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Week 36: Top 11 lessons of 2011. (So far.)

Alternate post title: “The run that almost wasn’t—that was—that probably shouldn’t have been—but I’m glad was.”

Does that make any sense? No? Well, that’s why I made it the alternate title.

The run I’m talking about that “almost wasn’t,” is the run I went on yesterday afternoon. While I ran, a lot of random thoughts went through my head (like usual) and turned into the premise for this post: Over these first two weeks of 2011, I have had a few lessons in weight loss and working out. This week, I want to impart a few tidbits of wisdom, in the hopes that you won’t have to learn these lessons the hard way, like I may have.

#1. s-NO-w problem. A little snow never hurt anyone. Watch your step, or get special spikes for your shoes for better traction, and you’ll be fine taking your workout outside. But, BE careful! During my run yesterday, it started to snow, so the sidewalks became slick. I ended up falling flat on my butt. I didn’t get hurt—but I will most definitely be more careful from now on. (And that is one reason my run probably “should not have been.”)

#2. Wear enough gear for the outdoors. Like I just said: It’s snowing, it’s cold, but you can still walk or run outside. Just make sure you wear the right gear, even if that means doubling up everything you put on. Running tights, sweatpants, a long-sleeved shirt, t-shirt, running jacket, ear warmers, a hat, and mittens have been my running attire during my last several runs. (I like to think that the extra five pounds of clothes I’m wearing means that I’m burning more calories.)

#3. But don’t wear the wrong gear. Yesterday, I tried wearing a scarf so my face wouldn’t be so cold during my run. All I could find was my scratchy wool scarf. Wrong choice. During the entire run all I could smell was a flock of dirty sheep.

#4. Laugh at the insanity of it all. During a snowstorm the other night, I was running on the back roads near my apartment so I could avoid traffic. I did not, however, avoid the incredulous gazes of everyone who was out shoveling their driveways or sidewalks. I just smiled and waved and continued on my way.

#5. When you’re the least motivated, be prepared to have your best workout. I had NO energy or ambition to run last night. I finally decided to suck it up and get outside. I ended up feeling great when I got going and ran 4.5 miles. So, next time you’re unmotivated, just get moving—you’ll surprise yourself.

#6. Slow & steady wins the weight loss race. I may have only lost half a pound this week, but, I have also not deprived myself of a crazy chocolatey brownie on Sunday, tacos, a nice dinner out with a friend, and a couple birthday drinks this week. By not depriving myself, but still eating smart 90% of the time, I have been able to continue my slow, steady weight loss—and will continue to keep it off.

#7. Eat a workout for lunch. Have you ever had things pop up that make it impossible to do your normal fitness routine after work? Tonight, for instance, I’m heading into the city with my roommate to celebrate our birthday. In order to fit in today’s workout, I came into work extra-early and then took a long lunch so I could run & shower, and then still leave work at my normal time. Squeezing in the workout during lunch allowed me to get in my scheduled run without ruining my plans for later.

#8. Love your sleep. Okay, it’s not hard to love sleep—but most of you probably don’t get enough. I used to stay up late at night and suffer when getting up early in the morning. Now that I work out every day, I make myself go to bed early. (There is no drawback—I just watch less bad reality television.) Being more active means your body needs more sleep, or else you’ll become run down or injured. Embrace your longer sleeping hours & know they’re giving your body time to recover.

#9. Make sure you check your serving sizes. Keeping track of calories and nutrients is important when you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight and diet. I tried some new frozen ravioli last week, and I was stoked that they were so low in calories for so much food, especially pasta… It wasn’t ‘til after I ate them that I realized I had actually eaten two servings instead of one. Watch those labels!

#10. Keep an eye on your goals. I have a calendar where I chart the workouts that I want to do every week for my training, and then I write under those workouts what I actually did. As the calendar fills up, it keeps me motivated to complete my next day’s workout. It also motivates me to see how far I’ve come over the last weeks or months.

#11. Never give up! Cliché, but true. I already told you how I fell on my butt yesterday during my run. There was definitely a car in the driveway next to where I fell, with people inside. They probably thought I was (1) crazy for running in the snow, (2) laughed when I fell down, and (3) thought I was even crazier when I got up, brushed the snow off my butt, and took off running again. But, I’m proud that I just got up and kept going, instead of turning around and walking back home (which I thought about doing for a split second). Whether you fall down literally, or let your diet fall into an unhealthy state, you always have the choice to get back up again.

What have you learned so far in 2011?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 147 pounds
This week: 146.5 pounds (Only 1.5 pounds away – WOW!)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy birthday to me! :)
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

Week 8: Beyond the Blog

Attacking obstacles during the Mud Run
Looking back over the last two months, this blog has really kicked my butt into gear. Knowing that all of you will be checking up on me has kept me motivated. But there’s been so much more that I have learned beyond the blog, that has kept me moving forward…

Last weekend I partook in the National MS Society’s Mud Run in St. Louis (I cannot believe I am posting pictures, but there ya go). The run was SIX miles long, littered with 24 obstacles and a mess of mud, and trampled on by a whole lot of crazy, fun people. It took me 1 hour & 42 minutes to complete the run in the grueling sun and heat (it was 90 degrees when we started at 9am—yikes). By the end of the race, I was definitely glad to be done; all I wanted to do was sit down and not move another muscle. Heck, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even finish my free bottle of beer!

That night, and for two days afterward, I was in pain. My hip had been bothering me from straining it too much lately, so I was limping around again. On top of that, it seemed like each muscle in my body was groaning with every movement I made. But I was happy and felt so lucky. That’s right—lucky. Lucky because I was able to run six miles in the mud, climb over rope towers and swim under logs in a pond, crawl into mud pits and back out of them with the helping hand of a complete stranger, and finally go down a giant mud slip-n-slide with my good friend to finish the race. But most of all, I thought about all the people out there who have multiple sclerosis, or other conditions that inhibit them from being able to even walk confidently out their front door, let alone run down the block. And here I got to travel to a new city to run six miles in the MUD. I’d say that’s pretty lucky. And blessed.

I think that once you realize that some people don’t have the option to be able to cook what they want, eat what is healthiest, get out and go for an early morning jog, whiz around on a brand new bicycle—that is when you realize that you don’t HAVE to do those things yourself. But you choose to, and you get to. And you’re lucky to have that option, because some people don’t.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll remember that next time I hit the snooze button in the morning and contemplate skipping my workout!

But what about those days where we DO want to go for a run or cook a healthy meal, but life just gets in the way? Last week, I talked about this conundrum in my own life, but this week I got to see it from the perspective of those that I look up to—people here at Jockey® who have families (and lots of pets) to juggle, long hours on the job, and more. Take a look at their challenges and how THEY overcome them—I have already decided to adopt a few of their good habits!

Challenge: Workout time, including the kids, and [unhealthy] food
“My challenge is finding time to exercise with two little kids and a full-time job. The only way I can consistently work out is to do it first thing in the morning before the kids are up. There are just too many distractions at night, plus I am too exhausted! My alarm goes off by 4:52 a.m. on weekday mornings, and I get out of bed and I work out. It is not optional! No snooze button. No thinking about it. Just get up and go. Also, we are lucky enough to have fitness classes offered on-site at my job, so I try to do these 2-3 days a week. On the weekends, I take a more fun approach to fitness that usually involves my kids. We have a “dance party” where we dance to our favorite tunes, or we get out the double stroller and walk around the neighborhood. I even have a fitness video where you can lift your toddler instead of dumbbells! I honestly don’t need much motivation to exercise since I have made it such a routine. It’s just a part of my life like brushing my teeth. I will say that I never want to be the 85-year-old woman who can’t carry her own groceries. I want to be the 85-year-old woman running 5Ks! I also particularly like that I can eat more because I work out. Healthy eating is a constant struggle for me, but working out really helps me maintain a healthy weight despite my love of cheeseburgers, fries, and hot fudge sundaes.” - Amanda, Modeling & Analytics

Challenge: Working out with long work hours & a family
“My challenges are eating healthy and finding time to exercise with work, my wife and kids in the balance. I bring my lunch in almost every day to force myself to each healthy. To fit in workouts, I would get up at 5:30am everyday and work out before work, or I ran at lunchtime at work. What keeps me motivated is signing up for races. When I know I have to compete soon I am much less likely to skip or cut short a workout.” - Mark, Business Planning & Analytics

Challenge: Being active but still giving attention to the family (and many pets)
“My challenge is that I have a wife, 2 kids, a dog, a cat, 2 fish and a pet frog all demanding attention when I get home from work. Not to mention a 24-hour business that also needs care and feeding. I really struggled with fitting in exercise after the kids came. Before kids it was no problem to disappear for a 40-mile bike ride on a weeknight, but after the kids I was lucky to fit in 10 miles. So instead I turned to running because you can get a great workout in 30-45 minutes without all the gear you need for cycling! The best motivators are the bright blue eyes looking up at me from my 5 year-old and the big smile on my 3 year-old.” - Tim, E-commerce & Interactive

And now for the moment of truth…

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 155 pounds
This week: 154.5 pounds
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Have a safe & fun 4th of July,
Amanda
@jockey_amanda