The Courage to Start Over Again

I find myself “back at square one” when it comes to my fitness goals. After a year of limited ability to exercise, followed by surgery, followed by recovery, I find myself with the ok to exercise from my doctor and no motivation to do so. I did go out one day and I ran three miles. I felt as if it were a half-marathon and that I was under-prepared. I was sore for four days afterward. Apparently I’m not ready for that and need to start slower.

Dejected and unmotivated, I decided to re-read my blog to see how I was able to get started the last time. Not only did I find my initial posts motivational, I found that I have left a record that, if not beneficial to anyone else, is a goldmine for me.  I struggled just as much back then just to get started walking on my treadmill. The difference is that I know just how far I got from that humble start. I need to do it again, and I need to find the courage to do it. I think I just did.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling that I already did this and shouldn’t have to do it again (the “poor me” trap), or the trap of thinking that I am just not the fitness “type”, or the trap that it just doesn’t matter. I do have to do it all again, but hopefully this time I will learn from past lessons and not get discouraged or take too many false steps.

I am the fitness type, because I’ve been fit and I loved it. I learned this late in life, not having been much of an athlete as a child. I learned that strength training makes me more stable…more graceful (I was never a graceful child). Running, eventually, makes me feel healthy and energized…at least the shorter runs do. The longer runs make me feel powerful in a whole different way…conquering my fears and proving to myself that I can do it.

It does matter. Being fit and healthy is a gift that only I can give myself and one that will extend my life and enhance my quality of life as I get older. It matters because it makes me better at all I do, provides me with endurance, energy, and perspective. It gives me confidence. I was getting used to the words, “I am a long-distance runner”, now I’ve removed all my “13.1” magnets from my car because they made me feel like a fraud. I earned them with blood (not much), sweat (a whole lot), and a few tears.

It won’t be easy, but what worthwhile goal ever is? I have new commitments that will make it harder for me to find time for fitness, but I’m used to scheduling challenges. I have my own, personal record of how to get to my goals, and I will…

Find the Joy in the Journey!

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Eat More, Move Less, Gain Weight…Duh!

We all know the mantra, “eat less, move more, lose weight”. It is universally true, but that doesn’t make it easy to do. I was doing rather well in my goal to get fit and lose weight in the process. Then I started training for half-marathons and my body changed, if not my weight. I put on more muscle and burned a lot more calories…but I also ate more to fuel that work. It is shockingly easy to eat more without even realizing it. My real problem came on when I stopped training. I didn’t really mean to, but life intervened and I’ve not yet gotten around to re-balancing and fitting my workouts back into my daily life.

Looking back over the last six months, it’s clear to me what has happened. That is when my younger daughter started high school 15 miles away from home. It’s about an hour and a half for me to drive carpool, picking up two other girls, driving through rush-hour traffic, and then driving to work.  Fortunately I don’t have carpool every day and recently we added a fourth girl and my duties have shrunk further. Even so, on days I have carpool, I have to add the lost hours back into my workday leaving less time for workouts.

Starting in November, my daughter joined the Freshman basketball team and between practices and games, I’m driving even more, and almost on a daily basis. Fortunately, one of the other girls in the carpool is also on the team, so we do a lot of ride-sharing. As basketball wraps up, softball is starting. I have no one to share rides with for softball…so on to the end of the school year.

Just last month, I added a class of my own…back to school! Now I have even less time to workout. It is time to re-balance, for sure. I am not in a position right now to cut back at work or school, but I do know that I waste a lot of time on things that don’t support my goals but provide stress relief without all the effort of going for a run. I know that I can carve out time for getting back to a healthier fitness routine.FitBit Tracker

I am going back to basics and setting a new starting point. I stepped on the scale and recorded the disappointing results in my fitness app. I started tracking my food too. A clear pattern emerged immediately. It wasn’t a surprise, but seeing it on my computer makes it more real to me. I eat too many calories, more than half of which I consume after work. I do not get nearly enough fruits and vegetables in my diet. I am not drinking enough water. Taking a peek at my FitBit data, I am not moving much at all.

So, little by little, I will make improvements and reclaim some balance in my life. Changes, especially those that require more time and energy, are always disruptive, but time to take a deep breath and find a new routine that supports my goals.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the determination to never give up on your goals!

 

I Need A Mental Health Day

I have so many things I want to do around the house, so many things I want to do to advance my personal health and well-being, and meanwhile, work is crazy and I still have some unbelieveable loose-ends to deal with. So, I decided to take a day off just for me. I decided to take a mental health day! I am fortunate that, after 25 years at the same company, I have a lot of vacation. I so wish I had the money to use all of those days to travel on international adventures, but, barring that, I may as well use them to advance other objectives.

So, of course, I made a list longer than my arm of things to accomplish. I chose a day when my younger daughter was on a school trip, so I didn’t have any chauffer duties. I could sleep in! And so it began. I slept in until about 6:30…after all, I am a creature of habit! I tried to turn over and fall back to sleep, and I did…until around 8. Ultimately, I got up and ate some breakfast then put on my running clothes. After a somewhat leisurely 3-mile run, I offered my older daughter a ride to her job and after dropping her off headed to the gym. I did my upper and lower-body workouts. I figure, why do just one if I’m there? I never do the core work. This is a problem. I don’t want to pull out a mat and do the work in the middle of the heavy lifters…but even though I can do the core work at home instead…I never do.

As I started my workout, I realized that I’d completely filled out my workout worksheets. So, after I finished, I went up to the desk to ask about new worksheets. They were puzzled at first, but then directed me to my fitness assessor. I headed for her office, but it was closed and I’d been advised by the front desk that she had an appointment. So, noticing another door into the general area of her office, I went through and approached her office from the other direction and found that she was alone. Knocking and entering, I asked for more worksheets. Of course, she wanted to sign me up for another fitness assessment. I demured at first…I’ve not done the core work. I’ve gained, not lost weight…but, I have done the strength training. She assured me that I couldn’t judge my progress without another assessment.

I have less than a month to kick myself into gear…start that core work, run more often, watch my diet. The problem right now is that I am so busy with my younger daughter’s sports schedules, softball and basketball practices and games, that I’ve not been able to commit to any races. I find that signing up for races is the best way to get myself out on the road and running, so this is the crux of my running problem. So, I will look for a couple of races that can fit into this busy schedule. I’ve also found a trick to get in some core work…a 30 day plank challenge. Now, I don’t know if there is any merit to it, but theoretically, it will get me from 20 seconds on the first day to four and a half minutes by day 29…then whatever you can manage on day 30. As for my diet, well that will take a little more work to figure out.

So, after my workout I drove home and took a shower, than met a friend for lunch. I spent the afternoon doing a little decluttering. Later I picked my daughter up from her job and made dinner. We relaxed as a family watching some crime drama TV. I enjoyed my “mental health day” and got a sense for how I could work on my goals on my days off without becoming overwhelmed.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and find the time for what matters.

 

License To Eat

I.am.H.U.N.G.R.Y…yup, I’m training for a half-marathon which is in a mere 9 days, and I am starving. I’m eating more than I was before I started training, but as it turns out, I may have given my brain the message that I am starving. My body mass index (BMI) is on the top edge of normal (i.e. on the bottom edge of overweight). So, how can my brain think I’m in starvation mode when my body has so many reserves of energy?

Yesterday I was complaining to a coworker that I was training for a half-marathon, yet I hadn’t lost any weight. On the other hand, I know that you are not supposed to try to lose weight while in training because you will be working at cross-purposes; you need more calories to keep your muscles fueled with carbs or you will have trouble reaching your running goal. Even so, as you increase your calorie burn, shouldn’t you lose weight anyway? To complicate this, I was also complaining about being hungry all the time. She said something that I should have thought of myself…even though I was eating more than normal, I was not eating enough and my body was reacting in starvation mode.20130913-222753.jpg

I guess my body likes to be this weight…I’ve maintained it for almost 9 months now. I’ll just have to wait another couple of weeks until after the race to diet and get on with the weight-loss. In the meanwhile, it’s time to pack in some carbs. Now THAT is my idea of heaven! I found a list of suggested snacks for post-run which are rich in carbs and protein without being too high in fat. It turned out that I already was eating some of them, like low-fat Greek yogurt, Nature Valley Protein Bars, and soy milk. I decided to try a few more and started with dates filled with peanut butter which turned out to be surprisingly good.

So, for once in my life, I have license to add calories because I’ve been running so much I’m creating a calorie deficit. It’s even possible that by adding calories I’ll convince my body that I’m not starving and I’ll actually lose a few pounds. I sure feel like I deserve it.

The last two days I gave myself permission to eat quite a bit more than I usually do, particularly carbs. I had two servings of a Greek Shrimp and Pasta dish last night. Today, I went out to lunch and had a green salad with nuts, fruit, and feta plus had a side of bread. This evening, I went to a picnic at my daughter’s school and ate pasta salad, berries, bread, and a slice of cake. Hmmm…I am definitely not hungry now…we’ll see how well I do on my 12 mile training run tomorrow…the last long run before the race.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and if you are training for a long race, enjoy those extra calories!

Interim Wardrobe Frustrations

I have been in a weight-loss plateau for a while…a long while…since the end of December. I keep thinking I’ll kick my weight-loss back into gear and finish my goal of losing 50 to 60 pounds. Having lost 27 already, it seems like I should be able to knock this one out in just a few months, but months have gone by and no such thing has happened. Meanwhile, I’m mostly wearing what I have in the closet and it’s getting boring. I don’t want to start buying new clothes until I’ve met my goal, but I’m in wardrobe limbo in the meanwhile.

The weight came on gradually, over the course of many years, so when I lost it I found that the clothes that started to fit were a bit older. Some of them were “hopeful” clothes that I’d bought more recently but never fit into…they still had tags on them and it’s been fun to finally fit into them. I have even more “hopeful” clothes that are still too small.

I’ve happily gotten rid of the clothes that are too big, and the clothes I’ve been wearing are even a bit baggy now, but my closet seems to be bare of my new size. I don’t know where all those clothes went. Perhaps I tossed them or donated them when they got too small, especially if they were getting old. Whatever the case, I have a closet full of clothes of many sizes, but only a few things that fit me now.

My work wardrobe, in particular is getting pretty tired. I call it my “work shirt” wardrobe as I have several golf shirts with the company logo on them that I can wear to work and they have become a staple. Early in my career, before kids, I had a nice wardrobe of skirted suits to wear to work. I had pretty pumps in many colors to coordinate with them. I had lovely blouses and attractive jewelry. Even though we are now business casual all the time, I want to get back to having a nicer wardrobe. My shirts are certainly acceptable in my work environment, but I would like to dress better.

I guess I’ve just found another one of my 50 things to accomplish before my birthday! It coordinates well with other goals such as losing weight and cleaning and organizing my closet. You’d think that training for a half-marathon would be aiding in the weight-loss process, but so far it hasn’t. Maybe as I kick things up in the coming weeks (nine mile run coming up this weekend) I’ll be able to drop some pounds.

I have a home shopping party in mid-September to attend where I can by some sharp new pieces for my wardrobe, so I even have a timeline to follow. I recently changed buildings at work and for the first time in years, the Weight Watchers at Work schedule works with mine…I am a lifetime member close to my goal weight (that I set as high as possible 22 years ago when I first joined), so theoretically I can attend for free. These things all seem to be lining up for me to finally get to my real goal weight.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in making progress along the way!

Half-Marathon Training–Week Three: Back in the Running

I’ve been struggling for the past three weeks with my running. I started the Hal Higdon Novice 2 Half-Marathon Training, 12 weeks in front of a half-marathon race. I had been running 6 miles, three times a week. I always rested at least a day between runs. I am not a fast runner, but I’ve been comfortable with my 11-minute per mile pace, slightly faster during a race.

I started out the program three weeks ago and it starts out with three-mile runs. The entire 12-week schedule is shorter runs Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and increasing longer runs on Saturdays. Even though my weekly mileage was cut back from 18 miles to just 13 the first week, 14 miles the second week, and 16 miles this last week…I was running slower than I have since I lost weight last fall. We’re talking 12 and 13 minutes a mile.

The recent heat and humidity were surely contributing to my slow-down, but I think that running more days and consecutive days played a part too. I’m definitely building up more leg muscle despite the shorter runs. Unfortunately, my left hip also started to get really sore during my runs.

I’m still going to the chiropractor for an old shoulder pain, so I told her about my hip and sure enough, I’d knocked a couple of lower back bones out of place. She nudged them back into place and taught me a nice stretch to prevent my muscles from tightening up and messing with my spine. Between the chiropractic adjustments and lots of stretching, it’s starting to get better.

Finally, after days and days of thunderstorms where the weatherman said that the next one would knock out the heat and humidity, it was finally a bit cooler and less humid this morning. I set out for a six-mile run, telling myself that this is what I was doing before I started the training, so no big deal. I dreaded plodding along at a slower pace and hoped it would be easier. I set my chrono watch and turned on my iPod and took off.

After the first mile, I was doing well…running under 11 minutes. I forgot to check again until mile 4 and saw 43 minutes and some seconds. I was doing it! I was back to my regular pace! After five miles, I was exhilarated and kept up my speed to the end. I was anxious to know my time and accidentally grabbed the watch from two corners, pushing two buttons at once. LAP and SPLIT flashed back and forth over and over again as I frantically hit button after button. Finally, I got to the time, still running and it was 1:05:57…so no matter what, I beat 11 minutes per mile. I’m BACK!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the joy in knowing that perseverance is the key to success!

Related Posts:

Half-Marathon Training–Week One: Slow Going

Half-Marathon Training–Week Two: Hammered by Humidity

Half-Marathon Training–Week Four: Questioning My Sanity

Half-Marathon Training–Week Five: Pushing My Limits

Half-Marathon Training–Week Six: The Battle Between Psyched and Psyched-Out

Half-Marathon Training–Week Seven: My First 10k Race

Half-Marathon Training–Week Eight: Tweaking Breakfast

Half-Marathon Training–Week Nine: My Second 10k

Half-Marathon Training–Week Ten: Running With A Buddy

Half-Marathon Training–Week Eleven: My Longest Run

Half-Marathon Training–Week Twelve: This Is It

My First Half-Marathon–Women Run The D

Running on Empty–Redux

As I make the transition from running 3 miles three times a week to running 6 miles three times a week, I find myself constantly exhausted. I know that my body will adjust and then I’ll be fine, or at least I hope so! I’ve considered cutting back my weekday runs to 3 or 4 miles, mostly to save time, but then it seems like too much trouble to create more running routes so I just run my 6-mile route.

Thinking back to when I transitioned from the Couch-to-5k program to actually running 5k three times a week, I recall it being a rough time. Having written about my journey, all I had to do was review my old posts to look for some inspiration, or at least proof that I could get through it successfully. I’ve given myself fresh reminders that I have run in the rain, run at 9000 feet of elevation, run at 5 a.m. on a treadmill in a darkened fitness room at an airport hotel in Mexico City. I’ve run through snide looks and comments when I was my slowest and heaviest. I’ve run when I didn’t feel like it. I ran on the treadmill through the winter, watching French-language movies for distraction. I’ve persevered. I’ve surpassed my own ambitions.

So, I know I can keep this up…at least through the summer. Summer provides so much daylight that I have time to run 6 miles before work…if I get up early enough. I could even run it after work if I didn’t have to worry about my daughter’s basketball and softball games. But come fall, the days will shorten and I’ll need a different plan. Meanwhile, I really should take advantage of the daylight to move my goals forward.

One elusive goal is to lose 50-60 pounds…weight I mostly gained in my forties and want to leave behind. I’ve lost close to 30, so I’ve made it half-way. After nearly 6 months of no weight loss, it’s time to pick it up. Looking back at my older posts, I know what I did to lose the weight and I know I can do it again. It’s a pretty simple formula, if a difficult task.

First and foremost, I need to watch what I eat and cut back on calories. Spring has been party season with weddings, graduations, and many opportunities for over-eating. I’ve got one more wedding weekend to go, and then I need to buckle down. Second, I need to increase my exercise. I’ve already done that by doubling my running, but the last time I lost weight, I made sure to walk, swim, or fence on my non-running days. Now that I’ve built up my mileage, it’s time to think about my off days. Third, I need to get back to tracking. My Fitbit One does track my steps and stairs, and (when I remember) my sleep habits, but I haven’t even looked at all the data that has accumulated.

Today, a co-worker and fellow runner, told me I should be training for the city’s half-marathon in October. I was flabbergasted. I’ve only just succeeded in doubling my distance from three to six miles…a half would mean more than doubling what I can barely do now. But, deep inside, I know she’s right. I COULD train for a half and complete it in October. Hmm…It is amazing how much confidence I’ve gained through my running.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the inspiration all around!

Related Post:

Couch Potato to Runner–Running on Empty

Anticipation, Motivation, Procrastination

I have been so busy lately in every aspect of my life and in some ways that is a life saver and in others it’s terribly disconcerting and leaves me longing for time to focus. Being overly busy is sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse. Have you been there?

This time of year has been a low point in many years…one in which I have decided to take on some huge challenge because nothing much is going on. I guess I am used to that dynamic and tend to take on big challenges this time of year. In recent years, however, this time of year is full of work obligations and my routine of taking on something new and big is at odds with my new reality.

So, I go through my weeks so very busy. I look forward to the weekends as a time to finally get something done for myself, and yet my weekends are bespoke. My younger daughter’s basketball schedule dominates my evenings and weekends…and as I anticipate this last week of basketball, I find that the success of her team means at least one more week with a championship dominating the following weekend. I love this stuff! Don’t get me wrong…I just struggle to find time for, well, me!

I am a great procrastinator. Sometimes, because I am procrastinating, I turn to something unrelated and go full throttle to accomplish something other than what I think I “should” be doing. Ha! At least I get something knocked-off of my to-do list. Not bad. When there is so much on my to-do list, this seems to be the best way to go. Is it?

Lately, I’ve put all my excess energy (provided I have any) towards losing weight and getting physically fit. Turns out, there are a lot more pulls on my time. Turns out that despite my efforts at physical fitness, I’ve not lost a pound since the beginning of the year. Turns out, that although I’ve not lost a pound since the beginning of the year, I’ve lost an inch  and a half each off of my waist, hips, and thighs.

So, this morning, I was trolling through my closet looking for that next size down. I started out as a size 14…not that I would admit it, so I pretended I was a 12. (Keep in mind that I’m at max, 5 foot 4 inches and with bird-bones). So, after losing 18 pounds, I dropped a dress size to a 10…in reality, I dropped two dress sizes, from 14 to 10. But now, I’ve lost only an additional 8 pounds without an additional drop in size…or have I? I’m wearing these overly-loose 10’s and wondering when/if I’ll fit into an 8. Gauging solely by my weight, I’m 20+ pounds from being an 8…

Never-the-less, I started trolling through my closet. I found nary an 8. What is going on? I have no clue. I found many size 6 pants, all obviously too small. Then I found a sole pair of pants that looked like they might fit…a “big” size 6. I pulled them on, past my thighs…past my hips…past my waist, zipped and buttoned. Wow! They actually almost fit. Maybe in 5-10 pounds they will be a good fit.

I recalled that I put some too-small clothes in boxes and stored them in the attic. I ventured up to the attic and found the boxes of old clothes. Sure enough, I found some of my own clothes among the out-grown children’s clothes. Most were maternity clothes and some were clothes two or more sizes too small. I did find one box of sweaters which might have a few items which would fit. Inside, and on top, was a lovely, zip-up, black cardigan…a prize, no matter what else I might find.

I am still puzzling about what I wore underneath this cardigan and even more so, what pants I wore with it…I dream of some grey, wool, trousers…but they are nowhere to be found. Now I anticipate the fun I will have in cleaning out my closet…except that I don’t have time to do it in the near future.

I find myself motivated to clean-out my closet…I anticipate the joy I will feel from getting rid of clothes that are too big or too out of date. I am feeling my way past procrastination, and yet, there are still the limitations on my time beyond my personal limits.

Find the Joy in the Journey…sometimes anticipation is a virtue worth the wait!

We Are All Wonder Women

If you’ve been following along over the last 20 months or so as I make my way towards 50, you will have seen that I’ve stumbled many times along the way. I’ve bumbled down paths that were dead-ends and I’ve retraced my steps more times than I care to admit. Yet, here I am bumbling on some more and finding a measure of success here and there. I was going to state that I am no Wonder Woman, but when I thought about it some more, I realized that not only am I a Wonder Woman, so are you…so are we all, we women and men who raise families and work so hard to improve the world in our own, many varied, ways.

So, busy as I am, I am trying to step back every once in a while and make sure that I am on the right path. Sometimes I juggle so much that I am in danger of dropping not just one ball, but getting off-balance and dropping them all. I find, however, that some of the things I do help me to keep my balance and some are more prone to knocking me off. Exercise has become something that I look to for strength, balance, and even a little grace. It helps me sleep at night too.

Even though I’m not getting as much exercise now as I was in the fall, I continue along my Weekend Warrior way, and with still some measure of success. I even thought I may have broken my weight-loss plateau yesterday, as I’d dropped two pounds…but it was back again today. Yesterday was my day to take my measurements again, as I do every four weeks. I had found a few weeks into my plateau, that I’d actually lost an inch off of my waist, hips, and thighs…those oh-so-critical areas! Well, with still no weight-loss a further four weeks along, I measured again. To my surprise, I’ve lost an additional half inch in each of the critical areas.

My clothes are getting kind of loose on me, but I’m not down a second dress size just yet. I really need to get past the plateau and drop about another 10 pounds before I reach that next goal. I’m dying to clean out my closet, but I’m just too busy and haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve decided to put a box by my closet and every time I try on something and it is too big for me, I’m going to immediately fold it and put it in the box. This way, I’ll get my closet cleaned out eventually and I won’t have to sort through things I already know are too big.

Sometimes it’s those tiny steps that I take that turn into major changes in the end; and sometimes they just end up as another box cluttering up my life…at least for now. Sometimes, being the great procrastinator that I am, I find myself compelled to work on one project when I “should” be working on another…I just go with it. After all, at least I’m getting something done that needs to be done. One friend told me that what you do when you are procrastinating is actually more important than what you are avoiding…your subconscious mind at work. Hmm…

So as I lurch my way forward and sideways and sometimes backwards, but always with an eye to the end results, I encourage you to do so too. Take that first or next step. Even if it’s in the wrong direction, you will learn what doesn’t work and can move on to something else.

Find the Joy in the Journey…celebrate your failures and your successes and even those times when you think you are only holding steady.

Re-Setting My Setpoint

Back when I was in college, a read a newly published book by Dr. Gilbert Leveille entitled, The Setpoint Diet. The theory is that every one’s body has a set weight at which it wants to stay and which it will return to if you lose or gain weight. The book gives techniques on changing your setpoint. More than 25 years later, this is still a popular theory and the book is still in print. I don’t know if the science behind the theory bears it out or not, but for the most part, the suggestions on re-setting ones setpoint weight are generally good advice for weight-loss anyway.

I have wrestled with a weight-loss plateau now for over five weeks, so it’s time to admit that after getting half-way to my goal, I’ve stalled. I remembered the setpoint theory because it occurred to me that maybe my body has settled into a new setpoint and is not going to budge unless I do something different than I’ve been doing. When I look over the major ideas in the book, as summarized in this eHow.com article, Set Point Diet, I find that I was doing them all in getting from my old weight to this new weight. Now I need to figure out how to tweak them for the next wave.

Reduce Calories Moderately

I was eating fewer calories as well as increasing my exercising. Recently, however, I find the nighttime munchies have returned. According to the setpoint theory, this is my hormones trying to regulate my fat cells to prevent me from losing any more weight. This part of the theory has been backed up by recent research. The Livestrong.com website article The Setpoint Diet, provides this citation:

“A study published in the June 2004 “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” discovered that after losing weight, people’s levels of the hormone gherlin, which stimulates appetite, remained abnormally elevated, supporting the idea that the body has hormonal mechanisms in place to regain lost weight.”

I can’t really trick my brain, and I don’t believe that will power is really a factor, so I will have to change my behavior. With all the exercise I’m getting, I can afford a few more calories a day, but I need to choose those calories wisely. Instead of eating an extra serving of pasta or pizza at 10 o’clock at night, I need to have some healthy snacks on hand that will satisfy my craving without blowing my diet. A handful of nuts or a piece of low-fat cheese are better nighttime snacks.

Build Muscle Through Exercise

Since I started running, I’ve definitely added muscle, but I haven’t done any strength training per se. The running and walking helped me drop the first 25+ pounds, but obviously is not enough to launch my second wave of weight loss. It may be time to dust off my dumbbells and fit them into my routine or to add some pushups and crunches to my day.

Vary Your Routine/Increase Intensity

Running and walking, and increasing my running speed contributed tremendously to my weight loss so far, but eventually became a routine. Now it’s time to change things up. I’ve added fencing once a week, and now swimming once a week. What I really need to focus on now is increasing my intensity. I have been reluctant to do that because it is hard work! The article suggests doing intervals of greater intensity…so I could run faster on alternating half miles…or rather quarter miles as I’m exhausted just thinking about it!  As for swimming, I could alternate a more intensive freestyle every other lap instead of sticking with my more leisurely breaststroke.

Get Plenty of Sleep

I am now getting more regular sleep, no more waking in the middle of the night and tossing and turning. That was a good first step, but I am still not getting enough sleep. I will try getting to bed earlier than I have been and see if I still can sleep through the night. That is certainly a worthy goal.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and know when to mix-up your routine!