Camping in the Woods, Hiking and FitBit

We went camping this weekend and I got lots of rugged miles in of hiking… not!
Well it started out like a good hike in the woods, but once I saw some bear scat, I got nervous. Up the bank to the road, quick as a wink! So we walked along the road instead.

Walking the road was not my idea of fun. Fast pick up trucks and no berm. But at least I wasn’t worried about a bear!

Meanwhile, I left my FitBit zip at home (I thought I lost it!) so the miles didn’t count on my tracker. It’s weird how the tracker is motivating and when you don’t have it on it feels like it doesn’t count.

That is kinda how it goes when I don’t log food. It feels like the calories don’t count. How weird is that. Like eating in the dark. Everyone knows those calories don’t count!

Minister Creek Allegany forest campfire

Minister Creek Allegany forest creek

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Getting the “SPRING” Back in my Step

The week before my birthday, 4 workout days. My birthday week I managed to get 2 days of work out in… It was gorgeous on my birthday and I took at 16 mile bike ride with my friends! But the following week it turned back to winter and snowed. And I slept in.

fitbit zip

So starting this week, I’m back in the saddle and getting the “spring” back in my step. Went to the gym both Saturday and Sunday.

Barely made it Saturday. Took way too much time scraping ice/snow and getting my windshields clean, so I walked the track a bit and called it done.

snow blossoms

Here’s the photos I took at the gym both days. On Sunday, the snow melted and I felt more inspired. I got on the treadmill and did 3.5 slow miles. I do think that doing something, like JUST getting to the gym on Saturday, inspired a longer workout on Sunday.

So – just like these trees are a before and after, I want to do a before and after.  Early April high 150;s. Early May low 150’s. And Green bars all the rest of this month!

Monday I was back at spinning class. A good decent spin with lots of sweating. Back in the saddle!

Today will be a trick to get into the green with all the meetings and driving I need to do.

Besides the snow, we’ve had 3 funerals in 2 weeks and another one tomorrow.  Mostly parents of friends but tomorrow is a friend’s husband.

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The New Normal – Up or Down?

Interestingly enough, the idea of normal really changes in my mind.

When I was losing weight, it was normal to be on the diet of a healthy lifestyle and being very careful of what I ate.

Being in maintenance is harder than being in the losing phase. Everyone knows that! (Except the people in the losing phase who feel like losing it is the hardest. ha ha!)

But as the months go by, I find a couple of pounds up becomes the new normal. And the “scream weight” amount goes higher.

This past year, I have not been lower than 153. And a couple of years ago 151 was my absolute highest.

I need to look back on my motivation posts like this one, which I think is one of my best, because it recaps my strategies and tools.

Today I did a really weird thing. Woke up early (4:50 am – also known as on time) and got into my exercise clothes. Drove over to the gym, but didn’t turn in. Drove home. So what is that about? What’s holding me back? Why am I feeling so reluctant?

I love going to do the workout. The music, the sweating, the instructor, the people. Why do I keep thinking it’s too hard. I’m too heavy to do this. I’m too old. I’ll get hurt. What’s going on with me?

I think what’s bugging me is my birthday next week.  The number 59 is in my head. Today it’s feeling too old to do the jumping around of the class. But there are people older than that in the class. And I’m never going to be younger than this again.

I promised myself I would go running later this morning after the sun comes up. Still 30 more minutes.

Gotta get my head in a better place. Losing a couple pounds is a great start.

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Where did my motivation go?

I did great when I was on vacation 2 weeks ago. Went zooming past my step goal every single day (Double on Friday!!) Was a wonderful non-stop vacation to San Diego for 7- 8 days (if you count travel days – which I do.)

Then the time change (spring ahead) and the jet lag (3 hours later) gave me a 4 hour challenge where I still am fighting to adjust. Plus lack of sleep from the red eye flight coming back where I didn’t get into a deep sleep. Felt like a truck ran over me. So I dragged myself thru the week.

Here I am one week and one day later still feeling: “Meh, and not motivated to do anything – work or work out!”

I did go running yesterday, very slowly at 13:11 miles for 3.8 miles, so it was a good attempt. But I can’t get up for spinning or HIIT or anything early. Just don’t want to. It’s very bizarre because usually I can’t stand laying there when I wake up. Now, I can’t make my feet hit the floor!

I’m going to attempt to do baby steps this week. Track my food but not points or calories. Walk. Walk. Walk to get my legs moving. No coffee or caffeine after noon. And laying down for sleep by 9:45,

i didn’t do my normal routines. Got 2 loads of laundry done, not 5. Did 2 loads of dishes, not 3. Only 1 work out, not 6. Barely did work, just answered emails. Was a bit cranky.

This week should be better. Gotta get a little more sleep on the front end. Naps don’t seem to help.

Of the 3 – sleep, food, exercise – I really need the sleep to maintain my mental attitude of motivation!

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Chopping Vegetables… and other Simple Steps

Food wise: Last week I chopped a lot of veggies into small squares and put them in a gallon size plastic zip bag in the fridge. I cooked a whole bunch of chicken tenders in olive oil and put in a container. So easy to grab and throw on a salad. Or warm in a pan, add a little Parmesan cheese and voila!

It saved me at that “I’ve gotta gotta eat something” when I get home later from work than I planned.

Exercise wise: Spin Monday. HIIT Tuesday. HIIT Thursday. Spin Friday.  Walked 15 to 20 minutes each day on the track. Felt really good all week.

Sleep wise: Good sleep all week except Fri night to Saturday. Made it up Sat afternoon with a nap and a long night Sat to Sunday morning.

Motivation wise: Went out to dinner with my friend (we’re running the Akron Marathon relay again) and listened with great interest to her story of success with one pull up. VERY INSPIRING!! Sent a few texts and now we have two new relay team members! Good. More people to talk about training with!  Also added another friend to my FitBit community. So now I have 3 friends who all get more steps than I do. MOTIVATION!

Result: Good week. 156 down 3.2.
A year ago 153.4 and now 156.0

A 2.6 gain – why should I be happy about that? Because the 2.6 doesn’t tell the whole story. I actually dropped another 3 from the 150, (end of 28 day challenge) but then got hurt mid March which resulted in a long “slow” gaining period until I was better again. Even with the Summer Sizzle plan that I barely followed.  Good summer below 160.

But immediately following the Akron marathon relay, I quit training by running and still didn’t go back to my routine due to the late night workouts for ski conditioning. Those workouts were 12 stations that had 4 cardio, 4 strengths and 4 stretching/ab sections of a minute each. So maybe 24 minutes of workout. But I couldn’t push push myself. Followed by potlucks, which were my downfall.

Anyway, I started working out in my “normal” routine again on Thanksgiving.

March 2015 to March 2016

And I’ve been really working it. The flat spot and drop in January was following my trip to Florida. Luckily so I didn’t have my usual February net gain. The warmer weather in February this year has made it an easier month, even with eating out a few times and not watching the salt etc. (Valentines)

This week is the week before San Diego. So I’ll be out of my routine again for a week, but I’m sure I be super active and not stuck behind a computer all day.

Action Plan for this week:

  • Chop Veggies again
  • Make a zero point soup
  • Broil/roast fish in tinfoil
  • Do 10,000 steps EVERYDAY (spin/HIIT maybe weight lift)
  • Run 3 miles


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10 Reasons Why I Exercise in the Morning

Why do I like to exercise in the morning more than night time?

This is how a typical fit bit chart of my workout days look. Busy before 8. Sitting all day and all night.

This is how a typical fit bit chart of my workout days look. Busy before 8. Sitting all day and all night.

  1. I get it done – If I get to the gym, I get my work out in. It is as simple as that!
  2. There are so many other things to do at night.
  3. I am a morning person
  4. I feel like even if I don’t accomplish one damn thing today or have lots of set backs and frustrations, at least I did a good thing by getting my workout in.
  5. I have lots of energy in the morning. Next to none at night.
  6. I sit at my chair all day. If I do 78 steps in 15 minutes, that is a lot.
  7.  Days that I don’t work out, my bar tops out around 250. Sad. I saw one day that was only 150 steps for the top bar. A true couch kinda day.
  8.  Days that I work out, my bar is set around 600. On a non-workout day, my fit bit says my most work active time is walking the laundry downstairs, folding and moving it back upstairs.
  9. Most of all I can enjoy the after buzz all morning. I guess they call it endorphin hormones floating around. Truly addicting. I just feel great like I can take on most anything. My muscles are tired but it is a strong tired, not a exhausted, don’t feel like doing anything tired.
  10.  Working on websites, marketing plans, collaborating with other people in meetings is exhausting, but in a totally different way… All brain synapses get used and it is a completely upper head-type of tired. Not legs, arms, chest, abs, glutes kinda tired.
  11. I work out with Jerry G and Jerry L. Both are incredible athletes. Both talk all thru the class. VERY motivational. Push way beyond my limits to keep the best people in the class challenged. GREAT music. Don’t seemed phased by much of anything. Both have a very early class (5:30 am or 5:45 am) so by 7 am, I’m not only done, but I’ve done some cool down laps and stretched as well.
  12. My head is filled with all kinds of stuff at night and I never get in the zone of working out. It’s not like in the morning when it’s a clean slate
  13. Dinner before is not good cause I can’t work out very well with a full stomach.  Dinner after is too much because I’m really starving and eat too much.

Guess that is 13 reasons, although many of the reasons seem the same! It feels good, I get it done and by nature I’m a morning person!


If you like to exercise at night, why do you like night better?


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Working the Plan

We are more than 1/2 way thru February and ski season is winding down for me.  My lessons concluded last week, but I went skiing twice this week with wonderful conditions.  The local ski area will probably close on March 12 but I will be busy from March 4th on, so I only have one or two weeks left. Definite improvement this year of skiing more on the front of my skis.

I signed up for the Akron Marathon Relay again. It was so motivational last August and September getting ready for it. Having a big goal after the MS150 bike ride was wonderful.  And the actual race was simply delightful. Probably one of the highlights of my year last year!

Hopefully I have a wonderful experience again this year. Although it’s difficult to duplicate wonderful weather, a great team and pretty strong training. I did the 5.7 at a sub 12 minute mile pace. I’m hoping to improve that for 2016.

I’ve been spinning twice a week fairly regularly since December so that I keep my seat until spring when outside riding really starts.

On black Friday, I signed up for 4 personal training half hours at my gym, but still am *shy* about actually scheduling the sessions. Now at least I know what I want to work on. Weightlifting. I have always been intimated to step into the weight area of my gym. Not because the people aren’t nice. But it’s all inside my head.

Last Saturday I talked to my trainer (I take group exercise HIIT classes with him all the time) and he acted like “NBD” – no big deal.

But when I got home, I decided to jot down why I am reluctant to sign up. It blew me away. I had 23 reasons. About 90% of them boil down to self conscious.

But I had no idea I was that weird about it. I decided to read a bunch about it on the internet, watch videos, try a little bit in the living room with the dumb bells watching a youtube video and build my nerve up.

I also listed one by one answers to myself for the 23 worries that I have. I wrote them as if I was chatting with a friend. It’s sooooo easy to dismiss someone else’s anxiety about trying something new. When I read the reasons as if I am an outsider, they are laughable. However I won’t share them on here because, on the inside, to me, they are very real.

During February I’ve been working out about 50% of the time – but I’m counting skiing as one of my workouts. Technically it is not, but I sure do feel exhausted afterwards because of all the concentration on the moves and trying to keep warm. After my 1 1/2 hour lesson each Weds night I’m wiped out. Also trying not to have the obligatory beer up in the bar afterwards. I’ve been bringing my bottle of flavored water and sipping that instead. Hate to wipe out every calorie burned (plus) with one lousy beer!

Also been counting my macros using a free app from Mike Vacanti. He’s a young guy in NYC who posted a really great video (with the exception of the swear words) about why it’s so important to exercise for 58 year old women. Here’s the video (ignore his bad language. I think he just hasn’t figured out if he’s going to talk to people like me, it’s a big turn-off.)

I’ve read thru his blog and watched a bunch of his videos. His style is a bit ADD, with quick cuts on his videos and a variety of mini-rants, but he is likable enough and very passionate about what he’s trying to accomplish.

Meanwhile I am continuing to try to combat the February dulldromms in NE Ohio.  Today is gorgeous. One of the 70/365 we get sunshine! Gotta love days like today!

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Mid February Slump – Looking for my Motivation

I’m feeling the mid-Feb slump. Lots of white stuff outside. Low of 3 degrees today… At least it is up to 12 degrees now. I’ll celebrate the high of 23 expected by 3pm today!

Is it any wonder I’m trying to force myself to count and track my food? Can’t motivate myself for my regular workout routine? Feel bushed after an hour and a half of skiing?

The weather has been changeable…

Wish it was like the middle one – Sunny and Blue Skies! But mostly it’s either the top or the bottom – overcast, cold or damp and dreary.

Changable weather

From MyFitnessPal blog:

So what is the most effective running intensity? Trick question! Different intensities offer different and complementary benefits. The most effective running programs include a variety of intensities. Specifically, research has shown that a program in which 80% of total running time is spent at low intensity (60–75% of maximum heart rate) and the remaining 20% at moderate (80–90%) and high intensity (>90%) produces the best results.

Maybe I’m trying to push it too much when I’m having a tough time just showing up.
So maybe my goal for Feb is just to show up and do the 80% at 60-75% MHR 104 to 130… which feels like I’m not really doing anything! And only 20% at 80-90 of 139 to 156… and high intensity over 156 beats per minute.

In my HIIT class, I’m trying to keep my heart rate at 150 or lower, but I am dogging it when it hits 145.

The other thing I think I’ll try is to drink 20 ounces of water an hour and half before the workout so I’m fully hydrated. I think grabbing a coffee before I go with just a half banana and some peanut butter is leaving me dehydrated.

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The goal of muscle mass percentage instead of a number on the scale

One of the blogs I read each morning is “Less of a Better Me” and this morning she was talking about the BMI goal vs a muscle mass goal.

I can relate so clearly to her description of motivation at goal/below goal and as it relates to fat percentages. I am 5′ 4″ and a half, so I struggle with the same few pounds as she describes, although right now I’m paying at weightwatchers because I’m above goal. I managed to stay at goal (+/- 2 lbs) for two years, but got an injury last March and the weight crept back on. I’m still trying to get it back down almost a year later!

I’ve been focusing on other goals besides WW weigh-ins because I want to get more muscle mass. It seems like the weight is much easier to maintain when I have more muscle to burn the calories and it is almost effortless. But gaining back weight made it that I’m constantly fighting the scale.

I signed up for a relay in the local marathon (not til Sept, but that gives me time to train) and a fundraiser long distance bike ride (not til Aug, so that also gives me time to train.) I’ve been skiing, spinning and doing some hiit classes, with some occasional running when there is no ice, to keep the muscle mass. But I think I need some personal training on the weights.

Something about the wintertime (even though its been a warm winter) but I crave carbs when it is cold outside.

It does seem like the scale number is very related to the muscle mass percentage. And that adding fat mass is way too easy! It is taking constant vigilance to keep the fat mass from growing and keeping the muscle mass at a decent percentage.

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Weightwatcher motivation from Oprah

Oprah call on weightwatchersJust listening to the Oprah call. I was skiing when it was broadcast live, but Weightwatchers members can listen to it here: and since I wanted to listen on my phone, I had to type in the whole URL… no link on the app inside my phone (at least that I could find.)

It definitely bolstered my motivation.

I’ve been struggling with motivation since I got back from Florida. Not sure if it’s the extra work I have now (2 full pages of legal pad to do list!) or the cold weather (about 32 degrees each day) or the overcast grey January days in Ohio or sitting at the computer more trying to churn out the work… etc. but I’ve been struggling with motivation.

It was very motivational for me to get me to start really tracking again. That’s one of my major challenges.

So here are some of the nuggets I want to remember from listening to this call:

* It’s a slow process but quitting doesn’t get you there any faster.

* Oprah – “I counted out 10 chips and then I put the bag away.” Of all of her many achievements and awards she has achieved that fact that she considered this on MAJOR, well I found that this resonated with me.  I can so relate to not bringing chips into the house. But if someone does, I don’t touch them. I am still not to the point of counting out 10 and putting the bag away. Even after being on WW since 2007…

* Put yourself first… analogy with the oxygen mask on the plane. Fill yourself up to allow your self to give to other people. First thing in the morning she gets up with the dogs to let them out/in and then she sits in centered prayerful thought before stepping out into the day and getting on the treadmill.  I can really relate to doing the workout first thing in the morning. Yesterday I didn’t get to my work out until noon. Not the right approach for me. I gotta do it early, before 8:30!

* Trigger foods. Don’t keep in the house. “There goes my weeklies” Yep I can relate. To both trigger foods. And losing my weeklies… If I grab a trigger food right now, it’s plain Greek yogurt. And it’s happened 3 times. because I add honey and walnuts. and I go back again and again. I track the first one. fudge the 2nd one and ignore the 3rd one. bad. sugar buzz. Note to self. Don’t bring in the Greek yogurt anymore.

* “I don’t use my weeklies or fit points”I try not to count mine either. but then I eat something that just tastes good, or more for the 3 pm snack boredom or work stress. 3pm is my nemesis. I gotta figure out a new strategy to deal with it. and weekies/fit points eating isn’t working for 3 pm munchies.

15 by 12 15*”I’m not doing this to lose weight, but so I can feel more vibrant and alive. That’s why it is different than a diet. You get to work it however you want to work it. ”

I’m doing this now to lose weight. The 15 pounds that I gained last spring when I had my injury.  I lost 4 when I was in Florida but gained it back again with my cold weather de motivated self.  I think I gotta keep picturing carrying around that red kettle bell with me all the time. I know if I could put it down, I’d feel much lighter on my feet!

* Running up the steps, instead of stopping on the 13th step. You know what it feels like to be agile and live and free in the movement. The ability to move freely inside your body is one of the great gifts you can give yourself. Being flexible and able to move inside the body. Exercise is important. We have to find ways to move your body. – I totally get all this.

* To not be out of breath walking up the stairs because of lugging around so much extra weight. I had that same experience a few years ago noticing how I just zoomed up the stairs instead of trudging. I think I can get rid of that last 15 pound kettle bell I want to be feeling that light feeling again.

* 5 days a week aerobic a week. Stretch class. Yoga studio app. Think I’m going to try doing a 5 minute stretch routine as part of my get ready for bed routine.

* No longer having food as a priority. The obsession is done. Points take the “Should I cleanse? low carb. Paleo. Compulsive obsession.” out of it. Thinking differently about food. – I’m not here yet. I’m still wishy washy between 28 day, 30 whole, Paleo, vegan, zero point soup day, etc. I want to embrace the feel good thoughts when I’m feeling like munching and looking in the fridge for something yummy.

* “Give yourself credit for being strong.” “Accountable to the points.” “Strength x Strength = Power.” This is a key takeaway for me. Seems like congratulating yourself on the “little” things and not beating yourself up on the fall backs, will make me stronger and more successful. I’m going to try to not look at a fall back as a failure, but instead reframe it that I refuse to give up.

I was very inspired listening to the call. I think I’m going to go on Connect and make that part of my motivational routine. I hasn’t even looked at it.

My goal for this week will be to track. Track. Simply track. That seems so easy, but it is so hard for me.

Not the breakfast and lunch… but from 3 pm on, it’s hard! Maybe I should try starting my day at 3 pm. Someone suggested that at a meeting and it worked for them. 3 pm to 3 pm. That way if I ate a lot of points 3 pm to 9 pm… then I could do zero points 8 am to 3 pm the next day and stay on it. At least for those tough days.

All good things. And I’m going to reread this post at 3 pm to tighten my resolve. Instead of looking for pretzels with peanut butter. Or maybe eat those at 2:30 if I still have points left from my 30!

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