Workout Waffle: July 21st, 2020

My three favorite pieces of at home gym equipment (and the foot pump that makes the yoga ball small space friendly. (and yes. there are technically two yoga mats there)

Morning all, things have been interesting here.  I’ve more or less had to give up my walks outside for a little while. Its not totally unexpected, its just a bit early.  Usually the dog days of August hit and drive everyone inside for sanity’s sake.  I noticed it seemed a lot hotter than I remembered from last year, but looking over my notes I saw that I was still walking until the first week of August last year.  This year that’s a no go as we frequently hit triple digits or sit just under them. I have to say there is something I find oddly disturbing about seeing a digital thermometer read 99 degrees. I’m not entirely sure why, 100 is clearly hotter, but 99 manages to bother me more somehow.

My baby checked the weather data for me and surprise, record highs.  We are actually ten degrees warmer where I live than we usually are at this time of year. 

Because clearly that’s what this year needed, a brain melting heat wave.

After all, it’s not like anything else is going on, right?  

So indoor workouts it is, at least until the heat breaks.  So today I’m going to waffle a bit about my three favorite items in my at home workout tool kit. I should probably mention that my house was built in the late 1940s. While it is quite spacious enough for us, there aren’t buckets of extra space.  As a result I have what I like to think of as a moveable gym. It goes where there happens to be space at the moment.

The first element in this set up is my Yoga mat.  Even if your activities aren’t yoga based, I highly recommend getting one.  The first thing it does is it gives you a designated workout space. So what if you had to shift aside the couch to set up your personal gym?  While that mat is down, it is a designated space and makes it feel somehow more official. 

I know that sounds a little strange, but it really is helpful, even if only psychologically.  The mat temporarily transforms the space.  Plus, it is the same mat each workout regardless if you are in the back bedroom, living room or back porch. Using the same mat each time helps signal your brain (or at least mine) that even if this is where you ate popcorn and watched bad horror movies last night (Evil Dead in case you are wondering), now it is the place where you work out.

In addition the mat is textured to keep your feet from slipping and it keeps you from sweating on the carpet.  Which are things I generally like and find helpful during my workout.

My second piece of equipment is a yoga ball.  There are a lot of workouts you can download that use the yoga ball. It is also easily collapsible when you aren’t using it so you can easily get it out of the way if need be.  If you don’t have an electric air mattress pump hanging around your house, I recommend getting the yoga ball with the foot pump.  They look silly, but they are a life saver. I think most of them come with some sort of pump, but double check before you buy. 

I really like the yoga balls because first off, the exercises done with them tend to be low impact so tender joints like knees are protected. and they are great if you are just getting started on a workout plan. Plus, when you start out a workout sitting on a giant rubber ball, it is hard not to think of it as fun.  And seriously, how often as an adult do you get to bounce around with a giant rubberized ball? In a way that isn’t condemned by society at large?

My third item has to be my leg/arm weights.  The ones I’ve got are from ProsourceFit.  They are a soft material that just feels like a bag of sand and has adjustable Velcro straps so you can move them from your ankles to your wrists.  I have size medium in case you were wondering. 

(And no this is not sponsored, I just really like ProsourceFit. If I can’t pick something up in person I tend to order from them so their name comes up a lot when I talk about my equipment. The products are good quality and they last a really long time.  Plus, they are usually on the ball with shipping.  They tend to sell out of stuff because they seem to have a high turnover rate, although they are really good about restocking if they are out of something just wait a few days and check in and it is usually restocked. At least in my experience.  I’ve been eyeing some Kettle bells for a while now as well as a replacement yoga mat – I have two layered because they are both worn out in places and need to be replaced – so I may be placing a new order soon.)

While these are currently my top three items for an at home workout, I am always willing to try new things, so that may change.  Especially as my walks are down to nil until the heat breaks. I suspect this will mean a bump up in my indoor fitness as well as closer attention to my calorie intake. So that is this week’s workout waffle. 

I’ll link Prosource Fit below in case any of you out there are looking to add to your home gym.  It is an affiliate link so if you click and then buy something from them I may receive a small commission, which goes to support this channel. Even if you don’t click the link, I highly recommend checking them out.  Everything I’ve gotten from them has been quality and reasonably priced. Sometimes getting those to lines to intersect isn’t easy, and with work out gear, quality matters. Stay safe out there, or in there as the case may be.

yoga gear

The Workout Waffle: July 14th, 2020

Yes, those are my penguin socks paired with the ankle weights.

While I stopped the Weight Loss Survival Tips Posts, I have really missed the weekly waffle about weight loss so I decided to add it back in.  While I like mentioning my workouts in my Friday Weekly Weight post, I feel that is more of just an accountability post to keep me motivated so don’t just throw in the towel mixed in with a post-game recap for the week. That way I feel I’ve done something even if the scale doesn’t move that week (or moves in the wrong direction).

This is just more of a chat really.

So lately, I have been doing some of the Chloe Ting Work outs from YouTube.  I know there seems to be a huge number of people following along with her programs. But they are good programs and they are free, I started doing the 28 day shred and sort of pared it down.  I’ve been starting the mornings with her warm up and one full exercise video and then I’m kind of done. (there are 4-5 videos recommended per day in the shred program).  I was trying to do them, but it was a bit much for me to do them all.

I’ve reached the conclusion that I am not a person who shreds.

I chip away. Like a sculptor.  A curmudgeonly one who can only deal with so much perky before my coffee. And man is she perky.

Yes, I do the workouts before my coffee.  I’ve found if I get up, go to the bathroom and put on workout clothes before I’m actually consciously awake, then I can just go into the workout before I’ve realized it.  Then halfway through, I promise myself buckets of coffee if I complete it without stopping. It’s how I get them over with each morning. (I still walk during the day, which I like, it is just the work out vid I have to tackle while half asleep)

Trickery and bribery folks. It’s a winning combo.

I can’t honestly say I miss the gym, but I will say that I do miss scheduling leaving my desk.  Plus, I did kind of like the machines. They were unnatural, but gave me story ideas for torture devices and provided people watching opportunities.

Although I am pretty sure that’s not supposed to be the point.

While I have been walking a lot lately, when it isn’t hot enough to melt the skin off my bones (yet oddly enough leave the fat behind), I’ve also been playing around with my leg weights. I actually picked up a set from ProsourceFit (I’ve linked them below if you are interested, they carry all sorts of fantastic home workout gear. I’ve been steadily adding to my collection since the arrival of Covid) and they have been a life saver.  I got the medium size leg/arm weights because they fit both my ankles and arms and instead of leaving them in the sunroom with my workout gear, I take them into the office with me. 


I allow myself to drink coffee only until ten in the morning. But the coffee pot is in the kitchen, not my office.  So I keep the leg weights on as long as I am drinking coffee.  Sometimes I do extra leg kicks and lifts (standing ones) when I move between kitchen and office.

After ten I take them off and feel light as a feather when walking around. Oddly enough, I find myself moving around a bit more just to enjoy the sensation while it lasts.  

Then throughout the day, I use the weights for my arms.  I don’t wear them constantly, that would be a bit much.  But sometimes I need to think through some wording or plan out a phone call or something and then I put them on my wrists and either do arm circles or arm lifts for a minute while I’m thinking. My arms still look a little chicken wing-esque, but I think it is helping. I know when people think of weights they generally tend to go kettle bells and dumbbells and weight balls, and I do use those, but I also really like the ankle/arm weights.

I am collecting a lot more home workout gear during quarantine actually. Some, good, some bad. Some I bought on a whim and now love, like the leg/arm weights.

It somehow doesn’t feel like I’m using weights with them, if that makes sense.  When they are on my legs I just feel like I am slogging through a heavy snow or something.

And yes sometimes that comes with one of the old nature show voices in my head

…And here we see the wild Mimsy as she makes her way across the frozen tundra in search of the elusive caffeine, a necessary component for her survival.  She will make this trek repeatedly, replenishing her inner storehouse so she can survive yet another day of seemingly endless conference calls discussing at length an issue that can be summed up in two sentences because others have become addicted to video conferencing… 

With the arms it just feels like I’m trying to distract my brain so I can think up the right words to use for whatever it is I’m actually doing, even if my muscles are sore the next morning. I’m sure it doesn’t burn a whole lot of calories, but I can feel it in my muscles and I’m pretty sure the wobbly chicken arms are wobbling less.

So that’s something. 

Plus when you take them off the Velcro makes a very satisfying ripping sound (without actually ripping anything). I have no idea why that is so satisfying, but it really is.

Now, if only I could get my baby doll to stop bringing home piles of snacks every time he goes out then I’ll be okay.  We were doing really good before Covid about not getting snacks, but stress and shopping once a month made each visit out of the house feel like an excursion.  When the two of us go together it is fine, but when he goes out alone, he comes back loaded with things not on the list.  For a while I was doing good resisting, and then the sneaky snack foods started creeping in a few bits at a time.  I think that is why even with increasing my workouts, my weight loss had plateaued during lock down.  Now that I’ve realized it, I’m starting to get it under control so hopefully soon I won’t feel like I’m standing still anymore and the weight will once again start to come off. 

So there you have it, my first Workout Waffle. I’m going to try to post these once a week, either Tuesday or Wednesdays. Mostly because I really miss talking to you about weight loss and workout stuff now that I’m not doing the weekly tip. I hope you enjoy them as well.

yoga gear

Home Fitness: Let the Weights begin!

a set of five pound weights

Before I get started I have to say an apology to the world of yoga. I always knew it was exercise, but I thought it secondary to the gym. I have to say this morning when I got up, I could feel yesterday’s short bout of yoga. First of all I congratulated myself on taking it slow when getting started and easing myself into the new routine instead of dashing headlong into a full hour long workout.

I may have worked in the gym, but yoga is different. It feels easier when you are doing it somehow yet when you aren’t looking manages to kick your butt. It talks about breathing and calming stress while making you sweat.

It’s a sneaky sort of exercise.

I have to say I respect that.

For those of you who missed yesterday’s post I completed the Fifteen Minute Morning Yoga Routine from SarahBethYoga yesterday as my first stay at home fitness venture. I liked and repeated it this morning. Although I was a bit sore this morning, the routine loosened me up and made me feel better about doing other workouts.

Which was good because it was Tuesday and time for Weights. Yeah my weight options pretty much include the hand weights you see pictured above and a five lbs weight ball that I am pretty sure is buried somewhere in my closet.

So for today’s starting workout I walked a couple of laps between bursts of rain around my neighborhood. I used a large golf umbrella and my yellow rubber rain boots instead of my sneakers. My arches aren’t entirely happy with me but I found a set of Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts that I could tuck into the boots should they be necessary tomorrow. It’s not ideal, but we still have flooding. So I’ll take the sore feet.

Added to this was my hand weight workout. The specific one I tried today was called Workout with 5 Pound Weights – Home Workout with Dumbbells by Jessica Valant Pilates It is about ten minutes long, which I thought was good for a first workout with weights. It only uses the weights as the necessary equipment and was easy to follow along. There was no point where I was lost or confused and most importantly I could do all of the exercises. A few towards the end weren’t as stellar as the presenter’s versions, but I did them.

I also might have said a few not so nice things about people who actually seem to enjoy working out with weights, but I don’t think the people on the television heard me.

I hate weight day. I’ll be honest, I know it is important and I know I need to do it, hence the reason I schedule it, but I hate it.If I could get away with just walking I would. But I can’t. And since I can’t this was a good beginner workout for me to do. And as much as I complain about it, I will be doing it again on Thursday.

Tomorrow I will be trying a yoga fitness ball routine and will hopefully manage to neither explode the ball nor propel myself into a wall. At least if I do knock myself out on the wall, I know I won’t be home alone. Starting tomorrow my darling dearest will be working from home. He is not the sort of person to whom working at home comes naturally. He is very much a work is work and home is home and never should the two meet.

I’m sure there will be some adjustments.

As well as someone to make sure I don’t brain myself on the wall. Once I have the yoga ball routine I will be set for a week or so. It (or a routine I like) will be for Monday, Wednesday and Friday while I go for the weights on Tuesday and Thursday and then continue with the fifteen minute wake up as my initial morning stretch during week days. Hopefully the weather will clear up and I will then get to exchange my rain boots for sneakers and I will have some semblance of a set routine. Then if I get bored, I can branch out. I have no idea how long the world will be upended, and personally despite random predictions, I don’t think anyone else knows either. I suspect howeve it will last long enough for my new routine to become routine and need shaking up.

But this week is about set up. Next week will be about monitoring and adjusting. Today we worry about our own sanity, tomorrow we worry about the world’s collective sanity. As my Gran used to say, “Everything in it’s own time.”

I’m not entirely sure she meant pandemics, but I’m gonna run with it.

For those looking to start their own home fitness routine I’m going to post a few links below you might find useful in gearing up. (Hanesbrands Inc.)

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At Home Fitness Begins

My at home equipment

Last week, as far as weight loss goes, was a complete and utter bust. I completed no workouts, my menu plan went out the window due to grocery shortages and believing the world of fired restaurant food would soon be taken from him, my darling dearest came home with every assorted food he could think of to pick up from a take out place, most of which neither of us has eaten in over a year. As the phone rang off the hook and time was mostly spent checking on elderly relatives scattered in multiple countries, the comfort food was well appreciated. In addition to no workouts I think I binge ate more than four times my normal calorie budget each day.

But I made my peace with that.

I also didn’t step on the scale last Friday in an effort to preserve my own sanity.

But now that things are locked down for the most part, my sanity depends on regular exercise. So with all the gyms closed I am working out at home.

For those who have been reading my posts for a while, you will know that a big part of my exercise regime includes walking. It is low impact, and because I generally use the walking trail near my house it gets me some fresh air. It also provides breaks during my day so I am not always sitting at a computer.

The walking trails were put in the low lying flood prone areas to make use of mostly unusable land. Unfortunately when it floods, the trail is under water. It has been raining a lot lately. So even though today we only had intermittent rain, the trail was still under water. Luckily the houses are on higher ground as are the streets. So I, like a couple of my neighbors, have been taking advantage of the completely empty streets and the few breaks in the rain to get in a little outside time. So I’ve gotten some walking in today, while still maintaining my social distance.

I’ve also gone back to measuring my portion size and counting my calories. Stress eating at the moment is my biggest thing to avoid. While all of this is fine and standard. I am missing my gym. It is closed and I need some replacements. So I have turned to various sources to find them. Today, as the phones are still ringing, I added a fifteen minute morning yoga routine to my day courtesy of SarahBethYoga. If you click on the link it will take you to the video I tried.

Despite having a yoga mat, it has been a long time since I tried any yoga. I was somewhat nervous so I started with the fifteen minute routine. I figure I can do just about anything for fifteen minutes if I put my mind to it, with a few notable exceptions of course. Now while I have lost a substantial amount of weight (a little over 40 lbs at this point), I am still no light weight. I am probably at least ninety to a hundred pounds heavier than the woman in the video. I still managed to get through it relatively easily.

It was a good morning stretch and I will admit I did not do so well with the bending over and putting my hands on the ground part. I did use that as an extra stretch and figured the more I tried to do it the better I would get at the pose. I will aslo admit, my transitions, especially when it involved my knees and the floor, were not what anyone would call graceful. Still I made it through the video and I think I am going to add it to my morning routine. My plan is to build up a selection of workouts, alternating days, for example using Monday, Wednesday and Friday as flexibility work with yoga and then use Tuesday and Thursday as days to work with weights.

And as there are hundreds, if not thousands of videos in various sites available right now, I am sure to find enough that I can do with what I have and that I actually like doing. I think this one is definitely a keeper. Also as it is a basic stretching routine, I can use it as a warm up, even when I am doing other workouts. So I am well on my way to building a stable substitute workout routine at home. Also keeping myself moving keeps me from going stir crazy even if the rain is limiting my outside time.

Tomorrow, I will try to find a weight based one to start me off.Wish me luck.

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Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #42: Sanity and Acceptance

At the moment, the world has gone a little mad. My doomsday prepper neighbor is strutting around as though finally vindicated and I’ve learned that in the face of danger, people apparently stockpile toilet paper, chicken and milk. Entire sections of the grocery store shelves are completely empty.

while we have plenty of toilet paper. The usual amount actually, not a stock piled one, I would have liked to have added an extra emergency pack when I went grocery shopping last weekend, but I’ll live.

My menu plan was sort of torpedoed though as many of my staples were nowhere to be found. My babydoll and I tried to skew healthier with our in store recalculations, but I suspect meals are going to be heavier this week than usual. I’ve accepted that.

I also planned not to be in the gym this week, which is a good thing as my gym will apparently be closed until at least April 6th. With the machines providing less than six feet of distance between those working out, they felt incapable of assisting with ‘social distancing’.

Can I just say, I am amazed at how quickly that term has now become a part of the daily lexicon?

Part of social distancing involves most of the people I know now working from home. It has also led to the number of phone calls I get during the work day escalating dramatically as people call around to check on those they love. I appreciate being loved and I have been calling family and friends as well, particularly the older ones.

All of this us understandable and even expected.

However it does lead me to realize that I need to revise my personal expectations.

The gym is closed. Rain is sheeting down outside preventing walking on the walking trail (which is currently underwater at the moment). The constant communication means every twenty minutes there is a somewhat lengthy interruption.And food is hit or miss. Adding in basic stress and weight loss at the moment isn’t really a focus.

For my own sanity I need to accept that while I will be doing my best, some things are beyond my control. I have a set of weights at the house and if the weather clears up I will walk. I will monitor my portion size, but I am not going to worry about the scale.I know that even if I don’t lose any weight this week, even if I gain weight this week, or however long this stretch of coronavirus based insanity lasts, once I am through it and my stress level drops and the word returns to normal, my weight will once again be on a downward trend. My train is more resting at the station rather than being derailed.

I don’t know how normal or crazy your world is at the moment but whatever your personal goals, I hope you realize that sometimes allowing yourself to mentally hit pause is the best thing you can do. Beating yourself up for not meeting a weekly weight loss goal is cruel and unusual punishment and I would hope that as you take care of yourself and your family, you are nicer to yourself than that. Because you deserve better.

I’m trying to remember the same thing for myself.

Its harder than I thought it would be. I am always more understanding towards others than I am to myself. But I know I deserve better too. So I’m going to try for sanity and acceptance and not add to the insanity.

Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #36: Perky People

I am not one of the worlds most perky people. I will never be the one to lead a group cheer or sing along. Sarcasm is my home turf. I don’t know if you can lead a group in mocking, but if you could then I would be your gal. Just think of the cheer replacements.

‘They think their team is going to win, what do we say to that?”

(crowd call back) ‘Oh really.’

Remember everyone, draw out the words of the call back response and favor the opposing team with the one eyebrow lifted head tilted look we practiced all week for optimum mockitude to really cause them to question their self worth.

I really think Mock Squad could catch on. It would certainly take the first group of cheerleaders favored with it by surprise. And just think of the game day t-shirt motifs. And the pep rallies.

Although technically I don’t think you can call them pep rallies. But hey, if your team has a history of not taking home the trophy, this could be a method that works for you.

Okay, a little off track. As I said, perky isn’t my wheelhouse. It is however where my mother lives so I have had to visit on occasion.

I was issued a passport.

Under normal circumstances, this is not a bad thing. The world needs both perky people and those who favor sarcasm. It would go off kilter if all of us were only one of those options. A world unbalanced would be utter madness and no one would be happy for very long. It needs us both.

The problem is that the world of fitness and weightloss is ruled and completely dominated by those who tend to live more on the perky side of the spectrum. Which can be a bit daunting. I was reminded of this more forcibly this week when I hauled out some of my old work out DVDs in an attempt to add variation to my routine.

Man, that’s a lot of perk.

Now if you are the sort of person who responds well to enthusiastic encouragement – You can do it – Go team go – All that matters is that you just keep trying woooo – then this tip might not be for you. If you don’t always respond well to cheerleader style encouragement or are friends with someone in this category, you might find this helpful.

For those of you not wanting the perky vs. sarcastic line, then think of it as the eternal Mills vs. Nitzschke. Put simply, Mills claimed it was the intent that mattered regardless of whether you are successful or not (Go team go, it doesn’t matter if you’ve lost the last 15 games, because you are trying) vs. Nitzschke’s take which can be boiled down to intent only matters if you are successful.

I know sort of an extreme cliff’s notes version but at least you can say you learned something.

Although I can mentally see both philosophers spinning in their graves at my descriptions and the use to which their philosophies are being put.

I tried many times to lose weight and failed, often ended up adding more weight than I started with. I finally have a system that works for me. i may be inching forward, but I am still inching. Because of this tried and failed history of mine, the optimistic cheering (Mills) doesn’t work for me. I always have the intent. I have had the intent with every previous diet.

To me, it means very little unless it works.

So I put my inner mocking prowess to work for me. Inside my head (mostly because during workouts I am a) out of breath and b) trying not to annoy others) instead of thinking encouraging thoughts, I mock.

‘You did ten reps on your last visit to the gym. Are you saying that now you can’t do ten reps any more? Oh are they harder to do on Wednesday than they were on Monday? Hmm…imagine that.’

‘You said you were going to add another weight to this machine today because the lighter weights last time were too easy, can you not do five more pounds? Is five pounds just too heavy for you precious?’

I’m sure there is a psychologist out there sighing and wondering when I am coming in for a session, but this isn’t mocking to tear myself down. This is mocking for a cause. I simply don’t respond well to generalized encouragement. I respond well to a plan and a method to keeping me on that plan. I make the plan, adjusting it to what my body is doing and then I use my own internal mocking to keep me on track.

It works for me.

If you try this trick though, be aware, keep it light, you are trying to get yourself to do the additional rep you promised you’d add today, not tear yourself to shreds. Also remember you are in the land where Perky RaRa lives. You just have a day pass. You don’t need to make a stand. You are just there to do what you need to do, not stage a hostile takeover. Accept that, let the perk wash over you and keep the mocking internal.

I’m pretty sure security gets called if you use your out loud voice.

Just know, you aren’t the only one out there. And soon you can return to where sarcasm lives.

Don’t worry, we’ll have a cold dry martini waiting.

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Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #35: Boredom and Variety

Yesterday I realized something. I finished my circuit with the weights and beginning to walk on the treadmill and I realized how routine it all was. I also realized how tired of it I was. I was bored.

During the warmer months I walk on my walking trail and only go to the gym for weights and strength training. While I can deal with the cold (if I have to) the trail is in a flood plain. while it makes great use of otherwise unusable land, when it rains, it is flooded. we have had a very wet winter this year.

On the walking trail, each day is a little different than the day before. The people are mostly the same, but there are a wide variety of them. Some are on their own, running or clearly training for something or other. Those people are interesting to watch for their focused intensity. I also find it inspiring to see their progress. Usually I don’t talk much to them but occasionally we converse. It is also gratifying to know that they see my progress. especially on days where I can’t see any.

There are also groups from the nearby office building compound that backs on to the walking trail. Many of those offices encourage their employees to use the trail. I believe their are health insurance discounts for some due to step count and I know at least once a year the different offices host relay races and competitions as there are signs and t-shirts. I think it might actually be one company with many offices in a large compound. Occasionally I see accountants trash talking salespeople and various t-shirt slogans.

Other times they are just in groups with their work clothes, shoes replaced with sneakers for the break in routine. I’ll admit, the writer in me requires that I turn my music down low and occasionally listen to small snippets. It is never more than a few seconds though, I just want a sentence or two I can spin out into a completely unrelated tale while I walk. It makes me happy.

Along the sides of my walking trail there is a disk golf course. My brother adores the game and tries to tell me about it repeatedly. Apparently this course is considered a good one. I don’t see the appeal. But then I don’t really see the appeal of regular golf either. What I do like is seeing the teams. I like watching them try to figure out how to get over the creek and what to do when they hit the creek. Mostly I like when they bring their dogs to the course and then have to figure out how to keep their dogs from chasing the frisbees.

It is always a losing venture, but it is fun to watch.

The gym does not really have that variety. It has loads of people but everyone seems to function on a set course. Tags are scanned at the entrance and people move from desk to lockers to machines. They plug in headphones, they watch televisions. They don’t converse and there are no demented squirrels freaked out by frisbee seekers, be they human or canine.

Sometimes people make faces. Other times they try to get sneakily competitive without letting you know directly that they are trying to beat you. But most of the time everyone moves about in their own little world. while I appreciate being left alone to do what I went to the gym to do, and I of course leave others alone. It isn’t very interesting. It is fine interspersed with other activity.

On its own, it is boring.

Most exercise gurus espouse variation in your workout plans. I believe they site muscle fatigue and weight loss plateaus in those spiels. I’ll admit that I haven’t been losing weight as consistently as I’d like (and considering I have dinner out both tonight and Thursday night one for my Baby’s work and one because we have friends passing through town, I suspect this week won’t be a big if any, loss week) but I think most of that is stress as the world has been going a little crazy around me for the past few weeks.

I don’t think they consider just general boredom. They might, I don’t know. But I’ve decided to heed their advice regardless. I am looking at various classes like dance or yoga in my area. Stashed in my closet I also have a selection of workout DVDs I may cycle through as well, just to give me some variation. I also bought a jump rope.

In addition, I have my dreams of spring. Now instead of just thinking of starting my seeds in the greenhouse for transplant into the garden I am dreaming of a return to the walking trail and the wider variety that the non-closed world of the gym can’t really emulate.

Here’s hoping that variety is the cure for boredom. And that the walking trail dries out soon. And that I don’t do myself some ill with the jump rope.

Weight loss Regime Survival Tip # 35: Dress for Success

I am not a person who enjoys the cold. I recognize the necessity of winter. I know that several of my vegetables need a snap of frost in order to grow correctly. I get the whole seasonal shift. And don’t get me wrong, I love autumn when the air is crisp and snappy, but I do not enjoy the winter. While I will throw a snowball, when planning any sort of ski vacation, my plans revolve around the hot chocolate.

It is my natural proclivity to go out as little as possible once the temperatures reach a certain low. I want to be left alone until spring and the little snowdrops, crocuses and daffodil shoots dot the earth and beckon me from my pseudo hibernation.

That is however, not an option. Life goes on and cold or not I am a part of it.

And so the personal trickery begins.

Because I do not have a gym in my house, I must therefore leave the house to get to the gym. Sad but true. That is part of the reality. Don’t get me wrong, I have no trouble going out in the cold to do necessary tasks like grocery shopping, work, doctor’s visits and so forth. I just don’t want to add anything extra to take myself outside if it is unnecessary.

And despite needing the gym to lose weight, especially in the winter when my favorite walking paths are alternately flooded with winter rains or blasted with bitter winds, my brain still doesn’t see the gym as a necessity. It is something I choose to do not something required to sustain life. So I must trick myself if I want to continue to go.

The best way I have found to trick myself into going to the gym when I don’t really want to?

Clothing selection.

That’s right, I dress for success. (go ahead, think that in your best cheesy 1980’s movie/television voice, I did.)

Because my gym is packed to the rafters until about 8:30-9 each morning with people trying to get workouts in before heading to the office (or showering post workout so they don’t stink up the office) and my schedule is flexible, on my gym days I leave the house around 9 ish (sometimes later) so that the crowd clears out. I don’t like to have to hunt for lockers any more than I like standing around waiting for machines.

I also get up a little before seven. Normally (aka the warm months) when I have no trouble leaving the warmth of my home I don’t dress for the gym until just before leaving. What I wear depends on if there is a video conference that morning. Those mornings I look sharp from the waist up while still wearing my pajama pants. Just don’t tell anyone.

Not everyone appreciates fuzzy cookie monster themed sleepwear.

Which is sad.

On cold mornings when I know I am not going to want to go to the gym, I put on my workout clothes as soon as I am out of bed. Before I even wash my face and put the coffee on to brew, I have wrestled myself into my sports bra, yoga pants and cheap cotton t-shirt.

I find it harder to talk myself out of going to the gym if I have already gone to the trouble of putting on the gym clothes. I know I am not going to sit all day with my sport’s bra squashing my boobs. I know that sitting around in a t-shirt, which more than likely has sweat stains or is looking a little worse for wear due to so many extra washings, is going to drive me to go change clothes.

Thats why when I know the temperatures are going to plummet and I am not going to want to go out, I make sure to select the grubbiest gym shirt from my pile of still acceptable gym shirts to wear.

I know I have a limit to how long I can wear it.

For me, I think the wearing of the gym clothes preps my brain. It tells me that the decision to go has already been made. I don’t have to like it, I just have to accept it.

Also changing out of gym clothes without having sweat in them first feels like failure. It feels like a defeat. I may not be the world’s most competitive person, But I try not to defeat myself.

So once I put on the gym clothes I almost always go to the gym.

I find this is a trick that works on cold days, rainy days, over cast days and days I am just not feeling like like going because the scale hasn’t moved in a while and I feel it is all an exercise in futility.

If I put those clothes on then, by god, I am going to sweat in them before I take them off again. If I chose to not put them on the next gym day then so be it, but today they are already on.

It’s a little thing, but for me, it has proven quite beneficial. I don’t know if I am the only one who talks themselves out of workouts, but if you have the same inclination, perhaps this little trick will work for you as well.

Weight loss Regime Survival Tip # 34: Sabotage

Almost every weight loss advocate I’ve tuned into suggests sharing your weight loss journey. Pick a friend and work out together is often repeated. I’ve also heard check in with someone so you don’t feel like your going at it alone. My favorite is of course let your family and friends know so they can be encouraging.


I think part of the work out with a buddy is the old misery loves company adage.

But as your Mother no doubt warned you when you were younger, or at least mine did, you need to choose your friends carefully. This applies doubly so to partners in crime for weight loss.

I actually have a couple of friends currently ducking my calls because they wanted to join me in my weight loss adventure at the beginning, then changed their minds. Starting a massive weight loss journey is one of those things that sounds like a good idea at the start, then sore muscles and life sort of get in the way and it gets put on the back burner. I made a conscious effort not to let it get put on the back burner.

And trust me, it was a conscious effort.

There may be a way to lose a lot of weight with only thirty minutes a day, but I haven’t found it. I’m sure the thirty minutes are great if you are shaving off a few pounds, training for a physical event or just staying active. When your goal is to lose half of your body weight over the course of the journey it takes time. First off you know you will be on the weightloss journey for a couple of years, second its going to take up a chunk of your day.

Adding that time is an adjustment and not everyone wants to make that adjustment.

So after a few months they avoid you until they think you forgot that they ever wanted to work out with you in the first place. Then things go back to normal and it is never mentioned again.

At least in my world. Maybe I just have those sorts of friends.

I do also have some friends it is great to work out with.

But then I also have my darling dearest. My honey bun. My love.

The Saboteur.

About the time I decided I was in for the long haul with weight loss, my darling, who is no light weight either, I must say, landed in the hospital for high blood pressure mixing with a sinus infection. The result felt like a heart attack and we went to the hospital. A few terrifying hours later, we found out it wasn’t.

He was however ordered to lower his salt intake and to lose weight. The visit scared him enough that he agreed. So he began his weight loss adventure. Incidentally his first step was to hand me the list of foods he could no longer eat and make googoo eyes as he told me that he knew if anyone could make it taste good it was me.

I think he actually thinks I have a magic wand stashed somewhere for kitchen use.

At least he now complains less when I add more vegetables to his diet.

Now, I have been keeping track of my weight on a weekly basis and I do type it into a spreadsheet (because that is just me) but sometimes I don’t input it right away and add the date and weight to the corner of my dry erase board in the office and then catch up my spreadsheet later. Sometimes my darling uses my office and it turns out he noticed the numbers.

He also noticed that I have lost a little over 3 pounds more than he has.

Did I mention he is competitive?

Highly competitive.

So to give himself an edge, he started bringing home little treats for me whenever he goes out. A small wedge of a highly caloric cheese I like. A bag of salty fatty goodness I’ve been avoiding. And then he tells me in the sweetest tones that he was thinking of me and thought I might like a little treat.

I should also point out that his weaknesses are all in the sweet category so these treats don’t affect him.

I finally confronted him and he admitted that he just wanted to catch up.

He wanted to win.

So I caught up my spreadsheet, erased the dates from my figures on the dry erase board and left the last weight. Thinking I stalled he has stopped trying to sabotage me because he thinks he is now winning the ‘race’ and things have gone back to normal in our house.

Yup, a reason not to slack on catching up the paperwork.

I know that was a long way to go, but the message was that while having a weight loss companion can be good, it can provide encouragement and help in the rough patches (which despite his recent sabotage my baby does give me) partners can also be occasionally detrimental.

Whether it is the love of your life of a friend you work out with, they can have a big impact. Just remember, even if you love them, they aren’t always marching with you. they may have a bad day and feel like being negative about everything around them. they may want to be losing weight faster than they are. They may think that you are doing ‘better’ than them and resent it. Don’t get me wrong, they can easily be highly motivational and encouraging. If you think someone is dragging you down, adjust. Don’t lose the friendship, just recognize the temporary separation of the path you are both walking. Sometimes its just a bad day, other times it is not. Sometimes you can let them go, other times they are an intrinsic part of your world. Just identify the effect and figure out a way to deal with it, without derailing yourself. Even if that identification is only in your head.

After all, they can still be good company to keep, just don’t take them to the gym.

Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #21: Embrace the Silly

yo ho ho

Despite what health fanatics proclaim, working out is not exactly a natural thing. Sure running is natural, if something is chasing you. Walking is natural, if you want to get somewhere. Add in a circular walking trail or a treadmill and the natural is not so much. Unless your walking trail features a pack of wild dogs. Then running is natural. But then so is calling the dog catcher and finding a new walking trail.

The gym is even less natural. Lets face it most of the machines are designed to isolate and work certain muscles. They do that because in nature we don’t exercise those muscles. maybe it is because we no longer run from packs of wild dogs. Maybe we are couch potatoes who would use those muscles more if we didn’t decide to spend the weekend watching a Hellraiser marathon instead of doing something productive. Or possibly the reason we once relied on those muscles to save us no longer exists.

Personally, I like thinking I have a muscle group that is designed to help me take down a wooly mammoth or fight off a saber toothed tiger. I doubt it’s true, but I like to believe it.

Now I’m not saying it isn’t good to run or walk or use the machines at the gym. At the moment I am doing all three. While I do my three times a week gym visits and walk every day, I also decided to try out one of those couch to 5K programs. Personally instead of hearing the perkily pleasant voice in my ear telling me ‘You are half way through this segment’s run. Good job. Keep going.’ I would rather hear someone yell that the saber toothed tiger is still chasing me.

But maybe that is just me.

At the gym, I will admit I felt a bit silly using the machines. While I do the routines I’m supposed to with the pulling and lifting followed by the machine that is intent on flashing my crotch to the room while I struggle to pull my knees together (I’m actually glad that in this gym that machine faces a wall, which means I’m not the only one who has issues.) I gravitate towards machines that do activities.

Like stair masters, treadmills and the rowing machine.

I love the rowing machine. Now. At first I was very self conscious about using it. There was a very wiry and fit man in my gym who used one of the machines regularly. He intimidated me because he went super fast and if in the water he would be the speed boat while I was in the leaky dinghy. He was a very nice man and I doubt he even noticed I was there. He was very focused. When he was done he stood up, wiped down the machine and left, never once looking in my direction. It was only my own insecurities making me feel silly about using the rowing machine.

But I liked the machine. So I decided to get over myself and embrace the silly. To help me, I downloaded a copy of Treasure Island to my ipod. I also got a bunch of nineteenth century sea shanties into a play list. At the start I listened to Robert Louis Stevenson (or the man reading his words since he is long dead and not in the recording studio). Oddly rowing while listening to pirates plan a mutiny worked well for me. As did the sea shanties. It also helps that the rowing machine faces the weights area and the tall machines with pulleys can, if you squint and are of a bent mind, look like ship’s riggings. I suppose that means the muscled men gathered around it are the pirates.

Go figure.

Pretending I was being marooned and trying to catch up with the pirate ship leaving me behind helped me work to increase my speed and pull harder than I actually thought I could.

It isn’t as hard as the man imitating a speed boat. But I no longer notice. I now pay him about as much attention as he does me. Which means none at all.

Rowing on dry land in the midst of a bunch of other machinery is a silly thing to do if you stop to think about it. But it is helpful for the body. And quite frankly I enjoy my time of piracy in the middle of my work out. I know most fitness gurus advocate being present in the moment and focusing on what your body is doing. But frankly, if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to work out. Embracing the silliness of it all and turning it into a game or a scene from a book or movie keeps me returning to the machines.

And with the rowing machine sorted, all I need to do now is find a running program that helps me pretend something is chasing me. Then I’ll be all set. Until then, avast ye land lubbers and prepare to be boarded. Once I catch you that is, which admittedly could take a while.