Getting Fit After Giving Birth – one program at a time

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Creating a plan

I weighed this morning and was totally appalled at the numbers. Are you ready for this: 163. So, it is time to make a plan to lose 20 lbs. Yes, my goal is to hit 140 by Halloween. So that breaks down to about 7 lbs per month, and about 2 lbs per week. Not impossible, but challenging. Now, as for my plan to lose the weight…it includes 5 simple steps.

1. Drink water, and lots of it! Cut out my beloved carbonated beverages, lemonade, and other sweet juices. Drink at least 1 gallon of water very dat.
2. Severely limit breads and dairy. This one is particularly hard for me. I love cheese, and yogurt, and bread. Or I love bread. But they fill you up with starches, carbs, and sugars Harvard’s really good for you.
3. Stop with the chocolates. Self-control is key here.
4. Get that heart pumping. 30-60 minutes of exercise 4 days a week. That’s cardio and aerobic, and sweating exercises.
5. Check In once a week. That includes weighing once a week, and writing about it here.

Alrighty, so there’s my plan, and I’ve got three short months to get it done in. Change is key here, and I’ve gained 10 lbs too much in the past 3 months and its just gotta go!

What went wrong?

I woke up this morning and on a whim decided to weigh myself. I don’t weigh myself every day. I think it’s obsessive and actually detrimental to weigh yourself every day. Thatvisnt really my point here, though. My point is that the scale showed a number that I had long ago told myself I would never cross again. Are you ready for some personal information here? The scale showed that I weighed at…here goes nothing…162. Ach!

Now, I’m sure that there are tons of people in the world who dream of such a number. However, two months ago I was right around 155 lbs. So, what on earth happened that I’ve gained (ooh, that sounds like a four letter word!) 7 whole pounds in such a short amount of time?

In this particular instance, there is a very simple explanation. I ate tons of breads and carbs, and the week of and after my sister’s wedding I didn’t go running because I was just so exhausted. So, if you eat like a fat person, and don’t exercise, you’re gonna gain weight.

However, having an explanation for the results don’t make it anymore comforting. I’ve lost the weight before, I know that I can do it again, but it’s going to take a lot of self-control and will power.

Do I have any other reader who is brave enough to share their personal story?

Having the right equipment

If you don’t have the right equipment, your work-out could be torturous, and even worse, result in no gain.  You have to have the right equipment.  By right, it needs to fit your specific body, it needs to offer the right kind of support for the activity, and it has to look super chic right?  😛

  1. For running: Shoes.  I started off running with my cheap worn out tenis shoes, and it was murderous on my knees.  They couldn’t handle the stress.  And on the few occasions that my knees could handle it, I walked off the pavement with shin splints that continued to plague me for MONTHS afterwards.  Not a very efficient way to keep up a decent excerpting regiment.
  2. Women need proper undergarments.  ESPECIALLY if you are rather busty (or breastfeeding, or in my case, both).  Seriously, there is nothing more uncomfortable and awkward than having your ladies doing more moving than you are.  Some women prefer to bind those beauties with tight fitting sports-brands.  If your breastfeeding, that may lead to other issues, so just make sure that you get something that will keep those ladies in check.
  3. Men may need proper undergarments as well, but I’m obviously not a man and can therefore not speak from personal experience…
  4. Proper attire.  Rock climbers don’t need baggy clothing…In fact, most exercising programs don’t benefit from baggy clothing.  You can get chaffing and irritation that just makes the working out tedious and loathsome.  However, you also need something that is comfortable for you.  Some people enjoy the skin tight apparel (Personally, I find them a bit immodest, but I realize that’s a personal opinion, and am not judging you at all!).  There are so many options out there these days for program specific work-out clothes, and many of them come in several different colors and styles! Do you want blue biking shorts, or maybe you are looking for a pink running shirt?  Functionality does NOT replace aesthetics in today’s world!
  5. Water.  I strongly believe that God gave us water for the primary purpose to hydrate us (and everything else), and nothing that man makes can ever be better for our bodies than water.  My husband on the other hand, likes to argue that Gatorade is better because it replaces electrolytes that water doesn’t have.  In any case, I include water as equipment because sometimes you might carry it along with you during your work0out.
  6. Yes, the dog needs proper equipment as well!  This may include leash/harness, some more aggressive dogs may need a muzzle (at least while they are training), and if you are running hardcore with your dog (think marathon or more), shoes may be a good investment.
  7. Childcare.  When I started working out, I already had all three of my kids and working out WITH them wasn’t an option for me.  I took advantage of timing (leaving kids home with my husband), or the childcare services that my gym provided.  However, for lots of little Mamma’s out there, exercising without their little ones isn’t an option.  In this case, it is important to have a stroller, or other carrying device, that you can work with.  I will admit that I tried running with our stroller once.  It was a cheap yardsale find, I squeezed the two younger kids in it, and attempted to deal with the wobbly wheels and glitchy lock levers for a whole mile before I came home frustrated and fed up!

Especially if you are just getting started, there are lots of little roadblocks and speed bumps that you will encounter, why would you want to add improper work-out equipment to the list?  With this being such a simple roadblock to fix, it shouldn’t ever be an issue in the first place!

 

Hitting roadblocks to the program

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the C25K running program.  BUT, it is an app (that’s for free, btw), that has you working in segments slowly building your endurance until you can run straight through a 5K.  I was told through the grapevine that week three of this program was the hardest.  And I admit, that I did go into week three feeling a bit…what’s the word I’m looking for…apprehensive.  Running for three minutes straight sounded a bit daunting and scary to me.  However, as I rounded out day three of week three, I wasn’t too winded or feeling limited by the end of it.

Day 1 of Week 4 on the other hand…whipped my little tail and pounded me to the pavement.  Me and the pooch didn’t make it through even that first running segment, and I ended up completely ignoring the little beeps that my app was giving me.  However, I kept on with the progrAm, and day 2 was almost a breeze for me and the dog both.

So, this got me to thinking: Why was the first day so much harder to me than the second day was?  What makes some days of working out so much more difficult than other days?

  • Digested nutrients.  Yes, the food that you eat very definitely makes a difference in your exersizing!  Just like lack of food can cause you to be sluggish, greasy foods also weighs you down.  What did you eat the day before?  Right before your work-out?
  • Amount of sleep. I noticed when I was pregnant especially that being horizontal for just 10 minutes could refresh my body. Your body rejuvenated and regenerates while you are sleeping. If you don’t get enough rest and sleep, you’ll see several areas of your life affected.
  • Emotional well-being.  I’ve heard it said that people who run for exercise purposes are always trying to ineffectively run away from something. Being emotionally stressed out can leave you unfocused, distracted, and result in a more difficult work-out.
  • Previous work-outs.  If your muscles are tired and sore from a previous situation, then you might have to take things a bit easier.  I participated in some extreme water sports over the weekend, left my muscles tired, weak, sore, and way full of lactic acid.
  • Physical health.  Getting sick can really drain the energies out of you. So can weak hormones, or other numerous health issues.

Running is not just about getting into shape. It also alerts you to the other factors of your life that may be dragging you down. You have to get your nutrition right, hydrate, sleep better, and get your mentality in shape, too. Once you connect all the little pieces together, I bet you’ll find lots of interesting changes in your own life.

5 ways to make your run harder

I have just finished up the third week of the C25K running program.  First of all, I highly recommend it to any beginning runner: if you are already fit through other methods (in my case, aerobics and some weight lifting), or if you are truly a couch potato (or sit and work at a computer all day), it definitely works!  Secondly, I have already discovered a few things that you can do to make your running even harder than it already is, so pay close attention, and try to avoid these things 😉

  1. Bad music.  It isn’t very motivating to be half-way through a jogging segment of your run when Enya starts up.  Due to some technology changes, I had to do a run without any music, and while that was 5X harder than with music, I do believe that bad music would make the run even harder than that.  Don’t do it.  If you need help finding some good music, check out pinterest (just search for “running music playlist”), or I bet google would have some good ones as well.
  2. Improper equipment.  Time and time again I have attempted to run with poor shoes.  Oh man, do my knees hate that!  I’m only 25 years old, and in pretty good health, but if I run with worn-out shoes on my feet, my body is going to be screaming at me in ways that continue to affect me for months after.
  3. Lack of proper nutrition.  Always, always, always, eat SOMETHING 15-30 minutes before you go on your run.  Definitely not a huge meal (you might puke it up), but I have noticed that even with Pixie Dust the dog, if she doesn’t eat a few bites before we go running, she is sluggish and unfocused.  Multiply that for a human.  Also: Always, always, always eat SOMETHING as soon as you can after your run.  Don’t think about it like eating all of the calories that you just lost, think of it as replenishing the nutrition that you expended.
  4. Don’t hydrate.  Or even worse, drink carbonated beverages and sugared sports drinks.  I strongly believe that God created water and there is nothing man-made that can trump that for doing good to our bodies.  I respect that others will disagree with me here (my darling husband being among them).  However you roll the dice, you have to keep yourself hydrated before AND after AND in-between your runs.  Lately, I’ve taken to drinking an entire gallon of water throughout the day, but I’ve also found that ingesting at least one bottle-full before my run is beneficial.  It keeps the side stitches away, and the shin splints at bay.
  5. Forget to stretch.  I don’t believe that stretching before your run is necessary or beneficial in any way (feel free to disagree with me, though, I’d love to hear your arguments for this one!).  However, stretching *after* your run is definitely recommended in my book.  1: It limits your soreness because it gently works out the lactic acid, YAY! 2: Your muscles are already warmed and limber from the run so they are able to stretch a little bit further and this is where you are going to be able to slowly reset their functions for over-all flexibility.  and 3: It adds a little extra in the cool-down section of your work-out without really adding in extra work.

And as a bonus, here are a few things that may make your running even better/easier, and who doesn’t want that out of an already difficult work-out?

  • Cute work-out gear.  It isn’t a necessity, but it certainly helps when you feel like you look great while you are out there sweating.  PLUS, having well-fitted clothing will keep you from getting chapped where the over-sized t-shirts and worn-out shorts just weren’t up to the par.
  • Keep hair and cords secured and out of the way.  I run outside, in the early morning, where/when my music isn’t going to be bothering anyone, so I don’t use any earbuds.  In the past, however, when I have used earbuds, they always fall out of my ears, the cord bounces around, and it becomes more obnoxious and a hassle than I really want to deal with while I am huffing and puffing.  Same concept applies to your hair.  Pull it up (there are a myriad of cute ways to do this, whether you have short hair, longer hair, fluffy bangs…just search on pinterest), pin it back, get it out of your face and off your neck!
  • Add in some variety.  If you normally run at the park, try running on pavement, or if you normally run on one particular treadmill, try a different treadmill.  Sometimes we get bored, so change things up every once in a while.  If you normally run in the morning, try running in the evening (light is different, traffic will be different, weather will be different), if you go in a loop, try changing your direction.

Running is hard.  Don’t ever let anyone (or your own brain) try to fool you into thinking differently.  You have to condition your brain, your heart, your lungs, your muscles, and your mentality to be able to accomplish it.  Ok, ok, one can easily argue that running itself is not hard, after all, my 2, 3, and 4 year old children run constantly!  I am always telling them to stop running, so it can’t be *that* hard.  But, in our older ages, we get lazy.  I don’t know when it clicks, but we forget how to play with nothing, and we lose our flexibility, and we lose our ability to run.  So, it becomes hard.  Hopefully, with these little tidbits, you can work to make your running less difficult, even easier, and maybe more enjoyable.  Keep at it, little people!  You are doing amazing things for the body that God has given for your soul!!!!

Dieting does NOT work!

Fads, fads, fads.  Every bit of them.  Going on a diet simply will not accomplish what you want it to accomplish!  Sure, there are several gimmicks out there that can help you lose weight and get fit, but by definition, these diets are TEMPORARY.  If you really want to keep that weight off, well, you can continue spending the tons of money for whatever program you are using until the day you die, or you can change your entire lifestyle and throw all of the diet books away!

For example, yes, I can count points for weight-watchers, but is that going to work if I get pregnant again, if my husband dies suddenly (which I pray AGAINST on a regular basis), if I contract some chronic health problem?  Uh…of course not!  But, if I choose healthy foods, if I get into the habit of grabbing an apple for my lunch instead of a chocolate chip cookie…well…THAT will turn into me WANTING the apple instead of the cookie, and when these life changes occur, it wont be a conscious choice to choose the apple, I’ll just do it.

Another example, even joining the highest ranking gym can’t last forever.  My husband may lose his job and we are poor, or we might move away, or I might break a leg (wouldn’t that be super ironic right now in my life: My three small children would run amok for sure!) But if I choose to live a more active lifestyle, even loss of the gym won’t keep me down.

I can actually use a personal example for this one.  Just recently me and the children have traveled across country to spend the summer with my family.  My family eats TONS of carbs and breads, and obviously, I couldn’t bring my aerobics instructors with me.  I have found myself eating hamburgers with no buns, choosing grapes for breakfast instead of cereal, and I picked up running where previously I had used the gym.  I don’t have to make the choice, it just comes natural for me to *want* the healthier options.  In this way, I can keep living healthy, without having to worry about specific or strict *diets*

Have you ever tried a diet that just didn’t work out for you?

The use of MyFitnessPal

Wanna lose weight and get healthy? One way to do this is by counting calories. As someone who makes a whole lot of meals, dishes, and treats by scratch this was a constant struggle for me. Then I came across the wonderful app for my iphone: MyFitnessPal (you can follow me with OneHotMess_YMamma) and, wow did that make things easy! Not only could I plug in the exact recipe that I created and let the phone do the calculations for me, I can also scan things like granola bars, and apples, and the app inputs all of the information, AND I can even search for restaurant foods and get the caloric count straight from the internet! Calorie counting made easy right here!

BUT, is there a right and a wrong way to count calories? And is it *really* effective?

I strongly believe that when it concerns being healthy and losing weight, WHAT you eat is far more important than HOW MUCH you eat. I have watched the scale go up when I eat one slice of pizza, and down if I eat an entire bunch of grapes. Plus I feel significantly different after eating those different foods. The grapes give me energy and a full, satisfied feeling, the pizza makes me sluggish and hungry, wanting more pizza. PLUS, that entire bunch of grapes is going to be at least half of the calories of that single slice of pizza. When it comes to counting calories, yes, a calorie is a calorie, but to get the full effect of counting calories in order to lose weight, try considering the following points:

  • Eat the largest caloric meal first thing in the morning
  • Pick the healthier foods, it really will make a difference
  • Try not to drink your calories. Water is a neutral calorie
  • Eat more than three times a day, try 5-6 times, spread those calories out
  • Negative calories DO exist! Foods that burn more calories to digest than they give to your body (try celery!)
  • You simply CANNOT out-exercise a bad diet, so don’t even try to burn off the extra calories that you consumed. It doesn’t work like that.
  • Hit your calorie limit every day. Eating too few calories is not going to benefit your health. If you don’t eat enough, then your body is going to start eating itself, and your running into anorexic territory. I have been there and done that, and it isn’t as great as you might be lead to believe.
  • Enjoy feeling proud of the healthy choices, and watching that scale go down!

Do you use MyFitnessPal? Feel free to follow me at OneHotMess_YMamma, and comment below with why YOU love MyFitnessPal!!

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