Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Working it Out Wednesday

Recently amongst many of those I count as my blog friends, their has been a lot of talk about balancing. Joanna wrote a refreshingly honest post about the challenges of constantly realigning your life when you have a child and KC recently wrote an equally honest post about the challenges moms face while trying to look and feel their best. I found this to be on my mind a lot lately as well.

Even just when it comes to my blog, I find it hard to balance the main purpose of the blog, which is to create a virtual baby book and journal for my kids and keep family and friends apprised of what is going on in our family's lives. However, I also like to work out out my feelings through writing and I find it quite empowering to share them, open up a dialogue and seek advice. On this front, I have decided to add to my usual Wordless Wednesday post with an additional segment devoted to me and my attempt at achieving balance.

And to the end, I must say that back to school time was exactly what I needed. I feel like my life is in pretty good balance right now. I am busy yes, and their is always room for improvement but lately I have been in a groove. I am working more, keeping the house clean and organized, spending quality time with the kids and the family and finding time to myself, both to relax and accomplish personal goals. The two things that probably need attention is for me to work on cooking more meals and spending more quality one-on-one time with Joe.

But this week, I want to focus on the topic of health and fitness because it has me so very, very frustrated. I have been consistently walking/running for 6 weeks now and while I refuse to diet in the traditional sense of the word, I have really been watching what I eat. So why is it that I cannot seem to lose an ounce of weight, or at the very least find my clothes fitting a little bit looser? This is not rhetorical. I am seriously asking for some help here.

A couple of things - First of all I realize that my BMI and weight is within the normal range, albeit it on the high side, but still because I am at a normal weight, losing anything additional is going to take some effort. However, last year I weighted almost 10 pounds less and wasn't working out at all (gotta love stress/anxiety weight loss). Second of all, the whole reason I started working out again in the first place was to be healthy and prevent me from re-injuring my back and in that sense my mission is being accomplished. But when I am spending time and energy working out, somehow being healthy is no longer a good enough reward. I start obsessing about wanting to look better - be a little thinner, be a little toner. I want to fit in those favorite jeans I rocked before I had kids. At the same time however, I was a workout junkie once before in my early twenties and I am not willing to devote that much time and energy into looking good. So I guess what I am trying to figure out is whether I am expending the time and energy that I am willing to in the right way.

I am open to suggestions. Right now I am walking 3 miles 3 times a week with 6 1-minute intervals of running while pushing Jadyn in the stroller. I can do this in 40-45 minutes. I also stretch and either do a yoga or pilates workout twice a week. As for my eating habits, I basically follow a South Beach lifestyle, although I recently started allowing myself 1 teaspoon of sugar in my coffee because I gave up Splenda due to side effects. A typical day might include a breakfast of cottage cheese with banana, hard boiled egg and some grapes for snack, grilled chicken salad for lunch, apple and string cheese for second snack, chicken, brown rice and veggies for dinner and a fudgcicle for desert. I no longer drink soda, diet or regular. I have tried modifying the amount of grains I consume (although 75% of them are whole wheat), cut back on dairy and limit myself to the equivalent of two tablespoons of peanut butter or nuts a day. Am I missing something?

Without any suggestions, here is what I am doing. I downloaded a food diary app on my phone and am going to track my food/calorie intake closely for 2 weeks. Maybe there is something I am eating that is throwing me off track and I don't realize it. On the workout front, I am going to set a goal for myself that while I estimate I walked 48 miles in September, I am going to aim for 54 miles in October. That would mean adding 2 workouts of 3 miles each throughout the month. I am also going to up the yoga/pilates to 3 times a week. I guess we will go from there. Ultimately, I would be really happy if I could lose 5 pounds and maintain that weight. I would also really like to firm up and/or lose about an inch from my mid-section. I do not feel like my goal is unrealistic.

Finding the right balance is never easy, whether you are trying to balance your diet, balance your workouts or balance your personal and professional life. Even when you achieve it, it still takes work to maintain it but I truly believe that it is worth every effort. It pushes us to be better in all the roles we take on in our lives. It leads to more fulfilling, happy lives for not only ourselves, but those around us. And that is why I will never stop trying to work it out.


LauraC said...

Here's my only advice - I have never had a runner's body except when I was running 30+ miles a week. The only way I have ever firmed up or dropped sizes is to add in strength training. It doesn't need to be a lot, just 20 minutes 3x a week. But at my (and your age), your body is losing muscle mass every year naturally. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, you need less calories each year.

The other thing you could do is heart rate monitoring to see if you could push it more with the running.

*Kc* said...

Wheww.. Sounds to me like you are thinking about it to much.{no offense at all! I do the same thing} You know our minds are very powerful. Just have fun with it. I know that is a big laugh coming from me, but i've found that if I don't constantly think about what i'm eating and when i'm excercising and how much, I lose more weight! It's crazy.

The reason your jeans don't feel looser right now is probably that you have built a little muscle first since you only recentley started all of this. It'll take a few weeks to actually see results. Don't give up!! You sound very motivated right now and it will pay off!! Stay positive girl. I'll be your reinforcer if you'll be mine =)

Steph said...

I don't have much advice as I'm no expert at this stuff. I am just hoping to make it to my half marathon in November. But, it sounds like you have everything in place to be successful with the exercise and diet.