Monday, December 28, 2015

Exercising Demons

My mood was in the toilet when I got up this morning. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was ready to cuss someone, anyone, out if they got in my way.

My cat died.
My grandfather is aging and it's hard to see his decline in health. (But so grateful he's still here and I can be with him!)
I haven't been able to exercise the way I want.
I didn't pack the right kind of clothes for outdoor exercise.
I didn't pack the right kind of clothes for anything outside.
I'm stuck indoors. (For an extrovert who likes to be out doing stuff this is SO hard!)
I'm stuck with the same three other people (whom I do love, really!). (see above note- very hard!)
My butt STILL hurts from riding the exercise bike.

I've eaten way too much sugar to stuff the feelings of the things noted above, which has made my body feel awful and only adds to the stress. My joints are inflamed and my muscles are sore.

Desperate times...
or, German determination....
or, just plain stubborn!
I was in a mood, y'all! So when my mother asked if I wanted to ride along to the Post Office and check out hotels for Grandpa's birthday, I had to do some thinking. A change of scenery would be great. But I knew I was in a foul mood and didn't want to take it out on the other people around me. I said I'd go, but had second thoughts while showering. I waffled back and forth until it came time to go and I decided to go.

Glad I went. I got to see that it really wasn't so bad out. And while eating lunch on our way home from the errands, I determined that I would just layer up no matter how awkward it might be. I was going out for a walk!

And walk I did! I thought that if I just did the short loop that I had done on my first walk here last week that I would be doing pretty good. When I got to the open field, I pulled my scarf up over my nose so I wouldn't have to breathe in the frigid air, and continued on. When I got to the turning point to go home, I determined I was able and wanting to do more, so I continued on the path for the full outer loop.

Feeling good as I rounded the last corner before the turn back into the subdivision, I determined to go a little farther on. Instead of just over a mile, like the first day, I did 3.5 miles, y'all! I can't tell you how good I feel. I definitely had to push through some mental battles against the desire to get out of the cold and get warm, and the anxious thoughts about all the other things going on in my life. Just after mile two I got to the point where I was just walking, and man it felt sooooo gooooood!

I'm so glad I exercised past those demons today. I think I can be nice now - to myself and to others.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Things I Love - Yoga

Be present.
Yoga is one of my new favorite things.

I knew when I started my journey two years ago that I needed to work on flexibility. I started with just some basic stretches at home and have regained some of the movement I had lost due to inactivity and weight gain. But I need more. I still can't sit comfortably on the floor "criss-cross applesauce" (or "Indian Style" for you "old school" people). My hips, thighs, and back are tight.

And all the inflammation from too much sugar at Christmas time isn't helping. I hurt, y'all!

My trainer's instructions for my week-long vacation in Colorado was to have this be an "active recovery" week. He'd suggested I run outside; I don't run in the cold. It's too cold and hurts to breathe.

I mentioned my grandpa has an exercise bike in the basement. My trainer suggested that I ride for 40 minutes. I said my butt couldn't stay on that long, so he broke it into two 20 minute sessions. After one 20 minute session the first day that plan was foiled. I still can't sit quite right - my butt ain't built for sitting on a bicycle seat!

His other suggestion? The one that struck gold? Yoga!

I looked up yoga videos on YouTube and found a series that looked friendly, called "Yoga with Adrienne." I gave it a shot the first day and haven't tried any others. I've done a different one each day; some days I've done two shorter videos.

I love it. Yoga. It's hard because like I said before, I'm really tight in my hips, thighs, and back. It's nearly impossible or completely impossible for me to do some of the poses - for now. But even after a few consecutive days I can tell some poses are getting easier.

For today's practice I checked out her 30 Days of Yoga playlist; Day 1 of course. Now, if you've never done yoga before, or are still new, I'd recommend her intro to yoga series which teaches the poses, but if you're fairly comfortable with most basic poses, this is a good one. (Last night, I did the bedtime yoga and highly recommend that, too!)

But back to today's practice - 30 Days of Yoga, Day 1. I'm going to keep doing yoga while on vacation, but I'm going to start the 30 Days of Yoga challenge fresh in the new year and I'd like to invite you to join me. Check in with me each day on Facebook for the video link, or feel free to find it yourself on YouTube by looking up Yoga with Adrienne. And share with me, and others, in the comments on Facebook, about how your practice went for that day's video. Perhaps this can be part of your new year's resolution for better health? And really, it's only 30 days. You can do anything for 30 days if you put your mind to it, so let's do this together!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Blah Humbug!

I woke up with a plan. I was going to ride the bike for 20 minutes (even though it hurt my hiney last time, it's just too cold to walk outside), then do some yoga before getting ready for Christmas dinner with family at my grandparent's house.

That plan lasted about 45 seconds before I realized that my butt just could not stand (or sit, rather) to be on the exercise bicycle seat any more. It just hurt too much. So, I resolved to bundle up, layer my new ear muffs under my hat, and wrap my scarf around an extra time, and hope that would be warm enough. I headed outdoors for a 20-30 minute walk to be followed still by a yoga video when I got home. That lasted about half a mile before I realized it was too cold to walk any longer. I was back home at the one mile mark with a runny nose and weepy eye from the cold air.

Frustrated and freezing, I felt defeated. I didn't even want to try doing yoga because I'm so inflexible that even several beginners poses are impossible for me to do. I gave up. My great plans to take care of myself by exercising to boost my happy endorphins is defeated.

Santa's Favorite Elf
I angrily stripped off my outer layers, feeling suffocated like the boy in "The Christmas Story". Brushing my teeth and washing my face I tried to let go of my frustrations and thought perhaps I'd share them with you all.

Things don't always go as planned. Maybe I need to let go of my expectations for today and just enjoy it - in moderation, of course. Maybe, like for Mary, God has something better in store for me than I could ever imagine. Not that I'll become the mother of the Savior of the world, but you know....God can do amazing things through those humble enough to let Him use them.

Now, I'm gonna shake off this Grinch-y attitude, put on m
y elf outfit, and go have a healthy little snack before making my salad for the Christmas meal with family.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Back to the UHG's Roots - 2nd Anniversary

It's the Urban Hiker Girl's
Two Year Anniversary!

December 2013, when the journey began.
Two years ago I began this journey to better health, not knowing that I would have a blog with followers and be inspiring others. I began this journey so that they way I felt on the inside would be reflected on the outside. I began this journey to get back the person I wanted to be but had lost. I began this journey because I knew I needed to change so that I wouldn't end up with the health problems of other, older members of my family; I wanted to choose a different path.

So one night while I was dog-sitting, after getting back from a walk with Rudy and Casey, I was thinking about how easy it was to fit a little walk into my day. And I wondered why I didn't do that more often since it was so simple. Like a snowball rolling down the hill collects moment and mass, my idea transformed as I grabbed a piece of scratch paper and started a timeline.

I knew I needed to lose close to 100 pounds. I thought about 5 pounds a month sounded like a reasonable weight loss goal, so I believed I could reach my goal by the same time the next year. I drew out a timeline and marked out my end goal, and all the months between now and then. I started adding in my weight loss goals along the timeline.

But I knew I would need to do more than just want to lose the weight, I needed a plan for how to get there. And I also needed to improve some other areas of my life- flexibility and strength (because muscle helps burn fat and toning and firming will help my shape. Little by little I thought about small changes I could make to the way I ate and my physical activity each day. I had done Weight Watchers off and on since high school, taken sports medicine classes, and worked with a personal trainer in the past, so a lot of the basics I already knew - I just had to apply them.

December 2014
And so my journey began. Eating better breakfasts in January. Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables in the spring and summer. Trying new soup and stew recipes in the winter. Stretching. Yoga videos for some stretching. Wall push-ups. Then increasing the angle of the wall push-ups. Then moving to floor push-ups on my knees. Walking longer. Walking faster. Walking hillier routes. Every month I tweaked everything a little.

And the weight started to come off. I started to feel more vibrant and alive. I started to feel more my age, younger even. My shape was changing and I felt great.

When I moved to Salt Lake City a year and a half ago, the apartment complex had a fitness center I could start using. Before everything had been walking outside and body weight or 2# dumbbells. Now I could increase the weights because the fitness center had variety, and I could walk on the treadmill or use the elliptical machine. And my shape kept changing and my fitness continued to improve. I met my weight loss goal, but more importantly, I improved my quality of life because I could now do again the things I loved- chase my niece and nephew around the yard playing football at Thanksgiving, wear age-appropriate clothes that flattered my figure, and come out of my shell and get involved in my community again.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2nd Anniversary!
December 2015
This past summer, I joined a "real" gym so I could attend classes like yoga and kickboxing. And, because I had become a runner, run on a treadmill in the summer heat and winter cold. I don't like to run in extreme temperatures - yuck! I completed my first ever 5k race in July, and then two more later this summer. Setting my sights a little loftier, I completed 10k training, but haven't done a race yet (the running outside in extreme temperatures thing), and am now moving on to half-marathon training with the help of a personal trainer.

On vacation at my grandparent's house in Denver, it's too cold to run outside, so I'm back to my roots - walking outside. And a yoga video (per my trainer's instructions!). I feel vibrant, healthy, beautiful, and comfortable in my own skin. My body isn't perfect, but my body is pretty amazing. It's come so far on this journey and all the awful things I'd put it through in the past. I'm now taking better care of it and thanking it for carrying me this far. I need it for the next 60-70 years! Happy 2nd anniversary to me, the Urban Hiker Girl!

Today's yoga video (loved it!):

Sunday, December 20, 2015

An Open Letter to My Trainer

Dear Mr. Trainer,
Ok... I do need my trainer, too.
I'm really grateful for the workouts you've put me through these last few weeks. I can feel changes happening through the focused workouts you've designed. I appreciate the focus you've given on making my body stronger and feel better. I love the challenge you've given me in my fitness training.
But this diet thing with more protein.... it's causing me some stress and frustration. You want me to eat more protein and less carbs. I just don't know how to eat more protein while eating a diet that also includes enough fruits and vegetables. I think that may be why (confession time) I ate a box of cookies this morning for breakfast.
I know. I know.
I only meant to eat one or two. I should have headed the warning from the lady who said don't open it until you're prepared to eat the whole box because it's hard to stop. I should have listened to my gut that said give the cookies to someone else because I knew they would be tempting to me.
I'm sorry.
I'm apologizing to myself and to you. I know you're investing time and energy to help me transform me. I'm investing time, energy, and money in this, too. And eating a box of cookies for breakfast defeats that. I get it. I'm not trying to undo our hard work. I'm stressed. I'm an emotional eater. I know that. You know that now, too.
I know I need to make some changes if I'm going to see the results that I want and that you are trying to give me. I promise that I'm doing my best every day. I wake up with the intention of doing the best to give my best. Please don't take this personally, it's not about your skill as a trainer - you're excellent - it's about my emotional-ness right now. I resolve each day, each moment to do my best to take care of myself. Sometimes I slip. I'll forgive myself. I'd appreciate your forgiveness, too.  I'm trying, really I am. No excuses, just an explanation.
The rest of this day will be better. ...but I still need to work on figuring out that protein - fruit/veg balance.
Urban Hiker Girl