Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reaching For a Better Version of Myself

This morning I popped in my 21 Day Fix workout dvd, and started arranging my equipment to work
out. My husband asked "So is your goal to look like that? (Gesturing to Autumn Calabrese) Is that the body that you're going for?" I thought for a second and said "No!" I am not interested in looking like Autumn Calabrese. (Not that she doesn't look amazing, because she does.) I know that I am never going to look like her. I have more booty and more hips than she does and I am perfectly fine with that. I'm not interested in changing my body so drasticly that I look like someone else. I exercise because I am reaching for a better version of myself. Because exercise makes me happy and gives me the energy to get done the things that I need to. Because I want to be around for my family for a long time. I exercise because I believe that inside me there is a powerful person who can make a difference in the world and exercising is going to help set her free. And if I get killer abs in the process I will not complain. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My Piyo Story- Or How I Recovered from a Hip Injury During Graduate School

Before I talk about how I got into great shape, I need to give the background of how I got out of shape. In Fall 2012, I was in descent shape. I ran the St. George marathon, as well as 7 half marathons that year. In the course of training for the marathon, most of my running buddies injured themselves. One just quit altogether. That left me and one friend who regularly walked and ran together, until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2013. (She is now in remission and doing great.) Without a workout buddy, my running became less regular. In Fall 2013, I started graduate school as a non-degree seeking student. I ran and did yoga occasionally, but not like I had been.
My Hip Injury
I wish that I had some cool or dramatic story about how I injured my hip, but I don't. My husband and I went to Alaska to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in June 2014. After sitting in a small airplane or airplane terminal seat for the better part of 13 hours my left hip started aching. I injured my hip  by sitting for too long, pretty lame story.  I tried to take it easy and it got worse. I tried running on it, and it felt better as long as I kept it under 6 miles, then it would hurt. It wasn't extreme pain, it was just annoying. I tried doing yoga more often and visiting a massage therapist. It helped a small amount, but it was always temporary, and overall it was slowly getting worse.
 In Fall 2014 we moved to Colorado so I could go to graduate school, and I joined the university running club. I was excited to have someone to run with and meet new people. The problem is that everyone in the running club is 8-10 years younger than me and in much better shape. When I started pushing myself hard enough to keep up with them I really screwed up my hip. It was too the point that I was in severe pain all day everyday. It hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to walk, it hurt to lay down, it hurt to run. My left hip hurt all the time. I was a mess. I was crippled and frustrated that I couldn't exercise and it effected how I felt overall. I went to see a chiropractor. The x-rays showed that my left hip had been rotated enough that my left leg was 2 inches shorter than my right. And the pain was coming from my muscles being twisted and stretched out of place around the joint. So I went in for regular treatments and adjustments. He told me that I needed to start exercising again to help it, but NO running. That made things hard. I don't like the gym, I like to run.

 Then an old friend messaged me and asked if I would like to join her fitness challenge group. I worked with Missy years ago, and she was one of the primary nurses who trained me to be a pediatric nurse. Working nights on pediatrics, you grow to love and trust your co-workers. And I was always impressed that even though she had small kids and worked full-time nights she would still run. At the time I felt to overwhelmed to exercise, but I was impressed that she did.
 While I debated about whether I would do the fitness challenge (because to honest forking out the money is what held me back), I joined one of her clean eating groups. I went the entire month of October without eating any sugar and I lost three pounds. (College life is often not conducive to healthy eating habits.) Then I started the fitness challenge and started doing Piyo workouts. Piyo is like a cross between Pilates and Yoga, with a few other exercises thrown in there. It's a low-impact (read-easy on your joints), full body workout and it was exactly what I needed. It doesn't require any weights or equipment other than a yoga mat. The dvd instruction is led by fitness guru Chalene Johnson. After doing it for a month, I felt so much better! My hip wasn't all the way better, but I could function without pain, and all of my clothes were fitting better. I could sit for hours during my lectures and it was ok! By the end of the month I could run a few miles, but not just that committing to a workout on a regular basis changed me. I had more energy. I found that even though I'm busy with school and three kids and all of the other things in my life, I feel so much better when I schedule time 6 days a weeks for exercise. Piyo really helped me to get in the habit of exercising regularly, without feeling exhausted (like when I trained for my marathon).
 Then I did the workout for another 30 days and I was so pleased with the results. I have never been in this good of shape. My hip is about 90% better (I'm still careful with it, and I do try to avoid sitting for hours at a time). I am stronger and more flexible. There are yoga moves I can do now that I was never able to do before. Doing my workouts gives me the energy and motivation to take on all of  the other things in my life that I need to do. My stomach has not been this flat since jr high. I CAN DO PUSH-UPS! I sleep better! I fit into clothes I never thought I would fit into again after having my kids. And I feel awesome. I loved it so much, I decided to start coaching, because I want to help other people improve their health too. As a nurse, that has always been a goal and motivation anyway, but in many ways as a nurse you can only help people for a short period of time.
 I worked hard, but I wasn't perfect. This was November, December and early January that I did this. (Finals and Holidays) I had a few holiday treats.We went to a few dinner and Christmas parties, and I still enjoyed yummy holidays foods. I still got a little candy in my stocking. Between kids, graduate school and winter illnesses, I missed one workout almost every week. So it doesn't take perfection to improve, but it does take progress and dedication.
 If you are looking to get in shape and want a workout that won't require a lot of equipment and will be easy on your joints. I highly, highly recommend it.
Okay here's the part that I feel kind of nervous about. I'm putting pictures of myself in my sports bra on the internet, so you can see my white flabby mid-driff, stretch marks included.  But I'm sharing so you can compare my results and see that it really works.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Book Review: Yes, Please

The biggest reason I chose this book is am an Amy Poehler fan. I love that she is funny, a feminist and very outspoken that girls should have opportunities in science and other academic fields. And the audio book is fun because she has some fun actors helping her to narrate it like Patrick Stewart, Carol Burnett and Kathleen Turner. (Also I love audio books because they make catching up on laundry and dishes more fun.) As I started listening to it I thought it was awesome that Amy Poehler is a mom of small children who works full-time who is passionate about life and I think she has some good points for those who trying to juggle all the busy things that fill our lives. Although there is a whole lot of raunchiness, and I did not like the book nearly as much as I was hoping that I would. I don't know that I would recommend it. (I did LOVE the chapter when she talking about making Parks & Rec. I also loved the chapter where she talked about visiting Haiti.) Having said that, I do think there are several worthwhile pieces of advice. So without further ado, advice and inspiring thoughts from Amy Poehler's book, Yes, Please

  • Discover what your 'currency' is. What aspect of life is really important to you? Let go of the things that aren't you.
  • More women should adopt the motto "Great for her, not for me."
  • As a woman, it takes years to find your voice and figure out who you really are.
  • Any painful experience helps you see things differently
  • Fighting aging is like the war on drugs. It's expensive, pointless and never ends.
  • Getting older means you get super powers. :) You're wiser, people notice you less and you can laugh at younger people doing stupid things.
  • Ignore what other people think, most people aren't paying attention to you anyway.
  • Write. Create. Take risks.
  • If you are afraid to look stupid you should probably go home.
  • It is easier to be brave when you are not alone.
  • Every mother needs a wife, someone to take care of you so you can take care of everyone and everything else. (Of course, that's easier said than done.)
  • Doing something together is more fun than doing it alone.
  • Other people are not medicine.
  • Everyone wants to hear your most embarrassing moment. You don't have to share.
  • There is a difference between talent and determination.
  • Ambivalence is key to success. You need to not care what other people think of you. You have to not care how you look. 
  • When someone is being rude or abusing their power, call them out on it.
  • Too often women try to tackle problems that are not our own. 
  • Take time to be in the moment.
  • Hopefully you can get to the place you need to be.
  • Drugs make folding your laundry bearable? (I'll take my audio books, thank you.)
  • Going outside in your pajamas makes you feel like you are breaking out of jail.
  • What truly heals is gratitude and tenderness.
  • A person is more than the tragedies that they experience.
  • You can change your story.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Balance Rewards- Earning Credit for Walgreens Purchases for Tracking Your Workouts

It's a fair assumption that all of us could use a little extra cash. Here is an easy way to earn some, just
by tracking the exercise that you are already doing through the Walk with Walgreens/Balance Rewards program. This isn't the kind of extra cash that will pay your bills, but it will help you cover your drugstore purchases like ibuprofen and cold medicine, or photo prints. Most of us are walking everyday anyway, so why not get some credit for it? Here's how it works:

  1. You sign up for a free account at
  2. Track the miles that you walk, run, bike, hike, etc. Each mile logged gives you 20 points.
  3. 5000 points = $5 to spend at Walgreens
  4. You can also get points for recording other healthy habits, like tracking your blood pressure and blood sugar values, losing weight, making fitness goals or making steps to stop smoking.
  5. If you have a fitness tracker like Fitbit, you can sync it to your account and then you don't even have to think about recording your miles. Fitbit can do it for you for you automatically.
  6. You can also earn points by buying certain products at Walgreens, but those vary depending on what the weekly ad is.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Goals/Resolutions

It's a new year. Here are my goals to help me be a happier healthier person.

  1. Wake up at 5 am- 6 days per week I want to be able to get my workouts done before my kids
    get up.
  2. Pay off debt- I have specific plans on that, but most people will probably find them boring.
  3. Run 4 fun races this year with friends or family- Because exercise is more enjoyable when you do it with someone you care about.
  4. Keep up my good grades- I like my GPA where it is, and I want to maintain it. Keep doing my homework. Keep reading my textbooks.
  5. Take a vacation with my family- Take a few weekend getaways or day trips too. Make some good memories with my kids. 
  6. Keep up the good exercise/eating habits that I have developed over the past few months- I've made some great changes to my habits in the past little while, now I need to MAINTAIN.
  7. Try a new exercise program or two.- I'm going to try the 21 Day Fix. I've heard good things about it and it looks fun. And sometimes you need to mix up your workouts to prevent boredom. (Plus it's on sale this month.) This will help me do #6. And if anyone wants to join me, it's going to be AWESOME.
  8. Get rid of stuff-  We have too much stuff. Last year I had 2 yards sales, sold stuff online, gave away mounds of stuff, donated mounds of stuff. We still have too much stuff, we need to cut it down. It's amazing how much stuff you accumulate with 3 kids. I plan to get rid of toys and clothes that the kids have outgrown and get rid of things that are boxed up and we don't use. The less stuff we have, the easier it will be to keep our place clean.
  9. Read 25 books- I'll count audio books for that too.
  10. Continue to volunteer at my kids school- I started doing this in November because my oldest was getting bullied and I wanted to be aware and involved in what was happening in the class room. Then my middle child felt left out so I started going to his class too. It seems like a simple thing for me to be there helping their teachers, but I have found that it is really important to my kids. I want to make sure that I set aside an hour each week so I can keep doing this, plus it's fun. :)
  11. Take time everyday to be grateful for something. Last November, many things in my life were not going my way and I did not have the best attitude about it. So I thought I would jump on the Facebook wagon and share something that I was grateful for, and it really helped my attitude. I really felt better when I was focusing on the good instead of inwardly grumbling about the bad.
So there we go. I may tweak some of these, but that is my plan for the year, more or less.  I think 2015 is going to be a great year. What are YOUR goals and plans?