Category: health

         I’ve written before about my journey with fitness – finding what worked for me and made me happy, finding time to do it. I spent most of 2012 doing my own little thing: mostly resistance workouts with dumbbells and kettlebells and body-weight moves, and I was really pleased with myself. I know that I feel better when I make the time to invest in myself in this little way.
         At the start of 2013, I was still trucking right along, and in May, Chris took a HUGE step and joined the HealthPark. He signed up with a personal trainer, and today he’s about 45 pounds lighter and in much better shape! As a result, I got a HealthPark membership too (one of those, “add your spouse for only a little bit more!” deals) and started trying to go over there for cardio occasionally. But using a gym just wasn’t working for me at this life stage — there is a charge for the childcare room, and I can’t justify spending that kind of money for a half-hour on an elliptical machine! Only using the HP on days when Chris had time to keep the kids at home meant it was a rare occurence.
      And when school started in August of ’13, my workout time just fizzled and died. Keeping up with a 3rd grade schedule, a Kindergarten schedule, an inquisitive and still-nursing 2-year-old, and a household proved to be too much. By December, I was pretty unhappy with that state of affairs. It’s not that I had gained a ton of weight – I was still hovering around my ‘comfort zone’ in the 120-123 range – but I just didn’t feel as good as I knew I could. My energy level was lower and my stress level was higher. I missed that feeling of strength I’d had just a year prior.
     A friend from our homeschool group, Sarah M., started posting on Facebook about a new daily workout routine she had started. She’s a tall, thin, whole-food-eating kind of mama –so I knew that if she was doing it, it must not be crazy or based on bad nutrition. Curiosity got the best of me, and I asked what the program was.

Okay, I remember hearing about P90X a few years ago. When we lived in Elsmere, our friends Misty & Axel did that. But I had the impression that it was CRAZY and HARD and IMPOSSIBLE for a normal person to do. So I kept asking Sarah questions and reading reviews of this new version, X3. It’s similar to the original: it’s a high-intensity interval workout program. It uses “muscle confusion” by varying 16 different workouts over the course of the 90 days to keep your body guessing – cardio, weights, power, agility, and flexibility are all

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A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sarah linked to a thought-provoking fitness article. The author wrote about how sometimes women get a little too hung-up on using our bathroom scales. She claimed that we ought to only weigh ourselves once annually at a doctor’s office. (To be fair, she went on to explain that a woman’s percentage body fat was more important than an arbitrary number o the scale, and suggested that her readers should pay attention to how their clothes fit and how their bodies feel during the 364 days of the year they aren’t stepping on a scale.)

Now, I can’t get on board with once-per-year weights. In my [albeit, inexperienced] opinion, while you’re in the postpartum-weight-loss phase, it is reassuring to see that you’re making small progress from week to week. And on the other side of the coin, it’s good to keep an eye out and make sure you’re not losing weight too fast; as a breastfeeding mom, research suggests that 1 pound per week is the safest amount of weight loss.  But I’m at “the bottom of the hill” right now – I’m 3.5 pounds away from my weight when Abigail was conceieved, and that point is about 5 pounds away from what has been my default “healthy” weight over the last dozen years. So the article made me realize that I definitely don’t need to hop on my scale every single day (which I really didn’t do anyway) and I could probably stop checking every week as well (I had gotten a habit of weighing myself on Saturday mornings).

I think it was a commenter on the original article (or maybe it was a subsequent article I read later the same day – you know how internet bunny trails can be!) who suggested a compromise of weighing oneself once a month, at the end of your cycle. That sounded like a better idea to me. And Sarah, my friend who got this whole thought-ball rolling, is a courageous woman who’s been taking her own measurements and posting them on her blog!!! during her weight loss journey… which made me think about doing the same thing. Well, okay, I’m not that courageous: it made me think about taking measurements. I won’t post them on the blog!

Anyway… all of that is a lead up to another update on the workout situation. I chart my cycles, simply because I started doing it in 2004 and it’s a habit now!, so I started noting my workouts on my chart. Those pieces of information don’t HAVE to go together, but it works for me. The nice thing about keeping track that way is that I know that over the last 30 days, I did 11 workouts. 🙂 Since this is still a ‘developing’ habit and not a fully-ingrained one, I’m pretty happy with that. It also gives my type-A, over-organized little heart something to geek out about, because for this coming month I plan to also keep track of

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I just found the American Council on Exercise site – it’s a great resource! Their “exercise library” (click on GetFit, then select exercise library) can be searched by target body part, experience level, or filtered by what kind of equipment you have on hand. There seem to be a lot of options for “no equipment”, too, which I particularly like.

I’m intrigued by this Core Workout plan, too… it’s got animated photo examples of each exercise, with good directions. I’ll let you know if I give it a try!

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I posted a while ago about working out at home.
” If I ever hit on a beautiful, creative, fulfilling solution to the puzzle – where I get to workout, and not feel guilty about it, and not ignore my kids in the process, and not neglect all the other things I “should” be doing too… I’ll let you know.”
Well. I don’t think what I’m doing is beautiful or creative yet, but I do love it. So here’s the update. I posted that on January 20th, and in the intervening weeks I’ve lost five more pounds. Abigail is five months old, and I am seven pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, so I’m beyond happy with that. I need to start taking my measurements, because I think I’m getting close to the point where the weight will stabilize but as I tone up hopefully the inches will change.

The issue of timing has just sort of fallen into place. I don’t fit it in every day, even though I think I’d like to. Some weeks I’m managing four or five workouts and sometimes it’s been one, but it averages out to about three a week. The older Abigail gets, the better she’s napping in bed, so that has helped. If I don’t save it for her naptime, Susannah has also started to “exercise” alongside me sometimes, which is cute and funny and actually keeps her out of the way (but I don’t have to ignore her).

And I had an awesome victory moment tonight, when I was stretching after my workout and HELLO, KNEE, this is Forehead, remember ME? Ahhhhh. It feels so good to be getting my flexibility back!

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Sometimes living with a doctor has perks. I realized the other day that I ought to write these down, because sometimes living with a doctor sucks (ahem: two nights on call in one week, this week) and cataloging the perks might be helpful on days like that. So to start us off:

If you’re a mild hypochondriac, it’s nice to verify
(a) which side the appendix is on,
(b) that that’s just a freckle, and
(c) those aren’t symptoms of brain tumors
all at one fell swoop, without even Googling anything!

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Shocking confession time: I enjoy working out.

Oh, I know. It shocked me too, when I figured it out. I was never an active, outdoorsy kind of kid. Exhibit A: my bicycle had training wheels until I was, like, nine. I just hated riding the darn thing and it took me a l-o-n-g time to log enough hours to master the balancing. When we lived in Lawton, Oklahoma… I would have been 7 or 8… there’s this famous family story about my mom demanding that I go outside for some P.E. “Go out there and get on your bike!” she ordered. Fifteen minutes later, she came outside to check on my progress. I was sitting in the shade on my bike reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, with the kickstand down and the basket filled with books. When my flabbergasted mother asked what on earth I thought I was doing, my sassy reply was, “Well, you said I had to get ON the bike. You didn’t say I had to RIDE IT anywhere.” Okay, now you believe me about not being active, and you’re probably also wondering how I survived that day. Ha!

My first foray into anything remotely athletic was the flag corps in high school, and I loved that – but I would have chalked it up to the comraderie and the music and yada yada yada. Not the exercise (although in hindsight, I’m sure that’s from whence at least part of the ‘high’ came.)

And then, yearrrrrrs and yearrrrrs later, I joined an actual gym. We were living in Fort Lauderdale, and my best friend at work was a workout queen. Staci was a ton of fun, and she loved her gym, and when I realized I had slowly gained a few more pounds than I was comfortable with — it was only natural to join her gym and ask her for a little help. And here’s where the shock hit me. I was having fun, laughing with a friend on side-by-side ellipticals, sure. But I really loved how I felt when I was working out. We had a whole routine — well, I should say, Staci had a whole routine worked out in her head, and I followed along. I had taken yoga classes before and done videos at home alone, which was just “eh.” I tried spinning, to keep Staci company, but you know: me and bikes have never been BFF. I tolerated the cardio Staci made me do, but I really got my kicks with the strength training she taught me. I loved it. Who knew?! I lost the weight I’d gained, and started seeing muscles in the mirror. It was awesome.

And then a baby came along. And another, and another. And I wasn’t working anymore. And we moved four times. And there were a million reasons that I couldn’t join a new gym, and there were a million reasons that I couldn’t figure out how to fit in some kind of exercise on any given day.

Over

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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