Little Mama On The Prairie

A life and weight-loss journey.

Weigh-In Day, Week 26

Well, I almost made it to my weekly goal this time. Just a little over half pound would have done it but I’ll take the 1.5 pounds I DID lose! Down to 230.5 now, that’s a 17.5 pound loss since starting this blog. Next week for sure in the 220’s – if my birthday doesn’t sabotage that. I noticed this week that my watch is feeling loose around my wrist…

Yesterday while I was doing my cardio workout, I was thinking of what hindered me from exercising in the past, and what may hinder some of my overweight friends from getting into exercise. Exercise is by far the hardest thing to incorporate into a weight-loss plan, it takes actual time out of already busy schedules and, if we’re completely honest, its not really that fun and takes E-F-F-O-R-T!

So here’s a little list to maybe help you get moving.

FAT GIRL’S GUIDE TO EXERCISING

1. If you are very overweight, start slow and low impact. I rode my recumbent bike for 3 months, increasing time and resistance regularly, before attempting other exercises and I am certain it prepared my knee and hip joints for the impact of jumping jacks and such. You may not get much weight-loss results from a more mild exercise but the movement is great for preparing your body. All movement is good and you can always build up if you just make a start.

2. When you’re ready to start aerobic exercises, make sure you have the appropriate clothing/gear. Speaking strictly to females here, although perhaps there are a few men who could use the advice too, either go to a specialty lingerie store and get a very supportive, tailored to you sports bra that can keep your girls in place, or, if you’re on a budget like me, wear multiple supportive garments to do the same trick. If your belly hangs low like mine does, getting a pair of spanx-type shorts is crucial to keeping those floppy areas in place too – trust me, it reduces work-out pain to virtually none. The point being, if any part of your body is extra floppy, find a way to secure it down before jumping up and down.

3. On the note of exercise gear, get a set of dumbbells. I have 5 pound ones. If you’re new to strength training, maybe start with 3 pounders.

4. If you’re ready to try a workout DVD, get one with normal sized people doing the exercises so you can get an idea of how you actually are supposed to look while flopping around your living room. I found looking at perfect models while exercising was discouraging rather than motivating me to look like “that”. Because I will never look like that, those models have never been over 100 lbs overweight, their bodies have never stretched to the extent that mine has and therefore, mine can’t return to quite that same tone. Which is ok, I’ve got battle scars and I am stronger for them.

5. Work out videos with real people often show modified versions of the workouts for people just starting out. Don’t try too much too fast, work your way up to it. This is one reason why I really love the Biggest Loser workout DVD’s. As your strength and agility increases, you can move to more advanced versions of the same exercise.

6. On the same line of not overdoing your workouts when you first start out, don’t wimp out either. Push yourself a little more each time. Not to the point of injury but when you feel your muscles burning and you think you can’t do any more, try for just ONE more. And if you can, one more after that. If there is one exercise during the workout that you just can’t do (for me it is still some variations of push-ups), keep moving! Just repeat a previous exercise or do crunches. As long as you keep moving and don’t stop until the workout is over.

7. Just start the process of moving. It is sooo easy to procrastinate with exercise but it really is crucial both to successful weight loss and quality of life and health overall.

 

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On becoming stronger…

Ah yes, remember back in the never-ending winter when I said I was looking forward to the warmer months because of, well, the warmth and yet I was dreading it because of how busy it would be? Well, that time is here. Hence, very little time for posting anything about anything here or anywhere. I keep telling myself that these years of toddler/babyhood will eventually pass and the children will become independent enough to occupy themselves “safely” without me having to keep a hawk’s eye on them to make sure they don’t run on the road, get trampled by a cow or stick their hand in an auger. I’m slowly learning to let go of the fact that if we are outside, they WILL play with and eat dirt. I don’t care so much about them playing in the dirt as I feel exhausted just thinking about having to clean them up after. There is NOT time to add a bath to every day yet too.

Anyway, I don’t know why I went on that rant, I was going to write about something else. On Monday, my lovely mother-in-law and I tackled a big garden project that will hopefully make the remainder of the summer a little easier to manage. We laid sheets of black plastic (the stuff farmer-hubby uses to cover silage) over the entire garden and then had to dig trenches and bury all the edges so it wouldn’t blow away. I thought the job would maybe take the whole morning…it took all day and into evening. So thankful my sister-in-law offered to take the kids off my hands for the day, even though it was her birthday, or it would have taken a week to finish that job.

So as we were digging, I kept noticing things about myself. Things that would have been very different even last summer, and all the summers before that. As we dug, and dumped and spread and pulled and pushed and moved, I did not get winded. My arms did not get tired. Even though my eyes were tired and wanted to go to sleep by the end of the day, my body could have kept going with the work. It was hard work. But I could do it and not feel completely done in by the end of it! I was only mildly sore the next day and that wore off quickly.

My point is this, sometimes the effects of exercise are not all visible. Sometimes we get discouraged because we can’t see our body changing as quickly as we’d like, or in the places that we’d like. But then we go and complete a task that, before training our body with exercise, would have left us huffing and puffing and unable to move after an hour or two. So yeah, I was encouraged by my stamina on Monday and the fact that exercising has helped me to become a stronger person, as well as a less overweight person.

Now, if only there was a way to exercise the body out of needing sleep so I could get over this sleep deprivation exhaustion to continue on with my 18+ hour days and -6 hour nights.

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30? Day Shred

OK, I’ve long given up hope of finishing the 30 Day Shred in 30 actual days. I’ve been going for 2 weeks now and I can finally ALMOST make it through level one. Today, I literally threw up in my mouth a little after the workout. I’ve had other days where I thought I might throw up but it usually passed after a bit. Phew, she really makes you work hard! I’m scared to progress to the next level…

On the flip side, I decided to switch out a workout this week with one from a Biggest Loser DVD I borrowed from a friend and it did nothing for me. No elevated heart rate, no tired muscles. So I switched to the other Biggest Loser DVD and did 10 minutes of strength and 10 minutes of cardio. The strength got a little tiredness going in the muscles and the cardio did get my heart rate up but at the end I still didn’t feel like I’d had much of a workout. The next morning I switched back to the Shred. Ah yes, I hate it and love it all at the same time but when I am done, I can feel over my whole body that I have had a workout. Sweat trickles into my eyes and yes, I feel about to throw up. Such a great feeling.

I have been hearing that you can get the 30 Day Shred at WalMart for about $5, I highly recommend you do this and buy a set of hand weights as well. They are also usually quite inexpensive and you’ve got everything you need to have a really good workout for a whole lot less than a gym membership or a personal trainer. I use 5lb weights myself, sometimes they are perfect, sometimes they get a little heavy. If you’re just starting out with weights, maybe start at a 3lb weight and move up from there. I also carry around a 30lb 1 1/2 year old who is already half as tall as me so I think my arms are ready for the 5 pounders. That’s just a little over half of what my babies weigh at birth anyway.

Do you have a workout DVD/trainer that you love to follow? Tell me some of your favourites!

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My Own Worst Enemy…

Ugh, I am sooo sore. I won’t lie, I didn’t even make it through all the jumping jacks or other cardio segments – I got more in than yesterday but I am definitely having to ease myself into this a bit! And here I thought I’ve been exercising for the past 3 months. Sheesh. What a joke.

You know though, this makes me think about the way I approach things, both past and present. I really am my own worst enemy when it comes to weight loss and fitness. I justify “bad” foods that I eat. I pat myself on the back for a half-hearted work-out when deep down I KNOW I could have done more and better. I sweet talk my way out of success and deceive myself into thinking I’m doing great. I need people like Jillian Michaels in my life on a regular basis. People who tell it to me straight and don’t shy away from the ugly truth.

Let’s face it, the whole “take-the-stairs-instead-of-the-elevator” and the “park-at-the-far-side-of-the-lot” thinking has gotten a whole bunch of us thinking we’re getting “active” when really all its doing is getting us to the base point of where we should be anyway. And yes, that is still a good thing. It is still better to get in tiny amounts of exercise than zero exercise total. Please don’t misunderstand me. But I think we tend to let ourselves believe that these “small” steps are going to get us some great big results. The only way parking away from the door is going to actually help us get FIT, is if we park on the other side of town and sprint to the store. The only way taking the stairs is going to help us get FIT, is if its a 10 or more story building and we are running up those stairs, pushing ourselves to the limit of our physical ability. If we’re not pushing ourselves past what we’ve already achieved, how can we expect results different than what we’ve already achieved?

I’ve spent a lot of my life in denial. I really don’t want to live there anymore. I want to see results. I want success on this weight-loss journey and I need to stop kidding myself and do what it takes to get those results. For myself. For my family. For those who are watching my journey and wondering if they can do it too.

WE CAN DO THIS!

 

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

If you’re going to take the time to exercise, get your heart rate up! Yes, any movement is good. And if all you want is good, then fine, just do good. But if you want GREAT, then kick your own butt and get moving for real. Make it hurt (in the good, my legs are burning, hurts to breath kind of way, not the physical injury way), and make it count.

P.S. I just want to know others are being tortured at the same time as me.

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It’s a long road…

While I’ve known all along that losing the amount of weight I need to lose, over 100 pounds, would be a long journey, there are some days the road seems longer than others. I am looking forward to the day that I can look back instead of ahead – the road always seems shorter at that end!

This morning I spent an hour on my bike. I’ve been alternating 3 days a week exercising for an hour, 3 days exercising multiple (2-3) “short” sessions of 15-20 minutes on the bike plus 10 minutes of arm strength/weight training. To be honest, I’m not SEEING much benefit from all this exercise yet. I feel it, but I don’t see it. And some days all I see is the amount of work that piles up because I’ve made exercise a priority in my life. I wonder sometimes if I’m accomplishing much, if my priorities are in the right place. Should I be taking the time to exercise 6 days a week at the expense of household duties? Or should I be making sure my house is in order before I take the “personal” time to exercise? Some days it feels as though the only things I accomplish are getting my family fed and the exercise, then I feel guilty because my floor is covered with toys and crumbs. Although, this past Saturday I did a pretty thorough housecleaning and used that as my exercise for the day, earning 11 activity points by spending 1.5 hours with the vacuum, then mopping, dusting, cleaning windows and bathrooms.

Housework has its own challenges too, though. I may have the time for it, but I do have 2 small children in the house. Have you ever tried vacuuming when one child is sitting on the hose, “riding” along while the other is constantly trying to pull it from the wall and disengage the vacuum? How about cleaning toys up on the floor so you CAN vacuum and having two little people follow right behind and drop 2 toys for every 1 you pick up. They can leave a toy alone for an entire week but the moment you decide to clean it up it becomes the most prized possession in the house that must be kept on display…in the middle of the kitchen floor. Try sweeping the floor after breakfast to have your 1-year-old drop his plate of toast, deliberately, crumbs and all on the floor?

Crazy time with the little crazies.

Crazy time with the little crazies.

But exercise is really important to me. For one, it gives me at least one moment of the day where I can be completely by myself. Baby-boy is usually napping, baby-girl usually settled in front of the tely with something educational I’m sure. I get to watch non-educational-purely-entertainment-not-even-remotely-for-children shows/movies on my laptop and just let my brain rest while my body does some work. I honestly believe this alone time has been beneficial to my sanity in the last couple of months.

Another reason why I want to stay active is because being fit is as important to me in the long run as being slimmer. I don’t want to lose weight by diet alone because I’d be nothing but a bunch of skinny flab, not to mention it would take so much longer. I know if I continue to improve my fitness, the fat will follow. I don’t think a person can be fit and active and stay fat…correct me if I’m wrong on that one.

So I think I shall continue with my exercise, even if it means the house is messy. Maybe by the time I reach my goal the kids will be old enough to do the housework for me. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Crazy #2

Crazy #2

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – Get active! Get moving! The best way to quit being lazy to have an attitude adjustment and just do it. If you’re waiting for the day when you’ll have more energy to become active, that day is never coming. The funny thing about energy is that you have be active to get the energy to be more active. So get up off the couch and do something that makes your heart pump and your pits sweat. Its so much more glamorous than it sounds.

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To spend or not to spend…

There is no question, the weight-loss market is a lucrative one. Pills for this, juice for that, shake it up here, shake it off there. Knowing when and what to spend money on when you’re looking to lose weight, especially a significant amount, can be very challenging. I hate that there is such a huge market for this stuff. I hate that I have fallen prey to it in the past.

First rule of thumb in the “Sara’s Bible of Weight-loss”, if it sounds too good to be true…it is. No gimmick will give you lasting results. Ever. If you have lasting results after using a gimmick, its probably because you made overall healthy changes to your eating and activity over the same period of time and that is actually what helped you lose the real weight in the first place. If something promises that you can “eat whatever you want and not exercise” and lose weight, it’s either a lie or not healthy for you. Think about that next time you’re tempted to try one.

Shakes are good for 2 things, in my opinion. A boost when you’re on the go and don’t have time to eat something healthy or to help break a plateau. That’s it, that’s all. Not a long term solution for losing weight and keeping it off. Be careful though, not all shakes are created equal. Of the ones I’ve tried, I currently like Visalus the best. Blended with frozen fruit.

What about a gym membership or exercise equipment? This is one area I DO believe in spending a little bit of money. I would go for either a gym membership if you live close to one, or a single piece of heart-pumping equipment to have in your home. I own a recumbent bike that I purchased through a Sears Outlet years ago. It has served me well. It is no where near top of the line and I think I paid somewhere between $150-$200 for it. Some people prefer a treadmill, others the elliptical. Try some out and find out which one you like best, then bring it home. This is to prevent days of inactivity when its raining outside or if you live in the land of perpetual winter like I do. I love to park my bike in front of a screen and watch something intense and interesting while I bike, the more intense the show, the harder I bike without realizing it. Kinda cool.

Another area I can honestly say is a worthy investment is a program that teaches you to eat well and journal food intake. For me, that’s Weight Watchers. There may be others out there but I have found Weight Watcher’s very simple and effective in teaching me to eat a healthy, balanced diet without any weird supplements. The online enrolment is relatively inexpensive but lacks the accountability factor of meetings so I recommend doing this with a friend…or write about it for the whole world to see on the internet. I love that Weight Watcher’s shows you how to eat real food, in a real world. Yes, I can still have a cheeseburger. No, I can’t have 3 cheeseburgers a meal, 3 meals a day, but I CAN have a cheeseburger when I want a cheeseburger. Which if I’m pregnant, is all the time for the first and last trimesters. It’s no wonder we called our daughter our “Nine-and-a-quarter-pounder-with-cheese” when she was born.

 

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

Make big EFFORT investments in your weight loss. Make small monetary investments. Here’s a general rule of thumb to keep in mind: If I pay for it, will I have either a product or information that I can keep for life? Or will I have to pay again for a re-fill in 30 days? Avoid paying for things that disappear and you have to refill…unless its prescribed by your doctor of course…or belongs in the produce drawer of your fridge.

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Get moving!

I did some weight training yesterday, yes I did. I haven’t done that in a while – most likely because I “put away” the dumbbells about a year ago and wasn’t able to find them until yesterday. My arms are a tad sore today. I also biked for 45 minutes, watching two episodes from the first season of “Reba” on my laptop. Reba has to be my all-time favourite family sitcom. She makes me laugh. I’m not allowed to watch Downton Abbey during my workout anymore. My husband got hooked so I have to save it for the evening, when the kids are in bed so we can watch it together. I don’t mind so much, I like it when we find a show we both enjoy watching. Anyway, enough about my screen time.

I don’t particularly like exercise. I don’t particularly dislike it either. I love the buzzy feeling throughout my limbs AFTER a good workout, I just don’t really enjoy getting to the buzz. As I mentioned in a previous post, I HAVE to have something to do while I workout to distract me from the fact that I’m working out. When I lived in my own little apartment back in the single days, it meant having my recumbent stationary bike set in front of the TV. Here in my grown-up-living-with-a-hubby-and-kids house, my bike resides in the basement. The unfinished basement. And before I had a laptop (which was only a few months ago), it meant either working out to nothing or reading a book. I read a lot of books down there.

Finding time is the other struggle when it comes to exercising. With a husband, 2 kids and a house to look after, school to complete, farm to help on, garden to tend (in the summer of course), sometimes exercising seems like such a waste of time. I get nothing on my To-Do list accomplished and I waste precious baby napping time to get it done. But I have come to realize that it is a very important part of my day. It is my “me” time. Alone, in a quiet room, watching something that requires no brain power – the only thing better would be a nap.

The best part about exercising for me? Move more = eat more. Sometimes that, in and of itself, is motivation enough to get me moving!

 

K run*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

30 minutes a day of some form of activity is all it takes to improve your heart health…and it can help whittle you down quicker than just changing eating habits alone. Try to find some activity you actually enjoy and try to incorporate 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Or if there is no activity you enjoy, find something to do to distract you from the fact that you’re exercising, like reading a book or watching TV. I found, completely by accident, the more suspenseful the show, the faster/harder you work out without realizing it.

When it comes to weight training, you should avoid doing it more often than every other day. Your muscles need the extra time to repair.

What forms of activity do you enjoy?

 

 

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