Thursday, June 28, 2012

The first steps are the hardest

The last few weeks have been an eye-opener for me. After pulling my back muscle while overlifting at work, I've become acutely aware of the blessing it is to be able to move.

Today, I felt strong enough to finally push myself and begin working toward one of my goals of finishing a 5K. I've walked several half-marathons, but I'd like to get healthy enough to actually run a 5K this fall.

The first steps are the hardest. And I'm not talking about heading outdoors. Making that decision to get out of bed early, to get dressed, to put on your shoes and step out the door are the toughest moves to make.

But I did it. And I walked/jogged my first mile toward my goal this morning. It felt great.

Take that first step with me! It's not too late to join the Go Green Get Fit challenge! Share your goals below.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Go Green Get Fit: Taking Note of Changes

Wrapping up week one of the Go Green Get Fit challenge, sponsored by, my biggest strides have been mental.

As I'm still battling a back injury, my workout routine has been minimal: reworking my core, some pool time and stretching.

But despite this challenge, I'm a winner. And here's why: I had a breakthrough on my diet.

I've heard for years that keeping a food diary can make you more consistent on your diet. I've been lukewarm about that at best over the years and felt as long as I kept the mental tally of exchanges I'd be pretty much on track.

Except I wasn't. This week I logged my meals and it was an eye-opener. My "once in a while" treats or meal choices were nearly a daily occurance.

I hadn't been planning for lunches at work, nor snacks in the day in case I needed to boost my blood sugar levels.

I was guilty of too little dairy and produce and too many starches.

And while I could do little during a road trip this weekend to address this, I've reworked my eating since.

I went to a birthday party Sunday, choosing salmon and spinach salad for my meal since I knew I'd want dessert.

I dug out my smoothie book for a breakfast alternative to the all-to-easy cereal.

I planned a dinner last night with carbs on the side, serving myself a smaller portion and loading up on the fish.

In the end, it's 1 million tiny choices that make the difference. Even when I'm back to 100%, I can't out-exercise poor eating choices.

How are you doing on your fitness goals?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Go Green, Get Fit: The importance of a plan B

The Go Green, Get Fit challenge begins today, and it's the worst possible timing for me.

  • I am recovering from a back strain from overdoing it at work. (Take more trips next time!)
  • My kids are off schedule from two week's at scout camp and evening Vacation Bible School - we're still not back to regular bedtimes, and I'm worn out by the time they're in bed.
  • Tomorrow my 4 year old, the one who's worst at bedtime, has his first corrective visit for a cross-bite, and we're bracing for a week or more of continuing poor sleep and cranky boy.
  • We're facing another week of 90-degree heat.
  • And we're planning a fairly impromptu road trip this weekend to see my sister, her husband and our niece at my parents' home.

Which means that I need a Plan B. Stat.

My workouts tend to lean toward the mornings before the kids wake up, all good unless you're wiped out and struggle to get up at the alarm. And the idea of hiking to the park is out with a foreecast of 92.

I could just throw up my arms and say I'll start next week. But that is another week wasted.

So this week's Plan B:

  • Focus on strength work to slowly work back my core.
  • Use a few nights of "walk away the pounds" type videos, which won't result in a lot of bouncing but will raise my heart rate.
  • Children's behavior permitting, use that neighborhood swimming pool!
  • Write down my eating, and focus on eating fruit on a daily basis (my toughest thing to do).
Do you plan for your "Plan B" when workouts get derailed? What works best for you?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Not my best week

Suffering from a spider bite and back pain from overlifting at work (saving two extra loads to the car was not worth it) this week. Add in evening Vacation Bible School and 484 emails to catch up on at work after summer camp, and it's a recipe for a worn-down mom. Promise I'll recouperate quickly and be back on the blog soon!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Go Green, Get Fit!

Twenty miles in three days. You'd think I was a fitness buff.

But no, I'm truly just a tired mom working a week at scout camp.

I've carried the idea of getting in shape for years now. I haven't had a consistent workout routine since I walked a half-marathon, pregnant with my 4 1/2 year old. First it was new mom exhaustion. Then it was not having money for a fitness class since my husband was out of work for a few years. Then it was time.

But I finally realized have to stop making excuses. My health, my family is far too important for that.

My turning point was sheer I could barely make it through the work day. I've slowly made changes the last several months, reducing my starchy carb intake (I truly was eating far too much), introducing meaningful exercise (like taking a walk instead of sitting in a chair to discuss something at work), making sure I get enough sleep and getting my blood sugar levels back in check.

Yes, I'd love to love 20 pounds. Thirty or forty would make my doctor happier. But my first goal was simple: Having enough energy to survive Girl Scout camp each day. Halfway through the week, I can tell you I've succeeded. I'm sore, but I've succeeded.

All this hiking has reminded me I have the potential to be stronger, and it's a great kickoff to the Go Green, Get Fit blogging challenge that starts June 18. I'm excited to be part of a diverse group of bloggers, from the experienced athlete to the aspiring exerciser.

Here are my goals for the coming months:

1. Exercise each morning. I am honest enough to realize that although I hate getting up in the morning, it's my best window for real exercise--a mix of aerobics, stretching and strength training. I am committing to 30 minutes each morning. Even more so, I am committing to slipping in exercise even if I hit the snooze too many times or my kids wake up early.

2. Incorporate my kids. We are blessed with walking trails and a pool nearby, not to mention a plethora of balls, lacrosse tools and other outdoor toys. Taking advantage of these things means I'm setting a great example for fitness and telling them, yes, I will play with you!

3. Build my aerobic fitness. I do well with the little things, but I need to push myself more. My dream? To  run a 5k this fall. I know I have a lot of work to get there, but I'm rooting for myself!

4. Eat seasonally. As much as I love gardening and attending farmers markets, when I'm busy eating seasonal produce admittedly falls by the wayside. I want to recommit to that for our family's health.

I know these steps seem minor. But if there's one thing I've learned this week, it's that goals can be achieved, one step at a time. Are you with me?

I’d love to hear about your fitness or health goals for the coming months! And please join us on June 18, when the Go Green Get Fit Challenge begins!

In the meantime, join us on Facebook to get details and updates!

You can also follow the Go Green, Get Fit Challenge on Pinterest, Healthy Home Magazine, and Twitter.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Recycled Swap Ideas for Girl Scout Events

Swaps - "Special whatchamacllits affectionately pinned somewhere" - are a strange Girl Scout tradition that somehow I managed to avoid during my childhood stint.

But following one spring activity when my daughter learned about these, she was determined not to go to the next event empty-handed.

I struggle with the idea of swaps. I don't like clutter, and I don't like spending money to create more clutter for others. So I tried to find ideas for recycled swap ideas online to no avail.

My answer came in an unusual place: Our school's Girl Scout closet. When looking in there for supplies for another activity one day, I stumbled across a bag of cast-aside patches. Most were dated and could never be used. They became the fodder for several swaps!

On this patch, I used leftover flower brads to cover the date. I then attached the safety pin on the back.

With this old 100 cookie boxes sold patch, I added a brad with a Girl Scout trefoil sticker on it, then adhered a safety pin on the back. Perfect since it was for the 100th anniversary celebration!

This is the only swap that didn't use "recycled" supplies per se, but I figure old leftover scrapbooking supplies are just as good! We attached random metallic letters and numbers ("GS," "BGS," "100," etc.) to safety pins and then tied it with that feathery string that was the rage in scrapbooking more years ago than I care to admit.

This was from a 2006 Daisy Scouting event. We trimmed off the background and date information and attached the pin on the back. Interestingly, this was one of the favorites at the 100th anniversary event!

With a little creativity and some leftover supplies or castoffs, who knows what you can create!

Sit-upon sewing tutorial

Sit-upons - the name says it all: Something to sit upon to keep yourself clean and dry (and hopefully itch-free) when sitting on the ground. 

I remember my mom making these for camp when I was a Scout. That sit-upon lasted through several summers of camping, storms and mud pits, and I finally tossed it when my volunteering at camp days were over.

Flash forward two decades, and my daughter got her camp letter. Sit-upon topped the list. Of course, now it was cushioned with the "You can use a stadium cushion" line. Which we don't have in our home. 

Granted, I was tempted by the on-sale Jayhawk stadium seat cushions that were selling for $5 each. Really tempted. But knowing I was buying not only for my daughter but my son and I, that's a lot to store over the next few summers. Especially if we didn't know if we'd ever require multiple ones again - and that I knew these were easy to make.

How easy? A Brownie could do it. Seriously.

My old Brownie Girl Scout book has directions on how to do it. And supplies cost me a mere $3 for cording at Joann's.

Here's how:
Spread out an old vinyl or plastic tablecloth or shower curtain, folded in half, and lay several layers of newspaper on top. Trim to fit to a preferred size. (You know what you need!)

how to sew a sit upon

By hand or machine, stitch the sides together. Include a piece of cord on two corners so you can easily tie around the waist. (Great for campers who are hiking a lot!)

sit upon sewing tutorial

A few minutes of work later, and you're set. I made three sit-upons in roughly an hour. My only delays were a cranky sewing machine!

sit upon sewing tutorial

While sit-upons are great for camping, I've found since making them that they are fabulous to use when you're weeding or gardening and you prefer to sit down rather than kneel.