Thursday, February 12, 2015

Food, Glorious Food

 I love to eat.  A lot.  Co-workers have always known they could come to me when they were hungry and needed a snack, because they had seen my "pantry", where I kept a stash of food in my desk.  Someone forgot to pack a lunch?  No problem.  Melissa has soup and Cheez-Its, cookies, snack cakes, popcorn, and who knows what else.  Plus all the processed stuff in the freezer.  Ugh.  I'm embarrassed to admit that there have been times when I have gone days without a single real serving of vegetables, and probably very little real fruit, either.  Shameful! 

I've made several attempts throughout the years to "get in shape" and to be healthier, but I always end up sliding back into my old habits and ending up right where I started, if not worse. I knew of course that I needed to eat "healthy" too, and not just exercise, but I just couldn't quite grasp what that truly meant.  So much that I thought was healthy, wasn't. Quite a lot of it shouldn't even be called food! And apparently I thought I could eat some healthy food, some crappy (okay, a lot) food, and do some mediocre exercise on a "regular" basis, and that would be enough to get a rockin' bod and be healthy. Turns out it's not that easy.  It's true what they say; you can't outrun or out-exercise a bad diet.

Last year something clicked and I finally realized how bad my diet was and determined that I would give up sugar.  I did amazingly well for almost two months, and I felt great.  I was shedding weight almost effortlessly.  It was amazing!  It was a lot of work for someone who was used to the heavy convenience afforded by highly processed foods and take out.  I had to plan meals out in advance, do my grocery shopping more thoughtfully, and do so much prep for snacks and lunches for work.  Do I think it was worth it?  Definitely! Unfortunately, I have a lot of triggers that lure me to junky food, and one weekend I fell off the wagon and then tumbled down a very steep hill into what I like to call my "food rebellion".  I never quite recovered and am now trying one more time to get my diet in check.  I'm sure it will be a little bit easier this time since I have a better idea of what I'll be up against, what my trickiest triggers are, AND I know some of the great benefits I'll be reaping.  Not just things I've read about or heard about, but benefits I've already experienced once before.  I learned things about my past mistakes and failures, so I'll be better equipped to handle this round.  I even know that if I fail again, I'll just get back up again and keep on trying.  

I have nephews and a niece.  I'd like to be able to hang out with them doing healthy, active things, not just on the couch watching TV or playing video games.  I've always been a big fan of Frisbee.  It would be nice to be able to play that the way I used to!

Have a fun and playful day!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Well, That's Not a Good Sign.

Start a new blog, make two measly posts, and promptly forget about it. Not how it's supposed to be done, I hear. :)

I wish I could say it's because I've been too busy, off on amazing fitness-inducing adventures. Alas, no. But I have been reading about, and dreaming about, and mentally planning some fun things! Oh, how I love YouTube - the home of so many videos that allow me to live vicariously through others, while telling myself, "Hey! Maybe I could do that, too!" I'm looking at you, people who make Mahoosuc Notch look easy.  Like Will Wood, AKA Red Beard.  Check out his YouTube channel.  He has tons of great vidoes! Here is his video for his climb through Mahoosuc Notch on the Appalachian Trail. It's sometimes known as the hardest mile on the AT.

Mahoosuc Notch. There's a trail in here somewhere. No, really.

But remember when I said mentally planning? My inner camping and hiking child has been awoken in the past couple of years, and I've been longing to get out in the woods, in the hills, and get trekking. Our annual family vacation was always spent in the North Carolina mountains - camping, hiking, and backpacking. I no longer have any gear, so I'm starting from scratch. I do still have my own two feet, though, so I can at least start walking! I live at the beach, with no hills to speak of, so it will be a bit tricky to prepare for the mountains, but at least I can trudge through some dry, squishy sand. That's got to count for something! Walking around my neighborhood, and even the beach, can get boring, though. But when I think of it as preparation for hiking or backpacking, all of a sudden it's a lot more fun! Tourist season is over now, so I can get a good portion of the beach practically to myself, and this refreshingly cool weather is great incentive to get out there. Bring it on!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Hate the Word "Diet"

The word "diet" according to Merriam-Webster means:
a :  food and drink regularly provided or consumed
b :  habitual nourishment
c :  the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
d :  a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight <going on a diet>
Both a and b above are the way I use the word, but it seems the general population has come to think of a diet as something restrictive, used only to lose weight, preferably as quickly as possible.  As in crash diet, fad diet, cabbage soup diet, Twinkie diet, cookie diet, and whatever other ridiculous, gimmicky eating plan someone can come up with next. I cringe every time I try to use the word to describe my eating lifestyle, because I always feel the need to follow it up with a disclaimer that I don't mean some temporary scheme to shed weight quickly so I can reach a goal weight and then revert back to eating whatever got me overweight in the first place.  I feel like I need to justify that I mean a (hopefully) permanent lifestyle change to the foods I eat on a regular basis.  
A permanent, life-long diet is attainable, sustainable, and enjoyable.  The fad diets and crash diets are difficult, unsustainable, and often dangerous.  Temporary diets lead to temporary results, and in many cases the dieter ends up gaining back all the weight they lost, and more.  And guess what? Fad diets are not FUN.  And at Playing with Fitness, we are all about a healthy lifestyle that is still fun.  I don't want my diet (attempt to resist temptation to define word now) to feel like a list of foods I "can't" have.  It's not about the forbidden fruit.  It's about the many alternate options - wonderful, delicious, nutritious foods that taste good (they really do!) and are good for me.  The foods that make me feel good and look good.  
Now looking good and feeling good?  That's my kind of fun.  Have a playful, healthy day! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Playing With Fitness - About Us

Welcome to Playing with Fitness! We are Caitlin and Melissa, two women in our 30s who are doing our best to improve our health and fitness.  We are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, and looking and feeling like slugs.  So we are motivating each other to eat real, healthy food; to get in better shape; and most importantly, to have FUN while doing it! We are starting this blog as a journal to keep track of our successes and failures, and to hopefully find a way to motivate and encourage anyone else who happens to stumble across this blog.  Eating right and being active are so important, but knowing what we SHOULD do doesn’t always mean we can get out of our own way long enough to actually DO it.  There is something about sharing the process with someone else, teaching others what we learn , and supporting someone else in their journey that suddenly makes our own efforts seem so much easier to bear.

And let’s be honest.  As adults, we rarely take the opportunity to engage in good, clean play.  There are always chores to be done, errands to run, and work to do.  Play time and relaxation have turned into slumping on the couch, watching TV, while mindlessly stuffing our faces with unhealthy junk that the food industry tries to pass off as food.  We want to show ourselves and everyone else that eating right, exercising, and being healthy can be fun.  It doesn’t have to be a chore, or something we dread.  It should be something we look forward to – fun, active play or delicious, healthy meals.  And just think how much more enjoyable life can be when we are taking care of ourselves! No more missing out because we don’t have the energy or the strength to do things, whether it’s surfing, playing tennis, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or completing a marathon or triathlon.  When we supply our bodies with the nutrients that it needs through a healthy diet, and keep our bodies active through exercise and active play, we develop more than just strength and stamina – we earn a sort of confidence in our abilities that we wouldn’t have otherwise.  Instead of saying, “Oh, that looks fun.  But I could never do that!” we starting saying, “Oh, I can’t wait to try that!” We could all use an opportunity to let loose and act like a kid again.

Plus we’ll look better naked.  How’s THAT for motivation.