Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Niki's Truths About Exercise

"I don't exercise.  If God wanted me to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the floor."
 ~Joan Rivers

I'm human.  There is ALWAYS an excuse not to exercise.  I have gone through stages of exercising like a fiend (divorce diet, anyone?), but sadly, those have all been short lived.  Over the last 8 months (eight months - whoa!), I have been incredibly proud of myself for sticking with my exercise guns.  I may miss brief stints here and there, but I always get back in the swing of things, and I always feel better for it.

I caught myself thinking, what makes this time different?  How do I know I'll still be at this in a year?

Here are just a few things I think have really made a difference.

Space.  I have a space that is just mine, and it is only used for exercise. I call it my "workout room," but that might be overselling it a bit.  It has inexpensive flooring, a tv with a DVR for all my fave workouts, a table to keep my stuff on, and fan.  Not to mention, it's in the basement - it stays about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the house!  Knowing that space is there keeps me motivated to use it.   Oh, and no one ever goes down there but me.  I can sing along with the music and act a fool, and the boy is none the wiser.

Variety.  I am up to about 12 different workout DVDs.  They vary in length, from 20 minutes to a full hour.  I have weight training, cardio/aerobics, yoga, toning.  Of course, I have my favorites, and there are a couple that are straight brutal.  Changing it up keeps things challening, and it keeps me from getting bored.

My heart rate monitor.  Oh, I am full on addicted to this thing!  There is nothing more motivating than seeing your stats flash across that little watch.  I love knowing how long I've been in my target heart rate zone, what my maximum heart rate was - not to mention the calories I've burned!  It challenges me to keep going.  475 calories?  I can make it to 500!  

Gear.  Gear, gear, gear.  I always went el-cheapo in the past.  $10 sports bras and stretch pants from Walmart.   This time, I stepped it up and spent a bit more than I normally would. I think buying better stuff helps working out feel like a commitment, rather than a passing phase.  After all, when is the last time you saw someone run a marathon in cheap ass shoes? Here are a few things I have committed a little extra cash to:

  • Ryka shoes.  I've tried several brands, but I always come back to Ryka. They are made for women's feet.  Narrower through the heel, a little wider in the metatarsal, and light!  I love that I can feel the floor through them.
  • Fila gear.  Those cheap workout pants from Walmart?  Their only true use is sliding off your rear end while you exercise.  So unless you want to spend your quality workout time hiking your drawz up, pick up some pants that will stay with you while you move.

  • Decent sports bras.  I have a few, mostly Nike and Fila.  The support can't be beat, particularly for aerobics.  My old ones have been relegated to sleepy time.
  • Socks.  Yes, I just said socks!  I had a conversation that went like this.  Me:  I think I need new workout shoes.  The Boy:  I think you need better socks, not the cutesy dollar socks from Target.  Me:  Huh, never thought about that.  So I went and bought new socks.  Turns out, the $12 pack of socks was a waaaay better investment than another $75 pair of shoes!

So there you have it - Niki's list of fabulous exercise stuff.  Because we all know......

Saturday, July 7, 2012

First Forays into Glycemic Index

After much reading and research, I decided to give the Glycemic Index "diet" a try.  As per my usual ways, I immediately ran out and bought four (yep, FOUR) new books.  I grabbed a glass of wine (which is totally okay), parked myself on the couch and started reading.

I can't lie.  The first week was tough.  Pasta for dinner 2-3 times a week?  A thing of the past.  Snacky time pretzels and crackers?  Goodbye, my loves!  Dinner rolls and *ahem* heaping *cough* servings of mashed potatoes?  Fare thee well.  But I was able to make choices about the carbs I consumed.  Unlike some of the more hardcore anti-carb diets out there, I can still eat carbs without feeling like I'm going to derail all the good I've done.

Let me just say (without getting into embarrassing numbers), I've been very pleased with the scale over the past three weeks!

So what do I eat?  Here's a lowdown of a typical day:


  • 1/4 cup homemade granola (See? Carbs first thing in the morning!)
  • 3 celery stalks w/ 2 Tbsp peanut butter (yes, I do measure, thankyouvurahmuch)
  • Salad made with romaine or spinach, carrots, shredded cheese, turkey breast, diced hard boiled eggs, bacon and dressing of my choice (even full fat stuff)
  • Meat.  Lots of lean meat.
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Small salad
  • 2-3 times a week, I will have 1 dinner roll, or one small serving of potatoes (I'm currently trying to avoid mashed taters - I love them so hard, it's near impossible to control myself!)
  • Cheese (mmmm!).  I like cheddar/colby, aged white cheddar, gouda. Let's be real.  I'll eat pretty much any cheese you put in front of my face.
  • Turkey pepperoni
  • Hard salami with cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup nuts (almonds and cashews are my current faves)
  • Pork rinds (I know, kinda white trash.  But they get me over the "I want potato chips" hump.)
  • Lots of water throughout the day, with the occasional Coke Zero.

Interested in reading a bit more?  Dig this article from WebMD.

I'm off to check my pot roast!!!


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