Breaking news: Hardcore July

Welcome to what are sure to be fireworks.

I, #1, have decided to go hardcore in July.  (Not the half of the blog who is expecting a baby!)

Just for one month Imma try really hard on this getting-in-shape thing. I have made some fits and starts before with a healthy eating challenge and an exercise challenge. Looking back, it appears I only have energy for this stuff in the summer. Hm… Gah, my job is a whole other series of posts.

Hat tip to personal finance blog Mr. Money Mustache for introducing the word “badassity” to my month.  I don’t agree with everything he says, but check him out, he’s a good read and some useful things to think about.  Inspiring, at least.

Confession time:  I keep trying to like kohlrabi.  And I keep not liking it that much.

Anyway.  I have made a calorie target for each day of what I should be able to eat and lose some weight.  Within that amount, I can eat whatever I want.  For the past 3 days I have actually been coming in under that number without too much trouble… yet!  It requires feeling *slightly* hungry for a while, and being very thoughtful about snacking.  I am writing down every single thing I consume except for water and medicine.  Oh yeah, and I’m all hopped up on prednisone right now [temporarily; unrelated] so I feel kind of invincible!  So far I don’t feel too much like killing people.

This involves eating a lot less pasta, which #2 has nudged me towards before.  I haven’t found a wheat pasta that’s any good but if you put enough other stuff on it, it can be edible.  Bleh.  Also there is that high-protein pasta, which isn’t whole wheat, but is made with chickpeas or lentils or something which is ok too.  Neither one is as good as regular pasta.

My lovely partner is helping me by knowing things off the top of his head like how many calories are in this big plate of salad we just made, and how many are in an egg.  Good news: Somersault beer from New Belgium is tasty and has fewer calories than I was afraid of.  Whee!

Also:  exercise.  I hates it.  Hates it, my preciousssss.  It’s hot and gross out.  Since last fall, I have had some but really only moderate success with the plan of get-up-at-o-dark-thirty-and-go-to-the-gym-with-partner-before-work.  The gym is hard and boring and there are other people there, which I hate.  I still do it.  Not as consistently as I should. Dr. Isis points out some recommendations that I should probably exercise AT LEAST an HOUR on MOST DAYS to lose weight.  That there number is impossible and gross.  Eff that.  That number will make me give up if I try to stick to it.  I can hardly think of something less fun.  Also I hate bicycling very much.  (“You don’t live longer, it just feels longer.”)

BUT!  It is summer and I have free time and I can ride a horse!  I love this.  I am trying to work out a super-hard-core deal with the horse farm where I can give them infinite money and ride all the darn time in July.  My partner swears that if I concentrate hard on the food and do some exercise most days for a solid month, I will see results.  And then the plan is that after a month I will feel less deprived and be able to keep going on the diet more easily.

Unfortunately, acquiring cardiovascular endurance sucks and is hard and sweaty and feels bad and yucky and takes a long, hard time and I hate it.  But I need it so I can do better on the (horseback) jumper course.  And doing that exercise is apparently the opposite of the exercise you have to do in order to lose weight (lifting weights, which I still won’t do because I hate it, even though I want to lose weight).  First-world problem!  Endurance vs. weight loss: I hate them both.  I know everybody keeps saying to lift weights.  They don’t make it any more fun or less boring or less of a jerk-fest at the gym.

Of course my problem is the same as anyone else’s problem:  exercise and eating better requires weeks and months of continual work in order to see any change at all in exchange for constant sacrifice; eating a huge-ass plate of pasta provides tangible rewards RIGHT NOW.  During the school year, 110% of my willpower is taken up with not smacking students and dragging my ass to stupid meetings, so I don’t have any left to deny myself good things, like as much pasta as I can eat all the time.  Healthy food is vaguely unsatisfying.  It takes more work, too.

Pleeeeease encourage meeee?  WTF I hate biology.  Calories are tasty, lying on the couch in the a/c is the best summer of all.  So, once more, an uphill climb for me!

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55 Responses to “Breaking news: Hardcore July”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    This post makes me laugh and had to re read, especially the quote about not living longer…just feeling that way.

    My only advice is to stop doing the stuff you hate. I don’t think you can be successful if you hate it. Why torture yourself. Life is too short. See, it’s so easy to justify not doing it.

    Keep trying different stuff until you find some things you enjoy. I find Itunlikely that you”d hate everything. Try yoga, Zumba, rock climbing, dance lessons, hiking, swimming, boxing, etc. There are like a million And one things out there that you can try. I tend to enjoy activities that require my full concentration because it Distracts me from how much time has elapsed and what I am doing to my body. For example, I hate road biking but LOVE mountain biking.

    I also count renovation projects and gardening as exercise. My muscles are never as sore as they are when I do those things and it feels less like exercise. Do you not like reading while at the gym? That was the only plus with the “boring” variety of exercise like the treadmill. I could catch up on reading which I have less time to do these days, so I convinced myself that reading was my reward for doing gym time.

    Good luck. If you find something to do that you enjoy, it wont feel like such a suck fest.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I can read on the recumbent bike at the gym, but not on any other equipment; too bouncy somehow. But I listen to podcasts and things. And I stare at my heart-rate monitor…

  2. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    #2 was wondering what it was gonna be.

    Um, I like kohlrahbi raw, but not cooked. It’s like a really mild radish raw.

    With food I really do think you should take a couple of those elimination/replacement challenges we talked about to see if your fatigue is related to diet. They wouldn’t have to be long, only a week. (You could think of it as: This is my Asian Food week. This is my eat lots of meat and veggies and quinoa week.)

    Personally, any diet that makes me hungry is doomed to end up making me gain weight. I don’t know if you’ll be the same or not, but when I started ignoring calories and listening to my hunger and only eating healthy food (for my specific metabolic needs), weight started coming off painlessly. Calorie counting and hunger always lead to weight-gain and unhappiness for me.

    [Of course, becoming allergic to wheat and not realizing that was the problem is also a guaranteed way to lose weight... which is not good when it's pregnancy causing the allergy.]

    Yay exercise!!!

  3. feMOMhist Says:

    I’m right there with you for the month of July. I freakin’ hate exercise and can’t stand being hot. I have an elliptical at home and I put the fan about 12″ inches from me and watch TV on my laptop and I still have only managed a sad 45 minutes. I eat very small amount of dreamfields low carb pasta which we started buying when we were experimenting with ADHD “diets” for fMhson. Like you, I know it is now, or never because even though eating is easier for me during the school year (I’m a snacker, which helps to explain the sabbatical 10 I’ve put on) exercise is harder to fit in, especially given my four day a week 8AM class schedule grrrrr.

  4. sheddingkhawatir Says:

    What about a fitness bootcamp? It seems like they are made for what you are describing, and you can usually get good discounts through groupon, etc, if they have this in your area. Circuit training (lots of different exercises, but only for a minute each, repeated in a circuit) is also good for not getting bored. If you don’t like being hot, maybe water aerobics? Generally, I’m with First Gen American–there are so many different types of things you can do, you can probably find something you actually like, if the horseback riding doesn’t work out. Sometimes, it is also a matter of instructor, or class time of day–not all group fitness instructors are created equal, and there are definitely times of day where there are less people in attendance.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Ugh, a bootcamp seems so… ugh. Like cheery and perky and also yelling and lots of rah rah. And I haven’t been that impressed with the stuff at the gym. It’s been marketed as “get ready for swimsuit season” type stuff, which I find gross. I hear good things about the circuit approach sometimes, but it seems like a lot of task-switching for me to manage when I am tired.

  5. bogart Says:

    Ummm … infinite horse riding: good. Could you do some work around the barn and count it as weight-lifting? (Hmmm. Tangential musing: teenage girls and horse farms — all the (non-academic) benefits of a single-sex school plus the opportunity to learn just how strong you actually are, to organize work teams, and to work with large creatures much stronger than you whose agenda is different from your own. Only it turns out that men are smarter than horses, so that last one isn’t so generalizeable as one might hope. Sorry, that’s not a well-formed musing, but in my defense I haven’t had my coffee yet).

    Otherwise I think about the only thing that occurs to me is that swimming might be a tolerable exercise in the heat (if it is tolerable to you). Or kayaking?

    Alright, I’m celebrating Independence day by heading out the barn. Happy posting ;)!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Ironically there is more lifting things in the barn when it is winter because of all the hay bales (HEAVY). Right now the horses are getting very little hay because of all the pasture. But I certainly do try to scoop (and lift and carry and dump) extra poop because that is useful and some amount of effort too.

      • bogart Says:

        Ha! Yes, true (though if your place has grass you are lucky … can be hard to find decently grassy pastures. Then again, not so difficult to find easy keepers who are founder-prone, so perhaps that’s the balance.). Though someone has to load all those bales when they are harvested in summer, you know.

  6. Linda Says:

    I can completely relate with the hatred for exercise and the love of pasta. I count gardening as exercise, too, since it’s the only thing I can get sweaty doing that I really don’t mind. Otherwise, I hate being sweaty. You could also try getting a trainer to help you with the weight thing. I work with a trainer once a week, so I’m guaranteed to get to the gym at least that one day. (It’s going another 2-3 days a week that is the challenge for me.)

    When I do eat out pasta is often one of the few things that I am able to eat. Since I’ve switched to eating meat only from animals that are pastured and humanely raised, the number of restaurants that offer qualifying meat dishes has dropped pretty dramatically for me. I feel good eating lots of beans and love them a lot, at least.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Hooray for humane eating! Around here it is relatively easy to get grass-fed local beef, free-range chicken, etc. — one of the few benefits of being in the middle of nowhere. I could even get (non-horse!) meat at the horse farm if I wanted: they have been known to raise beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey along with all the other assorted farm animals wandering around out there. And some veggies too, but my CSA is taking care of that for now. Farm-fresh eggs are good though. Mmm.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #2 says: here too… growing up I had no idea that cows could not smell bad, but I drive past plenty (free-range, grass-fed) every day on the way to work and never smell a thing.

  7. NoTrustFund Says:

    I’m with you on kohlrabi. In past summers we’ve done farm shares and I’ve always tried to pawn the kohlrabi off on friends and family. Luckily some people love the stuff. No farm share this summer, things are too crazy, so I just avoid it at the farmers market.

    We have tried a lot of gluten free pasta in our house (I know you are not looking for specifically gluten free) and the best one we’ve found is a quinoa based one. The brand escapes me but it comes in a turquoise box. It’s not the real thing but it tastes good fresh.

    Calorie counting has never worked for me but I know many swear by it. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress. Do you have a specific goal in mind?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I have a calorie goal but not a weight goal, specifically. I don’t track my weight very closely. Logging everything you eat is one of the best ways to lose weight anyway, even just by itself. I hope it helps.

      • Laura Vanderkam (@lvanderkam) Says:

        When my weight loss project has slowed, that’s what I’ve done — logged what I’m eating. I find I have some real blind spots about what I’m sticking in my mouth. Half a dozen pieces of candy just never register as having occurred.

  8. bookishbiker Says:

    I’m another non-gym-lover! What worked for me was framing it this way: it is entirely possible for me to go to the gym three times per week. Then I found a gym very close to home that is a small place that offers circuit workouts (like Curves, but independently owned). It’s been great for me because the workout takes 35 minutes, I can be pretty mindless about it, and I work up a sweat but don’t feel too agonizingly bored. I’ve been successful with this since the end of December – 3x/week except when I was out of town this spring!

    Of course I’m moving later this year and that is going to wreck my diligence, but I’ll take it while it lasts.

    On the diet thing – I have no wisdom. Be badass!

  9. What Now? Says:

    I also don’t like to exercise and especially don’t like to get hot and sweaty, and I also don’t like taking more than one shower in a day, so my best approach has been to exercise first thing in the morning, because apparently it doesn’t bug me quite as much to get sweaty if I haven’t yet showered that day. This works much better in the summer, of course, than during the school year when I have to be at school before 8:00 every day.

    And feh on the idea that you have to exercise at least an hour a day to lose weight! I lost over 20 pounds a couple of years ago doing Weight Watchers and exercising for 30 minutes on many but not all days, and I’ve kept it off. (Of course, I had kind of thought I’d try to lose another 10 this summer, but apparently I can’t find it in me to go hardcore, so I’ve given up that idea.)

    Good luck with your hardcore July!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, that 60min/day thing is a serious no-go. I’m hoping that 30 minutes on “most” days will do it…
      Thanks for the encouragement!

      • chacha1 Says:

        Must agree with FGA: stop doing stuff you hate. :-) You will never successfully make a fitness routine part of your year-round lifestyle if you are forcing yourself.

        Caloric deficit is 95% of successful weight loss. Diet, in general, is 80% of physical fitness. Take your target weight, multiple by 10, and there is your weight loss calorie budget. Persnickety “counting” shouldn’t be really necessary once you get familiar with the calorie range in the foods you are eating.

        Quick recommendations: try using shredded cabbage instead of semolina pasta. It tastes MUCH more interesting than basic noodles and provides a lot of fiber and other nutrients. Just shred it into a big skillet and stir in some olive oil over medium heat for ten minutes, then dump the sauce on top. I have also had big success (i.e. DH ate ALL of it) with a combo of sliced onion, fennel, and zucchini sauteed to al dente in a little olive oil, then topped with bottled red pasta sauce and some good-quality Italian sausage. I hardly ever buy pasta now that I have discovered the wonders of veggies. But I am not vegetarian so there is always some meat involved (and cheese on top).

        Upping the amount of protein in your diet will help you keep your energy level high and help you build muscle. For snacks, a hard-boiled egg, cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, or cup of low-fat cottage cheese deliver high nutrition value for very few calories. If you are working toward plain yogurt, add real berries. (It took me some time to step down from Yoplait Custard Style to fruited yogurt to vanilla to plain.) If you can eat dairy of course. If not, go with nuts.

        Weight lifting … I’ll be honest: I hate the gym too. I do not go to the gym. I lift weights at home, it takes less than ten minutes, and the results come up REALLY fast. All you need to start is one pair of dumbbells. Good luck!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Cabbage really doesn’t taste better than noodles. It just doesn’t. And I even like cabbage! But it’s nowhere near a good substitution. Thanks though.

  10. rented life Says:

    ick, just reading about exercise has made me hot and sweaty…or it could be because I can’t run AC here. I hate sweating too, but I will say this–I enjoy weights. I feel better quickly and it takes less time (overall) than cardio. I can do a couple sets for my arms, chest and legs and be done. Start smaller–3 sets of how ever many reps you are comfortable with using a smaller weight (For triceps I started at 3lbs….I’m rather weak), and slowly build up. More muscle = more calories burnt even when resting.

  11. Cloud Says:

    My only exercise advice is to keep looking until you find something you enjoy. I once tried kickboxing (the real martial art stuff, not cardiobox) on a whim and I love it. Something about getting to beat the crap out a heavy bag makes me happy. And yeah, sweaty and occasionally out of breath, but still happy. I could never get that good of a workout running, both because I have asthma that makes running hard for me and because I don’t love running.

    I also try to have a rule to do something active every day, even if that is just a walk at lunch. Of course I live in a very temperate climate, so walking at lunch is not like a quick visit to Hell.

    But yes, we are not meant to lose weight. Our biology fights us the entire way. I’m trying to lose ~10 lbs, and while progress is slooooow.

  12. becca Says:

    I disagree with sheddingkhawatir about fitness bootcamps, in that I don’t think pursuing something that is *supposed* to suck will necessarily help. Although I will note that water aerobics is under-ratedly hardcore; don’t let the little old ladies doing it fool you.

    Anyway, exercising with a “this is good for me, I must do it” mindset usually sucks for everyone. Don’t let the gym rats fool you, they aren’t (generally) *that* stinking virtuous. Mindsets that have worked to get *me* to exercise include: “I like this activity”; “I will chase you down and tickle you!” (sorry, I spend a lot of time running after my 2 year old); “I WILL be better at this than you!”; “I am proud I can do this!” (and the closely related: “I am so glad I am not so old/run down/pregnant that I can still jump/work up a sweat/climb stairs”; “I have no time to watch TV/listen to music and podcasts/read, now I will take some time at the gym” (this one hasn’t worked for me in a long time, but like First Gen American pointed out, doing something you want to do while doing something you ‘need’ to do can get through some sticking points).

    Maybe it’s time to set a ‘new physical activity a week’ goal? That might be easier in summer. At the very least, you could develop an amazing list so that whenever you post about this you can say “I tried running/swimming/aerobics classes/yoga/mountain biking/kayaking/underwater hockey/fencing/judo/soccer/volleyball/square dancing/ballet/standing on my head reciting poetry/gardening/stair climbing/powerfit/zumba/tae bo (is that still a thing?)/dressage/polo/rock climbing/roller derby and tennis. And I hate them all!”

    Of course, you wouldn’t hate underwater hockey. Cause underwater hockey is awesome. And not sweaty.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I actually used to know some people who played underwater hockey! I’m sure that aqua aerobics is very hard, it just takes place at inconvenient times. Finding the right mindset is something I’m working on. Thanks for the suggestions!

      • Cloud Says:

        If you can stand another idea- during winter I had some luck with a “10 minute workout” DVD. I’d do two of the 10 minute workouts in a row. Since each one was only 10 minutes, I could talk myself through any boredom/hatred of the stupid dance moves.

  13. Thisbe Says:

    I have several things to say about this!

    - I think that in general weight loss is a difficult and counterproductive goal to have. It is okay to have weight loss occur as a side effect of an increase in health, but in my experience people tend to get very frustrated (especially in the initial stages) if the goal is “lose weight” because it is hard to make that happen in a healthy way. That’s because if you are working out and gaining endurance and strength, you will be increasing muscle mass at the same time you are trying to “lose weight”. Maybe you could try a goal of eating healthy quantities of healthy foods while doing a good amount of exercise, and see how that works.

    - I am having an Extremely Busy Time of life right now and my normal workout routine is out the window. I seriously love the (totally ridiculous) Jillian Michaels workout video, which is a 20 minute workout that one does every day. (Or tries to do every day. I do it when I can, which isn’t every day but is still great.) The number of pushups I can do keeps increasing! someday I will have shoulders like the First Lady, I just know it.

    - I can’t tell how much this is what you’re doing, but it generally seems like diet plans that go “I will do this for the month of July/until I am thin and then it is over” are doomed to fail. You would probably be much better served by making a series of changes to your diet and activity level that you plan to keep up for the rest of your life. THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. But that is just my advice because I don’t really see the point of getting healthy for two months and then going back to being unfit.

    - There have been some studies recently that make it clear that there is a huge benefit to general fidgeting. Like rather than sit still for five hours, get up every half hour and walk around a little bit. Or just fidget at your desk a lot. Apparently this kind of constant motion keeps your metabolic rate higher and helps a lot with overall health. We are not really well suited to being sedentary and healthy!

    - Dr Isis is right about the one hour of exercise. Go dancing! Go hiking/fast walking! Just go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood! Mow the lawn with an unpowered rotary cutter! Ride those ponies! It’s a good goal, one hour a day.

    Hope some of that is helpful. And I think it is great that you are doing this! Increasing physical fitness is a great idea. Hooray for you.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I may have misspoken. My goal is not “eat well in July and then stop”, it’s “eat well in July and then at least I’ll be used to doing it and the worst adjustment will be over so I can, I hope, keep it up”. Thanks for the thoughtful reply!

  14. Anandi Raman Creath (@anandi) Says:

    I’m so confused about who’s #1 and who’s #2, but I’ll just go with it :)

    The only thing that worked for me re: diet was Atkins and Paleo, ie very low carb. Paleo made me feel like a million bucks after the first couple of crappy weeks. If you’re interested check out the Whole 30 on whole9life.com – that’s a hardcore 30 day plan that is killer, but a-freakin’-mazing if you stick with it.

    I just found out I barely passed my glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes and need to watch it on the sugar/carbs. Which means I’m trying to get myself back to protein & veggie-land. I’d honestly rather eat no pasta, and have an occasional plate of the real stuff rather than trying the whole wheat and/or protein stuff. But ham, sausage and bacon? YUM.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #1 is the one who always posts first. #2 posts second. Today #2 is the pregnant one (me!) but that is not always the case. Yes, we are confusing on purpose, see about.

      Oddly I’m nowhere near GD this time around, which is bizarre since I’m IR when I’m not pregnant! PCOS works in mysterious ways. I like whole wheat pasta, but only certain brands– it has to be high quality ww pasta or it’s gross. I think we have a post on that somewhere in the archives (update: can’t find it, so probably just a gchat conversation with #1)… but it has been several months since I could eat any kind of wheat without throwing up. (So a good thing that I’m not GD or I’d be feeling terrible about eating tortillas and the occasional potato– such things were verboten third trimester last time around. But without almost any carbs, life would just be too depressing.)

      • mareserinitatis Says:

        If you want to go less hard core, my approach is no carbs for breakfast, none for dinner, and a reasonable amount in between. I find it easier to say, “I can have it, but I just have to wait until tomorrow,” if something pops up that want for dinner. I can’t handle paleo because of the large fruit veggie component (and I’m fructose intolerant), and Atkins gives me awful headaches.

        Will add that once I started running, it took 3 mos. before I saw any changes. It’s not that they weren’t happening, it’s just that they didn’t become obvious until then. However, I will say that I went from spending nearly an hour per day of walking/biking to about 3 hrs/wk of running and saw much better results with the latter. (Has to do with the poor efficiency of fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscles, but also is a lot better for cardio.) So as much as I hated the idea of running, I finally gave in because it’s more efficient. On the up side, the whole runner’s high thing started kicking in once I was able to go for longer than a half hour, and I now find I enjoy it…especially on days where I am overly stressed. One of the few things that really has helped me to deal with it productively.

    • monsterzero Says:

      I don’t think we’re meant to know. Maybe whoever is posting that day is #1 and if the other chimes in she is designated #2?

  15. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    The key for me with exercise is to really truly internalize and LIVE THE FACT that my daily exercise is more important than anything whatsoever to do with my jobbe, my friends, or anything else. It is priority number one, and the sine qua non for my energy and effectiveness at everything else in my life.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, see, that’s never gonna be the case for me. Glad it works for you though! I don’t think it makes me more effective at things, it just gives me more things to do. Bleh.

      • Anandi Raman Creath (@anandi) Says:

        Oh, I so feel you on this – “gives me more things to do” bit. I am coming around to the fact that it just isn’t a priority for me right now, and that I need to *choose* for it to be a priority, otherwise it’s just not going to happen with everything else going on. Ick.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        (#2 here) With borderline GD, yeah, exercise and eating appropriately should be a priority. But only until October!

      • Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

        For me it is as much mental as it is physical. I have learned over the years that my emotional and cognitive effectiveness is blunted on days that I don’t get my morning exercise.

        I am also cognizant of the fact that my professional privilege allows me to prioritize this way. I have minimal classroom teaching, zero test-writing, and zero test- or paper-grading. And I am in a position where I have the power with respect to 95% of my “have to be in a certain place at a certain time” responsibilities to cancel last minute. This obviously makes it a lot easier on many occasions to say, f*cke itte, I’m working out.

  16. Funny about Money Says:

    Ugh. Couldn’t get me in a gym. How vile.

    Can you swim? Is there a Y near you that has a pool? That’s less noxious than gym exercise and you can get a pretty good workout in a few laps. And how about walking? Thirty or forty minutes of walking is as good or better for you than banging around at something you hate. If you live or work in a safe area, walking is something you can do at your convenience. Ever tried ballroom dancing? That burns off the calories and it’s fun. ANYthing but a gym!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I am allergic to a lot of the outdoors, so a gym works better for me than walking a lot of the time. I do swim in its pool sometimes. The trouble is, there are other people there, and sometimes they take up all the lanes, and sometimes they want to chat with me. The last thing I want!

  17. graduate.living Says:

    I’ve really enjoyed my time in yoga; I go to a class led by an instructor 1-2x week, and then in the mornings before breakfast I’ll do a short series of poses (think 30-40 minutes of yoga vs. an hour class) at home. I like being able to practice in my apartment (where it’s cooler than outside) and I feel better and more alert on the days that I practice.

    I don’t run, I don’t like heat, and while I enjoy classes like BodyPump I don’t like the tomato-y look I get during them – so far yoga has been my answer (but, for the record, I think the weight I’ve lost has been negligible at best – I feel like I look thinner, but not by much.

  18. addvodka Says:

    What’s kohlrabi? Oh, but pasta. I love pasta. I am so up and down about the whole getting in shape thing. One week I’ll rock it, the next week I’ll be lazy and only go to the gym like once. I think this week will be one of the aforementioned.

  19. oilandgarlic Says:

    I haven’t made exercise a priority in a while but I do think a lot of it is mental. It helps me if I focus on the benefits — increase energy, just feeling younger/flexible/stronger, less back pains etc.. Also, second the suggestion to keep trying different things until you find something you love/like or hate less. A lot of people think they hate exercise when they may just hate a certain aspect. I like group classes but hate treadmills, for example.
    For me, in terms of weight maintenance, the key is starting and keeping good habits, one at a time. I may reduce carbs until it’s a habit. then I focus on controlling portion size, then cutting soda. Over time, these good habits become the norm. That’s not to say you occasionally forget the good habits but that becomes the new normal.
    BTW, What is kohlrabi? I read several women’s health magazines and somehow missed this, even though I know about kale and quinoa (and still have not tried either)

  20. chacha1 Says:

    More advicey advice … I’m certified as a personal trainer and I have not, honestly, read ANYTHING in my study course or 4+ years of continuing ed that has said “you must work out an hour a day.” Thirty minutes is more the standard recommendation, and it’s more “thirty minutes of intentional physical activity.” It’s not Thou Shalt Suffer In the Smelly Gym . AND it doesn’t all have to be consecutive.

    My usual routine now is 10 minutes of yoga in the morning, 10 minutes of calisthenics and/or weights (usually a combo) right after work, and 10 to 20 minutes of miscellaneous stuff throughout the day (the incline pushups off the counter in the break room, barre exercises in the copy room, walking up the stairs from the garage, walking around the block at lunch, or whatever).

    Generally, it is *getting started* with a round of exercise that challenges most people. Once they are moving, doing a little bit more is easy. :-) Also, recognizing your daily activity as exercise can actually change how your body reacts to it. Housekeeping, yard work, bringing in groceries … regular daily activity but also, if approached intentionally, exercise. There was an interesting small study on NYC hotel housekeepers on this.

    Finally (finally!) do be aware that no amount of exercise will make up for poor diet in your overall fitness and health goals. I’m strong, agile, and all the rest but I’ve got a belly roll right now because of eating (and drinking) just a leeetle too much. Ultimately, what goes in your mouth is ultra important, and also much easier to control (really!) over the long term than a daily activity goal, because you are ALWAYS going to be eating, and it is just as easy to serve a rational portion of a well-balanced meal as it is to serve a huge portion of, well, fettucine Alfredo.

  21. Jennifer Says:

    What worked for me is doing workout videos while, off to the side, watching a good tv series. Im currently making my way through Alias and having the next episode to look forward to *almost* makes me excited about working out. Right now Im doing P90x but that’s probably too hard core to start off with. As always ymmv.

  22. Debbie M Says:

    Some random thoughts.

    Baby-lifting is more fun than weight lifting (if the baby likes it and giggles). Anyone have a baby you can borrow? Also carrying things around helps you get strong. Know anyone who needs help moving?

    I like Barilla Plus pasta. To me it tastes like regular but it has extra fiber. Also, it’s not as picky about exactly how long you cook it as whole wheat is. I don’t know how the calories compare, though. If it’s just as bad, well, there’s always portion control. Admittedly portion control sucks and I pretty much never do it with some things (I do not admit that I can’t do it), but it’s worth trying if small portions are better than no portions. You could freeze some in small containers and then allow yourself to thaw only one per day.

    Keep an eye open for all the little ways you could exercise, but don’t. You’ve heard about stairs versus elevators, various electrical gadgets versus manual. How about parking in the shade, even when it’s a further walk? Standing to put on your socks (which requires balance) and sitting to put on both legs of your pants at the same time (which uses belly muscles). Basically try to notice whenever you’re doing something one way and find yourself telling yourself to do it a different way because it’s easier.

    You could also check out exercise videos at the library and see if there are any good ones. (Most of them suck, but I do like “Pick-Your-Level Weight-Loss Pilates” in spite of the name (which I had to add hyphens to so it would make sense).

    Sadly, aerobic eating does not count as exercise.

  23. Revanche Says:

    Huh. Once upon a midnight star, I loved exercise so much I did all kinds of things. The idea of getting back to that made me happy.

    As it turns out, now I hate walking the dog twice a day. My boneses. They aches. So this *post* makes me hurt.

    It is possible that after a couple weeks of this my body will (literally) shape up and get with the program. Meantime [insert crying like a baby].

  24. Tinkering Theorist Says:

    Good luck with geting in awesome shape!
    I cut the kohlrabi greens into strips and throw them in with pasta a few minutes before it’s done. Lots of tomato sauce later, everybody in the family likes kohlrabi greens. I am not a big fan of the bulb–too much work to peel it–but I just cut it up and cook it like broccoli or something.


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