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This is more fun than jogging.

This is more fun than jogging.

Thing 1 weighed in at a whopping 100 pounds a few weeks ago, which moves her from “at risk of becoming overweight” and into “overweight” according to her BMI. This could have some health implications for her, which has me worried.

Hubby and I had a long talk about it, and our conclusion is that her lifestyle just doesn’t give her as much physical activity as she needs and her tendency to eat larger than adult portions has gotten out of hand.

What is the best way to help her without giving her a body complex? I just don’t know. She doesn’t like to “exercise” at all, and our running sessions are punctuated with a whole lot of whining (mostly from her). We don’t live in an area where I can just tell her to run loose and bike freely because traffic is out of control-even I don’t like to bike around here in the height of the summer for fear of my own life! Any paid activity, such as gymnastics, dance, or martial arts, would be at most only 2 days a week, and I think what she really needs is a more complete change of habits from couch potato to jumping bean.

So we went out and got the family a trampoline. She is totally into it because it’s fun and it reminds her of being on Cape Cod. Jumping until she’s out of breath is not “exercise” to her, just play, so she’s used it just about every day. Is this the cure for childhood obesity? I doubt it, but if it gets her moving more and sitting less it will be part of a healthier set of habits. We’ve also added in early morning yoga sessions and 15 minutes of daily housework, as well as implementing some dietary changes to favor fresh fruit and veggies over her preferred cheese and starches, but I think the bouncing, which is pretty vigorous work, will be her favorite.

I can say this for sure: she’s happier about the trampoline than she is with the restrictions we’ve put on her eating, which means it’s the sort of habit that is more likely to stick.

This is not the rear end I want to have. I saw this photo last month, and I realy upset me. Hubby swears it's just a trick of the camera, but I think it's all the donuts and french fries from vacation.

This is not the rear view I want to have. I saw this photo last month, and it shook me up. Hubby swears it's just a trick of the camera, but I think it's all the donuts and french fries from vacation.

With all this time spent daily in the garden, my other fitness plans have gone down the drain. Thing 1 and I never really resume our running program after Cape Cod, and it showing for both of us. My pants are all tighter, and she’s getting tired earlier.  I’m tired all the time now, and even a cup of dark coffee can’t seem to jump start my engine. I’ve spent much of the past week feeling chubby, sleepy, and lazy, which is not really who I want to be.

I weighed myself this morning, and I am now just a hair under being obese. Ouch. That is a line I do not want to cross, especially not with the minor heart defect that I don’t want to ever let become a major heart problem. I am setting the goal of trimming off 10 pounds by the end of August, and another 15 by the end of November.

So it’s time to revisit, revise, and recommit to taking care of my body more fully than I have been. Prior to vacation I had been tracking my calories in and out using Calorie Count, but to be honest with you (as well as with myself), that tool isn’t working for me. I tried using it again today, and I just resent all the extra work it takes. Logging the nutritional value of every bite is too much of a chore, especially given my tendency to cook free-style. Doing half an hour of math before or after each meal isn’t something I enjoy, and this site seems to reward convenience eating over home cooking since it is so much easier to log a restaurant meal than one you make yourself. This isn’t working for me, so it’s time to discard it and find something that does.

One change I think I can live with is eliminating (or at least dramatically reducing) prepared and processed foods from my diet. This means things like garden burgers and tofurky as well as candies, ice cream, and sugary cereals. I can have treats, but only if I do the work to make them. Other changes I plan to make include reducing my consumption of white sugar and wheat, finding some treats which are not variations on the basic formula of butter+sugar+egg+wheat, and kicking the coffee habit again. But I’m not going to give up the occasional Italian Ice bought out the side of a Weazer truck, because some calories are always worth it.

On the fitness front, Thing 1 and I have decided to start training again Monday, but we’re going to follow a 5k plan rather than the 10k one. We’ll tackle the 10k once we’ve finished the 5k program. I’ve also started doing daily yoga again, sometimes just 10 minutes when I first get up, but also some 30 minute sessions when I have the house all quiet to myself. I have also set my bike up on a trainer inside, so I can still get some nice rides in despite the overwhelming summer traffic outside. (This also lets me listen to podcasts while I ride, so the time can be used for professional development, too).

I may even consider doing the situp or pushup companions to the 200 Squats program, though I’m not really sure. I may instead include sets of all three a few times a week, gradually building up strength rather than pushing myself through another grueling 6 weeks. We’ll see how the running goes-I can only climb one mountain at a time.

A bundle of hanging oregano graces my luandry room.

A bundle of hanging oregano graces my laundry room.

Summer has finally come to New Jersey, which means it is not getting Hot and Humid, a combination that does not suit my physical composition well. At this time of year I find excuses to avoid yard work and any other outdoor physical activity, which leads to my garden going a bit wild and weedy, though still very productive, and my physical fitness going to pot.

This year I am going to challenge myself to spend a minimum of 30 minutes each morning working in the garden/yard (as long as it’s not raining), and to walk, run, or bike the kids to the playground in the park after lunch. I will not sit on my tush inside in the comfy cool air all day long.

I started out with a test run yesterday, spending about 30 minutes clearing wisteria and volunteer morning glory vines from the roses on the west side of the porch. I don’t think I actually did a full 30 minutes of work, but this was because a neighbor who saw me out and about stopped by to chat. I’ve been chatting with this lady for years, usually about our dogs, but this was the first time I learned that she is an editor by trade (now looking for work), and we talked about the possibility of having her edit and proof the manuscript of Hubby’s latest novel. I do not consider time spent building a relationship with a neighbor time wasted, so I’m going to call yesterday’s test a success.

Today I decided to dedicate the time to clearing all the crab grass from the vegetable garden as well as securing the tomatoes more securely to their trellises. I look at weeding the veggie patch as a meditation, and I am careful only to remove those plants which are bonafide weeds (usually crab grass, grass, and oxalis) leaving behind all edible volunteers. This year’s volunteers include lots of dill and tomatoes, as well as a few kale sprouting late from last year’s sowing.

I noticed this morning that I’ve got a lot of vacant space on one side of the garden where somebody ate my watermelon and okra seedlings, so I’m going to start looking for some things to plant there for a fall harvest. I also noticed that the oregano was getting bushy, so I harvested a bunch of branched and hung them in the kitchen to dry in my first attempt at saving herbs for winter use. If it does not work out, at least I can enjoy the pretty hanging bundle int he kitchen as decor for a while!

Since the first two days went well and left me feeling exhilarated, I am going to pledge to spend 30 minutes tending the garden daily for the next month. I will report here as I go, and I encourage you to nag me if I appear to have fallen off the wagon and gone back to hiding in the air conditioned house.

Click my badge to check out the program.

Click my badge to check out the program.

Whooo-hoooooo! I finished the 6-week program and just did 200 consecutive squats! My legs are so tired!

When I started the program six weeks ago, I could do 24 squats before needing a break. This program has made my core and legs much stronger and increased my endurance, at least for squats, by quite a bit. Now, doing those 200 was a stretch, but it was a stretch I could manage.

When I get back from my trip, I think I’ll tackle the One Hundred Pushups Challenge next to get some arms to go with these legs. I may have to do that one twice (first with girly pushups, then with real ones), but I’ll get through it.

Thing 1 tried out for club soccer a few weeks ago, and she didn’t make the team. She has skill, but she’s not in peak condition, so she runs out of gas far more quickly than the more conditioned girls she was trying out against. This made her really sad for a while, so we decided to start a training program together to improve her chances next year, if she decides that she wants to try again.

Last week we began training for a 10k run following the training program outlined on Jeff Galloway’s website. His approach is a little different in that he encourages you to take frequent walking breaks, walking one minute for every 2-3 you run. These short breaks allow your body to recover a little, which should make the training easier for those with injuries (my back and knee). I also think this program would be ideal for training Thing 1 without pushing her young body too hard too fast.

The first week was a little rough for her, and I had to play drill sergeant during the second run because she wanted to quit. I keep telling her that the first week or two will be the hardest, but once her body gets more fit, the three runs a week will be much more enjoyable. This morning she woke up before 6 am for our run, and we ran for about 30 minutes in the dense coastal fog, making it home before the massive thunderstorms arrived.

I’m really proud of the effort she’s making. It would have been so easy to just give up when she didn’t make the team (this is the second year they rejected her), but she’s got a strong spirit and decided to improve herself rather than be defeated. Our runs are also a good way to spend time together away from the boys!

May 2018
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About me

I am on a personal and professional quest to find a happier, healthier, greener and more cost effective way to live life in the suburbs.