The One in Which I Get Into Better Shape

If you follow my Facebook page (and you totally should!), you would know that I took a major plunge back in January. A friend and I joined a gym as workout buddies. 

I’ve tried a lot of different things to get and stay in shape. 

When the twins were much smaller and much fussier, I would pop them into a double stroller, slip some earbuds in, and walk the 2.5 mile hilly trail by my house. If I was really lucky, they would fall asleep by the time we got home. 

Then the girls got older. They were no longer content to sit. They wanted to explore. So, I still got out to walk, but those walks were shorter and were at toddler speed. 

Also, the problem with outdoor workouts is that they are magnets for excuses. Too hot, too cold, too icy, to dark, too windy.  If I have a chance to make an excuse, I will.

We joined our local YMCA as a family more times that I can count. Then, we would have a great week of working out and then our “gym time” deteriorated to standing in the shallow end of the pool catching toddlers and coaching budding swimmers.

Home workouts seemed to be a great solution. They worked fairly well when I was a SAHM. On a motivated day (read: once a month or so) I would pull out one of my many fitness DVDs and get a good workout in, vowing to repeat it the next day. But, the next day I would have tag teaming twin naps, or a headache, or homemade cake, or a blog, or Facebook. Then, once I began working outside the home, those home workouts would have to be in the evening, when there was a steady stream of teens in and out of the house. . .no thank you.

So, in the words of Elsa, I let it go. I let it all go. . .

I was a 42 year old woman who was becoming embarassingly sedentary. Add in the desk job, and things were not looking–or feeling–good. Not good at all. 

So, one night I was texting back and forth with my fellow night-owl, Kim. She was feeling the need to get back into shape. One of us suggested joining a 24 gym and working out after the kids go to bed . . .around 9 pm at night. 

So, we did it. 

We bit the bullet. 

We committed to a monthly fee (half of which is reimbursed by my health insurance if I show up 12 times a month). I dusted off my water bottle. 

We started *really* slowly. Our first few workouts were simply walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes, then a half hour, then speeding it up, then adding an incline. We started to add in a few dumbell exercises. We kept it VERY low key. I rewarded myself with reality TV on the treadmill (I have no cable at home). Some days we really had to talk each other into going. I used some Junior High excuses to not work out. (p.s. you *can* work out on your period, even if you don’t want to.)

Sometime in the last three weeks we realized that a change had happened. We noticed that we actually enjoyed our time at the gym. Instead of being sore, we felt good. We would go to work out, even if the other could not be there.  

Our gym time was becoming a habit. 

This last week, we decided to kick things up. Kim has a stunning Kentucky Derby party dress to fit into, and my sister in law is getting married, on the beach, in June. . . 

We’ve added two days of cardio plus circuit training, and we’ve increased our walking time (and intensity) to an hour three times a week.

Yes, I fairly painlessly went from couch potato to working out 5 times a week for an hour each.

I’m pretty sure that I have not lost a single pound. I’m not terribly driven, so I’m not sure I’ve even lost inches (though I likely have). But I HAVE noticed some HUGE changes.

Since working out regularly:

  • I sleep better.
  • I crave fewer sweets and I rarely drink soda anymore.
  • I drink a lot more water.
  • I have more endurance.
  • My anxiety level has decreased dramatically
  • My joints are much happier–fewer aches and pains.

My friends, it is time. It is time for you. Don’t work out to lose weight. Don’t work out to lose inches. Work out to feel better. Work out to take a break from housework or work or whatever else consumes your time. Find a system that works for YOU. I have friends who are very successful with each of the sytems that did not work for me . . . fitness is certainly not one size fits all. 

You may just find that you surprise yourself!

Chime in! How do you keep in shape? I’d love to hear your fitness journey, share yours in the comments!

Computers Need Spring Cleaning Too!

Computer Spring Cleaning

Spring really is coming. . .soon, even if the weather does not seem to support it.

We like to spruce up and organize our homes when spring arrives, but have you done any spring cleaning with your computer yet?

I’m coming up on a two year work anniversary. With my job I inherited a computer with a ton of files. . .and a filing system that was not my own. In two years, my computer desktop and download folder have become a jumbled mess.

Thankfully, I have come across this great calendar from Singlehop that will help me (and you!) get my computer in order. The tasks are spread out over the course of three weeks, so I won’t get too bogged down. I’m most excited to know that I can get this mess of folders organized so that I can find what I need with the click of the mouse.

SingleHop_Calendar

How many of you store documents and photos on your desktop so that you can find them easily. . .only to have such a jumbled space that you never can find that document that you want? How many of you actually go through your download folder and actually file the things that you download–or delete them when not needed anymore? I thought so, guilty, right?

What is most important is that you find a filing system that works for you. Since I plan events that repeat year after year, it makes sense for me to create a folder for each event and then a folder for each year of the event. It also makes sense for me to archive some of the event documents that are more than five years old. . .right?

And photos. . . it really is OK to delete the blurry photos and the accidental foot photos. And, while you are digging through those photo files, why not tag them so that you can easily find the photo you need without needing to scroll through hundreds of Christmas tree photos (been there, done that)

Once you get everything in order, make sure you have a great back up system in place–either an external hard drive or a cloud based storage system.

I’d love to hear how your computer clean up goes and if you choose to join me on this challenge!

You can download a handy PDF of the calendar here: SingleHop_Calendar.

National Reading Month: An Interview With Kristi Yamaguchi

Some of my warmest childhood memories are of me sitting on the lap of my parents and grandparents being read to. Reading is a big part of our family life–and if you have been in our house you know that we are overrun by books!

However, according to reports from the U.S. Department of Education, only about half of all children aged 3-5 are being read to on a daily basis. (And, honestly, during a busy week my kids likely fall through those cracks as well.)

Last week I was contacted with the opportunity to hold a phone interview with Olympic Figure Skater, children’s’ book author and literacy advocate, Kristi Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi is teaming up with LeapFrog and her Always Dream Foundation to promote reading for National Reading month in March.

Kristi and I are the same age, and grew up within 100 miles of each other (though we never crossed paths that I know of!). I remember watching her compete in the Olympics from my college dorm room. To say that I was excited to get the chance to speak with her, is an understatement. Please excuse the fact that I picked up a respiratory bug from my little ones and sound less than healthy!

Click here for more information on the 20/20 reading challenge and start a great new habit today!

*** PLEASE NOTE: This interview opportunity is sponsored by LeapFrog***

Quiet

I’ve been quiet lately. No worries. I’ll be back. And still always chatting it up on the FB page :)

Read With Me Wednesday: Moms’ Night Out

 

Read-With-Us-Wednesday-1

Well, real life caught up with me last week and I missed our first discussion. I hope you popped over to Essie’s Blessings to chat with her last week! (and pop over there today as well to share your thoughts.)

This month we are reading through Moms’ Night Out and this week we are discussing chapters 4-8. Why such short readings? Well, we wanted a “book club” that all of our mom friends could participate in. Sometimes a book a week or a book a month seems impossible for a busy mom. But eh, a few chapters. . . less than one a day? That is doable. So join us. There is no pressure. We won’t test you on the material! But, we would LOVE for you to join the conversation and let us know what you think.

Today I’m going to talk about the enormous pressure that we moms put on ourselves. Thanks to social media, we tend to see everyone’s highlight reels. This becomes even more bothersome when you feel like your life is one long blooper reel.

Consider Allyson’s thoughts after she had a meltdown after the frustrating non-dinner on her moms’ night out:

Was that a moment? Did she just have a “moment” in front of everyone in the restaurant? She’d come to fix that problem. To fix herself, and what had happened? Instead, she’d just made a big mess. Now there would be no dinner. Now there would be no conversation. Now there would be no unplugging. Allyson’s breaths came short, fast. And this . . . this was worse than mascara on her eye. It was worse than her meltdown in front of the newlyweds. She’d lost control in front of her friends. She was getting worse, not better. How could she return home worse than she started? Sean would be so disappointed, and then who knew what tomorrow would bring? Yet another failure to heap upon all the other ones.

Poor Allyson. She felt so frustrated and guilty over the failed dinner that she was unable to laugh it off, or casually come up with a “plan b”. She put all kinds of pressure on herself to come up with the “perfect” moms’ night out. When there is a kink in the plan, we as moms need to be able to seamlessly switch gears. There is a sort of fearlessness that needs to come with motherhood.

Last year we had the perfect birthday party planned for the twins. We put a deposit down on a party at the gymnastics studio. I had cute cupcakes ordered. I bought a car full of balloons. When we arrived at the gym to set up. . .the building was locked. Our reservation was never fully noted. I had to think fast. So, a few phone calls later to parents, and we moved the party  a few miles north to our church. It was not what I envisioned. It was not what I had planned. Inside I was seething with frustration. But I HAD to be nimble. My little girls were only going to turn four once, and I had a dozen preschoolers to entertain.

It ended up being a great birthday. The girls had fun, their guests had fun, and we actually saved quite a bit of money!

I could have had a meltdown right there in that icy parking lot. (I totally wanted to!) But that was not going to solve anything. I could have given in to embarrassment–because yes, it was totally embarrassing to have to call all of those parents to give them a last minute change of plan. I took a deep breath and did what I needed to do for the happiness of my daughters.

So, what about you? What has hit home for you as you have been reading this book? Have you had a meltdown like Allyson’s? What situations have you had to come up with a “plan b” on the fly? Share in the comments and join the conversation!

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