Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “Motivation”

“You Can’t Accomplish Anything Without The Possibility Of Failure”

An Awesome Documentary Got Me Questioning How Hard I’m Willing To Push Myself – Mentally, Physically & Emotionally – To Achieve What I Want.

This weekend I spent some time looking for upcoming local races, both 5 and 10Ks. I’m always way more consistent in training when I have a deadline I’m working towards. That’s when I came across the most amazing race I’ve never heard of – The Barkley Marathon.

I learned about it via a documentary that’s currently on Netflix – The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young. It is an amazing story that spotlights the quirky traditions and oddball personalities surrounding this race.

But what I loved most happened after watching the movie. More on that below. But first, What is the Barkley?

Read more…

New Challenges, New Goals, Better Attitude

new life

My life has changed and I’ve set me sights on some new health goals to work towards.   FreeDigitalPhotos.net and mrpuen.

Over the last 5 years I’ve learned to focused on health and not weight loss. The results have been awesome. My doctor pronounced me healthy. After achieving my goal  I did the expected.

I coasted.

For 18 months I maintained my weight of 185 pounds. Sure I still wanted to drop about 25-30 “vanity” pounds because I knew the extra weight would eventually cause havoc as I got older. Knowing that didn’t propel me to take action. Oh, I came up with some new goals…and promptly started coasting again.

Why? No fire in the belly.

Five years ago I was staring at a bleak, unhealthy future of diabetes and heart disease. Fear drove me to act. But once I reclaimed my health, I thought the fight was over.

Boy was I wrong. Read more…

Changing The Workout Routine

sleeping peekabu

Peekabu demonstrating how I physically felt after being back with a personal trainer after just two sessions.

This weekend I was sore from head to toe — shoulders, arms, chest, back, hips, gluts (oh, man!) legs — and it felt awesome! At my husband’s urging, I’m working with a personal trainer again. I wasn’t happy with my last trainer. Her aversion to both sticking to our scheduled appointments and using free weights soured me on personal trainers. I loved my first two trainers, but her attitude left an indelible impression with me.

Plus the hubby and I carved out a little area in our basement for workouts. Why should we spend the money on a trainer?

The hubby made some strong arguments for going back to the gym.

  1. Despite my 3 muscle workouts a week, the husband noticed no difference in my, strength, attitude or stamina. He didn’t see how I could meet my fitness goals for the year.
  2. While diet has more to do with my menopause symptoms, what I was doing in the home gym (yoga and weight training) wasn’t having an impact.
  3. Soreness…or lack of it. In his view, I wasn’t pushing myself as hard as I could.
  4. Most importantly, I was happier when I was going to the gym than I have been working out at home with all the distractions.

He’s right, of course. I’m not pushing myself. I certainly feel good after I workout, but the overall boost in energy just isn’t there. While I agreed with his arguments, No. 4 really hit me.

When I’m at home I find there is so much to do and so little time. So everything becomes a choice. Go for a walk in the cold or clean the kitchen? Do yoga or get a jump on laundry?  Get 20 minutes with the dumbbells or try to fix the dishwasher?

Yet those 18 months I when I belonged to a gym, I never chose chores over working out. Back then working out was a habit, like brushing my teeth. It was never an “either/or” decision.

Finding The Right Fit
After I agreed to go back to a trainer, I thought the challenge was going to find the right person. The Gold’s Gym near our home wasn’t the one I quit more than a year ago. I was leery of going back to Gold’s. But my husband assured me we’d ask a lot of questions to  find the right trainer.

Turns out, not all Gold’s are equal. Some are franchises (my not so great experience) and corporate (my new gym). The corporate Gold’s are all about free weights. Yes they have weight machines, yoga, spin and HIIT classes, but free weights are their focus.

My new trainer had no problem starting me with barbells.  During our first session he evaluated what I could do: planks, push ups, crunches, dead lifts, presses, squats, rows.  Immediately he spotted that my hips and lower back are problem areas (something my physical therapist told me to work on).

Actually my whole core is weak. I haven’t really focused on them post-surgery. Right now I’m about 75% healed, so I’ve been nervous about pushing myself. The problem is I’m not pushing myself at all. So my schedule is upper body on Tuesday, lower body on Thursdays, and rebuilding my core for 20 minutes on both days.

Setting 3 Month Goals
Afterwards we talked goals. I’ve signed up for 3 months (two 1-hour sessions a week). We discussed target goals by the end of that time.

  • 60-second plank
  • Standard push ups (no knees!)
  • Strengthen my core (includes back and hips) which is pathetically weak after surgery
  • 10-15 pound increase in bench press
  • Recapturing some of the definition and tone I lost post surgery

All are very doable if I’m willing to put in the work…and I am.

For the first time in more than a year I’m really excited about working out. Yes, I was sore over the last week. But I’m asking my body to do things I haven’t done in a while.

Recent Gains Have Me Doubting Myself

lane-bryant

Nearly 2 years and 100+ pounds ago I “broke” up with Lane Bryant. Clearly they miss me. The feeling is not mutual.

I’m fast approaching my two-year anniversary from saying goodbye to Lane Bryant.  I vowed never to shop there again. To do so meant failure. However, my recent weight gain has me doubting myself and resolve.

It was time to replace an old pair of jeans. And for a fleeting moment, I thought about picking them up at my old stomping ground.

Thankfully something woke up inside of me and yelled “Hell no!”

Despite those damn menopause pounds I’ve added back on, I’m not going back to Lane Bryant. Ever.

I don’t know if that was the kick in the pants I needed, but it worked. I’m making a bunch of changes right now (post coming later on those changes). But I’m excited and finally feel energized. Something I haven’t felt in a long time.

Oh, and I picked up my new jeans at Old Navy.

Wanna Lose Weight? Break Your ‘Groundhog Day’ Loop

poster

You want to lose weight? Then stop your own Groundhog Day loop!

My favorite film? Hands down Groundhog Day. It’s the closest thing to a perfect movie. What’s not to love? Bill Murray plays pompous TV weatherman Phil Connors sent to Pennsylvania to cover Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast, but gets caught up in an endless time loop living Groundhog Day over and over again. It’s anyone’s guess how many times he lived that day repeatedly (I say decades!), but after indulging in further destructive behavior, he final starts to re-examine his life and figure out what’s really important.

Besides being an awesomely funny movie, it hits home with me because I saw a little of myself in Phil Connors’ situation.

I was caught in my own seemingly endless Groundhog Day loop: Read more…

Mornings With Purpose

fight

Second fight of the day, the first happening at 5:17 in the morning. But the fighting got me out of bed and snapped me out of a nearly year long funk of rolling with the punches. Now everyday needs purpose.

The last year I’ve really gone off the rails when it comes to my health and weight loss. Going out to each way too often. Indulging in too much wine. Not pushing myself self on the fitness front. Wasting time online. Going to bed late and getting up late.

Let’s face it, my motivation took a nose dive. Ugh!

Time to get my mojo back.

So last night, before bed, I decided to start my mornings with purpose. This is all part of my Living On Purpose resolution. That meant waking up early and not lying in bed for an hour each morning. Time for some bright eyed and bushy tail action!

But the desire to wake up at the crack of noon is strong with me…and I “forgot” to set my alarm clock.

Cue Spider, my evil overlord cat. At precisely 5:17 a.m. Spider started hissing, snarling and growling very loudly. He chose this time to start a fight with Peekabu, the sleeping Old English sheep dog. Read more…

Proof Eating Out Isn’t Great For Your Waistline

jan-22-weightAs expected I gained weight back after my 7-day fast. However, I think I could have minimized the weight gain if I didn’t miserably fail at my other monthly challenge – giving up alcohol for 30 days. I broke my fast with a birthday dinner and that included wine. OK, not a biggie. I made it to my birthday. So why not celebrate, right?

Well, it didn’t stop with the birthday. The next day we met up with friends we haven’t seen in ages. And the wine flowed.

The next day I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping so we went out for dinner…and I ordered a glass of wine. Soon we’re going out to dinner nearly every night for the last two weeks, which means a glass or two with dinner. Ugh!
Read more…

Do I Need A Trainer or Can I Do It Myself?

gym

Our home gym is open for business and my new trainer is eagerly awaiting to torture me.

Yay! We’ve expanded the gear for our tiny home gym.  Now we can work out with actual free weights. The space is still too small for barbells, my husband’s preferred equipment. Thankfully a little creativity was all we needed.

Our New Home Equipment
I already had the resistance bands and yoga mat. We didn’t want to spend too much, and when you are dealing with free weights, that is a challenge. So we added 3 things that collectively cost us less than $440. Not too shabby.

1. Adjustable Weights
Unfortunately we don’t have the space to use barbells. While my resistance bands are a great tool, my husband was a bit leery about using them. If he can’t use barbells, his fall back is dumbbells. But again, space is the issue. Thankfully we saw a solution at our local sporting goods store — adjustable weights. Read more…

Living On Purpose

Nearly two years ago I read a book that I didn’t like that much, but it really stuck with me: Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the concept of adding happiness into my life. I’m all for that. I just found the author a bit off putting. She just seemed a tad too self-absorbed and didn’t think enough about the people around her. Also, she focused too much on perfection.

That being said, the book stuck with me, or at least the idea of trying to add more happiness into one’s life. So after the suckiness of last 7 months, I decided to get off of my duff and do a little more than just think about happiness.

It’s funny how a brush with one’s own mortality can light a fire under your butt.

Pursuit of Happiness
Don’t get me wrong: I’m perfectly content with my life. But where’s the fun in life if I settle for being comfortable? Whether it’s improving myself (physically, mentally or spiritually), trying new things, or getting out of my comfort zone, aiming for happiness is a good thing.

Below is a list of new habits to create (or break), hobbies to try, and skills to cultivate. Stuff I wanted to try but didn’t because of my own inertia. My goal is to work on each of them.

1. Make More Time for Play with the Hubby.
All work and no play makes Dot very uncreative, stressed out, and grumpy. I’ve forgotten how to have fun. I don’t know when this happened, but I’ve stopped playing. If my husband suggests bowling, playing pool or a date night, I’m more content to sit in my recliner with an iPad. Ugh! When did I become an old fogey?

There is nothing remotely rejuvenating about sitting for hours looking at my Facebook feed. To this I say: “No more!”

I’m setting aside time each day to goof around with the hubby. It can be something as simple as playing with the dogs, throwing a Frisbee, flying a kite, or bowling with friends.

2. Stop Mindlessly Web Surfing And Get Stuff Done
I know exactly where I can find an hour in my “busy” schedule for more fun. Facebook. Twitter. Texting. Web surfing. Email.

Every day, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I pick up my damned phone, and it never leaves my side. There is nothing earth-shattering happening on social media. Also, I don’t have a job, so it’s not like I’m getting an urgent email. Being connected is one huge time suck. Time to turn it off and join the real world.

3. Revisit My Inner Shutterbug
I’ve started the low carb cooking channel on YouTube with the help of my hubby. But between his job and work on his novels, I need to pick up more of the slack. It’s time for me to dive in and play with the camcorders, lights, and editing software. I also plan to dust off my old digital SLR so I can take way better food pictures.

4. Save, Baby, Save!
Both the hubby and I have made a decision to start saving and cutting down on expenses. We want to do some traveling and want to pay for the trips before we even pick our destinations. We’ve done this before with lots of success when we hunkered down and became debt free. Recently, we’ve slacked off on our saving efforts. We restart saving this week by working on a budget and sticking to it. I’m also thinking about savings milestones, competitions on who can save the most, and little celebrations as we move towards our financial goals.

5. Organize My Life
The older I get, the more I want to declutter and go all minimalist. Twenty years ago, letting go of “things” was so hard. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have much stuff. Last week the husband and I cleared out a corner in our basement and it felt awesome. Having too much junk in my life makes it hard to feel organized and focused on what matters to me. First up to feel my wrath: that spare bedroom that’s turned into storage. Time to finally turn it into that craft room I’ve always wanted.

6. Learn A Language
I took four years of Latin in high school and four semesters of German in college. I didn’t use either, and hardly remember them. But I’ve always wanted to learn a language and use it. The hubby suggested I try Spanish. I certainly have neighbors I could practice with and, while he’s a bit rusty, the husband also knows enough to carry on a conversation with a 3-year-old. (He can do that in English, too).

7. Try Something New Each Month
I’m in a bit of a rut, and I think it’s time to expand my horizons. So once a month I’m going to try something new. It can be anything from trying a new food to zip lining. Some ideas may come from my recently updated healthy bucket list. Others as they strike my fancy.

8. Add Music To My Life
Learning to play an instrument helps with stress by making you feel more relaxed. I’d also imagine it must feel pretty dang good to master a difficult tune. I always wanted to learn to play the piano. Yet another reason to work on that craft room!

9. Travel More
I know I’m saving up for future trips, but day trips are pretty cheap. My area is loaded with tons of cool things to see and visit that are just a short drive away: the ocean, Gettysburg, Jamestown, Appalachian Trail, the swimming wild ponies, and lots of rivers and lakes to fish in.

10. Learn to sew
My husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas two years ago and I’m embarrassed to say it is still in the dang box. Ugh! I found a local fabric shop that offers sewing lessons. Time to sign up.

To track my progress, I’m posting a daily log with the above list, with the first post hitting tomorrow. It’s one thing to have a list of things you want to do. But it’s another to take action. I have to hold my feet to the fire on this one (any help appreciated!).

The Scale Isn’t The Only Way To Track Weight Loss

scream-scale

Don’t let the scale define you. In a given day, the scale goes up and down more than the stock market, so perspective is needed.  The scale only shows one data point. Never let it control you.

There are other ways you can track how you are doing.

  • Take your measurements monthly — way better than a scale
  • Before and after photos — pictures don’t lie
  • How your clothes fit
  • Getting more sleep
  • Progress on creating healthy habits
  • Keep a journal tracking how you feel (more energy, happier), mobility (can you climb stairs without feeling winded), your overall well being

 

 

 

 

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