Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

November 22, 2014

My Changing Ways

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 2:24 pm
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It has been a year since I made a new committment to changing my body, my health, myself. I announced it in this blog post. I did a few updates about how things are going throughout the year. You can see those posts, if you are interested, here, here and here.

By the numbers, I am about 25 pounds lighter than the heaviest weight I’ve ever been in my life that was not due to pregnancy, and I am wearing clothing sizes that are 2-3 sizes smaller than the size I figured I’d be wearing for the rest of my life. But this is about so much more than numbers. I feel so much better about myself in many ways. I have more energy when I get up in the morning. I truly don’t remember the last time I felt sick. My frequent headaches of the past are for the most part distant memories. I feel confident when I walk into a room. I enjoy going shopping for clothes and trying them on.

I’ve moved through new levels of exercise over the course of the year. I started out last year with trying to make exercise a habit rather than a second thought. I worked through Rockin’ Body by Shaun T and several Jillian Michaels videos. I discovered I liked the way Shaun T’s Focus 25 fit into my life and gave me results I could see. I recently started the 3rd level of T25 known as “Gamma”, which includes lots of weight lifting.
Gamma

My tastes have changed too over the course of this year. I’ve lost many cravings for the not-so-good-for-me foods and learned to enjoy foods that I would not have bothered with in the past. I never want “fast food” anymore and I can’t tolerate the sicky-sweet way I used to drink coffee. Eggs are a regular part of my diet, as are homemade protein shakes, for examples. And I don’t feel deprived either. One day a week I have a “treat day” and eat whatever I feel like; it is good both psychologically and physically. I am eating well and I don’t count calories.

Here’s a look photographically at my progress.

The only pictures of me from approximately 1 year ago are all bundled up, understandable since it is November, so I went back to Meghan’s graduation in June of 2013 to find a full-length shot of how I was looking when all this began.
mom n grad

A little closer to a year ago, Halloween Murder Mystery party 2013:
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April of this year:
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June:
Our crew

July:
10473188_827759213901493_3187402494947345880_n

Last month:
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My journey continues.

ETA: When I first posted this yesterday, I included two small photos of myself, post-workout. I am dressed in a sports top and shorts, posing to try to accentuate the muscles I’m starting to build. I hemmed and hawed a bit about it. Then I came back again last night and deleted them, feeling like maybe posting something like that could be construed as somehow inappropriate. If you choose to comment, could you tell me your opinion of posting such pictures?

ETA (2) Okay, the pictures are back. We will see for how long 😉
photo (5)photo (6)

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November 16, 2014

More “-ings” of Life These Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:21 am
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Back in the summer time (*sigh* it seems so very far away right now), I wrote a post called “The -ings of getting ready for vacation”. I’ve got more “ings” to share with you, of the things that are occupying my days 3 months later.

Screenshot (1)
Data entering
This is the reality of education today. Government requires the collection of data to make sure that we teachers are doing our job and making sure the students are getting the common core standards. This is a screenshot showing a sample of the 1100 pieces of data I needed to enter into a program that analyzes such data.

Papers to correct
Paper correcting
I’m teaching operations with fractions these days – adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

Thinking of the future
Preparing
I really do love my current teaching position. It will be difficult when January 20th arrives and I have to hand it over to the permanant teacher. I’m planning to take the middle school math MTEL to add a math grades 5-9 certification to my other licenses and hopefully make myself more marketable as a teacher in the future.

Asian pear
Discovering
A pear for the teacher? Yup. I’m continuing on my path of better eating and fitness. I find myself scouring fresh and whole food style markets looking for different foods to enjoy. Last week I found these really delicious Asian pears that have a creamy vanilla flavor to them.

New weights
Lifting
I’ve added heavier and more frequent weight lifting to my fitness regime. That is a 15 pound kettle bell in the background, and 8 pound dumbbells in the front. The one year anniversary of my new commitment to fitness is approaching in a few days, and I am hoping to share a 1 year retrospective with you on that date.

The end of the year is rapidly approaching. Many other “ings” will soon be occupying my time and probably yours too: raking, shopping, cooking, eating, celebrating. Any “ings” that you are especially looking forward to?

March 30, 2014

Rain, rain… well, it’s better than snow!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:25 am
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Rainy day

The rain started yesterday afternoon and is forecast to continue all day today. I could complain, but I won’t. After all, it could be snow, right? Most of the snow, except for a few patches here and there, has finally melted. Oh and except for this snow too:
Collapsed pool
Yeah, did I mention my pool kind of collapsed this winter? Yes, that same pool that I had all those issues with last summer? The pool that I maimed my poor foot in while putting in a brand new liner? All for naught – now we need a brand new pool. Sigh. I’m hoping we can find someone to afford-ably install one for us this spring. I really have no interest in doing this job again. Hubby and I have done this several times and it is not an enjoyable project.

Here’s a more enjoyable project! We have several teachers retiring from my school this June, and retirement quilts are once again in the making. I’ve made quilt squares for three of them, two Red Sox fans and a yoga devotee:
Quilt squares

More joy I’ve found: my fitness journey continues and I’m making good progress! I can happily announce that I’m back down to and so far maintaining the weight that I was before I became pregnant with Meghan 20 years ago! That’s a loss of about 15 pounds. I haven’t weighed this little or felt this fit in as many years. I’m entering Week 5 of Focus T25, the last week of the Alpha round.
Alpha
That makes me just a little nervous but excited too. Week 6 of the program steps up to the Beta round, an even more intense series of workouts. I haven’t followed the program exactly as laid out here because of Zumba. I’ve been skipping the Wednesday workout and the second Friday workout listed – I do Zumba Wednesday night and Saturday morning instead, so I’m still doing 6 workouts a week and resting on Sundays.

The rain unfortunately cancelled a hike with friends today that I was looking forward to, and hoping to bring you pictures of, but it has been rescheduled for next Sunday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for that. This visually un-pretty month is over tomorrow! Bring on April- I can’t wait to see things turning green and growing again.

March 15, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Hi there! It seems I’ve taken an unintentional blogging break! My last post was on the last day of February, and here we are, halfway through March.
So where the heck have I been? A few places and busy with a new exercise program too.
Two weeks ago, I started this:
T25
Focus T25 is a series of workout videos from pro trainer Shaun T. You may remember I started his “Rockin Body” workouts back in November. They were great for getting back into exercising again, but I was feeling ready for a new challenge. March 1st was day 100 of this new journey of mine and it was time to step things up a little. I’m feeling really good these days: my energy is high and my weight is lower than it has been in a very long time.

The beginning of March also brought an opportunity to have a breath of spring. My sister said to me, “How about going to the Spring Bulb Show at Smith College? I could really stand to stick my nose into some hyacinths!” I agreed. Here is a slideshow of some of the lovely spring bulbs and hothouse flowers we were able to enjoy:

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In the tropical room, where my lens kept fogging up due to the humidity, Jennifer and I made a special discovery. They have a chocolate tree at Smith College! No really! The source of chocolate, the cacao:
Chocolate!

Last weekend, my sister, my daughters and I traveled to Cape Cod to celebrate some birthdays. Meghan was home from school on her spring break so we took the opportunity to visit my mother. Meghan’s birthday was February 25th and my mother’s is today (Happy Birthday Mom!). We had a lovely time shopping, eating, talking, laughing and trying to visit the beach.
Lunch spot view
The view from one of our lunch spots
I say “trying” to visit the beach because the wind was very very cold, but I managed to take a few pictures of the sparkling sea on a deceiving sunny day:
Cold but sunny beach

Smuggler's Beach, South Yarmouth

I hadn’t had a photo of my daughters taken together since Christmas time and I really wanted one for my new iPhone, so Meghan and Sarah obligingly posed in the cold wind for a few minutes for this shot:
Cold beach

So, is it starting to feel like spring at all where you are? It continues to be a roller coaster ride weather-wise around here. Temperatures start to feel mild then dip back down into ripping cold with nasty wind chills. Today we are enjoying temperatures in the mid-50’s, but tomorrow’s high is predicted to be 30 degrees. Snow still blankets most of the ground, with a few sections of muddy, brown grass just starting to emerge. Hurry up Spring! We miss you!

February 13, 2014

Here we snow again…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:14 am
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Silly dog! Doesn't know when to come in from the snow!

What’s that saying about not being smart enough to come in from a storm? I seriously wonder about Teddy sometimes. This picture is actually from last Wednesday’s snow day, but I am home again today for a snow day. **Sigh** School vacation is next week so today feels like a waste for a day off, but what can we do?

Here’s what I’m going to do. Right now I’m writing a blog post. Want to see my pretty breakfast from this morning?
Pretty breakfast

Remember that I told you recently that I’ve been doing my best to add good protein to my diet? By my calculations that breakfast contains about 25 grams. I recently learned about Ezekial bread as a source of good protein. Have you heard of it? It’s interesting. To me it tastes like whole grain bread but with a denser texture because it is made with sprouted grains rather than flour.

I plan to exercise later this morning too. I’ve got all this time on my hands so I think maybe I will try something new today. Thursday is usually a rest day with the routine I’ve been following, but I think I need to get this body moving. I’m intrigued by Jillian Michael’s newest video “Yoga Inferno” so I may give this a try. Amazon Instant Video is a great tool to have around on a day like today.

I should really refill my new bird feeder too. I don’t think I’ve shown you this one.
New feeder

I have a long history with bird feeders, and trying to find the right one. I’ve had squirrel proof ones that the squirrels have destroyed. I’ve had suet feeders that starlings and grackles do a number on almost immediately. More recently I bought glass tubed ones to prevent critters from wrecking them, but these are bad for the winter I’ve discovered. Any wet weather followed by freezing temperatures causes the seed to be stuck in ice. Now I’ve got this plastic feeder. It has a squirrel baffle on the bottom, and drainage holes too. It is easy to fill by sliding it down the pole you can see underneath.

Mr Cardinal

I think Mr. Cardinal is waiting for a refill! My apologies for the blur on some of these shots. I’ve been playing with my iPhone camera’s zoom. On the small iPhone screen these look fine of course, but blown up for computer size, not so much. I admit I’m drawn to the ease with which I can share these photos as well. I added the Flickr app to my phone and now I can just drop my shots into Flickr in no time.

Are you having a snow day where you are? What are you planning to do today? Working on my photo hunt is something you could try to pass the time!

January 20, 2014

Day 60

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:53 pm
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Today is Day 60 since I decided on a new fitness commitment for myself. My blogging assistant and I have crunched a few numbers to share.

Blogging assistant
Blogging assistant

I’ve logged 2,410 minutes of exercise since I started paying attention to what I’m doing.

That comes out to just over 40 hours of moving this body beyond its normal daily routine.

Newly added goal of drinking about 80oz. of water daily – been meeting that for about a week now.

Grams of protein suggested for woman of my size for maintaining muscle: 100. Not easy to do! However I’ve been really bumping up my breakfast protein content lately. Here’s today’s:
Breakfast today

That’s turkey bacon on my plate, by the way. Not bad tasting but a little dry in my opinion. It looks really weird before you cook it:
Turkey bacon

Pounds lost: maybe 5? Hard to say with all the normal fluctuations in body weight, day to day. Not really a goal of mine anyway, but it has been interesting to watch the numbers on the scale.

So far, I still feel motivated. I exercise 5 days a week and rest 2, generally following an exercise 3 days, rest 1, exercise 2, rest 1 routine. My energy has been good for the most part and my attitude has been better. I’m enjoying seeing the small changes: looser clothes, stronger feeling muscles. I have no idea what me and my 44-year-old body are capable of accomplishing, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

November 23, 2013

Choosing to Change

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:52 pm
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Very recently, I read on one of your blogs (forgive me please I cannot remember whose, tell me in the comments if it was yours!) a saying that went something like, “By not choosing to change, you are choosing to remain the same.” It was much deeper sounding than this; I wish I could find the place where I read it. Anyway, I’ve recently made a decision to change something about me! I’ve done a lot of soul searching and wondering and regretting and second guessing this year, much of it brought on by the fact that my first child is now technically an “adult” and living away from home at college.

I’ve wondered if I did all the right things, wondered what life will be like without seeing her on a daily basis, wondered if I’ll like who I am when my primary focus in life isn’t being a mother on daily basis.

I still haven’t figured those things out, of course, but I have chosen to make a change in one thing that I know I can control in my life: me. I am making a new, more serious attempt at fitness. I thought if I announced it here on blog, maybe it’d help me keep myself more accountable.

Now I’ve never considered myself to be lazy or badly out of shape for a woman of my age. I’ve been dancing on a weekly basis for 13 years. I’ve always enjoyed walking. But I know I am not as fit as I could be. I’ve suffered issues with a sore back on and off for many years. I feel rather certain many of my back issues would become fewer and farther between if I made a real effort to strengthen my core.

About 8 months ago, I really fell in love with the current fitness craze “Zumba” I take classses once or twice a week with an instructor whose style works for me and that I truly enjoy.
This is Lizet, my instructor:

Ain’t she a hot ticket?

I noticed when I started doing her class on a regular basis, I felt better about myself: my clothes seemed a little looser, I felt a little stronger and even my attitude was better on days I did Zumba.

If a Zumba class could do this for me, what if I embarked on a more serious program of change? I started looking into different workout videos and talking to people with knowledge about fitness.

I found out with my Amazon Prime account, I could stream a variety of Jillian Michaels videos for free! Free is a nice place to start! This past Thursday, I started with her 6 Week 6 Pack workout. I took a picture of my belly (which I will not be sharing, lol!) and recorded what exercise I did. I’m hoping this will also help keep me on track, and hopefully be able to see some changes.

I also know this about myself: I get bored easily with repetition. I tried a different video yesterday. It was harder and had some different moves, but a lot was similar. In addition, I know this about myself: I respond well to music. I do chores better with it, I exercise better with it. Ms. Michael’s videos seem to just have that typical boring background music. So I decided to treat myself to this:
Help me Shaun T!
They arrived in the mail today. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Perhaps a combination of Shaun T. and Jillian M. and Lizet will be the right formula for a change for me.

Even purchased some new exercise clothes to further limit my excuses:
new exercise togs

Yes, I am starting this right before the holidays. Bad plan? I don’t think so. I’ve always enjoyed whatever I’ve wanted to enjoy for food and drink at the holidays without much worry about it. I don’t have a tendency to overindulge in much (Christmas cookies being an exception to that, lol!). Six weeks from now will be New Year’s Week. I’ll try to remember to update here on what I’ve been doing and how I feel it’s been going. Do I really think I’ll have 6 Pack abs in 6 weeks, or even beyond as I continue? No not really, but I do hope to be feeling stronger.

What are your feelings about fitness and exercise? Tell me in the comments!