30 Before 30 List

On my birthday I came upon a blog post of someone mentioning a “30 before 30 list.” It intrigued me because I had just turned 27 and I knew I could accomplish so much in a few years. I realize most people must be a year away from their thirtieth birthday to do this list but it seemed like I was meant to make one just for fun since I’d found the post on my actual birthday.

30 before 30 list

So here is my list:
1. Complete a 5K run!
2. Complete a 10K run.
3. Tinker Bell half marathon in May 2016 (already signed up now the goal is to finish!)
4. Two Cities Marathon in my hometown in November 2016.
5. Participate in a Color Run.
6. Participate in a Glow Run.
7. Boston Marathon (maybe) in 2017 or 2018.
8. Move back to California!
9. Run for a charity.
10. Adopt a dog.
11. Make a full time income with my business so that I can be financially independent.
12. Go on a vacation just to work on my writing, particularly the books I want to write.
13. Publish my first eBook or printed book.
14. Travel to another country.
15. Visit at least one of the following for the first time: New York, Florida, Washington DC, and/or South Carolina.
16. Read through the whole Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz.
17. Wear a sundress for the first time as an adult.
18. Get my driver’s license.
19. Buy my first car.
20. Travel in a superliner room on an Amtrak train (been a dream of mine for quite a while now).
21. Go up to the sky deck of the Willis (Sears) Tower.
22. Visit where the World Trade Centers were.
23. Reach a 80% healthy eating percentage steadily!
24. Pay off my debts to improve my credit score.
25. Build up credit otherwise.
26. Make a livable income from my new business.
27. Reach a 10 or less minute mile while running.
28. Work up to 10lb dumbbells for my strength training.
29. Do a book tour, probably self funded.
30. Buy my own house (really dreaming here lol).

Some of these are mere dreams. Some will almost definitely happen, others may be exceeded, and the rest may never happen… but it was fun constructing this list! It helps me to look forward to the future with my current goals and what is important to me!

~Bonnie~

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Tinker Bell Half Marathon

As some of you know or have read, I am signed up for a half marathon in May, which is the Tinker Bell Half at Disneyland. I really can’t wait for it! I have yet to start training or even running again due to my foot issue but really need to start by the beginning of the year at the latest so hopefully I will get that settled by then. I have had great improvements with my feet and can live a more normal and active life again, but running is a risk at this point. Hopefully next week I can get some real answers!

A couple weeks ago my mom scored me a shirt from Goodwill:

Tinker Bell shirt

And boy was I excited to discover that sitting on my bed! I had been wanting to look online and find a Tinker Bell shirt for the race to at least dream about for now, and hadn’t gotten around to it… so it made me even happier! The sleeves are also purple which is my favorite color. The best thing is that it’s probably a size down from where I currently am so will further motivate me to lose more weight before the race. I’m not setting a number for that but hope to lose another 20 minimum, however I know I can do 30 if I keep averaging more than five pounds a month.

sleep shorts

I already had these Tink sleep shorts, I don’t even remember where I got them, but they were probably a Christmas present from my mom quite a few years ago as they are Christmas colored. They are probably too big for me now lol, but I will be bringing them with me anyway to sleep in as long as I’m sure they won’t fall off.

From a trip to Disneyland in 2009, I have this cap that I’ve been wearing for my walks:

Tinker Bell hat

I love this hat, because I love Tinker Bell. And now it will be perfect as a hat for the race as well!

Last but certainly not least as far as the Tinker Bell items go, I rediscovered this in a jewelry box last week:

Tink necklace

A necklace! I don’t remember when or where I got this either, but I love that I found it now! It looks like it needs to be cleaned but I’m pretty certain it’s not real and I don’t know how to clean it without ruining it. I’m not a big jewelry wearer but have been desiring to wear necklaces and bracelets lately so it was definitely a pleasant surprise on that level as well.

Now I also have plenty of general Disney stuff, but will only be sharing a picture of two more:

Mickey Mouse

This ring is too small to go on my ring finger, but I hope that changes by the time I go or I will just wear it on my pinky finger lol. The “B” is for my name, Bonnie of course. I don’t remember where I got this either, probably on a trip to Disneyland at some point.

#Disneyland key ring

My beloved Disneyland keychain. I recently rediscovered this too and am glad to have it. I think I got it in 2009 when I went as well. Now looking at the picture, I realize this is also a Tinker Bell item haha, she’s flying over the castle. I didn’t realize that!

So there you have it, things I will absolutely be taking with me when I go for the half marathon! It makes me even more excited for my trip to have all of these items, only one truly new but the rest feel new in a sense because I had lost all but the hat for a few years.

~Bonnie~

Exercise on a Budget

exercise on a budget

Let’s face it… money is tight for so many of us. We don’t have the money to spend on a gym membership, especially when we’re just starting out with our healthy lifestyles. The good news is that there are an abundance of ways to get exercise in virtually for free or low cost.

It is important to have good comfortable workout shoes. Invest in a good pair from a running store if you can, or make sure a cheaper pair fits you well. I know I started out with a $13 pair of shoes my mom got me, then bought a pair from Payless for half price for $10 after that. I bought the ones that supported my feet best, and Champion brand because they had treated me well before.

However, the cheap shoes only last six weeks or maybe eight if you’re lucky, simply using them a moderate amount. So I only recommend doing that if you need to in order to get started. After those Champion shoes I got some Brooks Ravenna 5’s and they ended up being the perfect shoes for me, although a bit pricey of course. Those lasted me eight months, walking quite a lot and even dipping into running with a Couch to 5K program.

Other than that, comfortable and supportive workout clothes are a must, but that could mean a simple tee shirt and some comfortable pants, made for exercise or not. I started out wearing what I had. Thankfully most of what I had were exercise capris/pants already, and I had plenty of tee shirts because they’re my main shirt-wear!

So here is a list of free or low cost ways to get in exercise:

  • Walking or running. You can find good Couch to 5K programs on Pinterest or other places like Jeff Galloway’s website that don’t cost a thing. Walking is such a great way to get started in an exercise routine too because you can go at your own pace, make it interesting by varying your routes, and easily work your way up.
  • Body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, sit-ups, kicks and punches, walking in place, etc.
  • Local playgrounds or parks. Go climb on the playground equipment or run around the grassy areas with or without your children.
  • Sports. If you have sports balls, Frisbees, etc. around your house or yard, play some with family members or friends! This is such a fun way to get active and also interact with other people!
  • YouTube or Spark People videos. There are so many you can find on those places. Although, I have to warn you that YouTube videos get deleted quite often, and you can find more of the same stuff but it requires searching through periodically… at least in my experience.
  • Pinterest. There are so many workouts and exercise routines posted to Pinterest all the time. I advise caution with these though, I have seen some that don’t look too safe. So be careful and be realistic about what your body can do so that you don’t injure yourself, but really that’s true of any exercise routine anywhere!
  • On Demand videos from your cable provider. I used the walking videos on mine because they were something I was comfortable with and could do, and also tried some of the kickboxing videos, but there are so many others that are free too!
  • Exercise DVDs to workout from home. If you use Amazon or eBay you can get these relatively cheap, like $5-10 apiece for older videos. My favorites are Leslie Sansone’s walking videos and Biggest Loser Cardio Max.
  • Equipment such as dumbbells, jump ropes, and hula hoops are low cost as well.
  • Local community centers sometimes offer low cots for monthly access to exercise equipment/rooms.
  • Parks and Recreation programs are sometimes a good way to go, although some of their programs can be pricey depending on where you live. Some have walking groups for low cost though, so you can get that group atmosphere and socialize. Most offer some sports leagues or other exercise groups as well.
  • Gym memberships are still an option if you have places like Planet Fitness near you that offer low cost monthly memberships. These are definitely viable options if you don’t have childcare to factor in or have someone to help with childcare.
  • Relay racing, yourself or others racing yourself or others certain distances to see how far you can run. Possibly setting up checkpoints or even timing yourself to see improvements.
  • Obstacle course in your yard using what you have: boxes, metal/plastic or other durable boxes, ropes or jump ropes, mini trampoline if you have one, hula hoops, etc. Anything you can jump on or around or over. If you can’t jump, step on, in, around, or over.
  • Exercise video “channels” such as Daily Burn (free 30 day trial then $12.95/month), Blogilates is free on YouTube, Jessica Smith on her website and YouTube channel, or Fitness Blender (individual workouts are free while downloadable ones are $4-8).

So get cracking on that exercise! No or low cost options are all around you if you just take a look! You don’t need any fancy equipment or clothes to get started. That stuff can be fun, but it’s definitely not necessary, especially at first. Bust through the excuses and go enjoy yourself.

~Bonnie~

P.S. Check out my goals e-course: Goals to Become the Best You. It is a step-by-step guide with my help and assistance to make and pursue goals in a way that works for you! We have all felt discouraged or unmotivated to meet our goals. The trick is knowing how to go about your goals in a manner that can fuel you to move forward! Included is a 16 page workbook + guide, separate resources, and personal help through the community in the course. All this for the low introductory price of $30!

Workout Wednesday- Change Things Up

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Considering that our bodies get used to what we do everyday and over time, it is important in weight loss to change things up periodically with our workouts. This could mean anything from exercising more to increasing the amount of effort we exert during exercise, or even adding in a new exercise. It is anything that wakes our bodies up and helps prevent us from hitting a plateau from doing the same thing day in and day out!

It’s also useful in order to keep challenging our bodies to do a little more, which will help increase our endurance and strength as we move forward with our goals. So besides being a way to help stave off a plateau, changing our workouts up will help increase our fitness levels, which is a fun and interesting reward for our hard work and a great step towards overall health! Not to mention the added bonus of keeping things fresh for our minds as well. At least half of our battle is mental and keeping things fresh for our minds in this way really aids in keeping things interesting and engaging.

joggers

The recommended timeframe for changing things up is every 6-8 weeks, which works really well all around. This Spark People article explains why it’s a good idea: Habits of Fit People: Mix It Up. In there it’s mentioned that you should change your entire workout routine up every 6-8 weeks, however I believe that you can change things up in smaller ways if that works for you. I know that I was very limited in the beginning, where walking outside and indoor walking videos were pretty much my only workout choices, and with my joint problem and other issues that’s all I could do. So I changed things up by doing completely different walking video workouts from the library every two weeks at first. That worked for me. I also increased my walking distance and time, did longer videos at home, etc. as I was physically able to.

Trust me, changing things up here and there will keep things moving smoothly for much longer than they would be if we simply moved at a steady, unchanging pace. Try something new and exciting for you when your workout routine gets boring, add more time or intensity to your current workouts when you’re able to, and do whatever works for you to keep things fresh!

~Bonnie~

Tip Tuesday- Tracking Food and Exercise for Weight Loss

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A very big piece of advice I would like to pass along to you is to track your food and exercise, in some shape or form. It has a lot of benefits, more than I could ever list. So here are the highlights.

These are just a few methods of tracking:

  • Online or through an app: Spark People and MyFitnessPal are just a couple that I’ve had personal experience with and have found work well. There are likely countless others.
  • Computer: some programs such as Microsoft Works and Microsoft Word have food and exercise logs. You could also create your own custom food/exercise logs with simple tables or other buttons within some of these programs.
  • Paper and pen: go old school and use a notebook to write down what you have eaten and done for exercise or print logs from programs and use them to write them down.

journaling

Now you may want to know what is so important about tracking food and exercise when you are trying to improve your health and lose weight. I’ll tell you why I believe it to be so important:

  1. To see where you stand throughout the day as well as at the end of it, such as eating within your calorie range, getting enough fruits and vegetables, getting enough protein or fiber, not getting too many carbs or too much fat.
  2. To measure physical capabilities and see how much more you can do compared to when you started or even a couple weeks ago. Some ways to see progress would be with time (minutes), distance, speed, repetitions of strength training exercise, increasing the weights for strength training, etc.
  3. To see what works for you as well as what does not. That way you can repeat what does work and cut out what doesn’t. You will be able to look back and see trends to help you decide your course of action going forward. If you weren’t keeping track, how would you know?

As you track your food and exercise in one form or another, you will also find that it gives you accountability to yourself. It provides you with the chance to see what you’re doing each day in relation to your goals and progress. Keeping track of what you eat and what exercises you do, as well as possibly even how you felt about it if you want, will help you to continuously move forward.

Then as you go along, you will know how to change things as needed and find what works for you. A lot of this weight loss thing is finding what works for you personally. Sure, you can get a million and one ideas from the internet, but some things will work for you and others won’t. Some of it won’t interest you and some simply doesn’t work for you or your body, and this is one way to keep track of that as well.

~Bonnie~

Workout Wednesday- Feeling Like You Belong at the Gym

Strength. Dumbbells and kettlebell.
Strength. Dumbbells and kettlebell.

One of the hardest things about not only joining a gym, but consistently going, is feeling like you belong there. It is intimidating. So many fit or at least “thinner” people are there, or that’s what it seems like sometimes. Now let me tell you a little secret:

You belong there!

Everyone deserves to be at the gym, no matter their shape or size. Everyone has similar goals: to lose weight, to tone up, to strengthen their muscles. There might be a few who aren’t there for that reason, but nearly all are there to work on their fitness in some shape or form.

You belong anywhere in the gym that you paid for. Utilize it to its fullest potential and for whatever you need it for. Whenever you start to feel out of place, try this mantra: “I belong here. I deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.” This is really true, and repeating it helps until you feel like you truly belong there.

Cardio!
Cardio!

If you see someone fitter or thinner than you are, also repeat to yourself, “Everyone starts somewhere.” Those people had to start somewhere when they began their own journeys. Some didn’t need to lose a lot of weight, while others did, and you can’t tell just by looking at them. Keep that in mind whenever you feel intimidated because it’s the truth.

No one is born fit, and certainly no one is born knowing how to use the cardio or weight machines. They all had to learn how to use the gym equipment at some point. So remember, there is likely someone who has been where you are in the gym at any given point. Someone who started when they needed to lose weight or when they needed to build muscle, and are still working on it.

~Bonnie~

Tip Tuesday- Enjoy Your Journey

The biggest tip I could possibly pass along may actually seem like the simplest:

Enjoy your journey!

This is your journey, and it is so important that you enjoy it as much as you can. The simple part is that in order to enjoy your journey and to keep feeling motivated to continue, all you have to do is find ways to be active that you enjoy doing, and to find healthy (or at least healthier) foods that you enjoy eating.

kaboompics.com_Two apples on the board

Now I’m certain we can all realize that is easier said than done. Sometimes it’s really hard to find things you enjoy doing when you’re building a healthy lifestyle for yourself. My best advice when it’s hard is to experiment and start with the something small. Maybe make a list of things you would like to try or have just never tried before and find interesting, both exercise and food wise. Then give them a try.

Doing a little research beforehand might save you some time and get you off to the right start. I personally love to gather as much information about something as I can without driving myself crazy at the same time, before I delve into an exercise or food. If I don’t do it before, I do it shortly after trying it. Knowledge is power as the saying goes, and it will help you to be prepared so you can get the most out of said exercise or food.

kaboompics.com_Bicycle Handlebar

Another way to enjoy your journey is to realize it is just that, yours. Stop comparing what others are doing to what you’re doing. You have to find what works for you. There is really no one size fits all to weight loss and health. We need to find what works for us individually, things we can stick with long-term. So do things at your own pace, do or don’t do what others are doing, and stick with what works for you.

Lastly, but just as important, is to look for all the positives in each day. From the very beginning I started looking for positives wherever I could. This in no way means that I didn’t feel down or discouraged, because I did and honestly pretty often too. However, I kept searching for the good in my life and in my days. If I couldn’t find anything or I still felt down, I looked forward to the fresh new day that tomorrow would bring. I thought of things I was looking forward to in the near future. It’s tough to retrain our brains to think like that but oh so worth it!

The moral of the story is to find ways to enjoy your journey, make it your own and do your best each day. Keep trying to find what works for you.

~Bonnie~

Workout Wednesday- Sidelined by Pain/Injury

empty bus

Injuring yourself or dealing with intense pain and being sidelined because of it can be one of the worst feelings ever. Trust me, I know. My issue isn’t quite bad but I believe it’s possible I have a bone spur as well as an issue with my pinky toe joint on my right foot. Being sidelined, or partially sidelined, by it for the past three months has been really obnoxious and discouraging to say the least. However, I have learned a lot and I’d like to impart that wisdom to you.

When the injury or pain first begins, it is heartbreaking in its own way. We feel like all of our hard work will go down the drain because we can’t exercise like we’re used to. The good news is there are alternatives. It may not be easy to change our methods of exercising, but it is worth it to find something else to do continue to do our best with our goals. Also, focusing on what we can control, especially our nutrition goals can be a great distraction and make us feel like we still have our power.

So what can we do for exercise if we’re injured?

If it’s a leg/foot issue, then turning to swimming or chair exercise are wonderful alternatives. Chair exercise videos, whether it be online, cable On Demand service, or DVDs, are not quite as boring as they sound. I tried this after my foot issue started. If I’d had a proper chair to use I would have continued with it longer. If it’s an impact issue and you can still do weight bearing exercise, an elliptical is another spectacular option. I love that machine because it’s intense yet low impact. I’ve always had a joint problem so I fell in love with the machine when I first used it. Yet another option for leg/foot issues is the stationary bike. They’re not for everyone but try both the recumbent and upright versions. I tried the recumbent bike first and found it boring, but the upright version was so much more interesting and enjoyable.

With arm issues, there are obviously more options as long as you’re careful not to jostle the sore area too much. Walking outside, walking indoors, the elliptical and bike like mentioned above but holding on might be a bit tough, and some others.

Above all else, be creative. Research online and find out what your options are. As far as strength training goes, focus as much the areas not hurting as you can to keep up a routine with those body parts. Keep doing your best and don’t give up. Injuries and pain issues are usually temporary unless it’s chronic pain, even though they sometimes don’t feel like it. You will see the other side of this and you will come out victorious!

~Bonnie~

Steady Saturday- Baby Steps

As we set out to lose weight or pursue a dream of ours, we want everything to happen now. So we jump in and start off at a run to reach our goals. The thing is though, when we start out at a run instead of taking things slow, we sabotage ourselves. A lot of us have this “all or nothing” mentality that works against us… unless we can learn how to move past it.

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My suggestion to all of you is to start slow, start small. Remember the saying “Slow and steady wins the race.” Yes, it’s really true. When you begin your weight loss journey, starting out small and slow and building your way up is the best way to go.

One way to go about this is to start with a moderate exercise form. Like I mentioned in this blog, walking is a great start out exercise. You can set how far you want to go or how much time you want to walk, and adjust as time permits. You can also vary your routes and times of day you go to keep things fresh. The sunlight in the morning feels and looks different than in the evening, and both are amazing to experience while taking a tranquil but brisk-paced walk. Varying your routes will ensure that you don’t get bored of the same scenery as fast.

Some of the other exercises that fit the bill include riding a bike whether it be stationary or an actual bicycle, swimming, dancing, hiking, and some cardio machines. Anything that allows you to customize in some shape or form so you can start out slow, is a good exercise. Be aware of your own limitations if you have some sort of physical issue and adjust your first workouts accordingly.

Besides exercising, we also need to take baby steps with our nutrition. Setting small goals that we feel are doable will carry us farther than setting goals that are too big or take too long to reach. Maybe instead of jumping right in with the “5 a day” rule of fruits and vegetables, you could set a goal to have three a day at first. Or you could just break it down throughout the day and tell yourself “I will have a fruit or a vegetable with each meal and snack.” That makes the goal seem that much more achievable. If you don’t do it or don’t reach the goal, keep trying. None of us achieves all of our goals everyday at first and even later on too. It’s all a process. Other nutrition goals work the same way, start small and work your way up.

stairs

I personally have a joint problem that affects all of my joints as well as my neck, ribs, and back. So I started out with walking as I’ve mentioned, and worked my way up with both that and walking indoors with videos. It helped me a lot to start out like this. With my nutrition, I set a 3 a day goal for myself, and some days still struggle with it. Other days I get 5+ a day. It depends. I do my best though and continue to learn how to make this work for myself.

~Bonnie~

Be Silly and Act Like a Kid!

Now you may be wondering, what does being silly and acting like a kid have to do with working out? Well, I will explain why it is tied together.

be silly and act like a kid

A wonderful and exciting way to get that exercise in, whether dreaded or not, is to be silly and act like a kid again. Dance in the house with or without your kids, run around chasing your kids or a pet, play sports just for fun, race yourself back and forth if you don’t have anyone to do it with. Anything that is fun and silly, while being active, will give you this most amazing jolt of exhilaration!

Another fun idea would be to go to a playground and play on the equipment. Don’t be afraid to do so, most of it is sturdy and while people may “stare,” it is too fun for you to worry about what others think. Swinging on the swings, going down the slides, climbing up the ladders, hanging from the monkey bars, and many others. I know from personal experience that it is super fun, with or without kids. Sure, now that you’re an adult and your legs are longer the slides aren’t going to be as fast, especially the ones shaped like a spiral, but it’s still a ton of fun! I love going down the slides and swinging on the swings. It makes me feel like a kid again, to remember how carefree a time that was.

I also love chasing my nephews around the grassy area near our community playground, acting like a monster or other being or even nothing at all. We also would hold races to certain landmarks. Letting my nephews chase me was super fun too, especially since the oldest (4-year-old) is pretty fast and I didn’t have to slow down too much to let him catch me after a certain distance. I miss that feeling and look forward to chasing them and having them chase me when I can run again. The swings have been especially fun lately too. I feel like I’m flying and whipping through the air is so much fun!
playground
So go… welcome that lovely carefree feeling into your heart, and act like a kid again! Be silly, laugh and exclaim while you “exercise.” Your heart rate will climb, your muscles will feel alive, and your mind will thank you for the experience, believe me! It is such an enjoyable form of exercise. You may be sore afterwards, but you likely won’t regret it. I don’t do it often enough, but when I do, it lifts my mood and makes me feel lighter!
~Bonnie~