story.  Forgive the long title, but seriously, this is what the book is all about.  Dan Harris, a correspondent for ABC news, went on a little journey of self-discovery in this book which is autobiographical, but also teaches you how to manage the negative thoughts in your head.  The first page, he says "I initially wanted to call this book The Voice in My Head Is an Asshole."  How many people can relate to their inner asshole? 

Seriously, when I run my voice is such a jerk.  The voice in my head tells me I can't do it, it' too hot, I don't want to go any further.  Am I the only one who has the voice of a four year old whiny child?  It's as if we grow up, but the voices in our head stay small immature children.  They're narcissistic, selfish, one sided voices, who usually seem hell bent on destroying every aspiration you have.  I'm not huge into self-help, and so I really didn't think I would like this book, but Harris finds peace through meditation and being mindful of his thoughts without being obsessive.  I think that's something we could all stand to do.  Be mindful of our thoughts, be mindful of our reactions to others, and be mindful that we never ever know what someone else is feeling, thinking, or how they might react.  After all, they probably have an asshole in their head dictating their life too. 

So today when I was running, and the voice would tell me to stop running, I kept running.  I told the voice, "Ok--that's a nice thought, but I'm going to at least run to that stop sign before I fall over wheezing and die."  I fought against the voice, and I was mindful those thoughts were there, but I didn't let myself associate with the thoughts.  Hard to do for someone like me who is constantly living in their head!  But a good exercise in controlling myself and using the power of mindfulness!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Moment of Meditation

I took an unintended blog break last week.  Work was crazy, the weekend was crazier, and our internet went down some time between Saturday and Sunday and didn't come back up until last night.  By that time, I was nestled on the couch catching up on Game of Thrones--and don't worry if you haven't watched it yet--I'm not one to hand out spoilers. 

Yesterday morning started at 3:00 when Number Two woke up screaming his head hurt.  I worried it was an aneurism or something because he was in so much pain, but alas it was an ear infection. Now just because you really want to know, I'll tell you he has brownish red goopy stuff draining out of his ear and a nice fever too.  So I stayed home with him yesterday, took him to the doctor, and did a bunch of sitting around.  I read almost a whole book.  I didn't have internet, so I needed to find something to do while he slept and watched hours and hours of cartoons. 

This morning, I woke up early and went for a run.  I saw the sun rise as I was running, and it made me smile in awe.  How often do we stop and just look at the natural beauty around us.  (Ok--I didn't stop, because I was running, but I took it all in).  I was there in the moment, soaking it all in without the distraction of kids, noise, technology, you name it.  We have all but abandoned the idle time of stopping and smelling the flowers, but idle time is necessary for us to de-stress.  Idle time is necessary for our creative juices to flow.  Absorbing nature, the sunset, the sunrise, and just being in the moment is so important for us.  I've been trying to take a moment out of every day to just breath.  To do absolutely nothing.  Maybe this is what people get from meditation, which I still haven't mastered, but I understand the feeling of calm that comes with the moment of realizing you're alive and you're watching a beautiful sunrise and you have absolutely nothing else better to do at that moment because you just ARE.  Amazing. 

Tomorrow I intend to go to the gym, but before I go I'll open my door and stick my head outside.  I'll hear the early morning chirps of the birds as they're waking up or waiting for their Momma birds to bring them worms.  The coyotes howling in the distance and the cows lowing in the field behind my neighborhood, plus the smell of a dew-covered grass about to wake to the dull morning light. A moment of meditation. 

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