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Archive for the ‘Life, in General’ Category


losing love handles

It has been 2 weeks since I started seriously working on a healthier me. I am happy to report I have lost 4 pounds. I am also happy to report that I have lost almost 3 inches, mainly from my love handles and hips (my hips are the biggest part of me, thanks to my heredity!)

Sidetracked by snow and ice

I did great with recording everything I ate for the first week, but the second week we had a snowstorm which turned into ice. Hubby went to work late and got home early every day, my older kids were hanging out here since they couldn’t drive all around, which means I had to cook meals they would eat too. I think I could’ve lost another pound or 2 this past week if not for that, but I digress.

I have actually increased my exercise, other than a few days last week (which caused me to get stiff and achy in my back again!)  I am doing what is called High Intensity Interval Training. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is about mixing high intensity bursts of exercise with moderate intensity recovery periods. It’s brutal but has incredible advantages. It’s the quickest way to get in fit, lose fat and build stamina.

High Intensity Interval Training

When we do aerobic or cardio exercise, we were always taught to stay within 60-80% of our target heart rate. When you utilize HIIT, you work at the lower heart rate for a specific period and then you do a short, high intensity burst, pushing your heart rate to close to its max.

I use a treadmill for now. When the weather gets nicer, I will go outside some, but for now, I like to be able to control the workout with the treadmill.

treadmill High intensity training intervals

I can tell a HUGE difference in my stamina. I can walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing, and 2 weeks ago, we went to a local mountain for a hike. While I didn’t do fantastic, I could tell my body was in better shape than it had been. I am looking forward to climbing to the top of our little mountain very soon!

There is lots of info on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) online. I am going to show you how someone who was horribly out of shape put this to work.

A workout for an overweight, out-of-shape 40 something woman

A few notes- 30 minute workout, base speed is determined by you, mine has increased as I have gotten in better shape, I usually drag out the last slowdown and cooldown a few minutes. And this workout can be for anybody, lol*

*I am not a doctor or medically licensed individual. Please check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program!

Interval timer Intensity Speed Incline
1- warmup 0-4 min 4 base speed 0
1st hill 4-6 min 6 base speed 6
slowdown 6-8 4 base speed 0
1st speed burst 8-10 6 base +.4 0
slowdown 10-12 4 base speed 0
2nd hill 12-14 9 base speed 8
slowdown 14-16 4 base speed 0
2nd speed burst 16-18 9 base speed +.8 0
slowdown 18-20 4 base speed 0
3rd hill 20-22 9 base speed 8
slowdown 22-24 4 base speed 0
3rd speed burst 24-26 9 base speed +.8 8
slowdown 26-28 4 base speed 0
cool down 28-30 3 base speed -.2 0

This is basically 2 minute intervals of lower intensity and higher intensity. The better shape you are or move into, the higher the levels will need to go. I am actually in the process of moving my intervals to 3 minutes on, 1 minute slowdown, but not quite at it yet, more like 2.5 minutes high intensity and 1.5 slowdown. Download a printable copy of HIIT workout.

What progress can you expect?

FYI- when I began walking on the treadmill for 15 minutes a day in November, my base speed was 2.5. I could not do 2 minutes at an 8 incline. My base speed is currently 2.8, my max speed is 3.5. It is not quite a jog, but almost there! I also do one interval on elevation 6, the other 2 on elevation 8. I like to hike, so speed is not my only goal. I need to be able to climb hills, so using the elevation on the treadmill really helps with this.

For someone who is an athlete, this may not look like much, but it has made a huge difference to me. Whenever I exercised before, I never really felt a difference or saw something I could measure, but by using the HIIT and monitoring my heart rate (I just use what is on my treadmill, although I would like a fancy, schmancy one!) Because I can see the difference, I am motivated to stick with it, unlike ever before.

I believe that by continuing at this rate, I will be able to reach my goal of losing a total of 25 pounds by April!

My Journey to Balance

While working on the body, I am also working on my emotional and mental health over at my other blog. If you feel overwhelmed with your life, I encourage you to come on over and participate! It’s FREE!

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I have been overweight for years. I weigh more (just a little!) than I did when I delivered my youngest daughter (she’ll be 18 in April). I have weighed even more than I do now, but lost weight over the past 2 years due to stress. And that is really odd, because I am a stress eater normally. I can throw down some carbs when I am stressed/depressed!

I went through an extremely stressful past 2 years, with a job that worked me 80+ hours a week and I literally did not have time to eat. Or exercise. Or do anything healthy. I lost a total of 25 pounds over those 2 years. (oh, part of it wasn’t the job, part of the stress was my hubby having a brain aneurysm 2 years ago.) My life has changed quite a bit over the past 4 months. I had a nervous breakdown and went on medical leave.

Since I have much more time on my hands, and because I am trying to take care of myself overall, body and soul, I thought it would be good to try to learn to eat healthy and begin exercising. Since I have been at home I have put back on about 10 pounds and I don’t want to gain even more.

However, I will say, that this is NOT truly about weight loss. If I even stayed the same size as I am now, but were healthy and strong, I’d be okay with that. I thought I would join up with a challenge though, to help me keep motivated! A girl likes to have friends encouraging her on, right? So I am joing the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans challenge!

So, what are my goals?

-To exercise for a minumum of 15 minutes at least 5 out of 7 days a week- I have a treadmill and do speed and hill intervals
-To do a yoga/pilate routine at least 5 days a week (20 minute routine from Amazon)
-To go to bed by 11 pm each night
-To track my food intake by using Sparkpeople.com, EVERYTHING I EAT!

What is the weight goal? I’d like to lose 28 pounds by April 1st. Since this challenge goes through February 28th, I’d say I’d like to lose 18 pounds by then. But like I said, this is about feeling healthier and stronger. That is why I am also incorporating the yoga and pilates, for strength and flexibilty.

I FEEL old. My joints ache. I want to be YOUNG when I am 60, but at 45, I FEEL old!

My Journey to Balance

While working on the body, I am also working on my emotional and mental health over at my other blog. If you feel overwhelmed with your life, I encourage you to come on over and participate! It’s FREE!

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After having such a rough first half of the year, including a mental meltdown in front of my boss, I had to take a major step back from my life. I had to learn to listen to my body and take care of myself. I had to learn to speak out for myself.

Steps for recovering from burnout:

– Went to my doctor and tried some different medications.

– Started seeing a counselor each week. I began to learn that how I interpreted the expectations placed on me created real physical stress for me.

– I cutoff all ties from my job, no phone, no email.

– I stayed at home most of the time. I learned that I could not go to the store on my own without a panic attack.

– I spent a lot of time reading, writing, praying, sleeping.

– My husband would take me out of the house several evenings a week to keep me from being too housebound.

– He actually sent me off to Savannah, GA for a week. He drove me down there and got me settled in. I had a little apartment, time to read, rest, and walk on the beach.

– Once I returned, I actually started cleaning my house again, and doing laundry. I even began cooking again.

You see, I had been working so much for the past 2 years, I didn’t even know what a schedule for real people looked like. I learned the flow of eating regular meals, taking a shower, housework, rest, spending time with family, all things I really did not do much of for the previous 2 years.

What matters most

I began to remember the important things in life. Time to think, time to spend with my husband, time to dream, time to relax, time to spend with friends and family. Time to volunteer for those less fortunate.

I realized that there was more to life than money, than recognition. That if I didn’t have my health, my faith, or my family, what good was anything else I had? I learned that I had to devote time to developing who *I* was as a person.

I learned to search my soul for what my passion was, what I was meant to do in my life. I have realized that the passion I had in my job to help others with their lives was very important to me and that I wanted to use that further. And I realized that I loved to write!

Learned my limits

I also have learned that I have limits. I actually think I thought that I was invincible. I like to tease that I finally learned that there is a God, and it isn’t me! I think He is much better at it than I am, lol!

I do best if I am not around large groups for long periods of time. I need a balance of time alone versus time with others. As much as I thought I was a people person, I have learned that I love to be around groups for a short time, but then I have to be alone to recharge.

Even though this year was one of the toughest in my life, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned about life and about myself. I hope that I will live a lot longer because of it and that I will be healthier and happier!

I encourage you to take a look at your life this past year.

What didn’t work?

What did work?

Have you learned some important lessons?

As we move into 2011, I am conducting an 8 week Journey to Balance here on my blog. It is free to participate, just be sure to subscribe! If you know someone else who would benefit, be sure to share by clicking below!

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The look at what worked for Christmas and what didn’t was very helpful for me so I thought I would try the same approach for looking over this past year. The year 2010 was a pretty tough one for me!

What didn’t go so well this year-

My year started out with me working in corporate America. I had come through a very stressful Christmas season dealing with some family drama (a mentally handicapped brother, and another brother and his family, long story). I had spent Thanksgiving week in the hospital as I thought I was having a heart attack.

In my job, as a sales manager, I was responsible for the “sales quota” for my district. Being in recession, and a very slow 1st quarter, it was difficult to accomplish what was being asked from me. I increased the number of hours I was working, upwards of 80 hours a week. I could not turn off my work, it was always there with me. My boss even realized how tough it was on us and scheduled a retreat at the end of May. It was nice to get away, but we STILL had to get the work done.

I started writing my personal blog in May, Ramblings of a Woman. It was a way for me to vent, but it was also a way for me to learn about the blogging world and how it all works. It was a huge learning curve at first, so much to know! I realized, though, that I love to write and connect with my readers!

In June, I served on jury duty for the first time. It was a very interesting experience. I can’t say I would want to do it again, but it truly opened my eyes to my community.

Winding up tighter and tighter

All the while, my stress level was compounding. I always felt like I was climbing out of my skin and got to the point where I had to have a glass of wine every night just to be able to sit still. I talked to my doctor about how I was feeling (I was already on some meds for depression and anxiety). He suggested I wait until after my upcoming vacation and see how I felt.

Vacation was good, although it took me too long to unwind. When I returned home, my stress was all still right there. One of my last straws was my boss’s boss stating in a broadcast message that to be able to accomplish the company’s objectives, we were to put forth effort 24/7. It was the next week that I had to prepare and present a mid-year review to my boss.

The meltdown

I could not concentrate on the reports. I could not wrap my brain around what I was supposed to be presenting. I could not find info I needed. My mental capacity was decreasing daily. I could hardly talk to my staff, and only left the house for absolutely mandatory meetings. Everything else I did by email.

When I met with my boss for my review, I fell apart. Into tears. Could not make it through, could not intelligently present my data. I left and immediately called my doctor. I believe I would have checked myself into a hospital if I had known where to go at that point.

My doctor immediately pulled me from work and put me on medical leave. He added and changed some medications. And I had to try to explain to everyone what happened to Superwoman. The one who had it all together.

Wearing the mask

You see, nobody knew I was suffering. Nobody at work, nobody at church, not my friends, and not even my family knew just how bad it was. I think my husband was getting a clue, but I did so well at pushing on, pressing forward, that people were shocked when I dropped off the face of the earth.

***And I want to reach out here to you, my reader. I know that there are some of you out there who feel this same way right now. You are overwhelmed and drowning and yet you won’t cry out for help. Since I didn’t ask for help sooner, I had to completely step away from my life. You may or may not need to do that, but the sooner you ask for help, the better.

Find someone you can talk to ~~ Be very blunt with them ~~ Tell them what you need help with~~ Make some changes for your sake and the sake of those around you!

While this post ends on a heavy note, be sure to read the next one! I will be talking about what went right this year, and what I learned from what went wrong.

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I’m all over the place!

This week, I was allowed to guest post at 40 Moms Club, a great new blog for moms in their 30s, 40s and 50s. My post is Are you a graceful swan or a sinking ship?

Also this week, my first post as contributor on Life Your Way was published. I will be writing for the Productivity Your Way category. My post this month is called Defining your priorties for the holidays.

Living the Balanced Life  I have also been writing on Living the Balanced Life. My latest posts there are:

   The Walking Wounded
   Waiting for Perfect
   I’d love to have you come visit me there!  You can also join me on Facebook and follow me  on Twitter!

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My Dream Job

In July of 2008, I landed my dream job. I was making more money than I had ever made, more prestigious than I had ever had, and the job played on so many of my strengths. I love to help other women figure out what they want to be and do with their lives, and this job gave me some opportunity to do so. I was so EXCITED and threw myself wholeheartedly into my work.

I was responsible for 800 company representatives and more than $1 million in sales a year. My job was to recruit, train, mentor, support, encourage and motivate my team.

The rest of this post can be found at my new blog Living the Balanced Life.
Living the Balanced Life
I will still be posting more personal ramblings on this blog, just not as frequently. I encourage you to hop on over and read and subscribe!

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I had written a couple of posts concerning the American Dream a couple of months ago, and when I saw this article on the internet, I knew I wanted to share with my readers as a sequel!

My 1st post about the Ahh, the American Dream
My follow up post on  The Cure for the American Dream

The article below takes into account how other countries are viewing Americans and our recession.  I’d love to hear your feedback!

How to Restore the American Dream

The American dream for me, growing up in India in the 1970s, looked something like the opening credits of Dallas. The blockbuster TV series began with a kaleidoscope of big, brassy, sexy images — tracts of open land, shiny skyscrapers, fancy cars, cowboy businessmen and the very dreamy Victoria Principal.

Read more at Time.

Don’t forget! My new blog, Living the Balanced Life is launching on Monday, November 8th! If you have ever felt overwhelmed and pulled in multiple directions, you need to come check it out!

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