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All posts for the month January, 2012

Embracing Change…and Loving It!

Published January 26, 2012 by Jasmine

When it comes to running, fitness and nutrition it doesn’t seem like a whole lot has been going right since this past summer. I ran my first half-marathon which was fantastic, but after that everything seemed to go downhill. My left IT band was so tight that I could barely run a mile without excruciating pain in my knee. I got that IT band loosened up just in time to run the Twin Cities 10 Mile, and the Monster Dash Half-Marathon later that month. Neither run was good. In fact, I had to limp that last 1.5 miles of the Monster Dash because my right IT band was so tight I could barely walk. During this time, a part of me really felt like giving up, maybe I wasn’t meant to be a runner. I stopped running and kept up the foam rolling, but my leg wasn’t getting any better. I had done all I could do, and it was time to see the chiropractor. Not only was my IT band tight, my entire leg from my glutes to my calf was a tight mess. Everything was so tight, it was actually pinching a nerve and causing the outside of my foot to go numb when I would run. It was also causing limited range of motion due to the tightness in my hips. According to the chiropractor, I have sticky (stubborn) fibers. The prescription…no running, no biking, no stair climbing, no weight lifting, and no high impact workouts. I was left with swimming, pilates, yoga, and light walking.  In addition to all of this, I had become complacent with my eating. I was no longer tracking calories, eating a lot of sweets, and eating out a lot at work. Between losing my aerobic capacity, not burning any calories, and eating too many calories I gained back weight I had worked so hard to lose earlier in the year. Since nothing was going right, it was time for me to go LEFT!

Beginning in December, I decided I was going to start making small, manageable changes. My two goals for the month of December were: 1) take the stairs, rather than the elevator, at the parking garage; and 2) I could only have my Starbucks/Caribou every other day. I am proud to say that I stuck with these changes, and it was pretty easy. After about a week, I forgot that the elevator was even there. If people were getting on the elevator, I would make it a little game and try to beat them up or down! I still do this today.

I have a lot of goals for the New Year, but decided to take them month by month. One of my biggest nutritional goals was to increase my protein and fiber intake.  My goal is to average 100 grams of protein a day, and 25 grams of fiber. I also decided to cut gluten out of my diet six days a week. I allow myself one cheat day which is usually Fridays…I get to eat things I don’t know/can’t find the nutrition information for, and I get to eat gluten on this day as well. My fitness goal was to start yoga and pilates, and continue with the stretches from the chiropractor so that I could loosen up my muscles and regain proper range of motion. (I had decided back in December that I was going to stop running until the end of March in the hopes of being injury free!)

With those goals in mind, January has been an AWESOME month! In the last three weeks, I have averaged eating 100.73 grams of protein, 22.1 grams of fiber, and have lost 1.26 pounds per week! I have felt AMAZING! The amount of sugar I am consuming has been drastically reduced due to the protein, and I almost always feel full.  I am no longer tired during the day, and seem to be sleeping better at night. I have continued taking the stairs. In fact, today I had a woman hold the elevator for me.  It felt really good to tell her, “thanks, but I am taking the stairs.” It felt even better when I got down the stairs the same time she was getting off the elevator.  I have also cut my Starbucks/Caribou down to three days a week this month.

I am a pretty strong person, but last week I had someone tell me that losing a little over three pounds in three weeks was not impressive. I was already having a bad day that day, and that really hurt. I’m not trying to impress anyone other than myself. I know that losing one to two pounds a week is a healthy weight loss, so I am right on the track and quite proud of myself!

In the nearly four years that I have been a member at Lifetime Fitness I have never gone to a group fitness class. I have never really been a fan of them for a few reasons: 1) I am a really independent person and don’t need a group to get me motivated; 2) When I go to the gym, it is my time to zone out, I don’t really want to have to think about what I am doing; 3) Even though I don’t adhere to it, I feel like there is an expectation that you have to keep up with the group (this isn’t realistic when you are new to a class); 4) Group classes are always on someone else’s time. I want to go the gym when I want to go.

I finally went to my first group fitness class this month…yoga. It was definitely harder than I thought it was going to be, but so worth it. I went back the next week as well. I missed this last Sunday, but went to my first Pilates class the day before.  I really liked Pilates. I was actually surprised that I was able to do as much as I did. Although my core and lower back need a lot of work, they were stronger than I thought they were! This past Monday I went to my fourth group fitness class, which was a core class. I really enjoyed that as well.

The best part of all of this is that I can tell my body is slowly loosening up, and it feels so good. I thought I was relatively flexible prior to trying yoga and Pilates! Boy was I surprised. After only two yoga sessions, one Pilates session, and continuously doing the stretches recommended by the chiropractor I am already feeling like my range of motion is getting better! I LOVE IT! I can only imagine how great I am going to feel by the end of March when I start back with the running, assuming I am free from injury. If you have not tried yoga I definitely recommend it, especially if you are a runner!

I have made a lot of changes in the past two months, and have really embraced those changes.  I love how I feel and I love the person I am becoming. I am cooking, attending group fitness classes, taking the stairs, passing up some of my favorite treats/pastries (and the worst part is they are free to me at work!), and every day becoming more disciplined than I was the day before. I have definitely been stepping out of my comfort zone, and I love it!!

Don’t ever forget this! Those small choices, repeated day in and day out, will eventually become second-nature. Make small steps daily toward your vision. You may not notice the change now, but over time it will be undeniable. This is also known as the compound effect.

After 31 days, months, or years the person who uses the positive nature of the compound effect appears to be an overnight success.  In reality his/her success was the result of small, smart choices, completed consistently over time. ~ Darren Hardy

If you like to read and want to know more about this, I highly recommend Darren’s book The Compound Effect.

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My First Date With Yoga…I Think This Is Going To Be a Love-Hate Relationship

Published January 8, 2012 by Jasmine

I have been meaning to give yoga and pilates a try for quite some time. The problem is I have never been very fond of group fitness classes, and there were always other workouts to be done.  That is until my trip to the chiropractor two weeks ago. Besides the IT band problem that I knew about, it turns out the muscles in my legs were so tight that I needed to essentially tear them to get them to stretch back out. This meant that I was limited to yoga, pilates, swimming, walking, or upper body strength training. If there was ever a time to try yoga or pilates, this was it! I had two sessions tentatively scheduled in my planner last week and didn’t make it to either of them. I really didn’t want to go today, but I knew that I needed to start the week off right and get back on track with my workouts.

I got there early to get a spot in the back of the room.  Since I was a newbie I certainly didn’t want anyone watching me. Of course, I ended up right next to a svelte, muscle-toned woman who was a pro when it came to yoga! Turned out that she could care less what I was doing, and it was kind of nice to be next to her to see how the poses were “really” supposed to be done!!

As the class is about to being the instructor tells us that it is going to get a little warmer in the room (I thought HOT yoga was last week!). This didn’t bode well for me as I was in long sleeves…and yes, I was dripping sweat after 15 minutes. What was most embarrassing was the only other person I saw sweating was the only male in the room. This was a Vinyasa style yoga…doesn’t mean much to me, but for those who practice I am sure it does. I think one of the biggest things was the focus on breathing. Apparently, throughout the entire class you are supposed to be breathing in and out solely out of your nose. That did not happen. She would tell us to deeply inhale….then deeply exhale. By the time she told us to exhale, I think I had probably inhaled and exhaled at least five times…through my mouth!!

This was definitely way more than I bargained for, and definitely more intense than I thought it would be. Yoga requires a good deal of balance which is something I don’t have, and being 65 pounds overweight doesn’t help any. After 15 minutes, I was ready to pick up my mat and go. I felt like it was too hard, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I couldn’t keep up. As much as I wanted out of that room, I new if I left I’d be a quitter. I told myself that even if I never came back to this class I needed to stick it out this one time.  Then I made it to 30 minutes, and again I just wanted to leave.  I was profusely sweating, since I refused to go barefoot my shoes were ripping shreds out of my yoga mat, I couldn’t keep up, and truthfully I was tired of hearing it was time to return to downward dog. But I was halfway there and I refused to be a quitter. It was after this point that the flow slowed down a bit, and we started doing some stretches that I liked (note: that doesn’t mean I could do them all that well.)

I made it through the whole hour.  It wasn’t pretty. I’m sure my form was terrible. I took breaks that others didn’t take. But I FINISHED. I honestly think that was one of the hardest things I have done. It certainly felt more difficult than a half-marathon, and it only took a third of the time.

I think part of the reason that it seemed so hard is that it was my first time. I prepared for my half-marathons.  There was no preparation for this. It made me realize that I am not as strong or as flexible as I thought I was.

I’m glad that I stayed, because my body needs yoga. I think it is going to work wonders for opening up my hips and increasing my range of motion. It is going to help stretch, strengthen, and lengthen my muscles. And for that one hour a week it is going to bring me a calm and peace that I don’t otherwise have. I’m glad it is on a Sunday evening as it will be a great start to my week.

After the class I spoke to the instructor and all of my concerns were valid concerns of a new comer. After I explained to her the issues (IT band/tight muscles) she told me this was the best yoga class of the ones offered, especially because of the slightly heated room. She told me in time when my body gets used to what I am doing my breathing will slow down, and I will eventually feel like I know what I am doing.

I definitely felt relaxed and serene when the class ended.  I will try again next week. Before then I think I will purchase some yoga socks so I don’t continue to rip apart my mat with my shoes, and I will definitely dress more appropriate for the temperature. Next week probably won’t be very pretty either, and I am sure at some point I will want to quit.  I imagine that just like running, every time you do it, it will get a little easier.