Friday, April 16, 2010

Buddies, veggies and fruits. Oh my! Part 1

It can be difficult to begin on the road to an active lifestyle. It's similar to inertia- objects at rest tend to stay at rest. But there's the other side of that equation to bear in mind- objects in motion tend to stay in motion. There will never be a step harder to take than the first one that starts the ball rolling. Just taking that first step means you've made a decision to take care of yourself and the next step is easier, and the next and the next. Before long you find that instead of looking for ways to avoid activity you start looking forward to opportunities to sneak it into your day to day life. You might decide to walk to work or take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk to the bus stop to go to the mall instead of driving, or going for a hike on a gorgeous day, or throwing a ball around with your kids, or, or, or... You start to notice how good it feels to move, how alive you feel after you've gotten your heart pumping for a little bit. You notice that you seem to have more energy in your day to day life. Long story short, living an active lifestyle makes you feel good. It makes you feel better physically AND it makes you feel better about yourself because you're doing something positive and taking care of your body. It doesn't get much better than that.

Even knowing all this, even experiencing it first hand I still have my days that I just don't want to do it. I know I'll feel better after, I KNOW it, but there's just that initial push to get me started that I just struggle with from time to time. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how to motivate myself. It was just so easy to roll over and go back to sleep, or get on the computer and play instead of getting up, grabbing my shoes and getting out the door. I just had no qualms about letting myself down.

One night while I was talking to a friend online who was feeling very discouraged about her health it occurred to me what the solution was. While letting myself down doesn't seem to bother me much, letting someone else down... Well, that's another story altogether. If I say I'm going to do something I intend to do it and if for some reason I can't follow through I feel AWFUL! And that's where my solution was. I needed someone that was counting on me to motivate and encourage THEM. So I said "I'll walk with you if you want me to" or something to that effect and she seemed to think that was a good idea too. Long story short we've started walking together in the mornings, it's so nice!

I LOVE having a walking buddy to encourage and to be encouraged by. It's been a good experience for me and I'd recommend it to anyone. Walking is not a chore on a nice day when you have a friend to talk to along the way and in fact it becomes a social event to be looked forward to.

I think everyone should have a fitness buddy- someone to encourage and be encouraged by, someone to help keep you motivated when part of you wants to just sleep a little bit longer. It can be anyone, anyone that you don't want to let down. A friend, family member, co-worker. It does help a lot if you actually enjoy their company too :D

Once you've got your buddy you need to get together and do whatever it is you've decided to do: SCHEDULE IT!! Set specific times and dates to get together. "sometime this morning" has a tendency to fall by the wayside, trust me. "8 am walk with Jane" is more concrete and more likely to be followed through on. Make it as official as you need to so that you stick with it. It could be as simple as "see you tomorrow at 8" or as formal as writing it in on your day planner or calendar. Whatever you decide, DO it!

Once you've got your buddy and you know when you're getting together it's time to set goals. Start slow and be realistic. If you're really out of shape it might be as simple as one lap around the block, 5 minutes of hula hooping, 5 reps with 3 pound weights, 1/2 a mile on a bike, whatever. You're not gonna start off running a marathon and you'll probably hurt yourself if you try. In the beginning you are just trying to establish the habit and mindset of being active and start building up to more serious work outs later. There's no rush, any exercise is better than none and will get you closer to a healthier you!

Breakfast- 3 cranberry apple walnut breakfast cookies, creole coffee
Lunch- spicy tomatoes, corn and okra with shrimp (recipe below, it was yum!) and a string cheese stick
Snacks- a pretzel rod and a tsp of almond butter, a small handful of walnuts and dried cranberries, a pear
Also drank 2 cups of coffee at work and had 2 beers this evening when I got home

I'm somewhat pleased with today's food choices. I don't think that it's good that I missed dinner, I just wasn't hungry for it so I didn't think of it till later when I DID get hungry and ate a pear.

ELog- hooped with a friend this morning and then worked on my feet all day. Actually worked up a sweat this evening- we were hopping like crazy for a while there!

Spicy Tomatoes, corn and okra with shrimp
Makes 2 lunches

1 can diced no salt added tomatoes
handful of frozen corn
handful of frozen okra
Spices (use what you like)
drizzle of olive oil
8 large frozen cooked shrimp

Simmer the veggies together until the okra is tender
season to taste however you would like (I used crushed red pepper, granulated dried garlic, minced dried onion and a few dashes of green Tabasco sauce)
add thawed peeled shrimp and simmer until they are heated through
drizzle with olive oil

Some notes: This was a total spur of the moment thrown together right before work type of deal so I didn't exactly measure much of anything. This made enough for me to have 2 small lunch portions that I could have with some crackers or a cheese stick or another little side item to round it out. It was quite satisfying.

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