Recovery Week: What I Learned


Oh workouts- how I’ve missed you.  I took the last week completely off from working out because I was BURNT OUT.  I desperately needed a week off and it did me a lot of good.  What I want to share here is what I learned in the last week and a few things that I noticed earlier but did not pay attention to.

So in the last week- I learned that just like I need time to unwind when it comes to the end of the work week- I also need time to unwind from working out.  I need some time when I can just sleep in every morning and not worry too much about what exactly I am eating.  Also- my body really needs the time to rest and rebuild from all the weeks of no prolonged rest. While I had a few more aches and pains than normal this week (thank you cold weather)- I felt that my muscles were much stronger and more stable when I got back to my workout today.  I also am now feeling the post workout high that I have kind of missed in the last few months because I looked at working out as an obligation.  And not something that I get to do.

In the last week, I have also thought a bit about some of the things that pushed me towards that point of being completely burnt out.  One of those things is that I am a bit of a perfectionist.  I want to do the absolute best that I can do all the time and while I have gotten better at being able to accept what I am not good at- this whole maintaining weight loss and losing weight thing was something that I could not really accept. That was not really the best place to be.  So- I am trying to just work on where I am and keep the long term goal in the back of my mind.  When that long term goal is up front- it pretty much makes it difficult to even celebrate the tiny successes that are super important to celebrate.

Another thing that I should have paid attention to earlier was the fact that I was no longer excited to work out.  I did it because I felt obligated to do it.  I did it because people expected me to have this to talk about and I felt the pressure to keep it up.  From here on out- there are going to be well defined off weeks.  Weeks when I force myself to take a step (or 5) back and think about all of the other things that are going on in my life and work on those things as well.  I do work on those things while working on my fitness- but I do not dedicate as much time to them as I should.  So, I’m going to try to find more balance over the next few months.  Not be so hard on myself when the scale does not look the way I want it to right now and have some faith that all of the things will fall into place so long as I keep working.

So- that’s recovery week. It was good for me.  It allowed me to re-focus and now I am able to work on the things that I really want to work on again with renewed vigor.  Until next time- have a great time and keep working to make yourself the best person that you can be!

Managing Weight Loss: Jenny’s Method: #1 REIGN IT IN

Accepting There Will Be Ups and Downs Is Essential

Accepting There Will Be Ups and Downs Is Essential

Oh my goodness!  We have made it to the last week of these tips and I have loved gathering and doing these.  It has been a great way to look at my mom’s life and see what she has really done to keep herself in shape.

For me- REIGN IT IN- is her number one method of managing her weight.  Why is that?  It is because this is the most realistic part about maintaining weight loss- there will be moments when some of the weight comes back.  There will be moments when my weight fluctuates and that is okay- just so long as I remember to reign it in and concentrate on my weight once it reaches my 5 pound leeway zone.

For years my mom stayed within 5 pounds of her goal weight, pretty much year round.  And how did she do that?  She had a firm ‘line in the sand’ about how much she would allow herself to gain before she locked back down on her nutrition and fitness.  In real life- once we reach our goal weight- we are still very likely to workout and eat well, most of the time, but it will not necessarily be with the same vigor that we used while we were in the active weight loss phase.  And that is okay.  I learned from ‘reign it in’ that this is an essential part of weight management and an essential part of not continually being hard on myself. Leeway is key.

So for those of you out there that go ‘5 pounds is too much!’ or ‘5 pounds is too little!’- these are just general guidelines.  I know for me that 5 pounds is a pretty good range AND that much more than that will have me go into a full blown back slide and that is absolutely something that I want to AVOID.  Reign it in is about being realistic with where your body is comfortable and you are comfortable with what you must do to maintain that particular weight.  Reign it in is about accepting the ups and downs and working with them to get better results in the long run.  Reign it in- is about living your life the way that you want without constant fear of the scale and of being your ‘goal weight’.  And that is why ‘reign it in’ is number one.

Do you have any requests for a new Saturday Special series?  Anything you want me to dig into and find you some answers?  Leave suggestions in the comments!

Work On You Wednesday: Do What You Love

What Do You Love? For Me- Getting In a Good Sweat Is Just One Thing I LOVE to Do!

What Do You Love? For Me- Getting In a Good Sweat Is Just One Thing I LOVE to Do!

This week for, Work On You Wednesday, I want to take time to talk about doing the things that make you happy.  And not just a little happy, but truly happy in your life.

On my page, I started talking about this a little bit yesterday, but as I thought about it last night and this morning, I realized that this topic deserved an entire blog article.  Not just 50 to 100 words with a pretty picture on facebook.

Here is one of the things that I have learned about working on myself as a person and that is the fact that it makes me question what I really like about myself.  It makes me question things that I do and say because I am consciously focusing on spending my time to becoming the absolute best version of myself that I can be.  This introspection is good, but I have found that I sometimes as I go down a road of change, I forget about the things in my life that make me truly happy. How is this possible?  Well- I’m working to change me.  I am working to improve in the areas of life that I struggle in and while I am alright at multi-tasking, I sometimes forget to take sometime to not work on ‘change’ and to just enjoy what I like to do.

At this point in my life- there are three big things that I truly love to do: create, cook and exercise.  I do not love reading the books that I am required to read for my master’s courses and I certainly do not love spending hours writing papers.  That is not the sort of creative outlet that I need in my life and for the last several months- I have spent a lot of time on things that do not necessarily make me happy, but have to be done and I am starting to feel the imbalance.

So- I am consciously taking a step to work on this.  As much as I have said ‘take time each day to do what you love’- I have not necessarily been living that and I feel it (although that may also be a touch of S.A.D. coming into the mix since I average seeing 2.5 hours of daylight right now).  A huge part of writing these articles, is to remind myself of things that I need to do to work on me, to be a better me.

Sloppy, handwritten, masterpiece in the making...and pretty feel good therapy to boot

Sloppy, handwritten, masterpiece in the making…and pretty feel good therapy to boot

So last night- I pulled out my ‘work in progress’ of a book and I started writing.  I wrote for about thirty minutes last night and a couple of hours this morning.  I wrote a story that I will hopefully, someday, share with all of you.  Yes, it is fiction, and no- it does not have anything to do with weight loss, emotional health or any of the normal things on this blog- but it does have one thing to do with this blog- and that is that writing makes me emotionally healthy.  That writing cleanses my soul and makes me happy.  It makes me feel like a better person to be able to express myself in a creative way and not just write long papers that deal with the various consequences of a particular international intelligence snafu. Filling pages with thoughts and ideas makes me feel more like myself than almost anything else that I have done lately.

See- this whole journey is not always about finding new things- sometimes it is about re-discovering the things that once made me tick.  Sometimes it is about dusting off my old notebooks and reading through a few half-written stories.  Other days it is about moving all of the furniture out of the way and dancing like no one is watching.  It is through these things that I have been able to find contentment way down, deep, in my soul.  It is through connecting to the things that make me the person I am that I am able to share my story with all of you who read this.  It is how I share as much honesty as I possibly can and how I trust that those of you who read this will accept that honesty as me trying to show you that you can go out and build yourself into the best person you want to me as well.  And that, my friends, is what I truly want you to do today.  Go out and do something you love and find just a little bit more of who you are along the way.

Managing Weight Loss: Jenny’s Method: #2 YOU GOTTA EXERCISE

Exercise Is Key

Exercise Is Key

We’re on tip #2 this week and I am going to finally talk about exercise.  Most of the other things that I have talked about somehow have to do with nutrition (not a coincidence), but now I am going to take some time to talk about exercise.

Over the past 27 years I have watched my mom block off time to workout, pretty much every day.  Her favorite form of exercise is walking.  On a treadmill.  For her, it works, she gets her thirty minutes in while watching Oprah (or now Steve Harvey) and she is pretty much set for the day.  Recently, she has started adding in some strength exercises to her cardio, as she has realized this is another important part of being fit and maintaining weight loss.

I have taken a bit of a different vein when it comes to exercise- I prefer home workout programs like: T25, Piyo and P90X3.  I can not stand a treadmill.  The idea of it just drives me crazy, but that is just me and for me I can not do it.  Ultimately though-  exercise and exercise is super important to helping your maintain your weight, especially on blah eating days.

All of us have had blah eating days or weeks or months and having exercise to fall back on definitely helps us maintain our weight loss when we are not focusing on our nutrition as much.  It also is essential for fitness as a whole.  It does most of us little good to weigh our goal weight, but not be able to keep up with our friends and family because we are not in shape.  It also does us women little good to not exercise as we get older, because it helps with our bone and heart health as we get older (my mom regularly reminds me about both).

So- if you are not exercising right now- I suggest that you start small.  You start with youtube. You start with 10 minute trainer.  You start with something that does not take you a lot of time, but will get you moving.  Something that will get you involved with working on that part of your health.  And then you move on and you move up.  You go to a longer program.  You start running.  You chose to do something different that keeps your interested in physical activity AND will help you maintain where you are or move to where you want to be.

If you are struggling to find some sort of exercise you like- let me know.  We can work on that and work on finding something that works just for you.

Work On You Wednesday: Single Ladies Edition

Look at who's still single!

Look at who’s still single!

Today- I wanted to take a bit and talk specifically to all of the other single ladies that may stumble across this blog and I hope I can give you some support.  Even if you are a strong, independent woman- there are time when you’d just like to have someone else be there.  Or if you’re like me- you want to find someone that respects that independence and also understands that even though you are independent- you still need others in your life.  You still want the family, 2.5 kids and the white picket fence.  What I really want to talk about is how to focus on this ‘Single Period’ of your life to make yourself the best that you can be for when you do move on to that next stage.

You’re STILL single, how can you talk about how to get to the next stage?  Because I’m living it- that’s why.

God blesses us all with who we are supposed to be with and the journey we are supposed to have in His time- not in on our time table.  I will not sit here and say that that is always comforting, but I do trust and have faith that there is a plan and while God is working on that plan and working on me- I need to do some work on me as well.

This is the one time in our lives where we truly get a chance to work on ourselves and get to know ourselves before we are someone’s mom and someone’s spouse.  Squandering this time that we are given on things that do not help us realize who we are and more fully become that person is not something us single ladies need to do.  And the journey to truly finding out who you are is different for every single woman out there.

So of us find that working on our total health- body, mind and soul is the best thing that we can do while we wait and while we trust. For other people- they look at different aspects of their live.  The worst thing that any single person can do is to give up trying, to give up on themselves and to give up on the journey that God has for them. It is not always easy and there are some of us that will be single forever- however, if that is our fate, shouldn’t be the best person that we can be for ourselves?

Managing Weight Loss- Jenny’s Method: #3 PORTION CONTROL IS KEY

Tip 3: Portion Control

Tip 3: Portion Control

If you ask my mom- she actually says that this is tip number 1.  I, personally, rank it a little further down the list (and you’ll see why over the next couple weeks).

There are extremes with portion control and lots of people think that you can only eat a tiny amount to lose weight.  NO.  NO. NO. You actually may need to eat MORE than you are eating to lose weight.  And a lot of that comes with portion control with the right kinds of foods.

My mom has done weight watchers for years to maintain and to lose weight.  With that being said, she learned that the portions that you eat are super important.  You can’t just have a whole cake every day and expect that because it was under your calorie range that you are going to lose weight.  With that kind of food you are missing out on vital nutrients that your body NEEDS.

My lesson about portion control came from Portion Fix.  It’s a slightly different method, but it is ultimately the same concept- you eat more of the good things and less of the high calorie fats.  When I’m following it- I get 8 cups of fruits and veggies a day.  8.  Eight.  Vosem. Ocho.  8. And then the other categories of food fall into various different amounts.  But it all comes down to portion control.

The amount of what we eat is super important when we are losing weight and when we are trying to maintain a certain weight.  Even when we reach our goal weight- we cannot forget that we still need to keep some sort of control on our portions.  There is this tendency to try to go back to eating what we ate before we lost the weight, in the amounts that we used to eat it in.  Can that happen every once in awhile?  Absolutely.  But it cannot happen every day and that is what portion control is ultimately about.  And that is why it is ranked so highly by my mom, but slightly less highly by me.

Work on You Wednesday: Own Your Emotions

OWN your emotions

Hi everyone!  I’ve moved my feature Work On You Wednesday over to my blog.  Mainly because me and writing are good friends.  Me and public speaking are okay friends.  If you are interested in the broadcasts you can check them out here.

Now that, that is said and over- let’s get into learning more about how to own who you really are.  Today, I want to talk about owning your emotions.  You know, those scary things that sometimes come out of left field and leave you wandering what the heck just happened?  Or when you cry at the end of a particularly sad episode of Doctor Who?  Or when you shout at the tv when the Alabama defense needs to make a stop?  What?  Am I the only one that does that?

Our emotions are an essential part of who we are.  While our jobs may require that we keep some sort of poker face about how we feel about things- the rest of our lives do not require that.  The PEOPLE in our lives do not want that.  So how do we own our emotions?  And how does owning our emotions make us a better person?

Owning our emotions is crucial to owning who we are.  Our reactions to things are part of us and denying those reactions to things that make us mad or make us feel passion takes away from who we are as people.  I am not trying to encourage people to walk around with no filter and tell everyone, absolutely everything you feel.  What I am encouraging you to do is to feel the emotions.  Do not just push stuff down because it is an ‘inconvenient’ time to feel that way. Feel how you feel- when you feel it. That’s a good thing for your life.  It is a good thing for you as a person.

So how does owning your emotions make you a better person?  It is simple- by owning your emotions, you are owning more of who you are.  And by doing that- it allows you to express and show who you are to the outside world.  We all live in our own little worlds- but our little worlds are part of a bigger world and we all have to find some way to relate to the people around us.

If you take one thing away from this post- I hope it is this- owning your emotions makes you relatable. Being relatable makes other people in your life trust that you are not going to just turn into some grinch one day- that you show who you are every day, through how you act and how you show what you feel.  So own it.  Be real.  Be comfortable in your own skin.  You just may be surprised the people that come in to your life because of it!