6 Tips for Thanksgiving Exercise

Holidays + Exercise = nightmare!

Do you find it hard enough to get exercise when there isn’t a holiday or some other big thing going on? So how does one handle healthy living on a holiday?

A couple days ago I shared tips with you regarding stress and eating tips: 8 Tips to Manage Thanksgiving Stress. So check that out if you would like tips on those topics.

Here are some tips for your holiday exercise plan this week:

  • If it works for you, plan your rest day for Thanksgiving instead of your usual day, and then just try to make the day as active as you can.
  • Plan your day ahead of time: making a rough schedule to fit your exercise in around cooking or interaction with others. We all know holidays can be so hectic that we lose track of time or forget to take care of ourselves as well as everyone else.
  • Fit your exercise in early in the day so that you aren’t totally exhausted when you try to do it later. You might prefer to get your exercise in before everyone else wakes up if you have company or small children, otherwise just get it done before all the cooking and festivities start.
  • Walk or dance in place while you cook… just be careful not to scald yourself!
  • Make exercise a family/group activity. Play sports or games outdoors if you can, or break out active games or videos to do indoors. Go for a walk with one or more family/friends. Basically anything that gets your family or group moving instead of sitting and lounging the whole time is a good idea!
  • If you need a breather from the holiday festivities, take your dog for a walk… or take your host’s dog for a walk if you don’t have one and your host does. It is a legitimate excuse to get away and fit some exercise in, while also allowing you a breather from everything else going on.

Most of all, just do your best to fit in your fitness and don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t for some reason. Eat moderately, indulge a little bit (after all it’s Thanksgiving!) and realize that it’s just one day. In the grand scheme of things this one day where you will likely go over your calorie allotment is okay.

What are your exercise plans for the holidays? Since I’m not doing anything the day of and my family doesn’t seem to be holding an actual Thanksgiving meal, I will likely just go about exercise as normal. Not to mention the fact that I will be babysitting my nephews all day that day anyway.

I hope you all have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING tomorrow! Be as healthy as possible, but also be flexible and enjoy the day!

Don’t forget to keep your eye out for a post on Thursday afternoon/evening for the 48-hour sale codes on my Be the Best You products!

~Bonnie~

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15 Simple Ways to Set Aside Time for Yourself

This time of year is rife with stress, so we need to take the time to treat ourselves right. It helps us be our best the rest of the time, as well as to enjoy the holidays and time with loved ones!

Simple Ways to Set Aside Time for Yourself

  1. Whenever possible, take your time in the shower. Hot showers are especially relaxing and soothing. It may be one of life’s necessities but the shower itself can give you time to think through things that are bothering you, hopefully without interruption.
  2. Take a walk. If you can, take a walk by yourself to just think and revel in the beauty around you. If you take a walk with a friend, talking can be therapeutic too. Sometimes we need or want to take the children in our lives on a walk too. It’s still a good way to set aside time for yourself. Take advantage of the quiet moments while also striking a balance with teaching them. I find it relaxing to just point out things and talk to my nephews while walking. Sometimes it’s not relaxing when they ask the same question five times in a row but it’s still usually fun.
  3. Workout. Just in general, spend time getting your workout. Put yourself first for the time being and get that workout in. You can release frustrations, uncertainties, and even celebrate life’s victories. Plus you get the added benefit of knowing you’re doing something wonderful for your body which gives you some peace of mind.
  4. Write in a journal or notebook. Take the time to write out how you feel, discuss your day, figure things out, or even make plans. I find writing out my day and discussing how I feel is so beneficial!
  5. Cuddle with your favorite person/pet. The time spent cuddling your children or other loved ones, or simply cuddling with or petting your dog or cat can be good for your mental wellbeing.
  6. Sit and breathe. Quiet your mind, maybe even close your eyes. If you believe in God, talk to Him. Either way, take time to reflect on your day and all of your blessings, all of the positives in your life. It truly sets the tone for the rest of the day. I’ve been trying to do this more often myself and know I feel better about life just relying on God and reflecting on any good things in my life.
  7. Do something for someone else. You may ask, how is doing something for someone else setting aside time for me? I’ll tell you… doing something for someone else makes them feel good, which in turn makes you feel good to help them. I love helping others and do so not to get something in return, but it still makes me feel good to do so!
  8. Go shopping for something fun! This is hard for some of us, as money is tight or we may face temptation to spend to much… but if you can, a little retail therapy can go a long way. Even stopping in the Dollar Tree or somewhere else that has low price items and browsing the aisles to pick out a few things can boost your sense of wellbeing.
  9. Read (books, magazines, articles, etc.). Read something that you enjoy! Getting lost in a story or something pleasant can be such a nice way to put yourself first because it’s FUN!
  10. Self-care: Hair, skin, nails, etc. Spend some time on self-care. It makes you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world when you have certain self-care things in order! Take a manicure or a pedicure (or both), having nice nails is so rewarding!
  11. Haircut/coloring. Going to get your hair cut or get a color can be a mostly relaxing experience. My last haircut, I got a quiet beautician and I just let myself go, zoning out and just being. It was so enjoyable. I never experienced something like that. You could also find joy in having a conversation with the beautician as well! Either way is nice!
  12. Organizing or cleaning. Such a weird, but therapeutic thing to do once you get into it. Organizing is fun because you’re getting things in order, cleaning is fun because after you’re done, something is clean! Sure it’s a pain to do sometimes but the results are refreshing!
  13. Writing out cards or notes/letters to loved ones. Writing out your thoughts and making loved ones feel cherished and valued is time well spent! You will feel better when it’s done because a lot of us go through our days without much opportunity to say how we feel some of the time. So setting aside some time to do that will lighten your heart!
  14. Art. If you like to draw or paint, that is another way to set aside time for yourself. Lose yourself in your work and make something beautiful.
  15. Sit down to enjoy a sweet treat you really want. Life is too short not to enjoy something you really want once in a while. Treat yourself. Just make sure you enjoy it so it’s worth it!

These are some of my favorite ways to set aside time for myself. Those things really give me a sense of peace, or accomplishment, or both. Sometimes it’s hard to get started on the organizing and cleaning one, but once I do it is such a rewarding experience. I also am not a big on drawing or painting anymore but from time to time it is fun!

I hope you all liked my list. What are your favorite ways to set aside time for yourself? It could be simple like most of these or it could be something more elaborate. I’d love to hear what you do! We could all use ways to improve our sense of wellbeing!

~Bonnie~

Leslie Sansone’s Thanksgiving Walk Challenge

Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home workout videos have been a favorite of mine since I discovered them in 2009. They have been a great tool in helping me lose weight this time around as well since they are low impact and allow me to exercise indoors when I need to. I started using her DVDs by checking them out from my local library and alternating them every two weeks until I was finally able to buy my own. At that point I bought two of her DVDs and also ended up finding the one of hers that I had originally used (it’s funny how that works out huh?).

I just love her workouts because she is like a cheerleader, but not annoying about it. I love her encouraging words while doing the workouts in my living room and often will find myself answering or responding to her while I’m exercising! I just love her energy and enthusiasm! It’s clear she loves what she’s doing and she loves helping whoever is using her videos. I also really like how she involves the women she has in her videos and chats with them as they’re exercising. It makes me feel like it’s all some big group and we’re all working together.

Well, recently I saw someone posting about her walk challenge on another website and it got me curious. Why hadn’t I thought to like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter before? So I did just that and am inspired that she is still very actively involved with her fans and following! This challenge is a great example of that and you can walk outside, indoors, wherever to get your walking in!

Here is one of her Tweets from today regarding the challenge:

Leslie is truly inspiring in more ways than one. She has made fitness and healthy living a way of life for herself and is spreading this love to others! If you’ve never checked out one of her videos, I encourage you to check out a video on YouTube if you can find one. Some of them get deleted quite often, but if you try it and like it you can always buy a DVD on Amazon or eBay for a low price!

If you would also like to follow Leslie Sansone on her pages, here is her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeslieSansone and here is her Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeslieWalks. Also just to be thorough, if you want to check out her actual website, you can find that here: http://www.walkathome.com/.

I hope you like her workouts (and her) as much as I do. I truly don’t know where I would be without her workout videos helping me get started and continue on my weight loss journey. For comparison, I have tried other walking videos and also regularly use the On Demand walking videos from XFINITY but I still prefer Leslie’s over all else and so do many other people!

~Bonnie~

My Half Marathon Training Plan

A couple days ago I got the okay from a doctor to start running again, slowly and listening to my feet. I’m not fully convinced my feet are completely ready but there’s only one way to find out, right?

Some preliminary information on my half marathon is located at this blog post: Tinker Bell Half Marathon where I posted pictures of some gear I would like to bring with me and/or wear. The half marathon is at the beginning of May. I was inspired by a friend who did this year’s Tinker Bell Half and also seeing a runDisney race on an Extreme Weight Loss episode shortly after starting my weight loss journey. I did an web search right away, where I found the Tinker Bell race and instantly fell in love. However, if it weren’t for my friend (let’s call her A), I would never have dreamt of doing a half marathon! I’m so thankful for her inspiration because it opened up so many avenues and possibilities for me that I never would have dreamed possible for myself.

half marathon training plan

My plan is to start by following Jeff Galloway’s beginner’s training plan from Beginners Plan. It starts with 5 second running and 55 seconds walking for a run/walk program, however I might start at 15 seconds. I will try the 5 seconds first, and then move up faster than is in the plan he has there. The eight week program would only get me to running 15 seconds at once and I think even with my feet issue I can get up to running 60-90 seconds minimum by the end of week eight if I’m careful.

That will take me to the end of December, at which point I hope to start the half marathon training just to make sure I have enough time worked in for my personal needs. It will be the first plan (for runners and walkers) on this page: Half Marathon Training. If I start from wherever I left off with the eight week beginner’s training, working at my own pace and needs, then I can work my way up in the seventeen weeks with that.

The week before the half marathon I know I need to do some kind of tapering to prepare. I’m really not sure how to go about this, and unless I’m missing something I can’t find specific information about it on Jeff Galloway’s website. After some preliminary searches on other running websites, it seems like this is a topic that’s based on personal needs/preference so I’m going to do more research on this and find what works best for me.

I just find some more detailed information here: Top Tips for a Successful Taper from the Chicago Half Marathon website. It says two weeks is good before a half and describes exactly what the tapering means. Now looking back on the Jeff Galloway plan, I will already be doing this tapering method with his training plan. So if I follow the half marathon training plan from Jeff Galloway’s website, and the tapering tips from the Chicago Half Marathon website, then I should be golden! (Anyone with experience with tapering for a long race that would care to chime in, suggestions are welcome!)

Now with my feet still being an ongoing issue, I know I might not be able to run the full half marathon, or even run as much as I would like to. However, as long as I am moving fast enough for the race guidelines, which is 16 minutes or less per mile average, I will be fine. This means if I can average a 15 minute mile or faster with walking breaks then I won’t be pulled out, and I have no doubt that I can at least do that. Some people can walk at that fast of a pace, surely with some walking breaks I can “run” at that pace. I have to keep reminding myself of this part because sometimes I wonder if I will get pulled out for moving too slowly due to my feet or other factors.

So there you have it, my training plan now that I have the okay from a medical professional. I do believe I still need to see a podiatrist to make sure everything is truly okay, but that can wait for now. I know I have supportive shoes that fit my feet well, which are the Brooks Ravenna 5’s and if I really listen to my feet, resting when needed and training on days my feet feel better, I will do well.

I’m excited to finally embark on this training stage after four months of foot pain and being in limbo so to speak. It’s finally happening! I hope it goes well!

~Bonnie~

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Walking

Why I love walking as a form of exercise… It may not be an intense workout, but it gives me a whole lot of mental benefits!

#1: I’m FREE! Free, free as a bird! Quite simply, it gives me a break from my crazy, chaotic house. Sometimes it is too overwhelming and noisy to be at home and I need a serious breather!

#2: I can finally… think! If you have small children in your house, you know how truly hard it is to have any coherent thoughts! My walking (or any exercise where I don’t have a child interrupting me every other second), is a chance to have clear thoughts, what I call my “profound” thoughts. Now if I retain whatever profound thoughts I had by the time I finish and return to the craziness is a discussion for another day!

#3: Nature, beautiful nature. I love admiring the trees, grass, and other plants. Not to mention the ever entertaining creatures. Squirrels, chipmunks, bunnies, and birds can certainly be really entertaining and just plain beautiful to look at sometimes!

#4: Fresh air and sunshine. Sure this actually falls under the “nature” category, however I think it deserves its very own listing. I love the fresh air and sunshine. As long as the heat or humidity is not suffocating me, these two things are refreshing and invigorating!

#5: Variety in routes and length. Never a dull moment if you can change your routes day-to-day, and also challenge yourself to hit certain distances.

There you have it, a simple list as to why walking is still one of my favorite forms of exercise after almost a year and a half of healthy living.

What is your favorite form of exercise and why?

~Bonnie~

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~

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~

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~