Posts Tagged ‘Labor Day Challenge’

Yeah…so, I was supposedly running a challenge up in here.  Hm.  That didn’t go so well, did it?  A large and profound apology to my Challenge peeps, because I completely dropped the ball.

Here’s a tip though:  When running a challenge, try to persuade your family members to refrain from having major health problems.  It probably helps.

Anyway.  The end goal of the Labor Day Challenge was to see a change.  Some change, any change, whatever change your little heart desireth.  And to make little changes each week to make that happen.

Well, with one week to go on the Challenge (almost Labor Day, people!) I must confess my progress has been spotty.  I’ve spent most of that time at the hospital or at my Mom’s, and have not been as vigilant as I’d like.  However, for the past couple of weeks I have been trying pretty hard, and I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve done.  No, I haven’t been perfect – but perfect was never the goal.  Making little changes that would lead to a noticeable change in me, was the goal.

I’ve reached it.  I’ve been doing well with food; not perfect, but well.  Progressively better, in fact.  Yesterday was a bit off-plan, but not too horrendous.  And I’ve been doing well with exercise – lots of cardio; not a lot of strength, which I do miss, but I’ve been moving a lot.  And I’ve been incorporating yoga and meditation whenever possible, which was one of my little changes.

So yesterday, I put on a pair of cargo pants I haven’t worn in a few weeks.  The reason I hadn’t worn them was that they had gotten tight – and those pants have never been that tight.  It was extremely depressing, so I stuck with other choices, mostly with elastic waists.  🙂

But yesterday, after just a little over a week of watching my food and walking regularly, I put the pants on – and they were not tight.  They weren’t falling off – but they weren’t tight.  And all day yesterday (even before putting on the pants) – and this morning – I have felt a bit thinner.

So there’s my change.  Of course I’m not calling that a win and stopping, because the LDC is just a mini-journey within the larger one.  And I want to see continuing changes.  Plus I have a week to go.  But it feels good to know I haven’t completely blown it.

That’s the good news.  Now for the bad news.

While showering yesterday, I moved my head backward to rinse my hair and experienced possibly the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt above the waist and when not in labor.  Somewhere in my upper back/lower neck region.  In the region of C-7, C-8, T-1, for those of you in the know.  Not.  Good.

I’ve been having problems with my shoulders and upper back ever since Mom went into the hospital.  Naturally, I blamed it on stress-induced muscle tension.  It was horrific for a while, then gradually got better and lately I haven’t had too much trouble with it.  But this is the first time that the pain was clearly originating in the vertebrae rather than the muscles.  Evidently there is more of a problem there than I thought.

I am now experiencing what you might call limited mobility of the upper back and neck – if, by “limited mobility”, you mean “every time I need to turn my head I resemble one of those cheesy 80’s robot-dancers”.  Which I, unfortunately, do.  About the only position that is mostly pain-free is flat on my back, with my head straight, no pillow.  FYI, you don’t get a lot of cleaning done in that position.  So there went my house-cleaning plans.  Fortunately, I got most of the really critical stuff done Saturday.

So now I’m toying with my options as to how to deal with this?  I know, I know…go to the doctor.   And of course, if it isn’t better in a couple of days, I won’t have any choice.  So cross your fingers for me that it’s better.

And as a sign of my unhealthy obsession with weight loss, my very first thought (well, after “Ow!  Holy S**T that hurt!” was “Oh, crap, how am I going to get in my arm work now?”  🙂  But there is always a way.  I just have to figure out what I can do that doesn’t hurt, and do it.  I’m still on step one.  Haven’t found anything yet.  Cross your fingers for me there, too, would you?

Right now, though, I have a distressingly large volume of work to get out so I’m ghost.  So you all have a wonderful Monday and let me know how you’re doing with small changes leading to a big one?


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Happy Friday, everybody! It’s the end of another week, thank God, and I’m looking back at this one feeling pretty good.

I’ve been doing great with food…it’s hard to say if I’ve been perfect, but then again I’m not really pushing for “perfection” as such. I know that I’ve been extremely good, and I’d say I’ve blown my “80% of the time” goal out of the water, so I’m pleased about that. I’ve slipped back into the groove of making good choices nearly all of the time and that’s always such a source of positive energy for me.

I have done two of my three push-up sets – the third one will be today or tonight – and each time I’ve added two sets of fifteen crunches and two sets of fifteen reverse crunches. Last night I finally got off my butt (and it was so hard, because I felt horrible, thanks to TOM) and did a little over 30 minutes on the treadmill while I watched the first episode of Californication on DVD (I’m ambivalent about it, it’s very gritty and a little nauseating and I honestly haven’t seen a lot of merit in it yet to make it worth wading through all the gratuitous sex; I’m a bit disappointed in it, but it was only the first episode so I’m clinging to hope that it will improve.) I also finally tried out the incredible plank/tricep kickback combo that MizFit demonstrated the other day…and I am just as much in love with it as I’d thought I would be. I am not kidding you…this thing rocks. I only did two sets of fifteen (unweighted) with each arm, because I was really just giving it a test run…but on my “non-pushup” nights from now on, I will be doing these with weights.

So…I’m getting back into the exercise game, slowly. I tend to take it a bit slower during TOM, for a number of reasons, but I find that at least being a little bit active helps. I haven’t gotten outside to walk because my walking partner has a health issue that’s keeping her out of the game, and ED seems less than thrilled with the concept. But that is starting back up next week one way or another, and that generally entails at least an hour of pretty brisk cardio, if not longer.

I don’t want to jump in with both feet and burn out, which I know from experience I will do, but it feels good to at least have a plan of attack.

Enough aimless rambling. On to the meat of the post – my Labor Day Challenge.

It’s pretty simple really. I think you have to have some sort of guidelines, but I don’t want anything strict, so here goes:

  • The goal is to see a measurable change in yourself by Labor Day. Now, you can use whatever yardstick you want – the scale, the measuring tape, the fit of your clothes, the way your arm feels when you smack it, the amount of fat that muffin-tops over your jeans, the tightness of your abs, the energy you have every day, or even just the sense of pride and accomplishment you feel every night when you go to bed. It doesn’t matter what it is – this is your yardstick, so you pick what changes you want to see. Or don’t pick one – just decide you want to see something change.
  • Pick at least one thing, every week, that you are going to do differently in order to make that change happen. You can do more than one thing if you want, sure. But do at least one. A different type of exercise maybe, taking a vitamin supplement, trying a new food, meditating, biking instead of driving to a regular errand…whatever. I’ll try to come up with suggestions every Monday, but really this is very individual. Just one thing a week – and then do it. Make it small enough that you can actually do it, but something that is actually going to move you toward your goal of seeing a real change. Post a comment on Monday’s Challenge post (here) to let us know what you’re going to be doing that week, and how you did on the last week’s change.
  • And a neat segue…let us know how you’re doing. Post about it on your blog, comment about it here, or hire a skywriter if it’s a really good moment, but just stay in the game. If it’s a bad week, okay, no big deal. We all have them. But talk about it! Let us know what’s going on, maybe we can help…that’s what we do for each other, right? Or crow about how great you’re doing so we can share your success, especially if we’re having a bad week ourselves. You’ll keep us going too. 🙂
  • This one’s optional but important for me: don’t try to gauge your success by using your yardstick during the challenge. For me, this means I won’t weigh, I won’t measure, I won’t try on the outfit that I want to fit differently. I’m going to focus on what I’m doing and sticking with my behaviors and changes, and I’ll figure out at the end of the challenge if I’ve succeeded. No letdowns when I see I’m not progressing as fast as I’d like; no momentary highs when I think I’m doing better than I’d hoped. I want to let the behaviors be their own reward.

Okay, anyone want to join in? I know my wonderful Bex said she’s on board and my walking partner, B. (who doesn’t blog) is also – who else? Anybody?  (C’mon, Chris, you can do this one.)  I would love to have the company of anyone and everyone! 🙂

And may you all have a particularly fabulous weekend!

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Happy Thursday!

First, the Random Tidbits:

Today, of course, is the end of the Birthday Challenge – and a gloriously Happy Birthday to my girl, Bex; I hope you have an amazing one.  And y’all stop on by and wish her a Happy Birthday if you have a minute, would ya?  🙂

So, today is also the end of Phase One of my self-imposed weightlessness, i.e., life without a scale.  I’m fairly pleased with how I’ve handled it; I haven’t cheated once, even though there’s a scale downstairs at work (a hundred years old, but I know the differential between the reading and the legitimate number, oh, yes I do), and I’ve only had scale-cravings once or twice.  Never enough to actually go looking for it.

I debated whether to weigh in…and decided that if I felt anxious about it this morning, I wouldn’t do it – in other words, if I felt like the number was going to have any impact on my mood or well-being, I would abstain.  I finally decided to go ahead, because I wasn’t feeling like I cared much either way.

170.6.  Hmm.  I looked at the number and realized I couldn’t decide how to feel…which meant I didn’t have feelings about it.  Which, after all, was sort of the point.  🙂

Logically, it’s an okay number.  It’s up 2.4 pounds from my last weight.  Okay.  I’m currently entertaining my good buddy TOM after a six-week hiatus.  I can live with it.  Also, the body fat and hydration numbers hadn’t changed, and I am extremely happy about that.

So I think maybe I’m getting there, “there” being a place where I don’t live by the numbers.  I know that I’ve been extremely lax in behaviors, and I know that in the past week, I’ve turned that around enormously.  That is what I should feel bad and good, respectively, about – and that’s actually what I do feel bad and good, respectively, about.  I’m making progress!

I won’t weigh in again until my own birthday, or actually a few days before as my birthday is just after Labor Day.  So the Friday before Labor Day will be the next appearance of the scale at my house; it’s going back into hiding today courtesy of DH.  And I’m actually not remotely upset about that.  It will, however, be interesting to see if I have scale-cravings a few weeks into my good behaviors.  Are they going to be enough for me, or am I going to feel the need for numerical reinforcement?  That will, I think, be the real test.  It’s easy not to crave the scale when you’re goofing off and know the number won’t be good.  🙂

I do have a goal for my Labor Day Challenge.  It’s a simple one, and hard to quantify, but I like it.  By Labor Day, I want to see a change.  No, no numbers to hit…no pants sizes to get into…no measurements, no weight, no nothing like that.  I want to see a change.  I want to feel my clothes fit a bit differently, I want to feel more strength and muscle tone, I want to wobble a bit less.  It doesn’t have to be dramatic, just a noticeable, visible, palpable change.   It’s a completely achievable goal, I think.  And I’m going to start using my stars on my calendar again, since what I’m really shooting for here is behavioral consistency.  Today is Day One…anyone want to join me?

I had a wonderful conversation with a friend last night about the difference between being motivated by weight, and being motivated by how we feel, how we move and how we’re treating our bodies.  It was a great reinforcement of the ideals and goals we share and it went a long way toward shoring up my motivation.  It is good to have someone to share things like this with.

I did Week Two, Day Two of the Hundred PushUp Challenge last night, and it went well.  At the end, where you do as many as you can but at least a certain number, I always shoot for the minimum for the level above mine, just because then I feel like I’ve sort of gone the extra mile.  Last night, that meant ten…and I did it, even after all the other pushups I had done.  I was quite pleased.  🙂  I also did my crunches and reverse crunches.  Still no cardio…unless you count the walking I did yesterday morning when I had to move a turtle out of the road but the nearest place to pull over was about a quarter of a mile up the road.  I don’t know if I count that but it felt good to get out and move a little.

Other tidbits…I haven’t mentioned it, but I have poison ivy.  Like, everywhere.  In addition to everything else.  It’s even on my face.  My face.  It’s extremely distressing to me and for the first time ever, I’m considering going to the doctor for a shot.  But I have to say, the blackberry cobbler that I made with the berries I picked (which is where I got the poison ivy) was so, so worth it.  It was amazing.  And yet, that doesn’t make me happier about my face.

Today they start putting in the new carpet, I’m simultaneously excited and terrified.  I always question my decorating decisions horribly when the actual process starts; I’m so afraid I will have screwed up enormously and when there’s this much money involved, that makes me want to yak.  I’ve never been unhappy with the end result…yet…but I always do this.  But I’ll know soon enough and it’s too late to do anything about it anyway.

And now for my thankfulness.  Nothing profound…today, as I was driving in to work, careening down the mountain with AC/DC pouring out of the speakers at pretty near top volume, I thought, “I’m a little strange, maybe.  You don’t see a lot of 35-year-olds on their morning commute to their job in a law office, careening down the mountain with AC/DC pouring out of the speakers at pretty near top volume.  At least, not in this neighborhood.”  And then I laughed, because I really don’t want to be like the other commuters in this neighborhood anyway.

Today, I am feeling a bit thankful for individuality. Not just mine, but individuality in general.  I am so, so, SO glad that we live in a world where everyone is different.  I tend to choose friends from among the “fringe” so to speak – people who are who and what they are, unapologetically, whether that’s the same as Betty next door or completely different from anyone in the neighborhood.  I don’t tend to be drawn to conformists, or really even to people who just naturally fall into the same niche as 80% of the people around them.  I am drawn to that sparkle, that edge, that something that makes a person stand out just a little bit, and usually there’s some laughing at oneself and not taking life too seriously involved.  I like people who think for themselves, too, rather than taking whatever is served to them as the law.

I am very blessed in having met many people like this, and being able to get to know them.  I also feel pretty blessed in being one of those people myself.  So today, I am thankful for individuality and the fact that we are not all alike – and many of us don’t even want to be.

I love you all for who you are, and I hope that you do, too.  Have a wonderful Thursday!

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