Mother Nature May Be Testing Me!

 

This week was a test from Mother Nature and clearly I am not happy about it. Wisconsin has been so chilly this week. Tuesday I found myself with a sweatshirt on, windows and doors all closed, and I was shivering in my own home…..AND IT”S JUNE!!!!! Now, that is not funny!!! The worst thing came when I turned on the news and heard the southwest region like Nevada, Utah, and Arizona (my favorite states to hike) were having a record heat wave. I simply wanted to cry…..like really cry:-(

Speaking of which, I actually just told my husband I was really feeling the need to hike a mountain lately. Is that odd or what? Some days I am content with the elliptical at the gym and some days I really need to push my body just to make sure I still have what it takes to do what I love. And let’s face it, there are no mountains in Wisconsin that could even come close to one in the southwest so he knew exactly where I was going with this statement. He simply looked at me when I said this and smiled. I guess that means he is not against a possible trip but then again, I honestly still can’t decide where to go back to….Utah or Arizona. We all agree, we have unfinished business in both states so time will tell where we end up. For now, I have to concentrate on our next destination….McAfee Knob and the Shenandoah National Park. Which, rightfully so, is a mountain I plan to hike and another bucket list destination I hopefully will be able to remove from the list in the near future.

For now I guess the elliptical, kayaking, and outdoor fun will have to be enough to keep me happy. Plus, after all, eventually it will get warm again here in Wisconsin….right???? Summer did officially just begin.

Here is look at what I did to increase my body temperature to a happy degree this week:

Saturday: kayaking the Chain O Lakes….paddled and swam for 3.5 hours (if you missed it read about it here)

IMG_8286

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical

Monday: morning weights in the home gym, 1.5 mile walk with my daycare kiddos through a nearby wooded area.

Tuesday: home: morning weights

gym: 30 minute elliptical

Wednesday: morning weights in the home gym

Thursday: yoga at home

gym: 30 minute elliptical, weights, and stretching

IMG_5362

Friday: rest

After my post this past week regarding how hard it has been to remove artificial sweeteners from our daily diet, I received many questions what a daily day of food looks like for my husband. I have decided to try and document 2 days worth of food and post my findings in the near future instead of addressing each and every question. However, this may take a week or two to complete. I, for the most part, know what he eats in a day since I prepare his breakfast, pack his lunch for work daily, and dinner is eaten together. The hard part will be to remember to take a picture of the food and then find the time to write the post regarding his daily meals. Just know, I am working on it and hopefully all of you suffering with the same symptoms get as much relief as he has. Life is so much better when you feel healthy.

Have you been to either Utah or Arizona hiking?

If so, which is your favorite state?

Why?

My Definition Of A Successful Week

Ahhh, the weekend is finally here in a few short hours. Anyone else just need a weekend….I sure do.

IMG_8243

This week I really changed things up in my schedule and it has brought me some great success. For one, I began working out in the early morning in our home gym before my daycare children arrive. Summers for me are exhausting to put it mildly and by nap time I am pooped out which is normally when I would have my first workout of the day….my second being after dinner in the evenings so my husband can join me. Well, lately I have been waking up sore and quite miserable…..especially after street walking the evening before for our normal 3 miles. So Tuesday when I woke up…..I felt like &$#@, and I said to myself,”Karen, you know how to fix this…go downstairs and stretch, move, and exercise!” So I did and let me tell you…..I felt amazing the remainder of the day. And since this was such a great feeling, I did this every morning the rest of the week and have decided to continue doing so. Moving my body is always the best medicine…..how could I forget that?

IMG_6433

Speaking of street walking…..I have been walking for well over 10 years now on a very regular basis for three miles minimum. This is how I began my weight loss journey way back when and this is still what brings me the most peace. However, the past three years or so it is also what brings me the most pain in my joints. Let’s face it, I am not getting any younger and my joints are telling me this every single day.  After Monday evenings walk with my husband I was miserable and said to him that I do believe my days of black top/concrete exercise are over. Facing reality for some is difficult…..for me it’s more about feeling better than anything. I can walk forever on dirt/crushed gravel and wooded trails but give me concrete and I would have to say no if its any great distance. At this stage of life it’s more about heart health, stress relief, and staying healthy…..not about mileage. And lets face it, even though the street is very convenient, close to home, and requires no driving to get to to exercise….trails are all around us and they offer so much more than just joint pounding pain on a hard surface. A great example would be this trail on Tuesday evening….exercise, wildlife, and veggies….who could ask for anything more.

IMG_8249

IMG_8251

IMG_8255

My entire week in exercise ended up being this:

Sunday: gym workout on the elliptical

Monday: 3 mile street walk, weights in our home gym

Tuesday: 2 mile trail walk, 30 minute recumbent bike and weights in our home gym

Wednesday: weights in our home gym, 30 minute recumbent bike at home

Thursday: weights in our home gym, cut the lawn

(***I love lawn cutting but rarely get the pleasure since I work later than the rest of my family and I can’t start our lawn mower on my own. Today I got done working early…so I jumped at this chance to cut the lawn)

Friday: weights in our home gym

All in all it was a successful week. Workouts were great, body feels good, food journal is looking good, and meals were mostly spent eaten outside on our porch…..which means summer is in full swing. We even had the pleasure of sushi one evening right after a big thunderstorm. If that don’t spell summer….I don’t know what does.

IMG_8256

What’s your definition of a successful week?

How have your workouts changed over the years?

Time For A Good Ole’ Brain Dump

Where did May go? I seriously feel as if it just began and we are almost to the end, ready to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, and begin summer. I would never say I am not ready for summer but this year I have an assortment of things I want to get on the calendar but have not quite pinned any certain dates down quite yet.

A lot has been happening around here which could be adding to my craziness…..new jobs mean new schedules, new eating restrictions mean careful menu planning, a new grocery store mean a girls date night needs to be set to check this out, camping plans, kayaking/SUP plans, gym visits have been pushed aside for exercise outdoors, new summer recipes being run through in my head but rarely make it to the dinner table, and so on. Yeh, I am a bit overwhelmed….add work, sleep, and yard work to the mix and well, you could say I am a bit stressed. However, I know summer only last a few short months and when winter comes along I have all the time in the world to catch up so I have to say…..bring it on….I am so ready!

First, lets talk new job. Our son started his new job and is really enjoying it so far. You all know he is working on becoming a professional photographer and this new job is right up his alley. Yes, I am sure there will be some hiccups along the way but all in good time things will work out. And, as a bonus, we may be able to get back to river kayaking easier since he should have one day off every weekend. Without three people and two vehicles it is next to impossible to kayak a river and have a chase vehicle for the end.

New diet restrictions have come into play here when after so long and no results you start to become your own medical advocate. Two years ago after receiving a diagnosis of IBS regarding stomach issues that my husband was having and seeing no results as far as improvement, I finally did some researching myself. (Especially since you all know how I feel about the medical profession in regards to taking 3 years to find my issue when I saw numerous specialists….I no longer have a whole lot of trust in doctors.) I read numerous articles, research documents, and testimonies from patients regarding the issues artificial sweeteners added to our foods can cause a body. After some thought and label reading of some of the food my husband loves to eat…..I was mortified to say the least. I then approached him, we discussed it, and he said he would try anything, so we kicked this plan into action immediately. And now I am here to tell you that in some cases IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome) may be a definite diagnosis but in other cases it is simply a case of BS(Bull Shit)!!!! He has been on this no artificial sweetener diet for three weeks and is a completely different person!!!!! He has lost so much belly bloat it is amazing…..I wish we would have measured his stomach before this all took place since it’s simply unbelievable. We are trying to figure out how his work travel will allow this type of diet since eating out is sometimes a challenge but I am confident we nailed this one and he is on his way to feeling better once again. If you have been diagnoses with IBS and are not seeing your symptoms improve with diet and/or medication….give this a try….you may be happily surprised. He sure was and he has even started enjoying some of the foods that use to almost kill him like sprouts again.

IMG_7785

Now, this has me so completely excited it is really quite funny when you think about it…..we are getting a new grocery store here in my hometown. Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market is a natural and organic grocery store and apparently it is coming here and is almost ready to open. I know….how did I not know this??? Well, for #1. I do not travel on Oneida St. unless I have to which is where this is opening and #2. I do not follow events that happen here in Green Bay since I rarely stay in Green Bay to do anything I consider fun. Which will then make you ask…then how did I hear about it? I actually had to travel Oneida Street one evening and my goodness, there are like three new restaurants, this new grocery store, and a few new clothing/shoe venues I had no idea where even being built much less already opened. It’s very touristy(which I tend to avoid) in this area but I will be one of the first to brave the crowds in July to check this grocery store out. We have even already tossed out a girls night suggestion to check it out all together….I will let you all know what I think when it opens. Until then….have you ever been to one yourself…..tell me what you think?

Outdoor exercise has completely taken over our lives and I have not been to the gym on a regular basis in weeks. Here and there is the best I can do since it’s time to start making paddling weekend plans, SUP plans, and I am hiking every chance I get. I am always ok with this since the membership is super cheap and I spend all of winter in the gym. Which means, come summer I have no guilt what so ever about missing gym workouts. Besides the outdoors has so much more to offer.

IMG_7625

IMG_7800

IMG_7795

IMG_7798

I have so many summer time recipes floating around in my head its ridiculous. However, getting them to the dinner table is somewhat of a challenge since I spend most of my days outside with my daycare children and most of my weekends away from home having some fun of my own. Although, once in a while it rains and this gives me time to actually prepare some of these recipes floating up there in my head. Recently, I made an orzo pasta salad with wild picked asparagus(thank you honey), kalamata olives, feta cheese, garlic, and smoked salmon. Then I whipped up a quick lemon-dill vinaigrette to drizzle over this. Oh yum, it was a keeper for sure.

IMG_7803

IMG_7808

That should do it for now. Anything you are excited about you wish to share? Leave a comment as I would love to hear it.

 

Trading The Gym For The Outdoors

Lately, I find myself choosing the outdoors over the gym to get my daily workouts. As the seasons change I typically find this to be what happens, although this year it seems earlier than most for this to be happening.

I am not, by any means, a gym die hard. I do, however, like to keep a routine and try and make it there at least twice during week and twice on the weekends in the winter months. The remainder of the time I just find it more convenient to workout at home. When winter comes to an end, I still try and make it there twice during the week but weekends often are spent outside instead.

IMG_6433

That being said, I can’t help but struggle during the week with going to the gym when the sun is shining and there is so much to be offered outside to get in a great workout. Which means some weeks I don’t make it to the gym at all.

For one, I love to do yoga, weights, and stretching in nearby parks. Find a back corner where there is peace and quiet and you can really clear your mind and get in a good sweat.

IMG_4318

As a family we have come to love disc golf. It’s challenging, it’s often a nice walk through a wooded park, and offers fun while your exercising and you often don’t even realize it.

IMG_4984

You all know if I had to choose a great hike over a visit to the gym….the hike would win every time. Here in the midwest, hiking season is short so I take advantage of every chance I get to log trail miles. Granted, I don’t get to work every muscle group I could be working at the gym….however, hiking is one activity that’s truly brings me peace and let’s me know that I can literally walk away from life for a short amount of time. On the trail I can just let everything go.

IMG_4927

IMG_7394

IMG_7412

Once summer arrives in full force, our paddles come out, get dusted off, and the water calls my name every weekend and even some week nights. From kayaking to paddle boarding, I often struggle with which one to do on which weekend. I know right….what a hard decision to have to make. Believe me…..it really is sometimes.

IMG_5053

IMG_1651

During the months of June,July, and August I will be very lucky to touch foot in the gym even once. Weekends are jam packed with summer fun and week days are also jammed packed with other types of summer fun while I work. Caring for children during the days in the summer months is twice as exhausting as in the winter months for me. Winter offers the same activities in rotation. Summer, however, leads to all sorts of summer fun….especially when my husband and son are also home to join in the action. Things such as water balloon fights and critter hunting always add to the fun of summer.

IMG_1228

IMG_5311

Do you prefer to spend time exercising outdoors or inside?

What’s you favorite outdoor exercise?

A Great Ending To Finish Off The Week….Minus One Snake

Strange week for me for sure. All the stars aligned and left me with Friday off….super cool in every way possible. So what did I do, well, I do what I always do, I went and had the best sweat session ever in the wee morning hours at the gym Friday morning. You all know I LOVE to work out in the morning and it leaves me with SO MUCH ENERGY the rest of the day it’s crazy. After this I came home, showered, and surprised my husband by freeing up Friday night by going grocery shopping during the day instead of the evening as we always do. I even made a trip to Aldi’s here in Green Bay. Someplace I really need to visit more often but just never do and it’s a shame. I could save so much money I know, but I dislike their hours and I can’t get everything I need there either.  So to normally shop two grocery stores would be a huge hassle for me.

My knee is back to almost 100% so it was back to full workouts all week. It was a bit of a crazy week with my husbands birthday one day which meant we were gone out one evening.  One day we had gorgeous spring like weather which we spent all day outside enjoying, doing yard work and taking walks. Which then left me completely exhausted come evening time. Just how I love feeling after a great day outdoors.So my workouts were all over the place but I still fit it what I could.

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and legs

Monday: home:1 mile walk with my kiddos, 30 minute recumbent bike, total body weights, 3 mile evening walk with my hubby

Tuesday: 2 mile walk and a lot of yard work

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike, arms and shoulder weights, stretching

Friday: gym: 45 minute elliptical, TRX suspension trainer, and stretching

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and stretching

outdoors: 3.1 mile hike

Ending the week with an nice spring mud hike through an area waterfowl preserve near us. I love this place, they have so many gorgeous hiking trails and its minutes from our home.

IMG_7279

The true sign for me that spring has arrived is these slithery creatures start making a comeback. Going into the hike I figured it was still way to early to see any….apparently I was wrong. We came across this one just off the trail….and he was not moving all that quickly since it was still cold so I actually calmed myself(and used my zoom) to capture my first ever living snake picture.

IMG_7281

Active Lifestyle+Age=Aches and Pains

You can eat right, exercise, and drink all the water you want but sometimes your body just says….ENOUGH! If you’ve been noticing on these weekly posts regarding what I have done for workouts each week I have been adding a lot more stretching to try an alleviate some aches and pains I have been having. Well, it’s not working and I came to the conclusion that maybe I just need to give my joints a break. More precisely, I need to give my knees and ankles a break. Yes, I know they have never been strong especially my ankles, but recently I have had a sore knee. It plagues me most when going up steps and seems very weak and unstable. So before I do real damage, which hopefully I have not already done, I made a deal that I would take it easy for a week and see what happens. I made this deal with myself Monday evening after my 3 mile walk when I was miserable after I finally arrived home. So here is a look at my easy exercise week….which was not so easy mentally but needed.

Sunday: 3 mile trail hike

Monday: home: 1 mile walk with my kiddos, full body weight workout and 3 mile evening walk

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: upper body weights in laying/sitting position and rowing

Thursday: upper body weights and rowing+ 1.5 mile slow walk on level ground since my knee seemed to be feeling better today I thought I would give a slow walk a try. No pain during or after so I am hoping that it’s on the mend

Friday: rest

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical

Not a week I was hoping for but it is what it is. I am trying to learn to listen to my body but at the same time I also know moving helps my body feel better. So it’s a double edge sword at times. In my heart I know walking on pavement, black top, and cement gives me pain. However, dirt trails are not always close by or time prevents me from making the trip to one so I settle for this alternative. Lately, with the snow and ice gone, I have been spending much more time on hard surfaces and I am hoping this is what is causing my joint issues. Time will tell…

 

Moods and Tantrums!!!!

An hour of extra daylight every day was the bright spot of my work week, there is no doubt about that. Wow, how can children be so thrown off by one hour I will never know but they clearly are? This week has been a roller coaster ride of moods and tantrums!!!!

Which made exercising as a stress reliever almost impossible since no one was completely on schedule. Which then means my poor husband and son had to put up with a cranky wife and mother most evenings. Poor guys.So without making more out of it then it really is, here is what I did squeeze in this week for my health and well being.

Sunday: rest

Monday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike, total body weights, and a two mile mall lap walk since we had to go anyhow for a wedding gift.

Tuesday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, leg weights, and stretching

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike, full body weight workout, stretching and foam rolling

evening: 3 mile trail walk to watch the sunset

IMG_7185

Friday: home: full body weights workout

Saturday: 1.5 mile evening walk….since we left home at 5a.m. for a day of fun I just could not find it in my heart to get up any earlier and go to the gym before we left.