Sidelined!

Well crap. I may have sustained my first running injury. My back hurts worse today than it did yesterday. Why oh why oh why didn’t I know to stretch my lower back before running on asphalt, or before running in general?

And as I sit here with 800mg of Motrin flowing through my bloodstream and with a Thermacare wrap on my back, yet still in pain, I’m thinking “what the heck am I going to do now?” Because I certainly can’t run like this. And I need my lower back in working order to lift weights, too. It doesn’t seem like I’m going to be able to get any exercise in until this inflammation dies down. So it had better die down soon. Now that I’ve started a good routine, I don’t want this to become an excuse to stop.

I’m also going to have to really REALLY watch my eating if I can’t run or lift.

Such a bummer!

In semi-related news, this is going to be a busy weekend, and my back just has to hold out. Tonight it is going to have to deal with sitting through the nearly 2 1/2 hour Hunger Games movie (yay!). Tomorrow and Sunday are all going to be wrapped up with a Rally Obedience Trial that I’m not only competing in with K-dog, but I’m also the Trial Secretary for. Which means I ‘m in charge of making it run smoothly, which means finishing the mounds of paperwork, helping tomorrow with all the set up, and being on my feet all day on Sunday for the trial itself. This was a really bad time to get hurt (as if there is ever a good time).

How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle when injury sidelines you?

A Question for my Runner Friends and Readers

Now that I’m running for longer distances outside–and I know 3 miles doesn’t seem like a long distance for some of you, but it’s still a marathon to me–I’ve been noticing that my lower back gets really tight. Painfully tight…about 4 hours after my run. It’s better, though still hurts, when I keep moving. If I have to sit for any length of time, like at work or in the car, it stiffens really badly and I have to stretch it out. OUCH! What am I doing wrong? My form? My breathing? Tightening everything too much when I’m pushing myself not to quit? Any advice would be really appreciated!

Weigh-in Wednesday 5: The “But it’s Thursday” Edition

I was out sick from work yesterday, but I dragged my butt to the scale early in the morning, I just didn’t post about it.

Thoughts off the scale

I have high hopes for this week. I feel like I did a lot of things right.

Weight goals

Small goals: a pound a week, slow and steady.

Larger goal: 199, to be below 200 for the first time in my adult life.

Overall goal: Not sure about this yet, I really don’t like to look too far ahead because it all starts to feel overwhelming and nearly impossible. I know it’s not, so I’m going to hold off on a long-range goal.

Starting Weight: 227

Last Week’s Weight: 223.8

Today’s Weight: 221.8

Loss this week: 2lbs

Total loss: 5.2 lbs

Thoughts after the scale:  Yay!!!!!


 


You Can Totally Fake it: My Take on Zumba and Dancing for Fitness.

I’ve been to a Zumba class twice now, in two different locations, and with two different teachers. The class last month was a class for all levels. The class I went to last night was specifically a Beginners’ Zumba class. Both were great, but I have to say, I felt more comfortable in the beginner class for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that I’m a beginner.

But let’s start with what Zumba is, for those who haven’t taken a class yet:

Are you ready to party yourself into shape? That’s exactly what the Zumba® program is all about. It’s an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party™ that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health.

Years ago now, when I was attending a different gym that does not even exist anymore they had a sort of hip hop dance class. Man I loved that class and that teacher. In fact, when they stopped offering that class, I stopped going to that gym. In that particular class the teacher would pick a piece of popular dance music and each week we’d learn a  part of the dance and add it to the part we learned the week before. Then we had a whole routine and we would do it for a few classes and then start a new one. I have always admired dancers and their work ethic, but as “the fat kid” I never felt like I could be a part of that world. (That’s a whole different post: Fat as a self-fulfilling prophecy.) This class made me feel like I was a little bit a part of it. It was great!

In neither of my experiences at Zumba did everyone in the class start out learning just a piece of the dance and put it together as the class progressed. The instructors seem to have special training to keep you moving while showing you the steps. Both of them had little ways to grab your attention to show you that you were going to be changing direction or adding something new. They had created the dance and you complete it from the beginning to end. Both instructors emphasized that you could do low-impact or high impact and showed both the moves. The teacher at my beginner class last night, however, emphasized over and over again that the point was to keep moving, it didn’t matter what you looked like or if you got the step wrong or went in the wrong direction. Having fun and moving around was what mattered most. There were short breaks in between songs/dances to give you a chance to sip some water and use your sweat towel, but other than that, it was an hour of non-stop dancing–with both a warm up and a cool down dance.

I have to admit that this format was a bit hard for me to accept at first. I want to do the dance well, like in line dancing. I like having things broken down into steps for me and I like knowing what’s coming next. That all will come in time with Zumba, especially if I keep attending classes with the same teacher. And I found that when I really made myself let go of perfectionism I started having a lot more fun.

And while I am comparing Zumba with line dancing…one thing about line dancing is that it is really focused on the movement of your legs and feet. Nobody tells you what you are supposed to be doing with your arms at any given time–unless you are supposed to be clapping. Now, some people are seemingly naturals at this. I watch certain people at line dancing and everything they do with their upper body seems so at ease. But for me, it’s hard to coordinate moving my arms and legs at the same time, and everything I do with my arms seems either awkward or forced. I’m working on it.

At Zumba, because it is geared toward fitness, you need to be willing to move your whole body. There are as many moves with your arms as there are with your legs. I could feel my arms getting a workout from working against their own weight, which was awesome. Now, I feel like the majority of the time I was just swinging my arms around like elephant trunks, but I didn’t hit anybody, so…PROGRESS!  I wore a tank top and it took a bit of mental coaching for me to get over the shyness of having my arm flub waving around. But I kept telling myself that the more I waved it around, the faster it would go away.

Another thing that helped with that, and something I really liked about the Beginner class (besides its small size) was the fact that there were no mirrors in the room. Our instructor said the choice to have no mirrors was very much on purpose. People get too caught up in either watching themselves to see if they are doing things correctly or (me) watching themselves and getting really self-conscious. If I’m going to be honest, the other Zumba class I attended did not have mirrors either, but that was because it was in a fire hall and was not a purposeful decision.

If you are thinking you’d be too embarrassed to try dancing in front of an entire class of people, think again. I honestly cannot tell you what one other person in that class beside the instructor was doing for that entire hour. I was much too focused on the instructor, the beat of the music, and moving my body to be worried or even to notice what anyone else was doing. And I think it is highly likely that it is the same way for everyone. I left the class sweating and smiling, and I’d say that’s the highest praise you can give a workout, don’t you think?

All in all, regardless of what you think your level of coordination is, I recommend trying a Zumba class, and trying to find one that is for beginners.  If fast-paced Latin (and sometimes popular dance) music isn’t up your alley, why not try country line dancing, or take a salsa or ballroom dancing class? Let me know if you give it a shot, I’d love to hear how it went for you.

Let me know if you have questions about Zumba that I didn’t answer here, I’ll do my best to tell you about what I experienced. If you’ve taken Zumba or other dance classes, what did you feel they add to your workout regime?

Monday Update-Now with More Puppy!

So the whole tattoo thing went really well. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I way hyping it in my head and I absolutely love the way it came out. I will post a picture after it’s all done healing, should be about two weeks, I think.

This weekend bestie and I ran/walked another unofficial 5k, but this time I had mapped out a course nearby instead of doing a loop. We did have to backtrack on one part, and it was a bit hillier than I expected. Our time was better and I think we ran more, although we didn’t run for the full 25 minutes called for on week 7 day 2 of C25K. We had run the full 25 minutes on the treadmill a few days prior without a problem. It blows my mind how different running outside feels all together, I just can’t get over it. It’s much nicer, but much tougher all at the same time.

That afternoon I drove about two hours to go see some friends who had just adopted a new Great Dane puppy. Two Great Danes, a toddler, and a baby in one house—PHEW! But K-dog had a great time wrestling with the puppy. They had a lot of fun together! Here she is in all her glory (she’s only 11 months old and still growing!):

This morning we lifted weights, because I’m trying a beginner’s Zumba class tonight and I wanted to have some energy left for it! But in general we’re going to back off the weights for a bit, just on this last stretch before the 5k, to make sure we get all the training in. Then we’ll get back to it, but I’m really thinking I need to change up my strength training routine. Any suggestions? I’ve looked for a kettlebell class, but I can’t seem to find one in my area.

Tomorrow night is dancing and I’ll get to show off my tattoo. Wanna know a good way to get over the whole “I can’t be seen in a tank top because my arms are too big” thing? Get a tattoo on your shoulder blade that you really want to show off.

Sorry this post wasn’t terribly informational. Back to regularly scheduled updates soon!

How was everyone’s weekend? 

Thursday Thoughts

I haven’t really talked much about my life outside of weight loss, running, and working out. I guess if I keep that up, it’s 1) going to get boring really fast and 2) going to get a lot harder to think of things to write about.

So I thought I’d write a little about the stuff I have upcoming. And maybe a little bit about running, and working out, too.

I’m very excited to start a new class with K-dog tonight. It’s called Treibball (started in Germany) and is essentially ball herding.

(source)

I don’t know much more about it than that your dog has to push the balls with his nose into a “pen” or “goal” and it’s timed. K-dog knows the push command already, or he did, we’ll see. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s been a long time since we’ve taken a class and I’m really looking forward to learning along with my pup. I’ll try to get some pictures. Here’s where we take classes.

Tomorrow is another BIG day for me. I’m getting my first (and possibly only) tattoo. I’m sure there will be a picture taken, so I’ll post a reveal soon. I designed the image (the artist made it look like something recognizable) and it means a lot to me. I can’t wait to show you all. I may not get a post in tomorrow, as I have a half day at work and Fridays are always busy.

This weekend will probably be a blur too, since bestie and I have a run scheduled for the morning on Saturday and then I’m meeting with a friend that I house/dog sit for every year to go over everything I’ll need to know for the week in April I’ll be staying there! Sunday I’ll be headed west about 1.5 hours to visit with another friend. She and her family just adopted another Great Dane, so K-dog and I must go over for some play time.

Less than a month til the 5K!

As an aside, you know what’s funny about running? It’s addicting. My bestie was just going along for the ride with me doing C25K (just for cardio) and was never ever going to run a 5K, because that’s for crazy people. She soon decided she would run “just this one” with me. Now she’s been emailing me all these possible races and this morning she’s calling a running store that offers beginner classes on Saturday mornings because she wants to learn about form and breathing. It’s all awesome and I’ll be right there beside her.  Even though the other funny thing about running is about 10 minutes into I hate it, but when I’m done I can’t wait to do it again.

Life is pretty good, all-in-all. It’s good to have a lot going besides staring at the number on the scale!

Weigh-in Wednesday 4: The But I Don’t Wanna Edition

 

Mirror update: Check for a post in a little bit that actually contains fairly recent (Tuesday 3/13) full body photographs. Still no mirror.

Thoughts off the scale

I did better with eating this week. My only real indulgence was Texas Roadhouse. But I kind of resented everything about working out and eating right this week, because I think I have looked the same for a while and I want everything to GO. FASTER. Without, of course, reducing my calorie intake. My body seems to be holding on to everything, but a few friends have told me this is a part of the process, so I’ll just keep slogging on. Dear Spare Tire–I won’t quit, you can’t make me. So no matter what the scale says this week, there’s next week and the next….I’ll get it right eventually.

Weight goals

Small goals: a pound a week, slow and steady.

Larger goal: 199, to be below 200 for the first time in my adult life.

Overall goal: Not sure about this yet, I really don’t like to look too far ahead because it all starts to feel overwhelming and nearly impossible. I know it’s not, so I’m going to hold off on a long-range goal.

Starting Weight: 227

Last Week’s Weight: 224.8

Today’s Weight: 223.8

Thoughts after the scale: Gee, that number looks familiar. ::Sigh:: Well, a pound down is a pound down, even if it is one I thought I already lost once, right?  Today starts a clean slate.

I MAY NOT BE THE LIGHTEST

Do you ever have weeks where even the things that are always easy seem hard?

Flippin’ Food Frustration

You know how I was talking about cliches the other day? I thought of another one I hate: “Eat to Live, Don’t Live to Eat.” Now we all know that’s true insofar as it goes. We all know that we need to eat properly in order to fuel our bodies for what our day/week/life is going to bring. But that cliche brings to mind someone sitting in a small dark room in a folding chair at a card table eating kibble–alone.

I’m sorry, but going out to eat with, or creating a good meal for, my friends, sitting around the table laughing, joking, and telling stories is a huge pleasure for me. I like to eat well. I like to eat good food with my friends, or alone for that matter. I don’t want to reduce the act of dinner to something I could replace with a nutritionally balanced meal replacement bar.

I don’t think the above is incompatible with losing weight or a healthy lifestyle, do you? I think it takes maybe a little more thought, a little more planning, and maybe a bit of sacrifice when you make menu choices.

Yet, I’ve been having trouble in this regard lately. I’ve been getting frustrated and feeling like nothing that I want to eat is what I should eat. I’ve been craving wings, I’ve been craving fried anything, cheese fries. You name it, if it’s hard to fit in with a 1690 calorie a day diet (which is what myfitness pal tells me is the magic number that, when combined with exercise, will allow me to lose a pound a week) that’s what I’ve been wanting. I’ll fill my fridge and pantry full of healthy choices and then look at them and go BLERGH.  Oh, I know what you are thinking and it starts with an “m” and ends in “oderation.” But everything that I’m craving lately is a trigger food for me that only leads me down a path of more bad choices, more cravings, and well, “finishing the bag.”

Re: Finishing the bag, portion sizes are a big (heh, see what I did there?) thing for me. I like BIG portions. (I mean you had to figure that, you don’t get to be 230 pounds by eating your 3oz of fish) I like the look of big portions on my plate, and I like taking seconds. Yet, I don’t think that is completely incompatable with weight loss either. Emily over at Daily Garnish talks frequently about loving big portions and look at her adorable tiny cuteness!

I need to (re)tweak my mindset a bit.  So I’m going to list the following food goals:

  1. I know I like the feeling of taking seconds, so I’ll start with a smaller 1st helping.
  2. I know I like big portions so I’ll try to have something each meal that I can have a lot of, but still maintain my calorie goals. (See roasted Brussels sprouts, or a crunchy salad)
  3. I need to try some of the gazillion recipes I’ve starred on Google Reader for healthy, yet sweet and delicious (or salty and savory), treats. (See these, or this)
  4. I need to change up my healthy snack drawer at work. I’ve been restocking with the same pistachios, reduced fat peanut butter, and dried fruit strips for too long now and my tastebuds are bored. (And that box of Girl Scout Lemonades [150 cal for 2] is probably stale by now.)

I think trying to make even a few of the above changes will pull me out of this food frustration I’m in. I was making too much progress to get stuck in a plateau now.

What do you do when you get bored with your go-to foods? How often do you think it’s OK to give in to something you’ve been craving.