Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's never too late to be what you might have been...

I connect with this statement on a very deep level and relate it strongly to how my life has evolved. Someday, I'll get it tattooed on me, but I'm heading toward another tattoo come April before I do that one! For the sake of this post, this statement related to reading the 4 blog posts I made almost 2 years ago and relating it to my current physical state of being today.

So, yeah, I really didn't follow through with that plan back then. BUT, things have changed. Some of you may have read about a month ago a post I made on Facebook about dieting and challenge and nonsense, and someday I would post a before and after pic. Well, today is NOT that day. Mostly because I'm not quite done yet, and I looked back at my before pic the other day and I'm just not sure if I'm ready to reveal that EVER. However, I've come a long way and since I'm always inspired by my friends success stories, here is mine as it sits so far.

So, we started with a challenge in January. Greg and I did an Advocare, 24 day challenge. I'm not going to try to sell anyone or pump Advocare at all. I have mixed feeling about so many supplements, and I personally didn't care for a couple of their products taste and how they were sweetened, so I made substitutions. But, for us it was more about finally making a commitment to something and sticking to it. And that we did! One thing I will highly recommend to anyone is the way I learned to eat, and the plan I received from our Advocare coach. You know how "they" always tell you, eat lots of small meals, exercise, and you'll lose weight? That's about the gist of it. The packet I received made determining serving sizes stupid proof. Here's your weight, here's your size! Easy peasy! And it was plenty of food. For Greg, the portions they recommended for him were too big. We both made some adjustments and shrank portions. It was as simple as a protein, a complex carb, and veggie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, (I always do fruit for breakfast), and a fruit and healthy fat in between for snacks. There was an option for a 6th meal (more like a snack) with some guidelines, I always made my own guidelines for that, but I always eat that 6th meal. With my schedule I find it necessary.

About shakes. Everyone has a shake and Advocare is no different. I think their shakes taste like shit. Greg liked them. I do utilize a shake for my lunches on days I work, and occasionally days I am off and will be running around. That has more to do with convenience for me and making sure I am eating every 2-3 hours. Shakes were something I had started doing for lunches before I started the challenge anyhow. I am experimenting with different ones. I had a favorite vegan mix, but I feel it's a bit pricey, but tastes fantastic, even just mixed with water. Chances are, I'll be ordering it again.

During the challenge I lost 10 pounds, and to date I'm almost to a 14 lb loss and seeing a number on my scale I haven't seen in a long time! My weight loss since ending the challenge has been slow, but steady. I have made lots of exceptions here and there that I could lock down and lose faster, but I am seeking a realistic, sustainable lifestyle. Most days, I still eat the way I learned on the challenge.

I DO exercise regularly. But here's the best part. I rarely exercise more than 25 minutes a day, and my body has changed drastically from those 25 minutes. If you read back on my posts from 2 years ago (I have no idea why you would, but hey, who knows), I finally committed to my Jillian Michaels workouts. During the last 2 months I have primarily utilized 2 workouts from her Ripped in 30 dvd (it'll set you back about $10) and have seen huge changes in my body with them! Okay, so there are 4 workouts on the dvd, and my new challenge to myself is to stop being a puss, and cycle through workouts 1-4. I also try very hard to practice 1 hour of yoga a week. I've gotten very addicted to the results I have gotten from my Jillian workouts though, but, I feel way better when I throw yoga in. Did I mention how much more amazing my yoga is since doing these other workouts as well? I'm strong, and surprisingly, more flexible. I have some beautiful muscles developing on my arms, my waist is pulled in, and my thighs have a shape and strength to them I never thought I would see. It's pretty freakin cool! I tried T25 for about a week. And I really have no doubt those workouts would do the job, but they have way too much bouncing and hopping around, and after a week my knees were not happy. So, while I will occasionally throw one of those workouts in the mix, Jillian is basically it. I don't plan my workouts, but I do track them. Nothing quite like seeing those days fill up and that dedication reflected in my body!

This is what consistency looks like! Ignore the vacation week.
There's more, but this is really long, so that'll do for now!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finally, yoga-education part 2

So, we were talking about yoga and how to get started. I know, it was like 2 weeks ago, but I’ve been busy. 

Many people, mostly men, worry about going to a yoga class and looking stupid. Ok…fine…so get a little experience and familiarity at home.  A good mat is an investment, but you can wait to make that until you really fall in love with it and want to keep practicing. So go to any local store and pick up an inexpensive one. Marshall’s is generally a great choice for that. Then go buy a DVD at Target or on Amazon (or wherever you can find one) and get started. I was going to review every DVD I have to help but then I decided, nah…no one is paying me for that. But I will give you a couple of recommends and please be clear that this is simply my opinion and take on them, not everyone would likely agree. One of the first I started with is The Biggest Loser, Yoga for Weight Loss with Bob. It’s not the most yoga-ish, but it’s a good introduction. He includes some weights with poses at the end and that’s not something you’ll find at most yoga classes (with the exception of a pump yoga, or sculpt, depending on what the studio calls it), but it is a good introduction to some standard yoga poses, you can also choose to just do a couple of sections and not the whole thing as you’re building your strength. Still one I enjoy doing on occasion. Bob’s Yoga for the Warrior is also a good one and more yoga-ish, and he does have someone showing modifications but I don’t think he shows him often. Honestly, I usually am not looking at the TV, so I can’t say I have ever actually “watched” every minute of it.  I really like Ashley Turner. You can find her on Amazon, I did pick up one at a book store once, but there are not so many book stores these days so Amazon might be your best route. I have her Power Yoga and Yoga for Weight Loss. Very nice practices and she’s an actual yoga teacher. Now, most of you probably know someone, or perhaps you yourself have P90X sitting and collecting dust somewhere? (I’m not saying you’re lazy or anything, I swear, but that shit is for people who are already somewhat fit at least, I think there are a lot of newbies who get it and quit because the workouts are soooo damn long and hard so they give up, it’s collecting dust in my house too.) Anyhow, my whole point is that is truly one of the most THOROUGH yoga workouts I have seen on the market. Now, I personally have an attention span of about 60 minutes when I practice at home and that is a 90 minute workout that I feel is a little lengthy with the stretching at the end. I have only ever done the whole thing once though and that was a while ago. I am grudgingly planning to do it all soon, just so I can check it out again. But I generally do about an hour of it, hit my chill time and I am done. You WILL learn a lot of postures. So if you have it, try it, or if you know someone who was suckered into buying it, steal their yoga DVD. All those other DVD’s I mentioned are less than $10, and a mat will maybe cost you $10-20 depending on where you buy. Cheapest therapy ever. (Oh, and just a little side note on someone I don’t like…Rodney Yee has a lot of DVD’s at the local stores, maybe they are good, but I could never get past him saying weird shit like “move your buttocks flesh away from your waist”, I was like, “what the hell does that mean!”, hopefully he doesn’t find this and sue me, but I am not that big so it’s probably not a huge concern). 

Studio yoga. I can only honestly let you know what you’ll find at a hot studio because that’s all I do.  But there are things you should know, and honestly you should just do it, at least once. Make it like a bucket list things because then you can brag to your friends you did it, they need never know if all you did was lay down, or vomit, or run out screaming. Most studios have different names and stuff for things they do and maybe one studio calls it one thing, and another studio calls it another, but in the end it’s basically the same “style”.  So here’s the gist:

Hatha – developed and patented by Bikram Choudhury, but unless you are going to an actual Bikram studio you are not practicing “actual” Bikram. They are very rigid and pretty much stick to a script and it’s always the same class, same words. That said, the Hatha practiced at most hot studios is still based on this. The “original” type is a 90 minute class with 26 postures all but one done twice, practiced in the same sequence (you absolutely SHOULD do a 90 minute one). Non Bikram studios get around his patent by offering 60 or 75 minute versions, or maybe using a slightly different version of a posture here and there in a 90. Some of them pretty much stick to the script, but they’re not as rigid, and each teacher has their own things they say. Therefore, it’s not “Bikram”. He sues people, seriously. But, it’s a great practice. Wonderful choice for a first timer, a little slower.

Power/Vinyasa: This is where you’ll get to get down dog. Pop some warriors. Flow through some sun salutations. Get exposure to a variety of poses. This is what I love most of all! Most of these type classes incorporate some elements of Power which is more holding a pose longer, and Vinyasa, where you flow with your breath. Kind of like a dance. The beauty of these classes is they’re going to be different from teacher to teacher. Yet, there are only so many poses in yoga, and while there are a lot of them, here’s where you’re going to get some exposure to more of them. Don’t even be afraid to start here. You might move a little faster at some, but these are great classes for muscle building. If you’re practicing at home, you’ll find many of those poses in this type of class.

Fusion: A little bit of both of the above. Fused. Make sense? Nuff said. 

Again, different studios have different names for their classes. It’s individual. That’s the best part of it. There are a lot of different teaching styles, some teachers are more serious, some keep it light hearted. I don’t dislike more serious teachers, but I gravitate toward ones that keep it a little lighter, and that’s how I teach too. I don’t think I had ever been in a class with a teacher who had a good time with her teaching until the first time I took a class with one of my favorite teachers Mindy, (but I have encountered many more since, Heidi, most unique teacher I have ever met, Cami, her encouragement throughout class is invigorating, Amelia, learn something new from her always, and my Traci, my friend who teaches with love and laughter always, there are more, but this is a long parentheses side step already) and I don’t know if she remembers but I walked out of the class and walked up to her and said, “that was the most fun I have ever had in a yoga class”. She made a fan of me that day and sort of showed me the way for my teaching. That it was okay to make people laugh on occasion during class, play some great music, and really have a little fun with it. I prefer it.  

That said, there are some yoga etiquettes you should be aware of for the maybe few of you reading this who aren’t my yoga friends and then I am done because I am tired of typing and I am watching American Idol. Don’t wear shoes into the studio, don’t pack all your shit in there, mat, towel, water bottle, that’s it, and don’t talk once you’re in the studio. It’s a chill place. Let it be that for everyone else. But if you’re paying enough attention, don’t be afraid to laugh at your teachers jokes during class (please!), or if they are encouraging your verbal participation, do it. The beauty of yoga is that it can be whatever you want to make of it. That’s my theory on it anyhow.  

I’ll get back to my adventure with other exercise next time. Namaste bitches!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Let’s talk about yoga, or, everything you ever wanted to know about yoga but were afraid to ask...or just didn’t care, or never knew you needed to know.

I love yoga. Anyone who knows me, has been exposed to my talking about it (and I am assuming probably correctly that the only people reading this are people who actually know me since I post it on Facebook and I can’t fathom how any stranger might come upon it otherwise). 

I came upon yoga and knew I loved it for the first time about 13 years ago or so when I was living in California. I tried it at home and thought it was cool, and went to a studio and had one of those moments in life where you just know you are where you belong the minute I stepped in the studio. I even knew then I wanted to teach it, but I had only been practicing like 2 weeks and I looked into trainings and the costs, and everything that said you should practice like 5 years before you consider teaching and I kinda gave up at the time. What I remember mostly as my excuse is as a stay at home mom with two very young children it was difficult to do yoga at home when every time I went into a warrior pose I had a kid hanging off my leg.  Fast forward…took it up again about 4 years ago and this time it stuck.  

I started mostly with practicing at home in the beginning, but about the same time I did a hot yoga studio’s new student thingy and did 10 classes over a period of about 30 days. I was to afraid to do a power class and only (haha, only) did 90 minute hatha classes (you non yoga people won’t understand a word of that, but I’ll get to defining things for you here shortly, so just keep up), not really realizing at the time that what I was practicing at home and loving was power/vinyasa type yoga. So, I kept up with my home practice (most of the time) and did what a lot of us poor yoga lovers do and studio hopped different hot yoga studios doing their specials sporadically, but got exposure to different teachers and styles and I do like it HOT! I honestly giggle at people’s horrified looks when I tell them it’s 105 degrees and humid. It ROCKS.  

But I also learned a lot by my solo explorations and my recent journey back in to those has led me to want to tell you all about it (I know you are all like FINALLY!  we’ve been dying to hear this). I seriously started with Comcast on demand. In fact, when they got rid of exercise TV I was pretty pissed. What they have now is a pale shadow. That was an excellent way to try out different yoga routines, and I often ended up buying the DVD’s for the ones I liked. I also utilize reviews on amazon to help me decide on other ones.  I have bought some that ended up in the goodwill bag, but there have been some keepers. My current library is 10, and many of them have more than one class on them. In fact, I took some ribbing on occasion during teacher training by my mentioning of learning this or that from a DVD but the fact is, there are some really good DVD’s out there and the one thing most of them have in common is they are CHEAP. (IT’S A CAPITALS KIND OF POST YA’LL!) Anyhow. I love practicing at a studio, but nursing school is busy work and sometimes just that extra time to get there and get home, I am just not willing to give up. So, the DVD’s have been dusted off and are getting some use again and I am realizing again a whole new appreciation for the variety out there, the challenge of NOT practicing in the heat, and as a teacher getting great ideas for classes.  

But here’s the whole point of this post (remember how I said I ramble?).  YOU ALL SHOULD DO YOGA! I won’t get in to the many benefits, google it, the list is endless. But primary on it and the biggest reason I think everyone should do it is for stress and mental well-being.  It’s in so much of my nursing stuff I read as a recommended therapy for just about anything. DO IT! But you’re asking, Shari, where do I start?  

…To be continued, because this is getting to be one long ass post


Friday, April 5, 2013

"Some days are diamonds, some days are stone" John Denver

Yesterday was a stone in many ways. Class gets out, I print some stuff load up my backpack, hit the bathroom (because you should always go to the bathroom before getting in the car, mama said!). Pick up my backpack to leave and my butt suddenly feels wet. Shit. I put my water bottle in there and guess what? Somehow no one came in the bathroom to witness me frantically unloading everything and trying to dry the inside with paper towels then realizing it would be more effective to just dump out the puddle that was in the bottom. I was grateful to not have to explain. Books, papers, binder, everything is wet. So I stack some paper towels between the books and papers, pick up my wet bag and head out. Throw it in the trunk. I am out of here. Here's what the drying out process looked like. The books are still drying.

So, I am backing out, I look around, all clear, start to back up, I am about half way out and hear honk! Look back, just as I am about to hit someone who I SWEAR was not there when I started. I am pretty sure it was someone who just thinks they are special and if they are coming everyone needs to get out of their way. But, I pull in, let them go by and then proceed. I meander out of the parking lot and apparently I have forgotten there is a stop sign coming up so that same car stops at it surprising me (though it was rather abrupt I am going to say, because I am trying really hard to blame all of this on them) I may have looked away for like a SECOND…maybe…slam on my breaks and avoid possibly hitting them for the second time today. Obviously these people should stay far, far away from me.
Run home, eat, feed dog, sneak in 15 minutes of homework…gotta run, dentist appointment, grab my drink throw it in my purse (are you starting to get an idea of what’s coming here?). Get in car, go to reach for something. Oh yes, I did it again. Luckily not to the degree I drenched my backpack, which is good because my purse is significantly smaller, you know, just a silly cell phone in there. Plus it just happened to be Pepsi, so, you know, slightly sticky upon drying. Pepsi is my nemesis. I keep trying to quit it, I keep failing.
My brain wants to reach for some deep message the universe is trying to send to me, but all I can really come up with is quite obviously, I need to pay more attention to what the hell I am doing, or stop putting drinks in my bags. One or the other. Ah, well, roll with the punches sometimes right?
But, the universe gives back too, because the day before I received an e-mail saying I had been chosen to receive a scholarship that I had applied for through Tacoma General Hospital's Legacy Scholarship, and it’s the first time I have applied for scholarships so I was delighted! I totally convinced strangers I was worthy of their money! I applied for like 16 other ones, so here’s hoping a few more come through. And today I got to spend four hours playing with needles and syringes and fake medicines and learning how to poke the likes of you in my future job! So much fun!  
But this is really supposed to be about the whole exercise thing so let’s get to that. So, holy mother of sore muscles! Now, as much as I enjoyed the trainer, it really was too much. I know this because I was unable to walk normal after it until yesterday. Sitting on the toilet required the use of my arms to lower me down and significant grunting to get up. As well as a lot of other grunting every time I had to get up or down, or move. I tried Ben Gay, it didn't really help but I smelled very minty! I definitely served as a source of amusement for those around me, and I would like to say you’re welcome, I am glad my misery amused you. But, exercise needn’t put you out of commission for days to be effective, so I will attempt to not replicate that again. It was quite annoying, but it didn’t stop me. While there was no way I was going to manage a lunge or any yoga poses, I did hit the treadmill both days and kept on track with my 5k program. And by the way, the time flies when you are doing intervals, the program I am doing you start with a 5 minute walk to warm up then 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. You're done before you know it and you can do anything for 60 seconds at a time right? I am looking forward to being ready for the next step. Yesterday I was finally able to try out Jillian (I ended up buying her ripped in 30 because it is a little newer and has 4 workouts). My muscles felt so much better after, and in a very short period of time I got a great workout. I was a little worried about Greg walking in while I was doing the running man move because I know I looked like a spaz, but he already loves me for being kind of a spaz anyway, so I guess I should get over that. Today I am just the right amount of sore to let me know I worked out without making me feel like I couldn’t do it again. Oh, and Jillian says 5-6 days a week, because you need a day of rest, and so did God, so I figure 6 days will do.
So get your time in, and rest like God and Jillian says you can.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I had an epiphany today. Mostly I got my ass kicked during the 30 minutes I spent yesterday with a trainer and my sore butt and legs helped the epiphany evolve. 30 minutes. That’s all it took to really feel like I did something. (And that’s all it took to get me to the point of understanding how some people vomit from a workout, seriously, the last moves….oh boy!) 

And truth is; I am actually in pretty good shape thanks to yoga, and the hike I took this last Sunday, I felt really good about. It was challenging, but I wasn’t dying. However...I am hypothyroid, 41, and I just can’t lose that weight I want to lose, my BMI is about 27%, and my weight is none of your damn business (gotta have some secrets!). I also have high blood pressure, it’s kind of a genetic thing, along with a tendency toward heart disease for the women in my family and I am sure you can understand that I would really like to NOT succumb to that! I know I need to work a little harder and eat a little better. We all know that’s what it really takes. Try any fad diet you want but until you make a permanent lifestyle change and get up and get moving and eat better, it will never stick. As much as I know this it’s been a challenge for me to do something about it as well. I also know this, I feel better when I exercise. The last month of last quarter of school I stopped exercising and guess what? I felt like shit and was exhausted (it’s my blog and I will swear if I want to). And then I used the exhaustion as an excuse not to exercise. The conversation in my head went something like this:

Me: I am exhausted.

LVIMH (little voice inside my head): If you exercise you will feel better.

Me: But then I have to change my clothes, and go downstairs, or drive to the yoga studio, then shower when I get back and I don’t even have the energy for that.

LVIMH: You sound like a whiny toddler, Just Do It!

Me: What are we now a Nike commercial? We can probably get sued just for thinking that, it’s probably patented. I want chocolate.

LVIMH: You’re being stupid.

Me: I know. I’ll think about it tomorrow.

LVIMH: Whatever Scarlett. (If you’ve read or seen Gone With the Wind you might get that)

 I knew if I exercised I would feel better, but we all make excuses. Nursing school is challenging and by all reports tends to be fattening, I’d like to avoid that too.  And I ramble on. Get used to that if you keep reading this. If you know me well enough, you know it’s how I talk too, so I is what I is! 

So the epiphany is this. 30 minutes. I have 30 minutes every day I can commit to a healthier me. Bet you do too! I probably spend a combined 30 minutes of the day reading all the stuff you all post on Facebook and as much as I love all your updates, priorities right? So, I got off my very sore butt and legs (a comical thing to see today), and got on my treadmill this morning and started that couch to 5k program I downloaded last week because I am doing a 5k in May. This program only takes a 3 day commitment a week. That’s it! But that leaves 4 other days to fill those 30 minutes. So my goals for those, because I loooove variety, is yoga, at the studio or at home, and picking up Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and 6 week ab workout because I need to work those muscles in that way too. They are 30 minute workouts, and I like to be pushed (they also come highly recommended from one of my Tracy’s who is quite fit and adorable, I know a lot of Traci's/Tracy's). The session with the trainer, while nauseating, was quite awesome but I can’t afford him, I can afford Jillian though. Hiking is on the list too; because not only did we get a great workout, we got to enjoy this beautiful state that we have, and spent some quality time with friends as well. I certainly expect some days I will go beyond those 30 minutes, but, as long as I do 30, I am good. So, the 5k training program is hanging by my treadmill and I am getting a dry erase calendar to document what I do every day because I like visuals and I am a slightly anal retentive Virgo.

I am sharing this with you all because like I told my other friend Traci (told you, there’s still more of them too) recently, I am afraid to put it out there and be accountable because then what if I don’t do it? (And by the way, Traci is one of my many inspirations and if I can figure out how to link you to her blog I will     So, the whole point is making myself accountable to others and inviting you along on the journey. Greg is ready to make changes too. You’re not likely going to hear me talk about him a whole lot, he’s a little more private than I am. In fact he has no idea I have had this revelation this morning and am up to this, so if you end up here shaking your head at what your crazy girlfriend has got herself up to again, just know I love you baby! Let’s look better naked!

So how about you? Wanna look better naked?