Fitness and training diary ;-)

I am the least likely person to start a fitness trend, but

a) I need to brag report on my activities,
b) I want to hear from other reluctant exercisers, and
c) I need some suggestions for next steps.

So….


I have gotten back to the 30-40 minutes, 3-4 times a week aerobic walking routine that I started in the summer.  Having an iPod Nano helps a lot – listening to my own music makes the time fly by.  I’ve been walking from 6-6:30 in the morning 2 days a week, and a little bit later on Friday (when I don’t work) and on the weekends.  The hardest part is swinging my legs out of bed – once I start to get dressed to walk, it’s sort of a done deal …. “may as well walk if I’m already dressed!”  I set the coffee maker on auto, so there’s a hot pot waiting for me when I come back (and the glorious smell of brewed coffee greeting me as I come in the door).

I feel like this is a constant effort – does it ever get to be a “no brainer” or a feeling of “I have to exercise”?  I have to push myself out of bed every day – the only thing that helps is scheduling it ahead of time and laying clothes out, so there is no effort at all in teh morning.  Plus, telling DH that I”m going to walk seems to motivate me!

Where can I go next with this?  Time-wise I’m a little tight – DS gets up at 7:00 so I need to be home and ready to make breakfast and lunch by then.  Weekends I could do a longer walk or add something in – but I’m not sure  what.  I need to tighten up my abs – is there a workout you like for that?

And – c’mon out of hiding all you other reluctant exercisers.  As proud and awed as I am of our marathoning mommas, that’s not as motivating as hearing from someone else who is trying to just get from “couch potato” to “regular exerciser”

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I noticed that our Facebook MotherTalkers group was about to be “archived,” so I upgraded to save it. Please re-sign up! Many thanks for letting me know, Lisa! :)

Also, as part of my work with Moms Clean Air Force — please sign up if you haven’t already! — I am floating this online petition to curb emissions from electrical power plants. America Electric Power (AEP) tops most air pollution categories in terms of what it spews. It is currently spending tens of millions of dollars in lobbying efforts to fight clean air standards. Please help me not let them get away with this. Thank you for your support!  

This Mamapedia Voices account by a mom rejected by her mommy playgroup almost read like satire. But what popped in my mind was this: I am so glad I am not there anymore. The baby blues, the uncertainty at a well-meaning wisher’s comments, the books, the perceived slights at my parenting…I am so glad I am not there anymore! While parenthood forever changes and the only constant is to remain flexible, I wish I knew then what I know now. There is more than one way to be a mother! What granules of wisdom have you gained from this thing called parenthood?

Also, Laurie Puhn at the Expecting Words blog raised a good question: what should you do if your spouse is not a “baby person”? I could relate as my husband and I found the baby phase quite trying.  

In health news: one in 38 South Korean children — or 2.6 percent of the child population — has an autism spectrum disorder, according to a story in MSN Health. Researchers were careful to note that the spike in cases was due to better diagnostic tools and not necessarily an increase from previous generations.

In other health news: you are more likely to stick with a consistent regiment if you work out in the morning, according to my recent edition of Women’s Running magazine. Now that I am over my cold, I am hitting the pavement again. I have my first half marathon in three weeks — yikes! Runners, how do you stay motivated?

Daily Kos’s Teacher Ken had a very nuanced response to the National Education Association’s endorsement of President Obama for re-election. Obama received the teacher’s union endorsement for the stimulus package which saved thousands, if not, tens of thousands of teaching jobs in the country.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Fitness and training diary w/o Jan 10

This is an open thread for those who are interested in increasing their fitness and/or training for a race of any shape or kind. Post your training regime for this week and come back to report on your progress. Got a question on training, walking, running, biking, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, swimming or anything to do with race preparation? Post it here – someone will know the answer.

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Fitness and Training Diary w/o Jan 3

This is an open thread for those who are interested in increasing their fitness and/or training for a race of any shape or kind. Post your training regime for this week and come back to report on your progress. Got a question on training, walking, running, biking, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, swimming or anything to do with race preparation? Post it here – someone will know the answer.

So, given that this is the first diary of 2011, do you have any goals for the year regarding fitness and training? Me, I want to run a 2-hour half marathon and lose the other 10lbs to get to my pre-children weight.

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Fitness and Training Diary w/o May 17

This is an open thread for those who are interested in increasing their fitness and/or training for a race of any shape or kind. Post your training regime for this week and come back to report on your progress. Got a question on training, walking, running, biking, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, swimming or anything to do with race preparation? Post it here – someone will know the answer.

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70 ways to “end childhood obesity in a generation”

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity released a detailed report and list of 70 recommendations this week.

The action plan defines the goal of ending childhood obesity in a generation as returning to a childhood obesity rate of just 5 percent by 2030, which was the rate before childhood obesity first began to rise in the late 1970s. In total, the report presents a series of 70 specific recommendations, many of which can be implemented right away.

Pdf files containing the full report, or individual sections, can be downloaded here. After the jump I highlighted a few proposals that caught my attention in each of the five large sections: Early Childhood, Empowering Parents and Caregivers, Healthy Food in Schools, Access to Healthy, Affordable Food, and Increasing Physical Activity.


I. Early Childhood

This part of the report urges several steps to better inform women about “the importance of conceiving at a healthy weight and having a healthy weight gain during pregnancy.” It also includes a wide range of recommendations to promote breastfeeding, with the goal of having half of U.S. babies breastfed for at least nine months by 2015. The recent health insurance reform bill requires workplaces with at least 50 employees to provide a private space other than a toilet stall for women to express milk during their breaks.

The report endorses Baby-Friendly hospital standards, which I suspect would be fiercely resisted by formula manufacturers. Insurers and health care providers are also encouraged to “provide information to pregnant women and new mothers on breastfeeding” and “connect pregnant women and new mothers to breastfeeding support programs.” In addition, “Local health departments and community-based organizations, working with health care providers, insurance companies, and others should develop peer support programs that empower pregnant women and mothers to get the help and support they need from other mothers who have breastfed.” Child care providers are also encouraged to make the setting more supportive of breastfeeding, for instance by allowing mothers to breastfeed their children on-site (when dropping off or at the pick-up time), and making sure employees “know how to store, handle, and feed breast milk.”

I was surprised to see the report urge federal and state agencies to “prioritize research into the effects of possibly obesogenic chemicals.” I assume this refers to endocrine disruptors like bisphenol A (BPA). The report notes, “As the research becomes clearer, reducing harmful exposures may require outreach to communities and medical providers, and could also entail regulatory action.”

There are also several recommendations aimed at reducing children’s “screen time,” such as better informing parents and child care providers about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on children’s exposure to television and digital media. Many of those ideas do not require federal action, but the report asks the federal government to “provide clear, actionable guidance to states, providers, and families on how to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and reduce screen time in early child care settings” and “look for opportunities in all early childhood programs it funds (such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program at USDA, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, military child care, and Federal employee child care) to base policies and practices on current scientific evidence related to child nutrition and physical activity.”

II. Empowering Parents and Caregivers

This part of the report discusses A. Making Nutrition Information Useful; B. Food Marketing; and C. Health Care Services. Most of the recommendations rely on private sector actions, such as better nutrition labeling on food and beverage packages, smaller portions and healthier options on restaurant children’s menus, reduced marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, and faster implementation of the calorie count requirements the health insurance reform law imposes on restaurants and vending machines. I doubt much of this will happen, nor do I think media and entertainment companies will heed the task force’s call to “limit the licensing of their popular characters to food and beverage products that are healthy and consistent with science-based nutrition standards.”

The section on health care services includes recommendations on encouraging doctors and dentists to better inform families about achieving a healthy weight. It also recommends, “Federally-funded and private insurance plans should cover services necessary to prevent, assess, and provide care to overweight and obese children.”

III. Healthy Food in Schools

Many of the recommendations in this section can be accomplished through federal action, especially by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, such as: “Update Federal nutritional standards for school meals and improve the nutritional quality of USDA commodities provided to schools”; “USDA should work with all stakeholders to develop innovative ways to encourage students to make healthier choices”; “USDA should work to connect school meals programs to local growers, and use farm-to-school programs, where possible, to incorporate more fresh, appealing food in school meals.” Schools are encouraged to consider changes to the nutrition curriculum, upgrade equipment to make it easier to prepare healthful foods, have school gardens if possible as an educational tool and to “ensure that choosing a healthy school meal does not have a social cost for a child.”

The task force also asks food manufacturers to “develop new products and reformulate existing products so they meet nutritional standards based on the Dietary Guidelines and appeal to children.”

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution series has made the conversation about school food much more mainstream, but I suspect cost factors and institutional inertia will deter many school districts from following the task force recommendations.

By the way, if you are concerned about school lunch nutrition, I recommend bookmarking and occasionally checking the sites La Vida Locavore and School Lunch Talk (which originally had the brilliant blog name “F is for French Fry”).

IV.  Access to Healthy, Affordable Food

It’s been well-documented that Americans in many urban and rural communities have limited access to affordable, nutritious whole foods. This section of the report was full of good ideas, such as increasing the number of farmers’ markets and other direct-to-consumer options for farmers. However, I feel pessimistic about prospects for the task force’s recommendations in this area. It would be wonderful to “Provide economic incentives to increase production of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains,” and to “evaluate the effect of targeted subsidies on purchases of healthy food through nutrition assistance programs.” But in times of budget scarcity, I can’t see local governments funding “incentives to attract supermarkets and grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods and improve transportation routes to healthy food retailers.” I am skeptical that the “food, beverage, and restaurant industries” will “use their creativity and resources to develop or reformulate more healthful foods for children and young people.”

V. Increasing Physical Activity

Several of the 17 recommendations in this section are aimed at increasing children’s physical activity during the school day, at recess as well as in physical education classes. I would love to see more frequent and higher-quality P.E. in all schools, to cite one example. Unfortunately, P.E. is often one of the first things cut when budgets are strained, as they are in many parts of the country now. My children’s school district considered big cuts to P.E. at elementary schools in the coming academic year. Most of the that funding was restored after the state legislature adopted a relatively generous education budget, but if money is tight next year, I expect P.E. to be on the chopping block again in my area and across the country.

The task force asks state and local educational agencies to make physical activity more accessible for kids in after-school programs too, and to make it less expensive for kids to participate in sports teams (that is, limit the use of “pay to play” for extracurricular sports).

Several of the recommendations deal with broader issues of transportation and land-use planning, such as adopting a new Surface Transportation Act “that enhances livability and physical activity,” and EPA guidelines for new schools that emphasize ways to make it possible for students to walk or bike to school. Local governments and the business sector are asked to devote resources to making more parks, playgrounds, fields, gyms and other indoor recreation centers accessible to children, “particularly in underserved and low-income communities.” This kind of thing should be a no-brainer, but I know many cities are having trouble maintaining their park systems, let alone expanding or upgrading them.

Please take the poll and share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

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Fitness and training diary, w/o May 10

This is an open thread for those who are interested in increasing their fitness and/or training for a race of any shape or kind. Post your training regime for this week and come back to report on your progress. Got a question on training, walking, running, biking, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, swimming or anything to do with race preparation? Post it here – someone will know the answer.

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Fitness and Training diary w/o 3 May

This is an open thread for those who are interested in increasing their fitness and/or training for a race of any shape or kind. Post your training regime for this week and come back to report on your progress. Got a question on training, walking, running, biking, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, swimming or anything to do with race preparation? Post it here – someone will know the answer.

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Does Pregnancy Change Your Body Forever?

Let’s call this the “body image” open thread.

Trainer Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser has created quite a stir in the blogosphere for comments she made to Women’s Health magazine. The magazine did not include the article in its entirety so I will quote from the Huffington Post:

Michaels, 36, tells Women’s Health she is unwilling to become pregnant because of the way it would change her body.

“I’m going to adopt. I can’t handle doing that to my body,” she told the magazine. “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.”

I was more offended at her comments about adoption because you “rescue” dogs and not children. But what created a maelstrom in the blogosphere was her not wanting to “do that” her body with pregnancy. To that I say “meh,” although commenters in the Huffington Post and this blog said otherwise. From a blogger named Juniper Russo Tarascio:

I support adoption whole-heartedly; I have two adopted siblings and my husband and I are considering adoption in the relatively near future. However, body-image issues have no place in that decision. I have no fears regarding the physical effects of pregnancy, because I know that these supposed “damages” are easily erased by fitness efforts.

Some moms in Tarascio’s blog and the Huffington Post disagreed with her assessment that a mom’s body is “easily erased by fitness efforts.” As someone who runs up to 9 miles every other morning, I can attest to this. By the way, I spotted all of this in Laurie Puhn’s Expecting Words blog and I agree with her take on Jillian’s comment:

My opinion is that Jillian’s comment should be put in context.  First, we live in a culture that idealizes thinness.  She admits to being overweight as a child and it’s possible that weight is a defining part of her identity.  I can understand how someone who already has body image issues and anxieties would become increasingly stressed and depressed by pregnancy weight gain.  I feel pretty good about my body, but even so, I remember when I stepped on the scale and saw a weight that was nearly 25 pounds more than I had ever seen before.  My eyes bulged out!

At this point my body is back to what it used to be, but even if it wasn’t, my body is not how I make my living.  For Jillian, it is.  And this brings me to my second point.  Jillian is an individual and she should make the choice that’s best for her.  Pregnancy would force her to alter her intense workouts.  If she can’t handle changing her fitness routine, then she should not get pregnant.  At least she knows her limits and admits them.  For that, I give her credit.


Also, what offended readers was the shallowness of her comments. My take is if Jillian is that concerned about body image and “rescuing” children then perhaps she is not ready to be a mother. I say let Jillian live her life the way she wants. But I do think she used a poor choice of words, especially since she helps so many obese mothers on her show. If I weighed 300 pounds after having a couple babies, the last thing I would want to hear from my fitness trainer is that I somehow permanently ruined my body. Yeah, that’ll get me to haul ass on the treadmill!

That said, I also agree with Laurie that not all bodies are permanently “ruined” following pregnancy. No, my body is not exactly the same, but I am very proud of it and what it can do. Despite gaining 50 pounds with each of my kids during pregnancy, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, physically fit and toned, and can wear a size 2, including skinny jeans. I did not resort to diet pills or crazy diets. I simply eat healthy and at scheduled times during the day and exercise for an hour to an hour and a half every other morning.

Yes, I have that little flap of skin around the belly that jiggles when I run, but I am totally fine with it. Every time I see my kids run around — and they were BIG babies, people! — I think, “I did that.” It is an amazing feeling so I like having proof that I made them. In that sense, I take no offense to Jillian’s comments.

What do you think? How has pregnancy — and parenthood! — changed your body for the good and bad? What do you love about your body? You know what I would like to see on the Biggest Loser? The trainers remain trimmed even after holding down a non-fitness-related job and raising children. Now that’s a reality show I would tune into!  

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The Return of the Fitness and Training Diary

Hello, all. After a hiatus, I’m hoping there are some of us still interested in keeping up with our fitness/training goals. I know that Liturgygeek is training for a 20k race, and I’ve just entered a half-marathon for 18th July. So in that spirit, and with spring well in force in the northern hemisphere, shall we discuss?

Standard introduction: This is an open thread for those who are interested in increasing their fitness and/or training for a race of any shape or kind. Post your training regime for this week and come back to report on your progress. Got a question on training, walking, running, biking, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, swimming or anything to do with race preparation? Post it here – someone will know the answer.

What’s going on with you? What have you done with yourself in the past few months? Share any victories, look for any commiseration!

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