Finding My Way Back: Week 1 Update

 

I did it, I made it through week one with out blowing it. I managed to complete two runs, 1 walk and a day of house cleaning which I think counts as a workout, right? My diet was much better too. It wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t blow it completely either. Here are some of my tips and observations that helped me:

  • I am using My Fitness Pal to track my meals and activity.
  • Protein based breakfast – Each morning I ate a breakfast full of protein. One morning I really wanted an English muffin. I went with whole grain and the protein was peanut butter. That muffin was the only grain I allowed myself that day. While I can’t be completely carb free, I am trying to minimize carbs.
  • Lunch was a Sargento Balanced Break, Yoplait Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit. The protein from the nuts and yogurt kept me satisfied. I did have a protein drink one day instead. I also tried some jerky for extra protein.
  • Dinner was harder – I had meetings/events every night of the week. I generally grabbed something light as I ran out the door. One evening at a PTA event, I ate a slice of pizza. It was so good.
  • I ran out of coke zero (my vice) and didn’t buy any more, so I have been drinking mostly water. I love coke zero, but am trying to break the habit.
  •  I have not had any alcohol. I would love a glass of wine tonight. I think I will do so if I have enough calories left!
  • My goal was to move 3 days – and I did that. This week, I will up it to 4.

It certainly could have been better, but for me it was PROGRESS. I feel as if I can put together a few good weeks, I will be back in the zone and back on track. Thanks for the emails of encouragement. I love hearing from you.

 

  • JA

Where have you been hiding…

… that is what my current self is wondering about the woman who use to be focused on her diet and exercise. She has been lost, and I can’t seem to get back in touch with her.

During the time in life when I lost over 75 lbs, I was in the zone. I mean really in the zone. I tracked everything I ate and I never missed a workout. I started running, which made me feel fantastic and I made great relationships along the way. I looked forward to my workouts and runs with my friends…not just for the accountability, but for the fellowship. Well, for the past year, I have been trying to get back into the zone. I do well for a day or two, then back to the same old habits. Work, injuries & scheduling conflicts, all getting in the way. It has not been a priority.

This week my former co-worker lost his wife. She had been battling leukemia for 3 months, developed pneumonia and couldn’t find her way back. They have a 12 year old son. This hit me rather close to home, as my son is 10. I have my own health challenges. I have been living with Crohn’s disease since I was 23. I have help from my medical team closely managing it. But my weight is a whole other matter. This was something I control. It’s something I use to manage on my own. Now I have managed to let my discipline go. After the events of this week, I have really been thinking about my son. I am hoping this is the swift kick in the jogging shoes that gets me back into the zone. I don’t want something that I could control to be the cause for my bad health.

I used the bone spur in my heel as an excuse. Yes, it hurts to run, so I don’t do anything. But, there are other things I can do, like ride my bike. I do ride it some, but not regularly.  I also can walk, as that doesn’t cause the ankle to hurt. When I was most active, I might miss one workout in a week. But where I really do the most damage, is with food. I still eat like I am training for a half marathon.

I just joined a Facebook group of friends working on getting healthy. I threw out the SOS yesterday and asked them to help keep me accountable. I ate MUCH better yesterday. Today, I got in a 3 mile walk/run using intervals. I did have some pain in the foot, but not too bad. Honestly it felt good to get out and try again. I was super slow and wondered if I ever will get back to my pre-injury pace. I am going to try and update the blog each week with my progress. I am hoping this accountability along with me Facebook group will be what helps keep me focused.

Please share your tips, comment or email me directly if you would like support in your journey as well.

-JA

 

 

MOLO Update

 

Well, it’s been one month since I talked about starting over.   Let’s review my S.M.A.R.T Goals and see where I am with them.

GOAL #1: Eat a protein based breakfast. Most mornings, I eat a carb based breakfast or skip it all together. If I commit to eating a protein based breakfast, I will be off to a great start each morning.

Update: On a scale of 1-10, I will give myself a 8 on this one. I have focused on eating protein for breakfast, but there have been a handful of days that I opted for a carb instead. I am  happy with the progress on this one!

GOAL #2 Drink 32oz of water. As I said before, I would like to drink 64oz, but I have to be realistic. I am starting with 32oz and will build on that.

Update: On a scale of 1-10, I will give myself a 5 on this one. I started off great, but then find myself opting for the Coke Zero instead. I know, I know. I need to kick that bad habit!

GOAL #3  Move at LEAST 30 minutes a day. On the days I workout, I easily get an hour. But there are days when I don’t do anything at all. On those days, I need to move at least 30 minutes, but will shoot for 60.

Update: On a scale of 1-10, I will give myself a 7 on this one. I have been moving a lot more since the challenge started but on some days I haven’t moved at all. Our family has gotten in the habit of going for walks most evenings and that has helped me so much. But there are the days that I let life get in the way.  And yes, I mean I let it. There is really no excuse. I should make time to move 30 minutes a day.  

Goal #4 Sleep 7-8 hours a night.  I don’t know if it’s age, stress or what, but I don’t get enough sleep. I toss, turn and deal with insomnia most nights. This one will be tough, but I am going to focus on it. I will disconnect from technology an hour before bed, and read instead. I will also make sure I am in bed early enough to get 7 hours of sleep.

Update: On a scale of 1-10, I will give myself a 9.5 on this one. I am going SO much better getting my sleep.

This wasn’t a S.M.A.R.T goal for me, but for Lent, I have been focusing on not eating between meals. I am a habitual snacker, especially when I am sitting at the computer. I have cut that completely out the past week, along with candy. I really feel good about this change! I know if I can continue it and focus on my S.M.A.R.T goals, I will see results. With 3 weeks left in this challenge, I am going to put extra focus on moving and drinking water.

Did you make goals? How are you coming with them? Email me at jennifer.alameda@embracingahealthylife.com and let me know.

 

JA

 

S.M.A.R.T Goals

 

Yes, I am still here. I have been on a bit of a hiatus, because I left life get in the way. I started a new career last year and it has taken so much of my focus.  Between work, an ankle injury and being perimenopausal, my body is all out of whack. I am sluggish, tired and have added unwanted pounds. Through Baby Boot Camp, I have started the annual M.O.L.O 8 week fitness challenge, hoping it will get me refocused on my health and wellness. I am planning to track my journey through M.O.L.O here on the blog. This will help keep me accountable, and perhaps will help some of you with some of the best tips I receive.

The first thing I needed to do was to create some goals for the challenge. Not just goals, but S.M.A.R.T goals. These goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  Rather than have a goal that says ‘drink more water‘, my goal will be something like ‘ drink 64 oz of water each day’. It also should be realistic. If I am honest with myself, I won’t drink 64oz of water today. So, I am starting with a realistic goal of 32oz. If I can easily do that, I will add 8oz to my daily goal until I get to 64oz.

Here are my goals:

  1. Eat a protein based breakfast. Most mornings, I eat a carb based breakfast or skip it all together. If I commit to eating a protein based breakfast, I will be off to a great start each morning.
  2. Drink 32oz of water. As I said before, I would like to drink 64oz, but I have to be realistic. I am starting with 32oz and will build on that.
  3. Move at LEAST 30 minutes a day. On the days I workout, I easily get an hour. But there are days when I don’t do anything at all. On those days, I need to move at least 30 minutes, but will shoot for 60.
  4. Sleep 7-8 hours a night.  I don’t know if it’s age, stress or what, but I don’t get enough sleep. I toss, turn and deal with insomnia most nights. This one will be tough, but I am going to focus on it. I will disconnect from technology an hour before bed, and read instead. I will also make sure I am in bed early enough to get 7 hours of sleep.

Ok, so mine are out there for everyone to see. If you see me,  please ask me how I am doing with these. I need accountability.

Do you want to join me? You can add them below or send them to jennifer.alameda@embracingahealthylife.com. I will help keep you accountable too!

Have a S.M.A.R.T. day!

-JA

 

A Walk….

run

 

If you have read my past posts, you know that I am a runner, or was anyway. I have completed 5 half marathons and countless 5K, 10Ks and 15Ks.  You also know that it has led to some injuries. Most recently, I have a heel spur and tendonitis in the Achilles. I have not able to run for almost 9 months, so I have been using biking to stay active. Before I was a runner, I walked 3-5 miles every day. I haven’t really walked much since I started running and biking. I always feels like I am not moving fasting enough. Last week, I met a friend for a walk. We chatted the entire time, and before I knew it, we had walked for over an hour. I had no pain and I felt great. I realized how much I enjoy walking.

I recently read an article about a study done by James O’Keefe, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO. His studies outlined the benefits of walking or jogging at a slow pace versus running. One of the studies shows that walking or jogging at a slow pace for 1 to 2.5 hours a week, lowers your risk by 25%. I forget that just because I am not running, doesn’t mean it’s not a great workout.

I scheduled a walk with the girls this week.  It’s great opportunity to catch up while enjoying the benefit of physical activity. I also will get in at least one walk in with the family and one on my own. When you are teaching boot camp classes, you tend to neglect your own workout. I have been so slack with my own diet and workout since I stopped running. I am hoping getting back to the basics of eating right, walking and along with my other planned workouts, I will find my way back into a routine.

Do something for your health today – go for a walk!

-JA

 

 

Ignoring Chronic Pain

Stop the pain

 

Last September, I noticed some pain in my right Achilles tendon. I had just finished a long drive and really thought it was related to that. I was in the midst of training to run a half marathon at the Dallas Marathon and really didn’t have time for an injury. I taped it and kept to my training schedule, secretly praying it wouldn’t get worse. There were days when I hardly noticed it, and days when it was screaming at me, but I did finish training and ran the half. After that race, I decided to take a break and see if it would heal on its own. I had replaced running with biking and that seemed to prevent it from getting worse. Every so often I would feel the twinge. I joined Orange Theory Fitness in June and one day on the treadmill, I was in terrible pain. So, 10 months after I first noticed the pain, I finally decided to get it checked out.

I went to see the ortho who had treated me for another ankle injury and a hip injury. I don’t think he was surprised to see me. Truthfully, running has been so hard on my body.  Every time I train for a half marathon, I end up in his office.  The x-ray showed a bone spur at the top of the heel bone. Apparently this was causing the tendonitis. I was fitted for a heel cup, given some steroids and scheduled for physical therapy.  The heel cup provided immediate relief.  It raised the heel ever so slightly and that released the tension on the tendon. It felt immediately better.

Part of me knows I ignored it because I didn’t want to stop training for the half. I was training with a good friend and it was going to be her first half marathon. I didn’t want to let her down, and deep down I think I knew it would be my last half marathon. After the race, I kept thinking that it would get better if I just rested it. As long as I wasn’t doing anything that caused direct impact to the heel, it was tolerable. I am still in treatment, so not sure how this story ends. But looking back, I really wish I would have gone to see him last fall. The heel cup itself has provided so much relief.

Are you ignoring chronic pain? Get it checked out!

JA

Do you make time for yourself?

findtime

Birthdays often cause us to reflect on our lives. Having just celebrated a birthday, I found myself doing just that, looking back at the past year. While it was truly a wonderful year full of so many blessings, I found myself wondering if I had ever stopped and gave myself time to breath.

Transitioning from a job in corporate America to one where I set my own schedule, has allowed me to do so more things with my friends, at church and at my son’s school. There are pros and cons to that. I love the flexibility, but it leads me to over-commit. I end up cramming so much into the day, that I am practically filling every hour with something. I have a hard time saying ‘no’ when people invite me to social or volunteer activities. Between my work responsibilities, volunteer opportunities, social activities, personal fitness and my family, I find that I am not allowing myself any ‘me time’.

To be honest, the first thing to go when I am strapped for time, is my own workout. This really needs to be in my top 3 to keep every day, family, faith (my own spiritual growth) and fitness. This week, my son is in a karate camp. Due to his drop off and pick up times, it has limited my availability. It’s also my ‘off’ week for teaching my evening boot camp.  I suddenly find myself with wide open windows of time on my calendar! It’s a great opportunity to plan my week, get back into my routine of eating properly and exercising regularly. I do so much better when I have a planned routine. I really can’t believe how little I have been focusing on my diet and exercise. Well, my tight pants remind me every day. It’s time to get back to it!  I have had some health challenges this past couple of weeks, likely due to my crazy schedule. This will require me to ease back into my fitness routine. I will plan for walks or bike rides until I am feeling better, then will increase the intensity.

Many people look at the start of the calendar year to make changes. I have not ever been one to make resolutions, as I think they can be a let down. However,  I am going to use the first week of my 48th year to focus on getting back to a healthier me.  It will get challenging as each week passes, but I will plan my meals, schedule my workouts and scale back on other commitments, as needed. It’s time for a change!

So my friends, if you are finding yourself in a similar situation, please take the time to step back and reevaluate. Make your diet, exercise and sleep a priority. Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have!

JA

Fitness Challenges – Inspiring a Lifestyle Change

Goal

I think at one time or another, we have all had a hard time finding the motivation to exercise and eat right. With the start of the new year, I saw all kinds of challenges popping up all over social media. There are diet challenges, cleansing challenges, push-up challenges, squat challenges, consistent workout challenges, etc. If you can think of it, you can probably find a challenge for it. These challenges are meant to spark motivation, help with accountability and to improve the focus area of the challenge. I do love a good challenge, so I will admit to having done the squat and push-up challenges in the past.  What challenges have you tried? Did it motivate you? Did it bring about a lifestyle change that you could sustain?

This past week, I met with several of my fitness instructor friends to come up with a new fitness challenge for our mothers who are part of Baby Boot Camp. We all agreed that we wanted the challenge to be all encompassing. We wanted it to help with their overall wellness, inspiring a lifestyle change, not just a temporary one.  We came up with an 8 week healthy lifestyle challenge that addressing fitness, diet, sleep, me time, family time, accountability and much more. We created a point based system where members could earn points for activities that involved all aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. While the challenge will address the common improvement areas such as eating better and exercise, it also will encourage success in other areas as well. As mothers, we all need time to pamper ourselves, we need time to encourage our families to get healthy, and we need the companionship and motivation of other mothers in our same situation. I LOVE THIS CHALLENGE! These moms will earn points through exercise progressions, pop up challenges, weekly challenges, mini seminars, accountability, attending classes, setting goals, and more. I believe this type of program will not only help in the short term, but in the long term in helping these mothers create and maintain healthy habits for a lifetime.

Would this motivate you? I am so motivated for this program to start. I can’t wait to see the changes taking place over the coming months in these mothers. My mission with this blog is to inspire people to embrace a healthy life. This challenge fits right into this mission.  If you are living in the Frisco area, please check it out. It would be beneficial for any fitness level, as it is not just focusing on how many push-ups you can do! It is going to encourage you to make changes in many different aspects of your life. Please check out the link above, or email me at Jennifer.alameda@embracingahealthylife.com for more information.

 

-JA

 

Accountability

accountability

I came across some interesting stats about goals and accountability from the American Society of Training and Development.

The probability of achieving a goal is:

  • 10% when you think of a goal
  • 40% when you  make the decision to pursue a goal
  • 50% when you develop a plan on how to achieve your goal
  • 65% when you make a commitment to someone else that you will follow the plan
  • 95% when you have an accountability appointment  with this person.

I know when it came to training for my half marathons, having running buddies was so important. When its 30 degrees and lightly raining, you may opt to stay in bed and skip your run. However, when you know your training partners are waiting for you, somehow you find away to get yourself up and moving. We all had decided to train together. We had a set training plan and schedule. We met weekly for our long runs. If I had to run 10 miles on my own, I may have found 10 excuses to skip the run that week.  Meeting up with my group ensured I kept to the schedule and ultimately allowed me to meet my goal.

Accountability partners would be helpful in any diet or fitness program. I know I am more likely to get to boot camp class if I know my friends will be there. I hadn’t consider this approach for other areas of my life, but I could see the benefits of having someone keep me accountable with any goals I might set.

Do you have an accountability partner? When has it worked or not worked for you? Email me your thoughts and I may use them in a future post.

-JA

*I came across these stats while reading Made to Crave, by Lysa Terkeurst.

 

 

New Year, New Resolutions? Not for Me.

TakeFive_ResolutionsList__web_V

 

 

Happy 2016! Yes, it’s the beginning of another year. Along with that, so many people make new years resolutions. I recently took a poll on my personal Facebook page asking what kinds of resolutions were being made. Not many people admitted to making them. The ones that did, said they were working on organization, less screen time, more service time, etc. No one mentioned health and wellness, yet most everyone I have spoken to, is making some kind of health or fitness resolution. While I always encourage everyone to focus on their health and fitness, I do not encourage people to make weight loss resolutions. While it may work for some, for others it can have the reverse effect.

I no longer make resolutions. My experience is that it generally set me up for a big let down and feeling defeated. I understand why people do it, but to try and implement a huge life change all at once at the beginning of the year is too much pressure.  When I had my weight loss success, I started in March and it was a phased approach. I did not make huge changes across the board.  There are some things I do want to focus on this year, but I am not calling them resolutions. I am approaching them as simple lifestyle changes and I am certainly not trying to do them all at once. My tendency is to over-commit. I sign up for everything, agree to take on more than I can handle,  and then I am running around stressed. After a long conversation with my husband who is generally on the receiving end of my stress, we came up with a plan on how to better manager my commitments. I have prioritized them and then have made decisions on how much time I can devote to each per week, etc. I am not giving anything up, just paring it back. We are into the 2nd week of using this method and so far, I do not feel overwhelmed.  My new scheduled allows me some downtime each day. This is critical for me to keep from becoming overwhelmed.  The biggest adjustment for me will be learning to say ‘no’ to some things. It is difficult for me to do that, but that is exactly how I get over committed!

So, enough about my changes. Let’s talk about yours. Are you looking to make lifestyle changes with your diet and exercise? If so, here are a few tips:

  • Avoid burn out. Don’t make all the changes at once. Suddenly restricting your diet and increasing your exercise all at once, can be overwhelming. Start with one change. Work on it for a week, then add in the other. For example, this week focus on getting up from your desk or couch and walking more. Next week, add in a few dietary changes while you increase your walking.
  • Make small goals.  Rather than say, ‘I want to lose 10 pounds this month’, commit to making one change that doesn’t involve the scale, like walking 3 days a week. As you successfully hit each goal, you will begin to see changes in yourself and on the scale. Those little successes will keep you going. This is a healthier approach than throwing you hands up and quitting because you were not able to sustain all the HUGE changes you implemented at once. Slow and steady….
  • Find a buddy to help you stay motivated and hold you accountable. I like using the My Fitness Pal app with my friends. It help keeps me accountable and I enjoy the positive encouragement I received from my friends.
  • Choose an exercise program that suits your fitness level. If you are just starting out, a PiYo class may not be the best choice. Start with biking, walking, or a beginners Yoga or boot camp class. Build from there. As you need more, find new challenging programs that keep it fresh for you.
  • Not sure what is best for you? Consult with a trainer for some ideas, but remember to speak to your doctor before starting any new program.

I want to help you be successful. Send me an email with what type of changes you are looking for, and let me help you come up with a reasonable plan to get you going!

 

JA