I Survived Single Leg Wall Squats! – Fitness Goal Check Week Two

I’ve made it through week two of my 90 day fitness challenge. It’s had its ups and downs, but overall it wasn’t as painful as week one.

By Friday I was so wiped out that I almost hit the “Off” button on my phone and slept through Yoga. But I got up anyway and powered through, nearly falling flat on my face trying to do “Crane” pose. I was so tired by that night though, I was drooling on my pillow by 7:40 p.m.

On the nutrition side, this week reaffirmed my belief that I’m a total stress eater. The beginning of the week sort of put the “F” in “effed up” and Tuesday saw me wanting nothing but chips, cheese, and chocolate. My fitness challenge coach and group gave me some great advice on how to combat my desire to chow down when the cortisone levels spike and Wednesday started with a clean slate. I did pretty well the rest of the week.

I also gave up fruit snacks and Snickers (my personal irresistible temptations) for Lent as an added incentive to not eat them.

Here’s what week two looked like (exactly like week one, actually):

  • Day 8 – Chest and Back
  • Day 9 – Plyometrics
  • Day 10 – Arms and Shoulders
  • Day 11 – Yoga
  • Day 12 – Legs and Back
  • Day 13 – Kenpo
  • Day 14 – Rest or Stretch

Week Two Wrap Up

I used a chair this week to help me with the pull ups and sure felt it in my back! I have no grace or balance and I hit myself in the face during Kenpo. My eating still needs help, but I did better this week than last week. Also, I’ve lost half an inch on my waist, hips and thighs. And best of all, I survived single leg wall squats!

Bring on week three!

Goal Check – 90 Day Fitness Challenge – Week One

One of my goals for this year is to get healthier, and since I’m the type that needs concrete goals to work toward (like say, training for a marathon rather than just ‘get healthier’), I signed up for a 90-day fitness challenge.

I’m using P90x by Tony Horton and this program covers fitness and nutrition so it includes workout schedule and nutrition plan to follow. Which makes it even better for me. No thought, no problem! And as I found out, it’s a butt-kicking workout program.

Well, this is the tail end of week one and I’ve survived so far. I’ve done well at the working out part and somewhat craptastic at the nutrition part but I’m determined to fix that.

For those interested, here’s what this week looked like:

  • Day 1 – Chest and Back
  • Day 2 – Plyometrics
  • Day 3 – Arms and Shoulders
  • Day 4 – Yoga
  • Day 5 – Legs and Back
  • Day 6 – Kenpo
  • Day 7 – Rest or Stretch

Since I know I never seem to have time to work out at night (actually, I just come up with excuses not to work out at night) I’ve gotten my backside out of bed every morning at the unholy hour of 4:00 a.m. to get my daily workout in. I’m proud of myself for doing it all week. I haven’t missed a workout yet! I feel pretty accomplished just for not missing a workout.

The nutrition part, though, I haven’t done so well on. I knew I wouldn’t, at least this first week. If I try to change everything at once, I’ll end up changing nothing at all. So, I gave myself permission to mess up on my eating this week.

To be honest, I did ok. I started every morning with my protein shake breakfast, had healthy snacks and a healthy lunch. But all nutrition bets were off once I got home from work. I think being tired from getting up an hour and a half earlier than normal made me super tired by the end of the day. I just reached for anything and everything I could find to eat.

This week will be different and better. My body is slowly adjusting to my new schedule and I’m not giving myself excuses for week two. In the meantime, here’s a summary of how week one went.

Week 1 Wrap Up

Let’s see, getting up at 4:00 in the morning won’t actually kill me. My pull-ups consist of me hanging from the bar watching my arms shake, I fall over when attempting yoga and I can’t punch worth a damn. However, I can do a few “real” pushups before dropping to my knees and my years-ago karate training is still evident in my side and front kicks.

Check back next week for my week 2 wrap up!

Note: I’m not affiliated in anyway with P90x, Tony Horton, or Beachbody Fitness. I just like the program and figured I’d share.

Three Ways to Forget it’s the Most Romantic Day of the Year

Cupid holding two hearts. Royalty-free image from office.microsoft.comLet’s be honest. For one reason or another, Valentine’s Day just sucks some years.

Maybe your significant other stands you up to spend the evening with two other women (or men).

Or your husband is less than thoughtful and buys you a FryDaddy instead of that sparkly object you’ve dropped not so subtle hints about since Christmas.

Or maybe you’re single and you hate seeing all of those sappy couples flooding the restaurants.

Whatever the reason, the most romantic day of the year can be downright depressing for some.

There are plenty of articles and websites that give great advice on how to feel better about yourself or your lot in life on Valentine’s Day. So I’m not going to revisit well-tread ground.

Instead, I’m going to suggest ways to distract yourself in the event Cupid’s Arrow hit you in the butt instead of the heart on the most romantic (depressing?) day of the year.

Karen’s Surefire Ways to Forget It’s Valentine’s Day

  1. Go out and volunteer

    Let’s face it. There are people around us whose situations are a lot more dire than just being single or having a thoughtless significant other on Valentine’s Day. So take the focus off of what day it is by focusing on someone else.

    Volunteer at a homeless shelter, a battered women’s shelter, a nursing home or the pediatric wing of a hospital. Spend some quality time helping those who need it. Talk to and listen to the people there and let their lives and stories inspire your own life.

    I always found that focusing my attention on others made it pretty hard to feel sorry for myself.

  2. File your taxes.

    No joke.  What better way to take your mind off of Cupid’s crappy aim than by wrestling with that unwanted suitor that also makes a yearly visit; the IRS.

    If, at the end of your annual struggle with the United States Tax Code, you find yourself getting a refund then you have something to celebrate. Yay! Money! What to spend it on?

    If you owe the tax man some silver, well, you won’t dwell on the fact that your mate is about as thoughtful as a toilet brush.

  3. Throw a Party

    Misery loves company, right? And chances are, there are other people in your social circle who are either in your same lovelorn rowboat or would just rather avoid the public display of affection-fest going on around town.

    So Invite one or more of your fellow hearts and flowers haters over to eat, imbibe and watch movies. Not romantic ones though. We’re trying to forget what day it is, remember? My core party group is partial to really stupid horror movies like “Killer Clowns from Outer Space” or anything from the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” franchise.

    Distraction by dropping IQ points works almost as well as Distraction by Government.

There they are. My tips for distracting yourself if you need to. The day doesn’t have to be depressing. If all else fails just remember that it’s over in 24 hours!

For my male readers, I didn’t forget you but my lack of testosterone means I don’t know what you go through when it comes to Valentine’s Day.  I’m sure some of you have your own reasons for hating “I heart you” day so please feel free to share those reasons in the comments below.

And don’t forget to share your favorite distraction techniques in the comments!

If You Can’t Eat It, Drink It! How I Learned to Like Fruit

Fruit in a blender.

I hate fruit. I’ll bite on a banana or nibble on an apple now and then, but grapes, berries, melons, citrus; they all make me gag.

One of my new year’s goals is to get healthier though, and that includes healthier eating. Since I have quite a few vegetable allergies, that means adding more fruit to my diet.

So, how to overcome the urge to vomit when I take a bite of berry?

To answer this question, I put on my industrial sized thinking cap and burned up some synapses. After a while my youngest child, tired of the smell of frying brain cells, offered his own solution.

“You could drink it,” he said, waving his hand in front of my face to clear away all of the smoke pouring from my ears and nose.

I felt the light-bulb blink on. What a fantastic idea. I don’t like oranges, but I love orange juice. I can’t stand strawberries, but I can easily scarf down a pint of strawberry ice cream.

So, I dug out the blender, grabbed the berries and bananas that I bought for my kids to eat, added some milk, yogurt (which I also hate) and some protein powder and 60 seconds later, drank a glass of pureed fruit.

By my third smoothie three days later, I’d quit gagging and managed to drink a whole glass of it and not hate it.

Problem solved! By my twelve-year-old no less.

So, lesson learned this week: If you can’t eat it, drink it!

How have you learned to eat foods you hate? Feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

There’s a lot of blog fodder coming up as I start a 90 day fitness challenge on February 14. Visit often as share my efforts to get healthy!

Bread is How Much?

A receipt, debit card and a handful of cash.I feel like Jerry Seinfeld: “What is with the price of bread?”

Right now, the bread brand I usually buy hovers around $3.00. When money’s tight, that’s a lot for a loaf.

With my bank account whimpering like a little kid facing a tetanus shot every Grocery Day, I decided to look into how I can save a little dough on my food bill.

What things could I swap around to save a few bucks?

First went the bread.

In this instance, I spent a little money to save a little money and bought myself a bread machine. That baby’s paid for itself in the past few months. Instead of spending $3.00 on one loaf of bread I spend that money on a bag of flour and get three or four loaves. I haven’t bought a loaf of bread since October.

And making my own for the kids and husband has the added benefit of being healthier. I know exactly what’s going into that loaf and there are no additives, preservatives or words I can’t pronounce.

After the bread I ditched my “convenience veggies.”

I don’t mind cooking at home (which is a huge money-saver in and of itself) but I’m a lazy cook. The less I have to chop and prep to get dinner ready, the better. But I had an epiphany in the produce aisle not too long ago.

Why spend $2.00 on pre-washed, pre-peeled, pre-cut packages of carrots when I can spend $0.89 on plain old packages of raw carrots?

Needless to say, that rockin’ set of knives my husband got me for Christmas is getting a workout. All my veggies now come “unprepared” and I peel, scrape, and cut them myself.

And I’ll be a big girl admit that it really doesn’t take that much longer to do it myself. Plus I save a few dollars every week.

The next money-saving epiphany came while perusing the cheese selection.

Healthy or not, we’re cheese-eaters in this house. Shredded on chili, sliced in sandwiches, snacked on with rice crackers. But now, instead of buying cheese in bags or wrapped in convenient individual slices it comes in a brick and I slice and shred it myself. I save even more pennies if I get the store brand rather than a name brand.

Those are just a start. I see the fine art of couponing in my future. I’m also tossing around the idea of turning my brown thumb green and starting a small vegetable garden somewhere in the yard. Why buy it if I can grow it myself? Of course, growing it myself might be the problem… I can kill AstroTurf.

Anyway, those are a few of the changes I’ve made on grocery day. What tips and tricks have you come up with to help you save on groceries?

And do you have any tips on couponing? Feel free to share in the comments!