Monday, September 30, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Okay, I'm pretty much recovered from dengue. Information online says I'll be weak for another week or two, which I can attest to, but I'm so much better. I've been out of the fever/body pain stage for about a week now.

So today I started Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I'm doing it with a friend.

It is hard. I liked it though.

Doing level one, at this point I didn't do everything I'd liked. I'm using liter water bottles as my weights (so 1 kilogram each) and I had to set them down and just lift my arms up for one of the squat thrust circuits. I also pretty much collapsed during the second push-up thing, my arms hurt, but I did some of them, but probably only half I was supposed to for that thirty seconds. And for one of the "jump ropes" (you mime having a jump rope, you don't really have one) I ended up walking in place instead because I felt like if I jumped I'd fall over. Haha. Otherwise I did it, doing the beginner modifications, though I did have to catch my breath three times (she says you can stop to catch your breath, but for no more than five seconds.. I made sure I got back to it before five seconds was up.)

I had the challenge of my wild kittens thinking me doing this was FANTASTIC! They thought it was a fun game. I don't have a mat, and my floor is marble, so I had laid down three couch cushions to do the floor stuff on... every time I returned to it (you get up and down a lot) one of the kittens (**coughPrincesscough**) had broken up them so they were scattered and I had to put them back together. Apparently couch cushions on the floor is FUN! Also, she kept running up my leg, leaping up and "tagging" me (with her claws retracted, so it didn't hurt) and then dashing away. She was obviously thinking my exercise was me zooming around in play and wanted to join in the fun. It was cute, but a little distracting.

I was panting and covered in sweat by the end. I hadn't eaten right before (I'd eaten two hours earlier,  but only a cup of cornflakes with a cup of milk, so not like a huge meal where it'd still be in my stomach) and that was probably a mistake. I also didn't eat right afterwards, since I was overheated... nor did I prepare my food. I was planning on having a bean burger with a baked potato, and I hadn't made them (I had the raw patty ready to cook, but I hadn't cooked it yet.) So when like fifteen minutes after the program I got shakey, it was another ten or fifteen minutes before I was able to eat, and by then I was extremely weak and wobbly.

Most likely that's compounded from the dengue, but for other people thinking of attempting the Shred I'd say either eat something small right before hand (I've read and found from my days doing the C25K that a banana is a perfect pre-workout snack) or have your food prepared and ready to go before you start the workout so if you need to eat fast for recovery afterwards, the second your body tells you that you can eat, you can eat. (Like most people I can't eat right after a workout, but as soon as my body had cooled down enough it was like I need fuel!)

Five ten minutes after eating though, the wobbliness went away and I felt great. I still feel good... though a bit wiped out.

I'm doing the 30 Day Shred now because my friend Lydia is coming in November (yay!) and I want to look great since she hasn't seen me in almost a year, since I moved to India. I moved here at the end of last November, and she'll be here mid-November, so really, it's like a year... and I've already lost 40 pounds! I'm hoping with the shred and watching my calories to lose another ten before she gets here, so I can be an impressive 50 pounds lighter... and toned! I figured starting the shred on October 1st not only gives me all of October, but gives me the first two weeks of November if I get sidetracked (like if I get a cold or something) or also so if after I finish the shred I look at my body and say "everything looks great but *this* area" I can have a couple weeks to tweak... I'm excited to get to reveal the changes in my body to the very first person to see me who knew me in the US when I left!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dengue Fever

So I'm getting over dengue fever. I've had it for a little over a week now and pretty much through the first phase (the actual fever) and am just in the weakness.

I've lost some weight being sick. I've now lost 40 pounds... not during the dengue, total since I started losing weight. I've lost about 5 pounds since I got dengue. That's not the best way to lose weight, I know, but I figure at least it's jump starting me again to think about weight loss.

A friend of mine is coming to India to visit (yay!) in November, so I want to set her visit as a goal to get down smaller. I'm already smaller than she's ever seen me, actually. I'm smaller now than I was when I started college, which is when we met. But I'd like to get smaller still before she comes so that it's dramatic. :)

So I've readjusted my goals on "myfitnesspal" so that I will lose more rapidly... while still being within their guidelines. I haven't been logging lately though, so hopefully I can get back in the habit. I had myself down as trying to lose 1.5 pounds a week in a lightly active lifestyle but now I'm putting down that I'm trying to lose 2 pounds a week in a sedentary lifestyle... which is true. I've been sedentary lately, being a lot less active than I was when I was losing more. Consequently my available calories has shrunk by like 500 a day. Ah well. 2 pounds a week is still a healthy goal and I'm being honest when I say that right now I'm sedentary-- especially coming off the dengue!

The dengue will make me weak for the next few weeks, so I'm not going to be able to exercise up a storm anyway, though I do want to focus a little on my abs. My gut is getting flabby.

Well that's my weight loss and health update for now. Hope all of you are well!

(Oh, and when my friend comes I plan on taking some "after" shots and updating the banner... I want to not do it until then, so she won't see a picture of me online and not get the full dramatic 'wow Pam is way thinner' thing I hope she gets, but once she's come I'll do that and you guys can see!)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Imagine You Had a Sleeping Disorder

Imagine you're scared to go to sleep.

Not because you're afraid of anything in particular, no nightmares, but because you're never sure when you'll wake up.

Imagine every time you drift off you know there's a chance that you might not wake up in time to go to work, school, or that meeting or appointment that you have....

Imagine every time you make a commitment, there is a thrill of dread deep in your heart that says, "I hope I don't let them down. I hope I don't sleep through it"... even if the commitment is for something in the afternoon or evening.

Imagine you pray and pep talk yourself about not missing that thing or another at 9 am the next morning... only to wake up at 10 or 11 or 12 or 1 or later... Imagine curling up in the fetal position and sobbing your heart out and wondering why, why, why?

Imagine seeing the look, over and over again, on the faces of people you care about. The look that says:

She's such a flake.
She just doesn't care.
She's lying.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Reply to Peggy

I recently received a comment on my blog that goes like this:

Hi there!

This is the first time I've read your blog, along with your story and how you met your husband. I understand completely how you feel. I'm quite heavy myself, and, I am ashamed of myself. I know I should exercise and watch my weight, but now I'm so heavy I can't even exercise. I almost can't walk because my feet hurt because of all the weight put on them. So what do I do? I stay inside almost all day, except for going out in the backyard to feed the birds. I know I need to lose at least 100 pounds, but how, when I can hardly walk? I want to hide and cry. Do you ever feel like that?

Peace in Christ,


I began to reply under her comment, but then realized it was getting too long to just be a comment. Also, I realized this was something I should have written about before this. This is a super important topic to address and hold up for us all.

Hello Peggy (and everyone else), I'm so glad you've found my corner of the web!

No, I can't say I know exactly how you feel, though I do know how the world attaches shame to weight loss. For me, I gained the initial weight  due to my PCOS alone, and I knew that it wasn't from lack of eating well/excercise, since I gained 50 pounds in 3 months without a change to either. Actually, most of my life, no amount of effort made a dent on the scale. It wasn't until moving to India that something about the food here changed my hormones enough that the weight can come off...

That being said, as I said, I do know how the world tries to shame us. Don't listen, Peggy. One time I was reading a book, aimed towards women but not about our bodies specifically, and they had a chapter on this kind of stuff. And I went into it thinking I knew what I'd be reading... but during it I found myself having a conversation with God. Because see, I knew my PCOS caused the weight gain... but deep down I was afraid I'd caused my PCOS. I thought it was the result of sin on my part, maybe. And I talked to God about that...

And suddenly I realized that maybe God had a reason for my size. It was a huge revelation. Maybe God had a plan for my PCOS. Maybe it was part of His Will for my life all along.

I'm not saying God was saying I would always have to suffer with PCOS or weight... and indeed, I'm finally losing it. But maybe God has a purpose, Peggy, for you to be where you are today. Yes, you could surely eat healthier and exercise more, and I'm not saying you shouldn't. But tell me where "thinner is godlier" is in the Bible? That verse about the Body being God's temple has nothing to do with exercise. It's strictly talking about sexual immorality, if read in context, and is constantly misused. Peggy, you are beautiful in God's eyes and He has a plan for your life-- which may or may not include weight loss. I mean, you might be overeating and idle, but if you've made an idol out of food or are sinning in sloth, those are issues you can address with God. But don't you know that has very little to do with your worth? Don't you realize there are lazy, overeating skinny people who are just blessed with good genes? I've met them. It's crazy. But it's also part of God's plan for their life.

"Thinner is better" is a value of the world. God has called us to be in the world but not of the world. When Christians embrace thinner is better... and I've been guilty of it... we're sinning. Yes, sinning. Because "pure religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself undefiled by the world." When we define worth by waistline or weight loss, we are becoming defiled by the world.

Obviously, I have a health and fitness blog. I'm not saying embracing weight loss or calorie counting or weight lifting or whatever is a sin by itself. But Peggy, Jesus is ten thousand times more important than any of that, and indeed even more. And to Jesus, you are important.

I say that again. You are important.

So I encourage you to get active. Make diet changes. All this is good.

But first make sure you're getting a good diet of time with God. Make sure you're exercising your spirit in your prayer life. These things matter.

I told you that the Bible verse is misused that says our Bodies are a temple of God when Christians say that means we sin by being fat. But our bodies, fat or thin, short or tall, healthy or withering away are stones in the temple of God because the Holy Spirit dwells within. Respect Him by respecting your body, but realize your worth comes not from how you look, but from Who lies within you. This is what the "earthen vessels" verse is about.

And what does the Bible really say about our bodies, our actual bodies we're sitting in now?

It says they are merely tents, and God is preparing mansions for us. Tents are easily buffeted and torn and leak. Poles can collapse, they can be uncomfortable and miserable.

Sound familiar?

But Jesus is preparing a mansion for you. Now, indeed, I think that it is loving to take care of your tent, and not despise it, since God gave it to you. I mean, I'd rather have a tent than be homeless, wouldn't you? Tents are good.

But do you think Stephen and Peter and Paul and all the other martyrs were not loving Jesus when they allowed someone to stone or beat or hang or burn or crucify their tents?

Of course not! They were showing great, enormous love and faith by saying we are more than these tents and we believe that Jesus will rescue us and set us into our eternal dwellings.

So this idolatry that taking extreme care to always tend your tent means worshipping the Holy Spirit is unBiblical and ridiculous. Don't fall for it. After all Jesus said it's better to tear out your eye and enter the kingdom than to go to hell, right? Don't you think He would rather have you fat and in the kingdom than thin and committing idolatry at the altar of the gods of fitness?

Peggy, your body is precious and fearfully made. And I'm sorry it hurts to walk. I have plantar fasciitis and can imagine. And I do understand how "unmotivated" feels. And I have felt shame before, though not to the extent you're expressing. But remember, you can start. And hey, you said you need to lose at least 100 pounds... 128 is the goal I've set for myself, though I have less than 100 to go now. So I do get the enormity of losing that much.

But just focus on healthy right now, dear. Just more activity, cutting out some of the easier to trim less healthy food to start with. Yet focus more on your spiritual health. We all have to do that. I lose touch a lot actually. I'll be exercising like a madwoman but barely touching my Bible... and then I have to return to Jesus and confess that my priorities got screwed up. Balance is my weakness, in all areas of my life.

Even if I was 500 pounds, if I was worshipping Jesus and following His plan for me, I would be beautiful and righteous.

But even if I was 115 pounds and a super model, if I put worldly ambition above Him, I'd be like that proverb: Beauty in a woman without wisdom is like a gold ring in a pig's snout.

I'm not saying you're idolizing anything, Peggy, though examine your heart of course. But I do see that you're letting the opinion of those who are idolizing the perfect figure to determine whether or not you're going out.

Seek the Lord, Peggy. Let Him be your shield. And if He says go out, go out. If people say cruel things, but you're walking in obedience to God, let them not be barbs of shame, but your crown of thorns. Let them be beautiful for God, as proof you're crucifying yourself and suffering alongside Christ.

Maybe your weight is the result of sloth and gluttony and it will bring Him glory for you to repent of it and lose the weight. Or maybe your weight is the "thorn in your flesh" that God will never remove but teach you that His grace is sufficient. Or maybe your weight is even the cross you're carrying, beautiful to God as your crucify your Self which desires something very different. Maybe God's using your life as a tool to part the righteous from the unrighteous by seeing who treats you differently based only on the outward appearance, and not seeking Him to look within. Maybe your weight has never, ever been about you, but about God and the people He's bringing you in contact with...

I don't know. But He does, and He does have a plan.

And I know this. He loves you, Peggy. He loves you.

I love you too. I hope this was encouraging to you, or maybe someone else out there.

Thank you so much for commenting.

Friday, August 16, 2013

August Update

You may have noticed I haven't posted in a while. It's not that I've forgotten you.

It is shame though.

That is, I have not been putting as much effort into my health and fitness as I should. That is not to say I have been totally ignoring the subject. I have worked out here and there this month.. but not for long times and, even though August is halfway over I haven't done a single workout video even though that is the theme for this month on 12 Months Together.

Yes, the shame.

That being said, I also realized that not writing on here is another reason why I am probably letting myself slide. It's one of those vicious circle things. I was holding myself accountable by posting... then I slacked off... so I didn't post because I felt ashamed... then I wasn't holding myself as accountable.

That being said, that's not the reason I really started slacking off. I starting slacking off because I got intense hives that sapped the strength out of me for two weeks straight... then I started feeling better, but was off of my exercise schedule...

Now the hives are back, but as I blogged on my main blog, I've identified the allergen and hopefully can avoid it completely in the future. I'm also getting a root canal! Fun, right?

Still, I am still totally committed to weight loss and I plan on losing more than 20 pounds in the next three months. Why? Because that's when my friend is coming to India to visit me! And I have a goal weight in mind for when I see her!

Friday, July 12, 2013

12 Months Together Update

Hey all! So we've been doing the 12 Months Together for ten days now and it seemed like time for
the first update. I'd like to make these roughly weekly.

As far as the group goes, there are ten of us, and we're all ladies. 7 out of 10 of us have PCOS (I did put a recruiting post on a PCOS facebook group, but also some of the ladies who were attracted to the challenge before I did that had PCOS. Probably because women with PCOS are motivated to make changes due to the health issues we face daily.) But it's not really a PCOS group, it's just about health and fitness.

We picked our pinterest challenges. Well, two members are facing health issues so aren't focusing on exercise right now, but it's a health and fitness challenge, so we're just hoping their health improves no matter how it's tackled and they'll be joining us in the fitness challenges super soon.

The other challenges range. Most people picked a very specific challenge, focusing on one exercise (increasing daily) or one or more body regions they want to improve.  The challenges range from squats, jumping jacks, core toning, one "abs, booty, and thigh" challenge, and walking. Most people are on, or exceeding, their target and we've already had some people report small weight losses.

I asked the group if any of them wanted to share their journey with you, and Alison did. Her challenge for the month is a jumping jack challenge to build her heart up. She has a mild heart condition, and it is painful for her to do cardio vascular exercise. However, her doctor has encouraged her to slowly build her heart's strength by pushing her limit. So on day one she did jumping jacks until she felt it would be too much to continue (she got to 35) and is adding a few more each time she does it. She's aiming for four days a week, but is finding that difficult to keep up because she was recently given more hours at work.

In addition she's been counting calories and watching what she eats!

As for me, I shared my challenge with you. Unfortunately I got sick and sort of got behind. I got a sinus infection. I'm better now (well my nose is still a little stuffy but I'm not feverish or fatigued or dying from a major headache or crying for no apparent reason, so I'm good!)

Blessedly, I built in rest days to my month, so I just put black Xes over them, and suddenly I'm not behind! Isn't that great?

However, I realize I may need rest days later, so I'm giving myself the ability to "earn" them back by doing more than today's exercises and rolling the reps over. So that if say, each day I do 25 extra jumping jacks, then after 4 days if I have 100 jumping jacks to do that day, I can just rest (only I have 8 different exercises daily, so I'd have to simultaneously do it for all.)

I'm all caught up for today, I've been exercising the past three days after being sick, and I can already feel myself gaining muscle.

I didn't calorie log while I was sick.. and honestly, I'm not sure why. That's just lazyness, because at this point I haven't set limits (I'm trying to stay under what myfitnesspal has set, but if I don't, no penalty.) But so I'm doing that again now.

I also weighed myself Wednesday. I've lost 6 pounds!

That's a six pound loss in two weeks, actually, not ten days, since I weighed myself I think four days before we started. And I just got over being sick, so maybe I'll gain a few back, but hopefully not.

One change for me from when I was dieting and exercising regularly two months ago is now I'm on metformin, which is a generally effective drug for women with PCOS which, among other things, usually assists in weight loss. So maybe that's given my efforts a boost. I do think it's probably why I didn't gain anything during my six week set back.

Also, my body is probably like "oh, good, we're being active again" and maybe responding enthusiastically. I mean, if you've ever watched those weight loss competition shows, the first week is usually the most dramatic. So I'm happy, but realistic.

When I got over my lung infection like a month and a half ago, I weighed what I weigh right now.. but I gained it back in 5 days because obviously it was an artifical "I'm siiiiccckkk" weight loss, not a healthy loss. And since I was just sick, maybe this is too... but I was soooo much sicker when I had the lung infection, plus I was coughing literally every two minutes or more frequently, so I'm sure I burned tons of calories from the constant stress on my body. Where as this sinus infection was really just a bad cold. So if any of this weight loss is artificial, I don't think all of it is!

Anyway, I'm happy to be updating you and look forward to doing it again next week.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

LAST CALL! Join Us for a Year!

All right guys, it's July 1st in India, so this is the last call! I will accept people to join up until
midnight here in India (cause that's what I've picked) so you have roughly twenty hours. That means it'll be July 1st in America and I'll still be accepting people, so hurry up and join if you're thinking about it!

If you don't know what I'm talking about I'm hosting a year long health and fitness challenge on the blog. It's really not as daunting as that sounds, as we're very flexible and want to work with you to keep it doable in your life, instead of you trying to make your life fit around fitness.

If you want to know more, here is the details. And here are some FAQs.

If you want to join, please leave a  comment below with your email address or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com with "I'm In!" as the subject line. And then go read about July's challenge here, and pick something to start today!

Hope you join us, and getting excited about starting soon!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

12MT: Pinterest Workout Challenge

All right for those of you who are brave enough to sign up for our year long health and fitness
challenge, 12 Months Together, month one is Pinterest Workout Challenge.

What do I mean by this?

Well, if you have Pinterest you probably have noticed lots of people pin workouts on there. So the idea is you go and you search out a workout that works for you, and that becomes your goal for the month.

So if you're really busy you may search "5 Minute Workout" or even "2 minute Workout". If you're really wanting to focus on a certain body part you might do "Ab Workouts" or "Thigh Workouts", etc. If you're wanting to focus on total body fitness you might search "Total Body Fitness." Do you want to make sure you can do it without having a gym membership or fancy equipment? "No Gym Workouts." Do you have a piece of fancy equipment or gym membership and you want to get the most of it? Search for that.

You get the idea.

They also have month long or week long challenges.

Now, the question comes up of how much and how often.

This depends on your fitness level... which I hope you'll candidly share with the group on our closed (no one outside the group can see) facebook group. If you're total beginner or totally, totally slammed with no workout time, please, please start slow. Just do more than you're doing now. If you're not working out at all, it's okay to say you're going to complete the workout only once or twice a week. Seriously. You have to start somewhere.

Also, this is not exclusive exercise. Nothing is limiting you to this, but we are asking you to commit to doing whatever you choose. (If you really decide to change your mind later, we'll consider letting you change it. We're totally flexible. But we want to make sure you're not wimping out, just realizing you're not too into it.)

So if you think "I can probably do this five times a week, but there's a big chance I won't", why don't you just sign up for 3, since this is the first challenge? If you do five, yay!! And we will encourage you to push yourself as the year progresses. But I want us all to be very realistic this first month, so that we don't feel like failures only a month in.

And yes, you can add other goals to the challenge, especially food goals. Like I said in the FAQ post, those are tacked on goals.

For example, I'm planning on doing the Pinterest Challenge (the one you see here), get back into logging my calories daily on myfitnesspal (Making sure I log completely at least 20 days this month), and by the end of the month be back on the 5:2 diet, which was working for me.

You can add tag ons too. But just remember, whatever you commit to, you're responsible for, and please don't overload yourself. This is month one.. if it ends up being too easy, then just do some extra this month and pick a harder goal next month.

Okay? Ready? Excited?

I am.

[And yes, we are totally accepting new people, before July 1st. If you want to join, leave your email address in the comments or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com with the subject line "I'm In!" If you're reading this after July 1st, there's a chance you can still join. Go read the FAQ post for more information.]

12 Months Together FAQ

All right if you missed it, starting July 1st we're launching a year long challenge. And we want you!

FAQ is a misnomer, since no one has really asked any questions yet, but these are questions I think maybe people are thinking or at least need to know the answer to... got a question I haven't answered here, or in my introduction to the challenge post? Ask it in the comments before July 1st and I will!

Q: How will the team encourage each other during the year?
A: In many ways. I'm not sure which way will take off, but I'm guessing it will be the closed facebook group, where we can talk to and encourage each other every day. I also plan on maintaining an email list and emailing encouragement, and also if someone seems to 'drop out' lovingly coming after them to make sure they realize that if you sign up for  year, you've signed up for the whole year. No drop outs, this is an all success story challenge! I'm also thinking we may use other social media networks, depending on the group preferences. We also will post on here, and if anyone who joins us has a blog, I will totally link to any posts they do on the challenge (if they let me know.) I also think that any of us who are using an app, like myfitnesspal or the like, can have that be known and if another member is choosing to use it, we can be friends on the app and encourage each other there. I'm also open to other ideas.

Q: What is the goal? Weight loss? Just an increase in activity level? Better nutrition?
A: Honestly, this depends on the person. I will want us to discuss what we want to get out of the year, and then also what we want to get out of each month. Different people will have different goals and different needs. I know several of us are interested in weight loss, and I hope we do it, but this isn't about weight loss as much as it is about increasing overall health. So if you're overweight, that is part of that, but if you don't lose a single pound but you improve your cardio vascular health and are feeling better becuase of proper nutrition, you're still a success. That said, I personally hope to lose quite a bit, as I still have about 90 pounds to go before I would have a "normal" BMI.

Q: So is this just everyone sets independent goals and then you try to encourage each other to reach them? Or do you do things as a group?
A: Both.
I'd like us to have some months that we take on a group challenge, but with each others abilities, goals, and differences in mind. For example, if we decided to do a running challenge we'd start the distances based on how much you can currently run at the end of the month before. Yes, that might mean you have to run a little to find out where you are. And if someone can't run, maybe because they have knee issues or it's too hot where they live or something, we may do a parallel walking challenge for them, challenging them to increase their walking increments at the same time we do running. Or if we did a workout video challenge, some people might be so ambitious as to say they'll do it every day (though we'll always schedule in a couple "rest days" both for muscle growth, but also so if you unavoidably skip a day in week one, you're not doomed to not complete a month), some three times a week, and some very busy people (like a SAHM or a 80+ hour a week job holder) might just make it a goal to complete the whole video through at least once a week (so they can stop and pause it.) Additionally, maybe half the group wants to do an aerobic video, and the other half wants to do yoga, so we may have two videos going.

Other months, like in July, we'll have themes. Where we pick a theme, but then individuals will pick their goals. This upcoming month the theme is "Pinterest Workout Challenges" (you don't have pinterest? We'll help you out, no big deal). Pinterest is full of workouts people have pinned. So find one you want to do, and that becomes your goal. So if one person picks something that amounts to 45 minutes of working out a day, and another person ends up doing someting that amounts to 30 minutes a week... that's okay. But the key is doing something realistic to begin with (based on your ability and schedule) and once you've committed, sticking with it unless something changes in your life, such as an injury, illness, or big life change (move, family issue, etc.) Then we're still not letting you drop out, but you can change your challenge to something more realistic.

And I'm planning on having two "personal goal" months, where we can all explore separate interests and encourage each other in them. That way if you're really, really wanting to do something every body else is like "eh" to, you can and still have a community backing you up!

Q: What happens if I want to quit after joining the challenge?
A: You can't. Haha. We won't let you.

Seriously, everyone wants to get healthier, so there's no reason to quit. We are totally willing to work with whatever life throws your way to help you find a healthy way to pursue reasonable goals in your life. So unlike other fitness challenges, where there will be drop outs, this is a success only team. However many of us begin, that many will finish. We will lovingly come after you. Don't give up on us, we won't give up on you!

Q: Is this exercise only? Or will you be doing diet challenges as well?
A: No and no.

That is, we are open to diet and nutrition challenges for members, but we will not as a group do a month where there is a diet challenge. Why? The number one reason is so that if any person in our group has or had struggled with an eating disorder, we try to avoid triggers.

That being said, I already know that diet will be a part of many peoples challenges, including myself. I want to get back on track with calorie counting, which helped me lose weight recently. I also know one of the people who has already signed up is dealing with a knee injury and can't do a lot of exercises and we've discussed her setting diet goals as an alternative to fitness goals she can't do at this time (though there also are knee friendly exercises she can do.) I also think everyone, as long as they feel comfortable, should incorporate healthy diet changes in, unless they feel they're already eating as healthily as they can. That is, perhaps one month they commit to beginning to eliminate sugary beverages, or switching from processed to whole grain products, working up to actually drinking the recommended amount of water or committing to replace one pre-prepared meal a week with a homemade one. That kind of goal generally can be done by all, even those in recovery from an eating disorder. But while that will be encouraged by our monthly goals, and may even be tacked in (ex. In October we're doing ab exercises and making one positive diet change) fitness will always be the primary goal.

Q: This seems overwhelming, and I'm scared if I join I'll fail. Should I run far away?
A: No. Please, if you're tempted to do this, just do it. We will meet you where you're at. Not able to walk up one flight of stairs without gasping for air? Welcome. Running a marathon next Thursday? Welcome. Need to lose over a hundred pounds? Welcome. Underweight and wanting to get to a healthy goal? Welcome.

Seriously, people, this is about improving health, so no matter how healthy or not healthy you are, we all can improve and you know it. (If you really don't think you can improve, then maybe this isn't for you... though you could always join with maintenance and variety to keep you from boredom in mind.)

Q: I'm a guy, can I join?
A: Sure. At this point we don't have any guys, and my gut says we won't get any, but I thought I'd throw out there that everyone is welcome.

Q: I'm reading this past July 1st. Can I still join?
A: Probably, but not until the 1st of the next month. (You can leave a comment with your email address or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com right now though.) I'm thinking I'll have enrollment open each month, if anyone is interested, but I don't know if anyone will join. I have come late to the game with other people's challenges before and been like "Man, if only I'd seen this two weeks ago" and I want to be sensitive to that. However, if you join on August 1st, you're doing it it until July 31st, 2014. No matter when you join, you're doing a full year, not just joining us until June 30th, 2014.

It will also not be a separate thing. That is, if you join in August, you'll be doing the same challenge as everyone who joined in July. It's just when we end in June, you'll keep going.

Will I continue to host it past June 30th? I make no promises. It may be too overwhelming to organize it past a year... or I could addicted and decide to do two years. But I won't close out the facebook group, so whoever is left can do it on their own, together, even if I say a year is enough for me. (If there is only one person, I'll probably stick around with them, so they're not alone. :) )

Q: What if I do "drop out" for a month? That is, what if I don't even do a day of the challenge for a whole month? Am I failure?
A: No! But, you won't be a "total success" on June 30th, 2014... but you can "make up" that month. That is, if say in December you "drop out"... now you have to keep going until July 31st, 2014 in order to be a "total success." And if people join part way through, you just join their "graduating class." But that's all.

That being said, come on, partial credit counts!! If you do at least some at the beginning of the month, you eliminate the possibility of failing the month. So just don't do that, okay?

**If you have any more questions I didn't think of, please ask them and I'll answer them below. If you want to join, please leave your email address in the contacts below or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com with the subject line "I'm in!" to join!**

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Join Me for a Year??

Okay, so today I'm introducing a fun concept. I want you to commit to doing a yearlong fitness
(and maybe diet) challenge with me.

It's not as scary as it may sound.

Each month, before the month begins, we'll set goals. Some months we may set a group goal (like all do the same workout) and many months we'll set personal goals, generally around a theme (like I'm thinking to start out: Pinterest workout challenges!)

During the month, we encourage each other. At the end of every month, we check in to say if we completed the goal, partially did the goal more than 50%, partially did the goal less than 50%, or dropped out that month.

Then the slate is wiped clean going into the next month. So don't let a not completed month discourage you! (We will keep track, but it doesn't affect the next month in anyway.)

At the end of the year if you've at least partially attempted every month, you're a total success! (And even if you dropped out here or there, we still love you! Ha!)

The idea is to give yearlong motivation. I don't want to do a different goal each month, separate from the rest of the months. Then a busy  month might come, people drop out, and never get back on track. The idea is to commit for YEAR because even if you fall down on it, if you've really tried all year, you're likely to have upped the amount of motivation you have going past that year to live healthily.

That being said, I may allow new people to join each month, with the understanding that they are joining for a year themselves, and they only "succeed" when they complete a year.

ALSO and this is very important: We will work around life changes. Like if you break your leg or get pregnant, get very sick etc. goals are totally allowed to be adjusted around that. You can concentrate on arm exercises, focus on pregnancy safe workouts, focus on getting Vitamin C and plenty of fluids, whatever is necessary. The point of this is to incorporate healthier living into your life, with will always include set backs or course changes. I think most  if not all of us are guilty of having healthy living set backs happen when our lives change, and I'd like this to help us re-adjust our goals, not abandon them, so we stay on track.

But that means, no matter what, you don't have an excuse for dropping out all together. Uh-uh, it's not happening. If 3 people sign up, 3 people will finish. If 40 people sign up, 40 people will finish. And by signing up you give me the right to harass you (in a friendly, encouraging manner) if you go AWAL. Haha.

So you're not sure you can do a year?

You can.

Seriously. You're totally in control of your goals, and partial credit counts. So if you know that ten minutes twice a week is all you can do, then do it. We're game for that. And if you feel like you can't join in on a group challenge, no problem. Just let us know and you'll get your own challenge.

And this is totally not my game. I mean I'll be organizing the communication (I have tons of ideas how we can encourage each others) but you guys are totally part of the process. You see a workout you want to do? Suggest it. You have an idea on how to motivate us? Suggest it. And if you just want to come in and have a goal set for you and then you do it? We're game for that too. We just want you to get healthier, over the course of a year, with us.

That said, this is supposed to be a challenge. So you have to be trying to do more than you are now. Like if you're already running three miles a day, you can't set "run three miles a day" as a goal. But you could do "work up to running 3.5 miles a day by the end of the month" or "maintain 3 miles a day running plus eliminate sugary beverages." Got it?

Tomorrow I'll outline ideas on how we can encourage and communicate with each other. If you're already in, tell me in the comments below your email address or email me at singingpilgrimdancing at gmail dot com with the subject line "I'm IN." Feel free to ask any questions you need answering before committing as well, and I will answer them. We start July 1st.

Are you in?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Health Update

Okay, so I didn't do another update because I was sick! Again.

This time it was an infection in the lungs caused by allergies. I had a high fever pretty much non stop for five days and was coughing endlessly... well not endlessly because my cough is more manageable now but at the worse I remember there being four continuous minutes where I hadn't coughed and me being like "Wow. This feels amazing." (Probably needless to say I didn't diet or exercise while so out of it. I could barely make it to the bathroom!)

I took meds and am still on the allergy ones. It's probably something blooming and I hope it will stop soon.

All this happened simultaneously with my period, of course. TMI Warning. I filled up ten heavy flow tampons in 13 hours at the height of it. And that's not including the leak through.

Continuing the tmi for the moment I had my pap smear and it was painful and I 'bled to the touch' because of severe cervical erosion... but it came back negative for malignancy, so that's good.

Okay, as for the thyroid issues I took a test for my t4 levels, tsh, and thyroid antibodies. My t4 is normal. My tsh has come down, but not enough. And I have high thyroid antibody levels. Likely, from what I understand this probably means I'll need a higher dose of synthetic thyroid. I see the endocrinologist later in the week.

I've never seen an endocrinologist before so that will be good. PCOS is an endocrin disorder and so are thyroid issues so it should be good. I just hope he prescribes medicines and not more tests. I am sick of tests.

And lastly for the happy news... I have lost a significant amount of weight. Significant.

But I'll share more when I do the diet update!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fitness Update

I keep trying to update this blog and then get overwhelmed with the stuff I am planning on saying.

So I'm breaking it into segments.

Since it's Be Fit Friday, I'll post about what I've been doing and intend to do for fitness.

Guess what? I've given up on the C25K right now. Why?

The heat. Plain and simple. Plus the coming monsoons.

There is a narrow window in the morning when the sun is up yet it's still cool enough to run, and I kept missing it. Because seriously, it's 102 or higher degrees every day, and the temps are still climbing. And we still don't have AC yet (yes, seriously) so it's not like I can come home and cool down fast. Yet if I missed the window, I was feeling guilty all day. Even if I did other exercising.

I decided that was ridiculous.

That being said, I kind of miss running. So I may do it some mornings.

But it will only get hotter and hotter, and then the monsoons will come nad it'll be too wet and muddy... so I'm thinking I'll restart the C25K again in the fall. So I've not really abandoned it. I've just put a pin in it.

But I have been doing other exercising.

I've done informal exercising on my own, but I still felt like I wasn't doing enough. The truth is, I want to lose weight and I want to be fit. So I was looking into different programs.

And I decided I want to challenge myself to the 30 Day Shred.

But it looks intense and I don't want to do it alone.

So I talked to my friend Tabby and she's in... starting June 1st.

I thought it could be fun if I could find other people who also want in. So I'll post about this regularly and try to recruit. Just google it to find out about it, it's a very intense workout video system from Jillian Michaels. Kind of scary. But I haven't read a single review from anyone who actually did it for 30 days who wasn't impressed with the results.

But I know me, and I know I'll need buddies to do this with. Maybe you do to... join me on June 1st?

All right, in the mean time I was eager to start something. So on May 1st I started a little 30 day challenge I found on pinterest. Only I'm modifying it and adding to it. I'm considering it conditioning for the 30DS and it's the minimum exercise I'm going to do each day, not the maximum:

Pam's May 30 Day Challenge

Day 1- 10 Squats, 11 Crunches, 6 Push-Ups*, 5 sec Plank, 25 Jumping Jacks, 10 leg lifts each
this was my pinspiration, you can see how I've modified it
side, 10 dumbell curls each arm
Day 2- 15 Squats, 16 Crunches, 6 Push-Ups*, 6 sec Plank, 50 Jumping Jacks, 15 leg lifts each side, 15 dumbell curls each arm
Day 3- 20 Squats, 21 Crunches, 7 Push-Ups*, 8 sec Plank, 25 Jumping Jacks, 20 leg lifts each side, 20 dumbell curls each arm
Day 4- 25 Squats, 28 Crunches, 7 Push-Ups*, 10 sec Plank, 50 Jumping Jacks, 25 leg lifts each side, 20 dumbell curls each arm
Day 5- 30 Squats, 35 Crunches, 8 Push-Ups*, 12 sec Plank, 75 Jumping Jacks, 30 leg lifts each side, 25 dumbell curls each arm
Day 6- 35 Squats, 42 Crunches, 9 Push-Ups*, 15 sec Plank, 50 Jumping Jacks, 35 leg lifts each side, 30 dumbell curls each arm
Day 7- REST
Day 8- 40 Squats, 49 Crunches, 9 Push-Ups*, 17 sec Plank, 75 Jumping Jacks, 40 leg lifts each side, 35 dumbell curls each arm
Day 9- 45 Squats, 56 Crunches, 10 Push-Ups*, 20 sec Plank, 100 Jumping Jacks, 45 leg lifts each side, 30 dumbell curls each arm
Day 10- 50 Squats, 63 Crunches, 11 Push-Ups*, 23 sec Plank, 75 Jumping Jacks, 50 leg lifts each side, 40 dumbell curls each arm
Day 11- REST
Day 12- 60 Squats, 70 Crunches, 11 Push-Ups*, 25 sec Plank, 100 Jumping Jacks, 60 leg lifts each side, 45 dumbell curls each arm
Day 13-  65 Squats, 79 Crunches, 12 Push-Ups*, 27 sec Plank, 75 Jumping Jacks, 65 leg lifts each side, 50 dumbell curls each arm
Day 14-  70 Squats, 88 Crunches, 13 Push-Ups*, 30 sec Plank, 75 Jumping Jacks, 70 leg lifts each side, 45 dumbell curls each arm
Day 15- 80 Squats, 99 Crunches, 14 Push-Ups*, 33 sec Plank, 100 Jumping Jacks, 80 leg lifts each side, 50 dumbell curls each arm
Day 16- 85 Squats, 110 Crunches, 15 Push-Ups*, 35 sec Plank, 125 Jumping Jacks, 85 leg lifts each side, 50 dumbell curls each arm
Day 17- 90 Squats, 121 Crunches, 16 Push-Ups*, 37 sec Plank, 150 Jumping Jacks, 90 leg lifts each side, 55 dumbell curls each arm
Day 18- REST
Day 19- 100 Squats, 132 Crunches, 17 Push-Ups*, 40 sec Plank, 175 Jumping Jacks, 100 leg lifts each side, 60 dumbell curls each arm
Day 20- 105 Squats, 145 Crunches, 18 Push-Ups*, 43 sec Plank, 200 Jumping Jacks, 105 leg lifts per side, 65 dumbell curls each arm
Day 21- 110 Squats, 155 Crunches, 19 Push-Ups*, 47 sec Plank, 175 Jumping Jacks, 110 leg lifts each side, 70 dumbell curls each arm
Day 22- REST
Day 23- 130 Squats, 164 Crunches, 20 Push-Ups*, 50 sec Plank, 200 Jumping Jacks, 130 leg lifts each side, 75 dumbell curls each arm
Day 24- 135 Squats, 173 Crunches, 21 Push-Ups*, 53 sec Plank, 200 Jumping Jacks, 135 leg lifts each side, 75 dumbell curls each arm
Day 25- 140 Squats, 182 Crunches, 22 Push-Ups*, 55 sec Plank, 250 Jumping Jacks, 140 leg lifts each side, 80 dumbell curls each arm
Day 26- 150 Squats, 191 Crunches, 24 Push-Ups*, 58 sec Plank, 250 Jumping Jacks, 150 leg lifts each side, 85 dumbell curls each arm
Day 27- 160 Squats, 200 Crunches, 25 Push-Ups*, 1 min Plank, 275 Jumping Jacks, 160 leg lifts each side, 90 dumbell curls each arm
Day 28- 165 Squats, 210 Crunches, 26 Push-Ups*, 1 min 5 sec Plank, 275 Jumping Jacks, 165 leg lifts each side, 95 dumbell curls each arm
Day 29- REST
Day 30- 170 Squats, 220 Crunches, 27 Push-Ups*, 1 min 10 sec Plank, 300 Jumping Jacks, 170 leg lifts each side, 100 dumbell curls each arm
*I do female push-ups

Yeah, I know that sounds intense, but having looked into the 30 Day Shred even after accomplishing that, the 30DS will probably kick my butt.

I already have done the first two days, today will be day three.

As far as HIT goes I think it works.. but I've had trouble doing it mainly because I can't time myself and I can't my husband to do it! He's always asleep or busy when I'm wanting to do it, and when he's alert and might be willing I'm fading or busy. I do think it works though, so I want to get regular about it!

I'm also trying to increase my everyday activeness... without much sucess, mainly because the heat. I'll tell myself, "Tomorrow go on a long walk" and the next day comes and I just feel so drained of energy because of the heat.

All right, fitness wise that's pretty much where I am!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

BIG Update: Health, Diet,and Fitness Changes

Okay health and fitness blog, this week of my life is more your spin than my other blog!

On Monday I went to the hospital.

It's my PCOS, we think. I began having alarming symptoms in my feminine regions. Symptoms started on April 9th, but I thought it was nothing at first. Then it went on for a while... then on Monday morning I had a gush of fluid that should not be coming from that area.

It turns out I have cervicitis and cervical erosion. We're not sure why. I have medicine which should clear it up in a week. This morning I had some blood tests done, and I'll have an ultrasound next week. Mainly it's just to see how bad the PCOS is, and also make sure that it hasn't caused anything worse to develop (PCOS puts you at risk of all sorts of bad stuff.)

On the plus side I was weighed for the first time since arriving in India: I've lost 13 pounds!

As far the C25K, I have only completed the first two workouts of week two. I was supposed to do the third yesterday, but overslept. Then today I didn't because I was having the bloodtest done early in the morning.

I also have decided to make a diet change. I really need to make several. But my mom was telling me about this program she saw on American PBS with this UK doctor, Michael Moseley. Actually she told me about two, The Truth About Exercise and Fast, Eat and Live Longer. I'm not sure why, but I could actually watch them on PBS's website, and the fasting diet they are talking about is called the 5:2.

Okay, it's Thursday, so half Workout Wednesday...
You should really check out the documentary because I know I'm not doing it justice, but basically there is a growth hormone that in adults leads often to diabetes and cancer if at high levels. And in at least most affluent people this is high because of over eating. Eating so much makes your cells be in "go-go-go" mode. But if you have periods where you don't eat much, it slows them down and the cells instead of multiplying will revert to repairing cells, and it makes everything wear down a lot slower, therefore helping with overall health. Dr. Moseley tried it for four weeks in the documentary and his growth hormone levels had cut in half, insulin was in normal levels (he was at risk for diabetes), and cholesterol and blood pressure were also at good levels.

It's called the 5:2 diet because five days of the week you eat a normal, healthy diet without worrying about it. Two non-consecutive days of the week you calorie restrict: 500 for women, 600 for men. Which isn't a lot of food, but I figure an egg for breakfast (about 80-90 calories), a yogurt for lunch (100 calories), a 100 calorie soup for dinner... plus lots of veggies. That doesn't sound so bad. (That's just a sample. I haven't figured out my diet yet.) That seems totally doable to me, for two days of the week.

and half Getting Fit Friday!
Actually part of the way I've already lost weight in India is just portion control, and I've been keeping track of my diet on Noom. Most days I still hit 2000 calories, but somedays I'm even at 1000 calories and I figure if I'm not hungry, why force it?

Aside from the C25K I've also been doing other workouts.  I have done at least two hours worth of
calisthetics this past week, and Ryan and I walked home from the hospital on Monday (probably about a twenty minute walk) which was good.

I'm also trying HIT (High Intensity Training) which was shared in the other Dr. Moseley documentary. Basically you get on an exercise bike and pedal as hard as you can for twenty seconds. Then you can rest two minutes. Then you do it again for 20 seconds. Then rest two minutes. Then one last burst of twenty seconds. You do that there times a week... which adds up to only three minutes a week. I did my first day yesterday.

If it's only three minutes a week, why bother? Well apparently by going as hard as you can you end up using 70% of the muscle versus 20-40% when pacing yourself in traditional exercise. By using all that muscle, the muscles sends out for glucose, reducing the amount you have. Within two weeks it's supposed to help your insulin levels.

And I figure... why not? It's only 3 minutes a week, and I'm not actually replacing any exercise with it, just doing it in addition to other exercise. Plus I figure it works in a similar principle as the interval training of the C25K, in that short bursts of intense exercise can do as good a job as long training, which I already know to work since I've completed the C25K before. Plus, and this is the biggest thing, what harm could it possibly do?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Prayers for Boston

Hi everyone,

I'm just a newbie runner, but as part of the running community, and an American, I want to pause on the blog in honor of the people who lost their lives or loved ones or were otherwise affected by the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

I'll return tomorrow with an interesting post about my health, but I wanted to give over one day's worth of posting to ask you all to stop in prayer. I'd have done it yesterday but, well, I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Workout Wednesday

Hey guys!

I unfortunately still have not completed the second week of the Couch to 5K due to the melatonin not letting me wake up in time.

I have however lost over three inches on my waist since I arrived in India!!

And actually I got a care package from my older sister just a few weeks ago and she sent me a nightgown... which I could put on but was tight and unattractive...

Tonight I put it on and it fits perfectly!!

I've worked out inside a little to youtube this week, that's all so far.

So my goals for next week:
finish week two of the Couch to 5K
try to do some non-equipment necessary weight training exercises (yes, I looked them up!)
do at least two at least ten minutes workouts outside of that!

Also, if I don't do the C25K workout I have to do an hour of cardio to replace it!

See you next week!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ultimate Blog Party 2013/ Getting Fit Friday

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

Okay, this week I'm combining my Fit Friday post with an intro post for the Ultimate Blog Party!

Hi, I'm Pamela. This is Meaningful Activity, which is my fitness blog. This is actually my second blog, because I found that when I would be active I liked to blog about it... but it didn't really fit with the niche of my main blog (the Songs on the Way) so I started a second one just as a health and fitness blog.

Here I blog about my different health and fitness goal stuff. Like I'm redoing the Couch to 5K! I did it once before successfully, completing it this past September. But then I was moving to India... and then moved to India.. and then got married... and I just haven't kept up my fitness.

I also share about having PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and a sleeping disorder (which I am
trying a new treatment for!) and then just random stuff. Like how the weather in India makes it harder to exercise (yep, that's right, I'm in India. I'm an American expat.) Oh, and sometimes I talk about things like using the free Noom Weight Loss app on my smart phone, the youtube fitness videos I've tried out, or the MP3 tracks I'm using for the C25K.

Me after a C25K run
Honestly, this is a very new blog, I just started it in January, so I'm still figuring out what goes on it. So I'd love it if you would join me. And I'll love to network with other health and fitness bloggers, to inspire and encourage me!

As for this week... it's sort of been a bust. Well not really. You know how I mentioned just a couple of paragraphs ago about trying a new treatment for my sleeping disorder? First I should tell you that having a sleeping disorder affects every aspect of my life. I know for sure I would have had a .5 to 1 point higher GPA in college without it, because I was always either sleeping through class or going to class with little or no sleep. I am great at ignoring how bad it was, so every semester I'd be like "This will be the semester I do great!" and then three to six weeks later being like "Oh... right... I hate you sleep!" Yes, sleep and I have been great frenemies. Because basically it eludes me to get to sleep, it eludes me waking up, and it is always completely unpredictable. I've never been able to just lay down and sleep, and once asleep an alarm is no guarantee I will wake up!

And obviously anyone who knows what they say about regular sleep and weight loss knows that some people say without it, you can't lose weight at all. (I have lost a couple of inches, but in my whole life I've never been able to lose more than say, ten pounds. Ever.)

A few years ago when I was newly smacked in the face with the reality of how invasive my sleeping disorder truly is, I realized that my new found desire to someday get my Master's would definitely have to happen after I finally got my sleeping disorder under control, it would be idiocy to do it otherwise. But I didn't have medical insurance to find out what was wrong with me, so that was for someday in the future.

Well, two weeks ago, I got an email from a reader of my regular blog saying that she'd been reading for a while and thought she should speak up. I would complain about my sleeping disorder there from time to time, and it all resonated with her because her daughter had the exact same symptoms. They had gotten her tested and it turned out she had a melatonin deficiency.

When I was a teenager I had tried melatonin, but the first day it had no effect, the second day I slept for 18 hours straight and no one could wake me up. That scared me, so we stopped using it and I've never touched it again, though a few people had recommended it to me over the years.

And now, looking at that incident with the realization that someone else in the world had the same symptoms as me (I've never met anyone who has!) and they were diagnosed with melatonin deficiency... maybe the reason I slept 18 hours was because my body was just needing melatonin so bad that it was like "Okay, quick, let's sleep as long as we can while we have it!"

I mentioned this to the woman who had contacted me, and she said that her daughter had been very groggy that first week, but after that it went away and she'd been normal ever since. So it made me wonder if maybe I'd not given up after two days, I could have solved my sleeping disorder as a teenager.

Linking up with Getting Fit Fridays!
So I talked it over with my husband and mom, and decided to give it a try.

By the way, after we got it, I read on the bottle that it's not recommended for teens. So maybe teenage biochemistry makes the reaction more severe? I don't know.

But I've been taking it since Saturday night (so five doses now). It does work! Whether or not it's the solution, I don't know. I was groggy the first several days, not as much now, but I am finding I'm sleeping slightly more than 8 hours a night (9 to 10) so hopefully that levels out soon.

Anyway, because I'm oversleeping, I'm also missing my exercise-in-the-Indian heat window for the C25K. So I haven't done it this week.

But since regulating my sleeping patterns will change every aspect of my life for the better (including weight loss) I figure a missed week isn't a big deal. And according to my friend, her daughter was "normal" after a week, so maybe next week I'll be normal! And if it takes me two weeks, it'd still be totally worth it!

However, writing this is inspiring me that I can go find another workout video on youtube, and I have no excuse for that!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Workout Wednesday

Hello everyone! Okay, I realize Wednesday is over. Wednesday was a holiday here, and while I

didn't actually participate in the festival of Holi (a Hindu festival where people throw colored powder and dye on each other to celebrate color) I did have plans that kept me occupied all day.

So last week's goals were this: Complete week one of the Couch to 5K and work out to a youtube fitness video.

I did it!

Last week an hour or so after posting the inaugural Workout Wednesday I decided to go ahead and do the workout video... I did get bored five minutes into it though! So I decided to click on one of the recommended videos on the side though, and ended up working out for an hour to a couple different videos. So even though I didn't just work out to that particular channel I still count that as a success.

I didn't get to the first workout of the Couch to 5K until Saturday, but I was able to get out and do it then. It went well. I liked having the MP3 tracks telling me when to run and walk. I also was surprised at how many of my neighbors were out there also working out. There were walkers, runners, walk/runners like me, and even a few people doing either yoga or tai chi, plus a couple old men sitting cross legged on the benches meditating. All this while the sun was shining (but not too hotly yet), flowers were blooming, and kids who I am guessing belonged to the adults working out were running around playing games with each other. It was very pleasant!

I did the second workout on Monday. I didn't, however, check the battery life of my MP3 player, so about 3/4 of the way into my first run interval (ie at pretty much the very beginning of my workout) it died. I'm running around an oval path, so I decided to just estimate how much I "ran" and walked and just do that... I ended pretty much running half the oval, then walking back to the same place and running again. It wasn't exact. At this stage of the C25K I'm supposed to run 60 seconds, then walk 90 seconds.

When my MP3 player had died, I had glanced at my phone and it was 8:28am. I forgot about that until I was almost done, then it hit me to look at the time. See, in my head I'd been thinking "okay, I ran about this far last time I did it, so that's roughly 60 seconds, and I guess I walked this far" and had been trying to add up the time that way...

But anyway, what ended up happening is I *do* think I was running about 60 seconds, but I was walking about 2 minutes... but I ended up working out for like 25 minutes, instead of the 20 the plan is supposed to do. So I decided that was still a win, and about as good as I could get considering!

Then the next workout was supposed to be on Wednesday. But then I realized that Holi was Wednesday. So I asked my husband, "Honey?"


"Come here for a minute, I need your advice."

He comes. "What do you want?"

"Well, for this Couch to 5K, my next workout is supposed to be Wednesday morn-"


"Oh, okay, thanks."

Haha. Basically it would be likely I'd have spent the whole workout getting shot at with waterguns filled with paint or something. So yeah.

So instead I did the third workout this morning (Thursday) and this time I checked my MP3's battery. I was able to do it successfully, and I'm looking forward to next week!

Goals for next week:

Do week 2 of the Couch to 5K.
Do at least two other workouts of at least 20 minutes each.
Research strength training without equipment. (It's recommended for my PCOS that I do strength training, since PCOS is linked to insulin resistance, and muscle processes insulin better or something. But I don't have access to a gym or any weights.)

I'll check in again next week!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Workout Wednesday

Yep, workout Wednesday. It's a thing now.

Untitled So I'm thinking each week I'll outline my workout plan for the following week, sharing sources if possible. If I haven't already done so in previous posts that week, I'll also tell you how the workouts went.

Since this is first week, the only thing I'll say about the past week is I tried to do some deliberate exercise here and there: some crunches, some jumping jacks, some push ups, etc.

Starting this week though, I'm going to have more clear cut goals, and I hope you will help keep me accountable.

First, I am going to do one of these workouts one time this week. I found this channel on youtube, as well as other exercise videos, and I figure I will try one. I'll tell you how it goes next week.

Also, I am officially doing the C25K again. For those of you who don't know it's the Couch to 5K, a workout designed to take you from sedentary to being able to run a 5K. I completed it in September, but I haven't really run since then since I was crazy busy planning my move to India, moving to India, then planning my marriage and as you know, I got married three weeks ago.

So since it's been months I'm going to just repeat it. Only, it will be different this time. Last time I did three weeks of "Pre-Couch to 5K" because I wasn't just sedentary, I am overweight as well and when I looked at the first week of the C25K I knew it wasn't realistic. So I took it slower and did those three warm up weeks. I recommend this highly for anyone who has considered the C25K but isn't even sure you can do week one. After my 3 weeks of prep, I eased into official week one, but I was very winded during my first week of prep so I know that if I had just tried to jump in I either would have quit, or worse been injured.

So anyway, this time I am skipping the three prepatory weeks because even though it's been some time, I did improve my overall fitness before and I don't think I've lost that and I think I can do the "normal" C25K week one.

Also, last time the only equipment I used was a watch (and a water bottle and shoes, if you want to count them.) This time I'm joining the masses and using an audio program. Most people download one of these into their MP3 and then they listen to music and it tells them when they need to change (you switch between walking and running.) I am using Buried Talents Band's Christian India Running Tracks.

There are two big reasons I didn't do this last time:

I didn't have an MP3 player.

I had been running along the road. We didn't have sidewalks, so I didn't feel it was safe to impair my hearing by listening to music since there are always crazy drivers.

Well here in India the drivers are even crazier, but I won't be running along the roads. There are a few parks within walking distance, and one has a track. It's not like a competitive track, and there are no distances marked, but it is an oval path that is obviously intended for exercise, especially as when I've gone there in the past there is always at least one person walking or running laps. I have done so myself, actually, but I just did one lap walking, one lap running and then went home.

I'm not actually sure how long the track is, as I said there is no distances marked, so I'll probably still be doing it for time, especially as that's how the music tracks are set up (hmm, I just realized those were the same words!) However, if I take the time to figure out roughly how long a lap is, I should be able to more accurately keep track of my progress.

Last time I know that I didn't actually run a 5K at the end, but I was running for 30 minutes straight and was happy with that. But since I'm starting from a fitter place, maybe this time I will actually end with running a 5K in thirty minutes... and if not, then still!

One more thing worth mentioning is I don't know how well this will go because, well, Indian summer is approaching. Which scares me greatly, as it will regularly be in the 110s during the heat of the day. That said, I obviously won't be running in the heat of the day. But if it's 115 in the afternoon, it could easily be 95 in the morning. So I hope I have it in me, but if not then I would rather quit than get heat stroke. I had heat exhaustion once, where I almost fainted while not at home. It was scary and I won't risk that... but I figure if I bring plenty of water and I only exercise during the early morning, I should be able to do it. And right now, it's not that hot so there is no excuse for me not to get it done this week!

One thing is that the heat is dry heat, which is honestly much more manageable. It is in the low 90s outside already, but it doesn't really feel hot. It doesn't feel cool either, but the 90s back home is far more suffocating, and the only difference would be this climate is drier.

So that's the plan for next week... I promise that next week's declaration of what I'm doing the upcoming week will be less long, I just had some one time explication of the C25K to go over. So hold me accountable: by next week I'll need to have done one of the workouts from that youtube channel and completed week one of the C25K!

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Good Tea News

Hello health blog!

I just wanted to tell you the exciting news: I found spearmint tea!

Okay, that may not seem that exciting, but a few weeks ago I decided to look up diet changes that may help my PCOS, and apparently studies have shown that spearmint tea can help lower testerone. PCOS, a common endocrin disorder in women that I have, is at its core a hormone imbalance. So by lowering my testerone (I have more than most women) I can help bring the hormones back to balance. So whenever I've done to stores I've looked for spearmint tea. But they haven't had them. They didn't even have any idea what spearmint was... they kept going, "Peppermint? Peppermint?" No, spearmint...

But yesterday Ryan and I were in the gourmet section of a one stop shopping store (Spencer's) and I found it! Not just spearmint, but a green tea and spearmint blend. Guess what? I'd been planning on blending them anyway!

As you probably know, green tea has been proven to help up your metabolism, especially if taken first thing in the morning. Also, I normally have been drinking delicious Indian chai to wake up, which as milk, and some PCOS studies have shown lowering your milk intake can help (though whether this is because the milk in question may have come from cows treated with artificial hormones wasn't said, because the cows here are not, so maybe Indian milk isn't the same that way.) So basically I'm going to be replacing my morning chai with green tea (which has caffeine) and spearmint...

And I want to add honey to it too, because in my readings I've found that there are also studies that say if a spoonful of honey in warm water is the first thing you have in the morning, you're more likely to lose weight. We don't actually have honey right now though, but I'm thinking honey in hot water that also happens to have been brewed with green and spearmint teas probably would have a similar effect. Then it'd be a triple whammy of healthy goodness. :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


My groom and I
I am sorry I've neglected this blog a little. If you follow on the main blog, I have gotten married since I last posted here! I then left for almost a week on honeymoon, and have been back for almost a week. So now I'm turning my attention back to this blog... and fitness!

Several different people have told me I look like I've lost weight, separately, so I'm guessing I probably did, though I'm not sure. I don't feel like I have, in fact I feel like my gut got bigger! We don't have a scale here though, so I haven't weighed myself since I left the USA... but I do have a tape measure!

Since several people have independently told me, I guessed maybe I have, but that the reason I felt I'd increased my gut flabbiness may be because I've lost muscle definition. Which I'm sure is true because when I left the USA I was definitely fitter than I am now.

I had measured my waist shortly after arriving here because we were talking about ordering my wedding gown, so I know what my measurement was... so I re-measured and guess what? I've lost two inches! And like I said, that's with me being less fit than I was in America. So if I start exercising regularly again I'll probably only increase this unexpected loss.

Fitness wise I want to start running/jogging in the mornings again. I say want to instead "I'm starting tomorrow" because right now I'm not waking up in the mornings. Since I got back from my honeymoon my sleep has been messed up and the only morning I actually got up in the morning was Sunday. (I was sick during my honeymoon and it threw me off.) So once my mornings stabilize again, I plan on running.

A week or so after arriving in India. I was going to show you a current picture to compare my size, but I can't find one that really shows my body and when I tried to get Ryan to take one it came out awful and so maybe just look at the wedding photo above and try to decide if I look thinner?
I've thought about just starting in the afternoon but there are two reasons I haven't, though I am thinking I will come up with exercises for the afternoon.

The first reason is pollution. The air pollution here is very high, but in the nights it settles so that the least polluted time of the day is the early morning. I'm not exactly sure how this works, but it has to do with the sun heating stuff up I think as it rises.

The second reason is heat. It's already in the 90s farenheit at the hottest part of the day. Yes. In March. And it will always get hotter.

But as exercising outside in the dark is dangerous, the coolest part of the day with the sun being up would be early morning, so if I'm going to run again I want to do it then.

But of course, running isn't the only exercise in the world.

I did fifty crunches, fifty reverse crunches, fifty crissy-crossy leg thingies, and fifty leg lifts on each side the other day.

A while back I did what I called the "fifty" which was I think 12 different exercises, doing fifty of each, three times a week. I was planning on doing that again...

But I found myself exhausted by just what I described above because as I said, I'm not nearly as fit as I was in America.

So I added a few exercises to the list and told myself I need to do fifty of each exercise (or fifty seconds full out of some that you measure my time) this week. Then next week I'll try to pick two days and do fifty of all the exercises on the same day. Then the next week pick three days, and keep it that way until it seems easy, then up the exercises to seventy-five, or maybe just sixty.

And I've downloaded some tracks for the C25K for my MP3 player. Last time I didn't use tracks, so that will be new and different, and as soon as my mornings stabilize I'm looking forward to trying it out!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fit Friday!

Sorry loveys that this is late.

Last Saturday I walked a lot. As in 5 times the amount my weight loss app pedometer had set as a goal for the day.

Sunday I also exceeded that goal, but only by two or three times.

Monday I pretty much just met the goal.

And from Tuesday on I've been so consumed with the drama of my soon approaching wedding I haven't kept track. However, on Tuesday  itself I went out with a girl friend and walked around a mall a lot talking, so I am positive I did well on that.

I didn't do anything formally otherwise, regarding working out, though I try to like swivel my hips and engage my abs as I do normal stuff.

Hope everyone else has had a good week!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fit Friday!

I apologize for my absence from this blog but life has been crazy. My future mother-in-law had a heart attack last week. (She is okay, home with new meds and diet changes.) I've also been battling a ton of stress.

I've continued with Noom, though not perfectly.

Today I worked out, lightly. By that I mean I did some actual working out (crunches, planking, rear kick thingies) but mainly I just tried to keep moving during my normal daily tasks. Bouncing on my toes while standing still, swaying my hips, just trying to move more.

I'm especially focusing on my abs and obliques right now because I'm wearing a sari to my court wedding. Saris show part of the midriff.

I'd like to start the C25K again. It's been some months since I completed it and I was very slow at the end, so that I was running for half an hour but not for 5K. So I think starting it over would be good. But I admit I'm nervous about the prospect for a few reasons. One is the pollution here. I've had like pre-asthma for years, just having slight respiratory distress when I exert myself in the cold. But that was back home in the US where the air is clean (I lived in a rural area.) Here the air is heavily polluted and exerting myself in it by running outside may help me develop full blown asthma... at the same time maybe it won't. Or maybe the asthma developing is inevitable and this way I'd be having a stronger heart and lungs from the workout when it kicked in.

The other thing that makes me nervous is everyone keeps giving me horror stories of attackers and abductors, especially with that gang rape situation that I know was all over the international news. So the idea is that if I work out in the neighborhood with regularity maybe someone nefarious will take note and lie in wait... maybe paranoid. Maybe wise. For now I could go out at different times of day so I'm unpredictable. But the spring is brief here and before the 9 weeks are up I'd only be able to run in the early morning due to the heat.

I don't know. I think I'll pray about it. And maybe get pepper spray. ;)

Linking up with Get Fit Fridays.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fit Friday!

Getting Fit FridayHow exciting! I just found the Fit Friday link-up so I can find fitness blogger friends!

I've been continuing to use Noom. It poured today and yesterday, which didn't encourage me to exercise, but I did walk to the local shops twice. I got up late today, but once I did I barely stopped moving just doing various chores so even though I didn't officially exercise today, I don't feel like I had an inactive day.

For those visiting my blog for the first time, I'm Pamela. I'm in my mid-twenties and just moved to India. I'm about to get married. This is my new health and fitness blog. (I also have a lifestyle blog, the Songs on the Way.)

Looking forward to meeting all of you!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


We said goodbye to Nellie yesterday. She ended up being a poor fit for our family. It is very sad, as I was quite fond of her, but it was the right thing to do. She'll be happier elsewhere, her foster mom agreed it was the right thing as well.

Fitness wise, I haven't really done much exercising. I have kept track of my eating, but on that  app  I told you about, not written down so I can share it here.

So... not much of an update, but that's all I got and I thought I should check in!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

First Normal Post

Okay so to do a "normal" post... though I'm still deciding what a normal post should be like...

I'll blog about yesterday, Saturday January 12th.

Exercise Log: I did a ten minute workout using a "daily workout" app on my one. I also tried to consciously move more when I was doing stuff (like dancing around while playing with my phone.)

Food: Yesterday for breakfast I had chicken biryani (leftover dinner) and chai (tea brewed in milk) with sugar. I also had a banana.
For lunch we had mince (goat) made with potatoes, over daal (lentils with oil, tomatoes, and spices) and rice.
For a snack I had chai and a paratha (a form of bread) with jam.
For dinner I had sabji (vegetables- in this case green beans, tomatoes, and potatoes), daal, mince and potatoes, with a small amount of rice and some parathas.

I started using a weight loss app called Noom yesterday.

More excitedly... we got our dog yesterday! We chose to name her Nellie.

I am excited to start down this journey with you... and Nellie!

Friday, January 11, 2013

What and How

Okay folks, sorry for the delay.

So the goal of today is what I hope to do with this blog and how I expect it to work.

Basically I just want accountability. One of the reasons I called this Meaningful Activity is I want to make my days more disciplined and intentional. I want to be healthy in spirit, soul/mind/heart (people have various vocabulary) and body.

I want to give you a log and reflection of the exercise I do, food I eat, and general health stuff (like if I want to talk about my PCOS). I also want to find similar minded friends in the blogosphere because I find friends to be my biggest motivation towards healthy living.

I hope you'll partner with me as we move towards a healthier body.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Tooth About Why I Haven't Posted

Okay sorry everyone!

I have not forgotten this blog's existence, no worries. I know I said I'd do the "what and how" post on Friday, but stuff has happened since then. Also, the blogger app on my phone is only hooked up to the Songs on the Way (don't know if you can have two blogs, it's a very simplistic app) and I've not actually been on the actual computer since then.

Me on Sunday
The what and how post will have to wait. But this is a health and fitness blog, so I'll let you know that part of the reason I've not blogged has to do with my health. My dental health. On Saturday I woke up in pain with my tooth and told myself I needed to go to the dentist on Monday. I had plans for Saturday and Sunday and didn't want to try to get in earlier. I had known I needed to go to the dentist for a while but had procrastinated.

Then on Sunday I woke up with the left half of my face swollen. We were able to get me in to see Ryan's dentist, who put me on strong antibiotics and we scheduled the extraction for Tuesday evening. 

However Tuesday afternoon, the swelling wasn't entirely gone, so we rescheduled for today, Wednesday evening. So I'll be getting that done tonight.

That's not the only thing that's been keeping me from blogging, but I've been busy this week and honestly computer wise I haven't gotten on one. My computer (my netbook) has keyboard issues and it's a trial to type on. And Ryan's desktop is in his room, which he sleeps in all day. I've been waking up in the early morning, he sleeps until the afternoon, then we spend time together and then he goes to work and I go to bed. I haven't really had free time with the computer. And I wouldn't now either except Ryan is having trouble sleeping so I'm using that to my advantage.