Feelin’ Footloose

Since I can remember I have hated working-out.   Spending 30 minutes on the treadmill feels like  I am living in a science experiment.   Back in high school and college I didn’t mind going to the gym.   I actually went there religiously. But, I never really liked being there.   I went to the gym because I thought that was what adults did to stay healthy.  As I got older I stopped going to the gym as frequently (what a surprise!).  Then, one day a switch flipped in my brain;  I can’t stand the gym anymore! The smell of sweat makes me nauseous and the thought of sitting on a machine and staring at CNN for an hour makes me want to run in the other direction (well at least it motivates some sort of movement?).  My saving grace is that I love exercising outdoors when it’s sunny and warm.   I could hike, swim or play volleyball for hours during the summer.  The problem is that during the winter I am a grade A couch potato.

Recently, I have been trying to find ways to increase my exercise.  I  have bought an entire library of workout DVD’s, some of which are great (I would highly recommend anything with Jillian Michaels).  But, still the thought of dedicating myself to a 45 minute long workout to the same DVD’s over and over again just seems unnatural and unfulfilling… which definitely goes against my new balanced life mantra.   In the past few weeks however, I have been trying to incorporate spurts of exercise throughout my day.  Sometimes I stretch while watching TV, I take my dog on long walks, pop on a Do You Yoga video, or I do a few crunches between various daily activities.   All of these have really been helping me to feel better and I definitely have noticed a difference in my overall strength.  But, my absolute favorite new addition to my workout routine has been dancing.  Just starting a playlist on my computer or phone for about ten minutes while I dance around the apartment has completely overhauled my outlook on exercise.

At first, just the thought of dancing around my apartment made me feel silly.  I’m here to tell you something.  It is one of the most fun and liberating ways to sneak in a workout.  Honestly,  it is so much fun it doesn’t even feel like a workout until you turn off the music and realize that you  are out of breath.  The first time I tried this I threw on a friend’s spotify mix and jumped around my apartment (most certainly looking like somebody managing to stand up while having a seizure.)   My pets looked entirely confused and came over to investigate this apparent medical emergency, and sitting by my feet (I can only assume they were hoping to set up a barricade between me and their beloved food bowl).  I have since had to block off an area of the room so that I don’t accidentally end up kicking them, tripping over them, or falling on top of them… but that isn’t going to stop me.  This is the best workout discovery I have ever made.   Everyday that I have incorporated my ten minute dance sessions into routine I have felt healthier, brighter, and less stressed.  Dancing is definitely in my life to stay.

In my last post I said that I would update this blog with more specific health goals. Well…

Goal #1:  Dance like nobody’s watching (cats and dogs not included).

~ Abby

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Back to the Basics

Spring has finally arrived! Yes, I know that the first official day of spring was almost two weeks ago; but Honey, if it doesn’t feel like spring then it ain’t spring.  I can’t help but feel excited at the first warm day of the year.  It’s a day that I look forward to all winter long.   I’ve  even been known to ditch my winter clothes way too early in the year, only to have to grumpily dig them back out of my closet a week later, all out of sheer excitement for warm weather.  I am pretty certain you would have to be an epic curmudgeon to not even feel a hint of excitement over the first enjoyably warm day after this disgusting excuse of a winter long winter season.

I think that the thing that I love most about this time of the year, however, is my renewed sense of motivation.   I know that I am not the only one who suddenly has the desire to just do more once springtime hits.  No, spring cleaning, spring diets, and spring vacations are all definite signs that most of us experience the impetus to become more active during this wonderful season.

This year does feel different, though.  I don’t just want to do more… I have the overwhelming urge to overhaul my life.  A good part of it has to do with the fact that I have been dieting for 6 months. That is 6 months of constantly thinking about food, dieting, health, and my weight.  Even writing that makes me want to change! Since October I have managed to lose 20 lbs.  Which sounds great, and is great.  However,  I have also managed to start and stop more dieting schemes than I can count, put on and lose weight,  and essentially resume a way of thinking that most likely led to my initial weight gain of over 40 lbs 2 years ago.  I have lost touch with my sense of balance and if I don’t learn to regain my composure I know that I will continue to fall down the rabbit-hole into my old and unhealthy lifestyle.

As I write this, I have been at a standstill with my weight loss for almost 3 months.   I haven’t completely resumed old habits, however.  I have relearned portion sizes, kicked my processed food habit, and have become slightly more active.  I feel like I am balancing on a fine point in my life; I could either easily, and comfortably, slide back into old habits… or I could challenge myself to work hard to find the solid ground that  will give me the foundation for overall wellness in my life (weight loss included).

To live a happy and healthy life I plan to overhaul my lifestyle in a sustainable, realistic way.  I want to embody balance.  I don’t believe in an all or nothing attitude when it comes to wellness, diet, and health.   So, with that in mind I have decided on some rather lofty goal for my life (and this blog) and they include:

1) Find Balance:  Sometimes it is good for you to eat that slice of pizza, damn-it!  But, still other times it is better to choose the salad instead.   It is fine to have a lazy Sunday as long as you don’t decide that every Sunday is lazy Sunday.  If you don’t find balance in your life, it is impossible to sustain and maintain your health.

2) Sustainable Changes: I truly believe that incorporating sustainable lifestyle changes into your diet (life?) is what leads to success in health and fitness.  I want to find natural and fulfilling ways to better my health.  For example,  I don’t think that I could ever completely give up sugar (I even considered naming this blog “Donuts and Dumbbells”… for about 1 second) and giving up the things you love can lead to a total lifestyle relapse later on.   Instead, I think it is better to limit things like sugar, wheat, meat, and processed foods.

3) Share My Progress: My goal is to share all the lessons I learn along my path to balance and wellness, while discarding the unscientific rubbish that is advertised and promoted by some of the leading experts (?) in the healthcare field (I’m looking at you Dr. Oz).   I know that sharing my goals, triumphs, and failures will help to stay motivated to keep doing more!

TL;DR: Time to start living a more balanced life.

Thanks for reading!  I plan to update this blog with my specific health, life, and fitness goals in my next post… stay tuned!

~Abby