Monday, February 28, 2011

A New Start, Slightly Delayed

I've noticed lately that I have some really bad habits. Here's a little sample of how an average day for me goes.

Get up while it's dark and moan, "I am soooooo tired." Get ready and get the people in my care ready, skip breakfast because I'm not really that hungry but make a huge mug of strong black tea with milk and sugar, head out the door to work/school. Come home mid-morning, starving, but because I don't eat breakfast, grab a handful of chocolate-covered raisins or gummy worms or both. Pick up Elaine from school, grabbing a spoonful of Nutella on the way out the door. One of my friends says this is the mom's equivalent of a little sanity nip of whiskey during the day. Come home and fix Elaine lunch and cobble something together for myself--yogurt? chips and dip? spoonfuls of peanut butter and jelly? whatever and another mug of black tea with milk and sugar. The afternoon looks pretty much the same, then eat something kind of normal for dinner (which I am starving for at that point).

Consequently, I am exhausted all the time and grouchy. I'm always saying things like, "I wish I was one of our cats," because then I could look like this:

Or this:
I didn't used to be this way. I was a healthy eater. It may shock you to learn that I've never been athletic, but I did love to work out. I worked out 5-6 days a week for years. I worked out daily through both pregnancies, including a 45-minute workout the morning Elaine was born. Actually, the last time I worked out was that morning Elaine was born, so if you're doing the math, that is slightly over five years ago.

Not working out makes your healthy eating habits slip, which makes you lethargic and tired and not want to work out. So when I went to my doctor in January, who always thought I was awesome for being Pregnant Workout Mom, told me I need to pick up the pace again because I will feel so much better.

I thought about what works for me and my life. I have friends who belong to gyms and go to personal trainers and all that, but that has never worked for me. I'm a home workout person. I also don't like fancy equipment or anything that makes me motivate myself. I am, at heart, a slacker in this area, so I want somebody else motivating me.

I started looking into different workout DVDs: Zumba (too uncoordinated for that), Hip-Hop Abs (ditto, and I would feel stupid--I secretly like some hip-hop, but have you ever met anyone as UNhip-hop as me?), and various other options I discarded as too hard, too easy, too cringe-worthy.

Lots of people swear by Jillian Michaels and The Shred, but she scares me. I'm not going to pay someone to be mean to me, I can get that for free at the post office or DMV. So, I went back to the first person I ever worked out with, the person I credit for the good habits I used to have but have discarded:

Now I know Denise gets a lot of flak for being too cheerleaderish and perky and whatnot, but I love her. Instead of yelling at you and berating you, she gently lifts the Cadbury egg from your hand while replacing it with an avocado and telling you how wonderful you are. She also has lots of great meal ideas and plans and general healthy living advice. Also? She's in her 50s. LOOK AT HER.

I planned to start my new workout and eating habits last week when for the first time in a couple years, I got so sick. Just laid out flat. I described it to a friend like this in an email:

"The first night I was sick, Darren was gone late at his office and I picked up the girls from school practically in delirium. I said, 'Mommy's sick; you're on your own' when we got home. So, Lucy was such a good girl and watched PBS Kids until practically bedtime and got herself a snack and took her own shower and put her pajamas on, and Elaine was EVER SO WICKED.

She took down the scissors (forbidden) and cut up paper into confetti and scattered it everywhere and pulled out everything and put on her boots and stomped all over the house singing "I may never march in the infantry..." (by the way? my major symptom at that point was migraine and nausea. Every sound, even the tiniest, was torture. I could have probably heard a mouse tinkling on cotton, so a 42-lb child in boots singing loudly...oh, the humanity. But I was powerless to do anything!) Then she ate an entire box, our only box I might add, of Tagalongs (chocolate peanut butter patties). The whole box. Didn't miss a one. And didn't even get sick as her punishment, the little sniper.

Finally Darren called because he was going to take his Indian colleagues out to dinner (his office is about 1 hour 45 minutes from here), and I just started to sob, "helpmeI'mdyingIwantmymama" so he came right home like the good man he is. He found a disastrous house, one good girl in her bed, and one extremely naughty little girl curled up next to me in my bed, snoring. "

So that basically took care of last week. We'll forget about that. THIS week is the new start. I'm beginning by eating healthier, more energy-inducing foods. Here's a sampling: (breakfast) half a cup of oatmeal with skim milk and a sprinkle of brown sugar. (lunch) (I got this one from Denise) Two cooked egg whites with salsa, avocado, and a slice of whole grain toast. (snack) a quarter cup of raw almonds. (supper--what we're trying tonight) Baked fish, rice, sugar snap peas. Amazingly, I am not starving throughout the day. Since I've been sick, I've wanted to sleep a lot, but I'm sure I'll notice more energy soon.

I'm starting to work out 3-4 days a week and will hopefully work back up to my 5-6. I also hope to add a couple more workouts in so I can vary things.

One thing I'm not giving up so far is the big mugs of strong black tea with the milk and sugar. My mom started giving me that at about 18 months old and now I'm 40-something so for you math whizzes, that's kind of a long time. I don't think I'm going to break that habit. But I am cutting back on a lot of the other sugar I keep shoveling in my pie hole.

There's the plan. Hold me to it! And let me know if you have any great energy-increasing tips. Or have favorite workout routines. Or know any good hip-hop songs.


Laura Brown said...

By coincidence, it looks like Denise Austin has a new book coming out called Get Energy! I'd never heard of her before I read your post, but she likes avocados and wrote a book called Eat Carbs, Lose Weight, so she sounds like my kind of fitness guru.

I find that gentle yoga stretches are surprisingly effective in restoring energy. There's also a breathing technique called "Bellows Breath" or "Breath of Fire", in which you inhale deeply through your nose and then breathe out as hard & fast as you can, again through your nose, as if you were snorting. You get some odd looks from anyone else who happens to be around, but it really works.

And I love the picture of the kitty in bed!

Melanie said...

Love this post! I owe you an email and my goal is to get it done this week! It's been a madhouse.
I'm inspired by your self-induced booty camp - I completely need to do the same! Good luck!

The Farmer's Wife said...




You know what really kicked me in the behind, this year...besides the calendar turning over to the big 40?

Maggie is watching me.
She's learning how to be a woman by watching me. And this is the most impressionable time for me to be able to show her what healthy, strong, energetic women they respect the bodies God gave them, how they can make moderate choices and live in the world. (Girl Scout cookies, for example...moderate is SUCH a tricky thing in that area...) I want her to see grace but not excuses, diligence but not obsession, appreciation but not worship. And I really want the child to figure out portion control.

And you're doing the same thing for you AND your precious (and rotten) daughters!

Go, girl! (And keep trail mix and string cheese in the fridge, because protein, protein, protein...equals long-term energy.)

Becky said...

Oh, you know I'm a regular library of hip-hop! :)

I do have a workout routine that I LOVE! It's worked for me for years, especially since I'm more concerned about keeping (keeping??) toned than losing weight. It's the Winsor Pilates Sculpt Your Body Slim series. It's not the kind of pilates where you have to be able to lift your thigh over your head or anything like that, and each workout is 20-25 minutes, which is my BIGGEST motivator. I can do something that takes that little time. It's not very aerobic, but it does burn.

I've also been working our family into the Flat Belly Diet (without them knowing), which isn't a diet really but just a new way of eating. Very little red meat, lots of monounsaturated fatty acids (almonds, avocado, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, olive oil etc.)

It's so funny you posted this, because our VCR broke (I have the pilates on VHS...mine are that old.) so just this mn I told Scott to FIX THE THING because it's March, and I'm ready to feel good again!