Tag Archives: Get to stepping

Making the Boob Tube Your Ally

19 Feb
Decisions: Getting up to burn a few calories or snuggling on the couch with him.

Decisions: Getting up to burn a few calories or snuggling on the couch with him and my remote.

I learned early on in the fitness process that working out at home might not be in my best interests. If I planned on doing an exercise video, of course I would have to use my television. My television sat in my living room not eight feet from my couch. My couch has a fluffy throw blanket on it. And you know what’s hooked up to my TV? My DVR. How can I work out when I have a backlog of “The Vampire Diaries” to catch up on?

I began my journey in Atlanta, where the winters—at the time—weren’t too terrible and I had a car. I’ve continued my journey in New York, where 11 inches of snow is followed by subzero wind chills on gusty days. Living here, you tend to carry a lot of stuff with you because sometimes you just go where the day takes you and it’s good to be prepared. That can become a problem when I get impromptu drinks/dinner/party plans and I have a giant gym bag with me.

As I’ve said before on this blog, I sweat profusely. My clothes need to air out and dry. Leaving my drenched clothes at the office isn’t really an option for me, but how do I get a workout in and still be able to hang with my peeps later?

When I moved here, I brought with me a set of exercise DVDs I’d bought from an infomercial (don’t judge me). I barely used them in Atlanta figured they’d get equal use here. Then the winter doldrums came, as did the pounds, and I needed something else to do. My gym is closed on the weekends, there’s waist-high snow on the ground and I needed to burn some calories. So I cleared some space in the living room and popped in the DVD. It was only 30 minutes, much less time than I’d spend on run. But I was sweating so badly when it was over. My towel got great use and my glass of water was gone. And did I mention it was only 30 minutes.

That necessity for change sparked something that I long thought impossible. I am a self-confessed couch potato. I like curling up in a corner of my sofa with a blanket, book and remote control. I binge-watched “House of Cards” this past weekend because it’s something I like to do. But I also took 30 minutes out of my day to burn a few calories.

Most experts will tell you that you need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Well, there you have it. It will take you more time to shower and pick out your clothes for the day than to do some exercise videos. But that’s not all you can—or should—do.

There are plenty of exercises you can compile into a half hour. Try doing sets of different exercises. A combination of jumping jacks, hip hikes, crunches, squats and lunges. Do a few reps of each and then repeat the set. There, 30 minutes and you’ve done some work.

Just remember that staying active is only half the battle to losing or maintaining your weight. And while 30 minutes is a good pat on the back, you should try to challenge yourself to do more. But don’t let the winter blues get you down in the process.

Full-Figured Fashion Week

5 Feb

uptown-rick-owens-2Diversity on the runway has always been a big issue in the fashion industry. Designers have every right to place the clothes they’ve constructed on a model that fits with their aesthetic. But what does it say about the designer when all of their models look the same?

I can go on for days about the lack of racial diversity on the runways. There are others who do it on a regular basis. What I’d like to focus on is size diversity. We all come in multitude of sizes and we all can appreciate beautiful works of art. Fashion Week, for me, is a time when stunning works of art are put on display for our critique and enjoyment.

With Mercedes Benz Fashion week in New York starting tomorrow, I’m realistically hopeful to see different sizes on the runway this year. Last fall, designer Rick Owens stunned Paris audiences with multi-cuved, multi-hued models performing a stepshow on the runway. The women stomped down the catwalk with fierce aggression showcasing some pretty unique items. There were thigh jiggles, big boobs, little boobs and hair of every texture. It awe inspiring.

When I first stumbled on the show, I couldn’t help but rewatch it. And then it hit me that I was seeing something different, but not different. I see women like that all the time—at work, on the train, on the street. They’re everywhere…except the runway.

Yes, I’m “skinny now,” but I haven’t always been this way. I’m not not that skinny. I’ve said several times on this blog, my thighs jiggle and I’ve got a pooch of a stomach. And guess what else? I wear clothes. I like fashion. I get excited for fashion week.

Can the barrier that was broken last fall in Paris carry over this week in New York? Will designers look to other boy types to market their wares?

Fashion Week began as an opportunity for designers to showcase their goods to buyers. The commercial aspect of the event didn’t grow to its current height until recent memory. Buyers are still at the shows, they’ve just been pushed back a few seats to make room for the Kardashians. That’s fine. But the Kardashians aren’t the rail-thin girls we only see walking the runway.

I don’t take issue with the current crop of models being hired to strut. Personally, my favorite model these days is Joan Smalls. There is, however, room for designers to show buyers what a woman curvier frame would buy.

The fashion industry can be exclusive, but it doesn’t have to be. I only hope designers will recognize that a diverse runway will only help them in the long run.

It was a personal exercise to consider curves and size ranges in the clothes I sell. This was a great way for us in the studio to study more ways to make clothes available to more people. It was as simple as that.
—Rick Owens in Vogue Turkey

What do you think about diversity in the fashion industry? What other types of models would you like to see draped in your favorite designer’s clothes?

I’ma Be Your Motivation

16 Jan
someecards.com - I exercise just to make you feel bad about not exercising.

Hey, it’s a reason.

I talk a lot on this blog about the necessity of keeping up with your workout. I’ve also talked a lot about how I’m not perfect and my love of Goldfish crackers and comfy sofas make this hard, but I still persevere.

I do this to show that I did not wake up like dih. I am a flawed human being. I go through phases, like most people, where I’d rather sit and clear out my DVR or binge-watch “Breaking Bad” than go to the gym. Hell, it took me five hours from the time I got up this morning to start writing this post. You know what I did in the meantime: nada. I read a couple chapters of a book; I walked my dog; I watched “Dexter” on Netflix; I took a nap. None of those things, besides walking the dog, was something that needed to be done. I just didn’t feel like it.

And that’s a problem that you’ll face on your journey toward your goal. Some days, no matter what, you just won’t feel like it. Everything under the sun sounds more appealing than exercising. You know what’s more fun than spin class? Puppy cuddling. What’s more appealing than Zumba? Cookies and a “Game of Thrones” marathon.

So how do you get past the allure of being sedentary?

1. Just Go. Really, that’s the first step. It’s always the hardest, but it’s the most important. Not many people ever really want to go to the gym unless they’re being paid for it. If it’s not your job, then you have to find some other motivation. Even though I may have stayed up too late the night before or the dog was hacking all night, I’ll force myself out of bed and go to the gym. I tell myself that the 20 minutes I’m going to do on the elliptical are more than most people will do all day. Those 20 minutes can turn into 25. Then I hop on the stationary bike for 15 minutes, which turns into another 20. By then I’ve done 45 minutes. And since I can be a little OCD, I’ll do 15 minutes on the treadmill to make it a full hour. All that by just getting out of bed and going.

2. Plan Ahead. If you’ve already made your meals for the week, got your clothes set out and scheduled time, there’s little in your way to keep you from doing your workout. Sometimes we need a little structure in our lives. So if you can’t function without time limits, this is the step for you. Preparation is necessary in any weight-loss plan, anyway. You don’t go scuba diving without instructions. You don’t start a weight-loss plan without knowing what you’re getting into. Just prepare yourself, and you’re ready to stay on track.

3. Make It Quick. You don’t have to go hard to get in a good workout. I have some exercise DVDs at home that are only 30 minutes. That’s it: 30 minutes! What else are you doing today that you can’t take 30 minutes out of your day? Really, I’m asking. Some of you have kids and spouses and mortgages. I have none of that. I have a 12-year-old dog who sleeps all day in my apartment. It’s easy for me to take time out for a quick workout. Out of the 24 hours in the day, is every minute of them accounted for? If not, try to consolidate about 30 to do something good for yourself.

4. Reward Yourself. I think this comes from childhood, but I sometimes feel I don’t deserve treats until my chores are done. For example: I can’t leave to meet friends until my home is straightened up. I don’t get dessert until the dishes are in the dishwasher. I haven’t earned that new dress until spin class is over. For me, it’s about earning points for a treat. So what do you do to treat yourself? Maybe you want the 10-minute massage after your mani-pedi. Well, you’ve got to earn it.

5. Take Pride in Doing Something Others Aren’t. I know this is bad, but it helps keep me motivated. When I leave the gym and have to go to the grocery store, there’s a little bit of pride that comes with my sweat stains. That pride comes from knowing I look awful, but I look awful for a reason. There are people at the store who look bad because it’s Tuesday. You’ve earned your worn-out look. Wear that badge with pride.

6. Vision/Pinterest Board It. What’s the light at the end of your tunnel? A good way to stick with any plan is to have a set of goals to achieve. If you plan on being beach-ready by summer, the best time to start is now. If you have a wedding in the fall, remember that fittings start in the summer. Put up pictures of what you want, be it a vacation in Nice or a destination wedding in St. Barths. Keep a reminder to yourself that you have a goal you need to achieve.

Women’s Health magazine compiled a list last year of a few things people need to do to stay on track. What do you do to keep yourself motivated?

Don’t Be Scurrd

6 Jan
someecards.com - My workout consists of walking around the office lying to people about going to the gym.

Don’t be this person.

Like I said last week, going to the gym for a newbie can be like being the new kid at school. You don’t know anyone, you don’t know the social structure and what the hell is that machine by the door?

There’s a lot of trepidation about joining a new gym, but that can be overcome. The thing about being the newbie is that you’re free to mess up and blame it on ignorance. Trip over your shoelace? Eh, no biggie. Get behind in the steps at Zumba. You’re in the back, no one’s paying attention.

Newbies, like the rest of us, have freedom to define their workouts according to their needs. A story in the Daily Mail siting a story in Cosmopolitan Body gives the usual reasons people don’t want to go: too lazy or the gym is too busy. The responses that bothered me most were “think the regulars dominate it” ( 12% women, 10% men) and “think they’re not fit enough to join” (15% women, 4% men). Women are struggling with a the great #FOWO (fear of working out)

Women who feel embarrassed when exercising outnumber men by two to one, with other people noticing them and feeling unfit deemed the main reasons for feeling uncomfortable.
Daily Mail article

I understand it. I was there in the beginning. The gym can be a daunting place and new things can be scary. But fear is a flimsy excuse for not doing the things you want, especially if those things are good for you. Who cares if some jacked-up shmoe looks at you sideways because you went for the 20-pound dumbbells when you should be picking of the 3-pounders? Screw that dink. You live and you learn. No one should be paying that much attention to you in the first place unless you know them.

Also, no one is ever “fit enough” for gym. That’s why we’re all there. Everyone is working on improvement. People are at the gym to get some type of result, be it to maintain, lose or even gain. As I’ve said before on this blog, we’re all works in progress. Think of it this way: the weight loss journey is a crowded highway full of single drivers. We’re all going to the same place, but you’re doing it as an individual. Because of that, most people at the gym are too focused on what they have to do to let your little slip ups get them down.

While on this individual journey, don’t forget to stop and ask for directions. Talk to the trainers. At commercial gyms like an Equinox or Bally’s, trainers can be like Tuesday afternoon salespeople at Macy’s. He’s bored or he’s talking to his co-workers because he has nothing to do. The next paid client doesn’t come in for another hour. That’s plenty of time to ask him about proper form for a lunge or three exercises to do to work on your upper back. Now look at you. You’ve made a new friend!

If all of the trainers are busy, you can ask one of the veteran gym rats. When you’re working out, you’re building endorphins and therefore super excited to help. You can also glance (don’t leer) around the gym at what others are doing. People watch.

The weight-loss process is trial and error. You will hit a couple bumps in the road on your way to your goal, but you’ll get there with dedication and effort. Do what works for you and you’ll be happier.

I Backslid, and So Will You

16 Dec
You will not defeat me!

You will not defeat me!

I haven’t been able to pinpoint when the problem began, but I know it’s happened. I set a limit for myself: I’d never go past 150 again. Then I hit 151. That’s no problem, I thought. I can lose that easily. Excuse after excuse and here I am pushing 160 and about to go for a run.

I know what has to be done; it’s just hard to stay on track. I’m not a fitness buff nor am I a health nut (as evidenced by my love of goldfish crackers). I don’t believe in being a slave to the number on the scale, either. But I like to look a certain way, and there’s a general weight range that I’m veering away from far too easily.

Here’s the thing: we’re all works in progress. Before, during and after the weight-loss journey is over, you will have to repeat the process.

You know why? Everybody backslides. Everybody.

Look at Oprah. No one is a a better example of the truth about yo-yo dieting. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just reality. People gain and lose weight depending on everything from their moods to the moon. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

At my peak of weight loss, I lost over 60 pounds. But then began the process of lose, gain, repeat.

I’m not alone in this. Many, many moons ago, a woman from Tennessee trotted out on a TV stage with a wagon of fat. Remember this?

(wagon pulls in at about 1:50 mark)

I don’t do this to poke fun at the Mighty O, who even says in the video that she was starving herself at the time and has since come forward that her weight gain is the result of thyroid problems. I do this to say that no one is perfect. You will mess up. Just don’t let that be a deterrent to continuing on your way to your goals.

Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

1. Switch up your routine. Any physical trainer will tell you not to do the same routine over and over again. You don’t think to blink, walk or even flex your fingers. It’s a learned activity that the body does without much provocation. The way your body has learned these activities is similar to the way it will learn the same Zumba video you’ve been doing every day for three months. After the first month, the pounds wont drop anymore because your body knows what to do. You have to shock the system. So instead of Zumba, go swimming. Instead of running, do some resistance. Don’t let your body settle into one routine.

2. Don’t beat yourself up about it. This is just a thing that happens. You’ve done the work before, so you know what to do now. You are one of millions of people in the world who have probably fallen back into old habits. Just remember why you started in the first place and let that be the motivation to get you going again.

3. Remember your body is always changing. Maybe some of those pounds are just life catching up with you. Don’t let the number on the scale rule your life. It is solely there as a guide only. It’s about how you feel in your skin, and you have to adjust to life’s little changes…like Oprah.

What do you do when you feel you’re getting off track?