Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Revisiting Resolutions

It’s my turn to evaluate how I’ve done on my resolutions so far this year. Technically we should have done this a month ago – closer to an actual halfway point – but alas, here we are.

I had three goals for this year:

Goal #1:  Move out to my own place

So, this hasn’t happened yet, but it should within the next two months. Due to some unexpected medical bills (nothing serious, don’t worry!), I ended up using my security and pet deposits to pay those off. It turned out to be to my advantage that I stayed where I am to get this stuff taken care of, so I don’t count this as a failure. I am in the process right now of looking for an appropriate place and hope to move out around the beginning of September or October, depending on what I can find.

Goal #2: Expand my social circle

I suppose this is a minor success. Since I started a new job last September, I’ve met a lot of new people. However, it wasn’t until January or so that I actually started to get to know any of them. I volunteered to chaperone a weekly ski trip and met several of them that way. I also became a part of a couple of committees that has broadened my social horizons. The major hurdle, however, continues to be the distance that I live from the city. Twenty miles doesn’t seem like that far, but when you have to drive all the way home to let your dog out, you don’t feel like driving back that twenty miles that evening to go out with friends. Moving closer will help. I’ve also recently joined a running group and hopefully will make some new friends there.

Goal #3:  Improve my health

This has been a great success at this point. There are two main parts to this goal – weight and fitness. I joined Weight Watchers in January and stuck to the plan with fidelity for at least four months. I got really good at making various soups for lunches which I loved. The crock pot became a very good friend.  Prior to my recent trip east, I had lost 19 pounds. I’m not quite to my goal, but summer is difficult for me to stick with any real diet because I get bored and there is food around. So, I’m not expecting any great gains during the summer – I’m happy to hold steady. Come September, though, we’re back to game on.

The second part – fitness – has also been a big success. I started a Couch to 5K running program back in March. At first, I was only able to run for about two minutes and walk for two minutes. Before long, I was able to run for thirty minutes straight. I was up to 4 miles when I first got to New Jersey in early July. However, due to the unbearably warm temps in the east, the lack of time while traveling, and lack of place to run, I slipped back a little bit, but I’m building back up again. I have signed up for the Seattle Half Marathon in November and I will continue to work with my running group when school gets back in session. So, I’d say it’s a success, but still room to keep going!

I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far this year. We’ve got five months left to complete them, so maybe we’ll do a recap in December before making our new goals!

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Weighty Issues

Jadever Body Fat Scale. Old version of model J...

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I’ve kept quiet about this for a little while now, not wanting to jinx myself by declaring it to the world. But, I’ve decided that it’s time to say something.

Back in January, I started making a concerted effort to get healthier in two ways – losing weight and getting fit.  I joined Weight Watchers at the beginning of the year and have stuck with it.  Since January 8th, I’ve lost 13.7 pounds.  While that may not sound like a lot, I’m a small person and every little bit of extra weight makes a difference.  I’ve found that the program is pretty easy to follow, especially the online version. I don’t do meetings, so tracking all of my stats online works best for me.  I’m allowed to have whatever I want and every food has a point value. As long as I don’t go over my allotted points for the day, I’m good. It does encourage me to make better choices.  Fruit has no points, so I find myself reaching for an apple more often.  Whatever it is, it’s working for me. My pants fit well and, in some cases, are starting to fall off without a belt. Blouses that started to pucker are lying flat.  All over, I feel much better.

The second goal – getting fit – took awhile to get started. I wanted to concentrate on my weight loss through my diet first.  I’ve found in the past that when I try to do too much too fast, I get frustrated and give up.  Once my diet was stable and successful, I decided to get back into exercise. Previously, I joined a gym, which worked until the gym was sold, my trainer fired, and the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth.  This time, I decided to take up running. I ran in high school and loved it, but haven’t done much since.  I found a Couch to 5K program that I liked and hit the treadmill.

At about this same time, a running group started up at school. I happened to have lunch with a couple of the people in the group and was invited to join.  I liked the idea of running in the school neighborhood with some colleagues after school.  Then I found out that the end goal is to run together in the Seattle Marathon or Half-Marathon in November.  When I started this, I didn’t have an end goal in mind. I just wanted to run.  But having that Half-Marathon floating out there – albeit 7 months away – is helping me stick to it.  It’s also made me set smaller, shorter term goals, like a 5K in June and a 10K in late August.

To help me track my progress, I’ve been using a program called Map My Run. I simply created my profile, downloaded the accompanying Android App (also available for iPhone and Blackberry), and started logging my workouts. I really like this program as you can enter your runs, your indoor workouts, and your other exercise options, even downhill skiing! The GPS in your phone can help you track your run and then you can upload it directly to the website. You can look up different events, connect with training buddies, and compete in challenges.  It’s definitely helped me monitor how I’m doing!

So far in 2011, I’m doing well on my New Year’s Resolution! Now I just need to work on my living situation and managing my money!

ANNOUNCEMENT:

The week of April 25, Our View From Here will be holding its first virtual book club!  We will all be reading, and commenting on, the book Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruen.  Read along with us!

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Trained to Motivate

Personal trainer showing a client how to exercise

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About 18 months ago, I had a plan. I’d done the diet thing and had lost some weight, but I knew that nothing was going to help me more than regular gym workouts. Fortunately, a new gym was opening out about seven minutes from my house. My mom had worked out at another branch and had liked them, so I figured, “Why not?” I signed up – even had my activation fee waived because I was a teacher! – and was ready to start.

I knew, though, that just signing up wasn’t going to be enough. Sure I could run on the treadmill, but that gets dull quickly and I wanted to do more than just cardio. So, my solution was to sign up with a personal trainer. Thus enters Allison into my life. I met with her once a week, usually after work on Fridays.  She pushed me hard. I would ache pretty much all weekend, but it was that good kind of hurt. She kept things interesting – we rarely did the same thing two weeks in a row. My hour with her went really quickly, but I knew it was really working. I lost a little more weight and definitely toned muscle.

Things were great for almost a year. We took a couple breaks – I was out of town for a chunk of the summer, took some time off around Christmas – but for the most part, we met every week.  Then February happened. I was getting my stuff together to head to the gym when Allison called me. She had to cancel our session because of a last minute emergency staff meeting. We rescheduled for the following Monday.

That evening, I got a voice mail from Allison saying the club had been sold and most of the staff, including her, had been fired.  Over the next few days, I found out she was able to get a new position in another gym, but it was in Kirkland, a 35 minute drive from me. My remaining sessions were transferred over to another trainer, Malorie. She was good, but no Allison. About a month later, though, she took a job with another company because she wasn’t getting enough hours to make ends meet. That was the last training session I ever had.

So, since April, I’ve been winging it. I learned a lot during the time with Allison and Malorie, but I cannot replace one thing that they both supplied – motivation. The whole experience with that gym (which I left not long after due to their VERY shady business practices) sort of soured me on the organized gym part. I try to get over to the treadmill in our condo clubhouse, but I often find myself coming up with excuses or just forgetting. I’m hoping that once my life settles a little bit, I can get back into some sort of routine. Maybe I’ll find a new trainer that can kick my butt and help me with my motivational issues.

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