Writing It Down Helps Me Stay Accountable

After lasts weeks events that I would rather forget than rehash here for you all, I knew I somehow just needed to get to the gym and have a good ole “sweat it out” session in my zone. From Sunday to Thursday it was chaos….literally, not a day went by without some issue that needed attention. By Thursday evening I was on brain overload and just needed to walk away and let everything be what it was meant to be. I told my husband I was going to the gym one way or another and just needed my hour of physical release.

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After I finished working out, I felt amaaaazzziiinnnggg!!!! I know exercise is my cure all for stress. I just wish there was more time in a day, less chores that needed to be done, and more energy in my body after a long day. Which made me think back when I would write out my weekly workout plan. For some reason, when its written I seem to follow it. When I think it…sometimes things come up and I remember I had intended on exercising but forgot until I was physically done for the day. Maybe it’s like a food journal….when you write down everything you eat sometimes you wonder….wow, did I really need that handful of candy, maybe that extra piece of pizza, and so on.

So, not so much for all of you but more for myself, (since this blog is sort of a  journal of our life that I hope to look back on someday) I have decided to write out my weekly workout plan which I hope will help me stay focused and follow throughout the week.

Sundays is when I plan to post the upcoming weeks plan. Now maybe you will find this inspirational  and maybe you will find this not worth reading at all. However, sometimes we all need to do something for ourselves that we know works and will help keep us on the right track. So I apologize if it is of no interest to you but if it is, I hope you find it inspirational and maybe motivating.

With no further explanation needed…..here is what the week ahead looks like:

Sunday: gym/weights/walk

Monday: off…evening appt. to attend

Tuesday:steps/walk

Wednesday:gym/weights

Thursday:walk

Friday: off

Saturday: gym/steps

My hope is to attend the gym at least three times a week. Although, I will admit, it may be mostly on the weekends. Our gym is under major construction right now and the weekends are much quieter than the weekdays. And don’t forget we are in the middle of training for our trip so we need to fit in mileage and stair climbing also.

Uggg, it simply sounds exhausting but that is exactly why I am writing it down since I know it helps me stay accountable.

Wish me luck….Off to the gym I go

 

 

 

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Summer In My Eyes Means…..

Summer means something different for everyone. For me, it the BEST season ever. That being said, there are very clear signs that tell me when summer has arrived, officially or unofficially.

There are always a pile of shoes outside my patio door to trip on.

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We have sunscreen and bug spray in every vehicle we own.

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Our summers are very colorful and sometimes very expensive.

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Dinners outside are a daily thing.

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I spend 8-9 hours of my day in this area during the week. A place that we don’t get to enjoy half the year….our backyard.

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I bid farewell to the gym and do most of my workouts outside. I will, however, make the occasional stop in at the gym if the weather is not favorable for outside exercise.

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My husband always picks my favorite flower and brings them inside so my house smells like lilacs.

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Fresh veggies are abundant

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There is never enough hours in a weekend to fit all our favorite things in.

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And my clothes lines are always covered in Turkish beach towels.

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What is your favorite part of summer? (mine is tank tops and shorts)

What is your least favorite part of summer? (mine is that is has to end so quickly)

 

 

 

Let’s Chat Over Coffee….Wine….Tea…..

Let’s chat over a beverage of your choice, shall we? For me I think wine would be a good choice today. I have a bunch of random things running through my head lately that maybe getting them out may help me organize my thoughts. So here we go…

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This has been quite the year so far for our family. I, for one, feel as if summer is dragging it’s feet getting here and clearly, it’s affecting my motivation. For some reason I just cannot decide where to visit, what to do, or when to do it this coming summer. Typically I have my campsites arranged, dates chosen, and for the most part, plans made. This year however, I have NONE…..ZILCH!

Onto exercise, I have one word to explain this….FRUSTRATING! I am still so limited to what I can do, much less what I am allowed to do that it is driving me bonkers. I love walking and hiking but I feel as if it’s just not giving me the results I need. I feel so weak and that I have lost so much strength since surgery back in January that I want to start back weight lifting and doing ab work. However, my weight restriction is still limited and I am not allowed ab work for quite sometime yet. I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to things like this, so to say it seems to be taking forever, is honestly putting it mildly.

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Another item on my to do list in my own head is what to do for my husbands birthday which is right around the corner. I always struggle with this. I have an idea but to make this happen depends on one major element (Mother Nature) and that doesn’t always work so well so I feel pressured to at least have a backup plan.

Here is something that has amazed me recently. I did not talk about it much on here but for the past few years I have suffered from what my doctors have diagnosed as hypoglycemia. Well, much like many of the things I was dealing with on a daily basis, this too has seemed to disappear with my recent tumor removal. I thought at first it was because I was not exercising at all. Although, now I am exercising again and have shown no symptoms what so ever. This is a wonderful thing simply because now when I need to leave home, want to go to the gym or simply just want to go for a walk, I don’t have to look at the clock and try and remember when I last ate something and then calculate how long I have before I start having symptoms of low blood sugar. I can simply go back to eating when I am hungry instead of when I need to eat for blood sugar control. This is awesome!!!

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That’s it for me today. Ahhh, I feel a bit better getting some of that off my chest. Now if I could just get it out of my thoughts, life would be even better.

 

 

 

Update….Trying To Get My Stamina Back

Stamina in definition says this: the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort.

This is what I have trying very hard to accomplish the last week. Not so much the mental effort as much as the physical effort. I make these small goals for myself every time I start something physical. Sometimes my body says yes and sometimes its screams NOOOOOOO! And the way it screams no is by inducing pain which then leads me to stop immediately. Although, for just short of four weeks post op, I am happy with where I am for the most part. Let’s take a look at what I have been up to the last two weeks.

Besides trying to build up stamina, I have finally started driving again after three long weeks. Not like I had anywhere important to go or felt like going anywhere for that matter during those three weeks. However, now that I am feeling better and I am in minimal pain, I have been getting out and walking the mall during the days. I am not yet up to my normal four laps but I am only one lap short of that at this point.

Speaking of walking, let me share with all of you this love/hate relationship I have with what is called an abdominal binder.

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I don’t remember a great deal of the recovery room after surgery but I clearly remember waking up feeling like I was being strangled to death by something wrapped way too tight around my stomach. I begged the recovery nurse to remove whatever this was(I could not see it because I was not able to raise my own head off the pillow). After sometime she did loosen it and I was a bit happier but I still felt like I could not breathe. So being medicated to the extreme, I tried removing it myself which eventually led to her taking it off completely……ah relief! Until the day I was discharged and it made a comeback with orders it needed to worn home and if I was up and around for any amount of time it had to be on. Ugggg, this did not thrill me at all. Well, today my feelings for this contraption have changed. I love it for walking since it allows me to walk farther before I have pain. With the abdominal binder I am up to 2.5 miles/ without the binder only .5 mile. Sleeping with it is horrible! I have since stopped wearing it to bed now that I can turn over and get up alone. Sitting with it is a pain in the ribs….literally. When I sit, it pushes up and smashes into my rib cage no matter how tight I wear it. So unless I know I will be walking for a long distance I don’t wear it for a quick meal out or a fast trip to the store. So right now, as it seems, it has made the packing list for our upcoming trip to hopefully assist in allowing me to hike a bit here and there. I am still not sure how much hiking we will even attempt being my condition and the stage of my recovery. However, I do know that without this abdominal binder being worn, there would be no reason to even bring my hiking boots along.

Which also meant, now that I am feeling able to get around some, I needed to go shopping and find some new pants. Yes, you would think I would have a smaller stomach without the pineapple sized tumor inside me anymore…..however, that is not quite the case. I still have swelling after I am up for more than an hour that is quite amazing even to me. And then when I need to wear the abdominal binder, that takes up room in my pants also. And let’s lust say after trying on my jeans a few days ago, until my incision is a bit more healed, I will be wearing no denim for awhile. Stretchy is the key to wearing pants. So shopping I went and found a few more yoga leggings to rotate into my daily attire. Yoga pants are great really, you can dress them up or down and you still feel like you are wearing pajamas. IMG_3370

I am happy to say I have started making meals again here and there. It was a challenge to stand long enough to prepare anything the first few weeks. So easy and fast was the key. I did make baked chicken with veggies one night which really helped saved my husband more work. IMG_3354

And I did accomplish a pot of soup one afternoon. Other than that, I have not spent much time in the kitchen. My meals have mostly all been prepared for me and served with loving touches like flowers made out of carrots and garlic(which I love).

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I have had all my daycare families stop in to visit and brighten my days with glitter flowers, smiles and hugs which I miss so much. I wish I could say I am ready to have them all back but I am just not quite ready yet. Lifting is painful and that is a main part of what I do.

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For now, I have a few more weeks off, a doctor appointment that hopefully has all good news, and a trip to have fun in the sun and maybe on the trail coming up. Before all this takes place, I need to keep walking and working on my stamina, which some days is better than others. All in good time they all tell me, so I am doing my best to not over do it and let it happen when it happens.

 

Wildlife and Workouts

I feel like life is finally back on track after all the holiday togetherness. No more days off for awhile now, no more parties to attend and sadly no more dirt trails to hike either.

After the first big snow storm of the year happened here a few days ago our trails have a nice layer of packed, slippery snow covering them. Which means my outside life has come to a screaming halt, to put it mildly. Although, after spending a few days wallowing in self pity, enough was enough and I had to bite the bullet and get outside. So my husband and I ventured to a nearby nature sanctuary on a sunny afternoon to have some fun. IMG_3242 IMG_3263 We walked around the sanctuary, fed the geese and ducks some corn, and just enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. It was nice to get out for a bit and enjoy some time together.  IMG_3252

Besides our little venture out into the outdoors I have to be honest, that is about all I did outside all week. As sad as that is…it’s reality for me for the next few months. Which means it’s time to move on to a happier topic…..workouts:-)

Workouts this week have been CRAZY!!!!!!! Our gym is over flowing with new members with new years resolutions to achieve. With that being said, I was extremely happy to have come up with three new routines for weight lifting at home. This meant, at the very least if I could just get in my cardio at the gym I would be happy. Plus, we started walking at the mall….something we put off until it’s absolutely necessary. However, as bummed as I am about this, at least we made it until after the holidays so the crowds are now tolerable.

Here is what I did for workouts this week:

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, rowing and abs

Sunday: rest

Monday: home: weight lifting routine 30 minutes, recumbent bike 30 minutes

mall: 3 mile walk

Tuesday: home: weight lifting routine 30 minutes

gym: 30 minute elliptical

Wednesday: home: legs and core workout

Thursday: home: recumbent bike for 30 minutes

mall: 3 mile walk

Friday: home: weight lifting routine

My hope for the weekend is to make it to the gym both Saturday and Sunday. Maybe with a little luck it will not be too busy and I can get in a full workout.

Have a great weekend……

 

 

 

Looking Back At 2015

About this time every year I find myself looking back at the year and like many of you, looking forward to the next year to come. 2015 for our family was not a typical year, from beginning to end, it seemed to challenge our strength as a family both mentally and physically. However, I will say, I do feel like we won this battle and came through it pretty well.

Take a look back with me,

January 2015

I experienced my first dislocated rib while working out and preparing for our rock scrambling vacation in February. Very painful!!!

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February 2015

Our rock scrambling vacation we had prepared for for months was suddenly cancelled due to a major snow storm and no flights were coming or going. We were completely disgusted for weeks….

March 2015

I celebrated a birthday this month with a venture out of the house and some first steps of the year on a muddy trail.

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April 2015

I finally decided to see a doctor for a sore foot I had been having for a few months. After testing and imaging I found out I had torn two tendons in my ankle. Which resulted in some new footwear for weeks.

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On the brighter side, my husband picked up his brand new Jackson kayak this month.

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May 2015

After 6 weeks in that orthopedic boot I thought I was going to go see my doctor and he would say everything looks good and I could remove it. Well, that was not quite what I heard from him. He said I still had two weeks to go, but now I could do anything I wanted to do as long as I wore the boot. I took that line,”anything I want” very seriously and left two days later for a hiking trip to our favorite WI state park. Thanks to my husband and son, I made it to the top of the bluff and back down again with that horrendous contraption on my leg. Let me tell you, IT WAS NOT EASY BUT I (we) DID IT!

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June 2015

I finally was able to remove my ortho boot and what happens next…..my husband suffers a sudden back injury that literally changes our entire summer outlook. After a day of lake kayaking and standup paddling where we were rained on all day, we returned home that night with him feeling pain in his leg.

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After numerous tests, doctors, and images, we had a diagnosis that we were hoping not to hear. Next would be physical therapy for weeks, a lifting restriction for quite sometime, and learning how to do things differently for the rest of his life. This took some soul searching and a lot of praying that he could eventually recover enough to continue doing what we love to do again.

July 2015

This month was the start of a few months of physical therapy which we all tried helping with. He did seek professional help for awhile but after some time his neurologist thought he could accomplish more on his own. Most people need a therapist because they are so inactive that they don’t know where to start. We, however, are very active and just needed to know the basics of what would give him the biggest benefits toward his recovery. We found all sorts of ways to do physical therapy.

TENS Therapy: IMG_1701

Stretching:  IMG_1732

Water Therapy:  IMG_1741

Inversion Therapy:  IMG_1749

Resistance Bands:

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Walking:

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August 2015

After all that therapy he was given the ok to go on our planned family vacation which just so happened to be hiking in the desert southwest in extreme heat and with extreme elevation. He was limited on backpack weight and was not allowed to even touch our luggage but could hike as far as his body allowed him to hike(as the doctor kindly stated). So we did. And it turned out spectacular!

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September 2015

We returned from vacation, rested up for two weeks and hit the trail again, only a little closer to home this time. We headed to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and hiked the Chapel Loop together….10.6 miles in a day.  IMG_2530

He was still feeling some discomfort but by now we had learned how to deal with any pain he was having. We would rest when the pain started or soaking his foot in cold water was also a nice way to help decrease his discomfort.  IMG_1798  IMG_2661

I also got away in September for a girls day to Cranberry Fest. We had a blast!

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October 2015

October is when we celebrated our 22nd. wedding anniversary. We did this with a overnight trip to Sister Bay, WI at the Birchwood Lodge.

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November 2015

The beginning of this month we found ourselves, yet again, among numerous medical professionals supporting my father-in-law with a major surgery.

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Also this month my husband and I went on a shopping trip to my all time favorite city….Schaumburg, Illinois. I begged him to join me last year and he agreed. This year he offered to join me since we had so much fun last time. I think I may have a shopping partner (package carrier) for life:) Whoo Hoooo!  IMG_2888

December 2015

As predicted by weather forecasters, it had been a pleasant December. One of the best ways for me to celebrate a no snow December is to continue hiking which is exactly what we did. Here is where we spent Christmas Day as a family with sun in our eyes and doing what we love…..hiking.

(photo courtesy of our son, Quade Byrnes)

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So there you have it. Our year from start to finish. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride this year. Among so may other exciting things that have happened throughout the year, I am happy to see this year is now behind us.

My hopes for next year, of course, are to continue to stay healthy. We miss our kayaks severely, have not touched a golf disc in months, and are very excited to be traveling more in the upcoming months.

 

 

 

Home Gym’s Don’t Have To Be Expensive

Let’s talk about home gyms today. With the new year right around the corner we all know that means exercise equipment will be going on sale, gyms will be crowded with January Joiners (as we label them) and diet remedies will be all over social media.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love inspiring people to exercise, lose weight and to get healthy. Although, many who start this journey fall off the wagon before real progress can be seen much less felt physically and this frustrates me. You cannot take a pill that promises you weight loss of this many pounds in this many weeks and expect to keep it off forever without some “work”. And you cannot expect that “work” to feel fantastic at first, which is why professionals will tell you to start off slow and work your way up. The one thing you can count on is that the “work” you do will eventually lead to a healthier you and that is what should keep you coming back for more.

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When I began my healthy journey…..years ago….I started at home. And I started with one item, a used recumbent bike my mother used for therapy after a knee surgery. I clearly remember that first time, in my mind I was going to ride that bike for 10 minutes. It’s 10 minutes, how hard can that be? Well, it was hard…..VERY HARD! I was completely ashamed that I could not ride a stationary bike for 10 minutes. However, each day it got easier and I found my body craving more activity which is when I began adding to my home gym.

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Granted, we are not wealthy and I could not just go out and purchase anything and everything. So I started slow and used what I could to substitute some items. I started with light weights and a stability ball. Both of which I found at a local garage sale. Then I added a weight system that I asked for from my entire family for my birthday one year. Little by little I accumulated what I now consider my home gym. And to this day I add at least one or two pieces to it every year. That is not to say, some things I have bought and sold after finding they were just not what I was looking for.(Treadmill=dreadmill…sold to the highest bidder) I also owned a rowing machine that I sold and wish I wouldn’t have. In the last 12 years, I have since replaced my original used recumbent bike for a replacement. I have used my husbands mechanical abilities and had him make me a weighted pole instead of paying money for one. And I have asked my family every year for workout equipment for Christmas that they have no clue how to use. Which leaves me with enough variety to change up my home routine whenever I feel the need for change.

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However, you do not need all these items to exercise at home. Here is a prime example: I recently was talking with a friend of mine who, about one year ago, finally decided to give a public gym a try and has since fell in love with exercise. Forever she thought I was crazy for craving exercise to keep my mental and physical health in check, and now she is just as crazy. Anyhow, while we were talking she was telling me that she had taken the week off of working out since she had strained her back moving some furniture. After asking her how she was now feeling and if she was going to start back at her workouts she chuckled and told me she could not wait to go after work on this day. She even told me that Saturday while doing some laundry she took two new mega bottles of laundry soap and did some weight lifting with them while in her basement. I just laughed and thought back to all the strange things I used when I first started out.

So if you are planning on making a resolution of getting healthy and starting an exercise routine, first check with your doctor. After that remember, start out slow, have a plan of attack, and don’t think you need a ton a money to get healthy. With just a few items you can be moving toward a happier, healthier you.