Tag Archives: walking

No Time Like the Present

17 Nov
wine

courtesy of Tumblr


When embarking on your weight-loss journey, there are a multitude of reasons to delay your departure. You need to plan out a schedule; you need to figure out what foods to cook; you need to wait for the Saturn’s fourth moon to align with Jupiter.

Waiting to start is just an excuse, and a flimsy one at that. The second you decide it’s time to take better care of your health, then take better care of your health. At that moment you can make several small adjustments before taking on a serious weight-loss regimen.

1. Pack your own lunch. There is so much sodium and fat in the foods you buy at McDonald’s, Subway or even Chipotle. And we all love Chipotle. But why not just make a salad and take it with you to work? Steam that pack of frozen veggies that have been sitting in your freezer. Dust off that cookbook your mom got you a few years ago and find something quick and light to eat.

2. Go for a walk. Walking is exercise. Depending on how much you do, it can be intense. Take a walking lunch at work. Park your car further away from the entrance so you can take more steps. Take the stairs. You’ll be challenging yourself to do something different. People regret the steps they didn’t take, not the ones they did.

3. Clean out your cabinets. When you’ve decided to take an active role in your health, you should get rid of the temptation to do bad things. Most of those bad things reside in your cabinets. There you will find all the cookies, chips, sodas, juices and all-around unhealthy snacks that have been doing you harm. They’ve got to go. No one likes wasted food, so donate the unopened packages to a food bank. Take the open ones to work. If your co-workers are anything like mine, the cookies and chips will be gone by lunchtime.

4. Don’t order that fourth glass of wine. I’ve often been out with friends when they’ve decided they’ll get back on track come Monday. In the meantime, “Another Long Island Ice Tea, please!” That’s not doing you any good. If you plan to “get back on track come Monday” (whatever that means), why would you set yourself back even further than where you are now? You can order a lighter dish at a restaurant. You can cut back on the alcohol you consume. Come Monday, it won’t be as hard to make the effort.

bugeyes

courtesy of Tumblr

5. Know that your eyes are always bigger than your stomach. As I said before, you don’t have to clear your plate. A lot of restaurants give you way too much food. The stomach isn’t that big. And if you go to a restaurant hungry—or my personal favorite, your grandmother’s house—you’re setting yourself up to overeat. Divide the items on your plate, putting half in a to-go container. Drink some water. If you’re still hungry 15 minutes later, by all means keep eating. But don’t feel obligated to eat everything that’s placed before you. That’s why we have refrigerators and Tupperware.

Now’s as good a time as any to take action on your health. Waiting until Monday just gives you more time to come up with excuses to delay your plan. These little steps will help you move forward while you figure out a plan of action.

What small steps do you take to take control of your health?

Advertisements

Running From Street Harassment

31 Oct

A couple of months ago, I was out walking my dog before my run. I was wearing what most runners wear: capris, a dri-fit T-shirt and running shoes. It was a nice day, so we took a longer walk than usual.

A young man crossed the street while Xander was doing his thing and said, “Hello.” “Hi,” I responded and kept it moving. When we got to the park, he showed up again and asked how my day was. I said fine, and moved along. A block later he caught up with me again and continued to try to carry on a conversation with me. I told him I wasn’t interested, but he kept walking with me. I used the usual tropes a woman uses when trying to get a persistent guy away from her: I have a boyfriend; I have to get going; I don’t have time; Take care. For almost five blocks, this guy followed me until I raised my voice and told him, “You’re just going to have to take no for an answer!” The rest of the way home, I was looking over my shoulder to make sure he didn’t follow me back to my apartment.

This was the second time I’d been followed by a man in less than two weeks. This type of harassment is something I’ve been dealing with since I was 11 years old.

I’ve mentioned several times on here how I’m an avid runner. What I haven’t mentioned are some of the comments, the leers, the striking sense of discomfort I get at times on these runs. I’ve had a guy cross over and nearly block my path to stare me down while I’m out. I’ve had men clap like I’m putting on a show when I’m just trying to get in some exercise. But I’ve often heard, “Damn!” “Look at that ass!” “Don’t lose too much now!”

These are just some examples from when I’m trying to maintain a certain level of health. I’d need another blog post to run down the instances when I’ve been objectified for just trying to get from Point A to Point B. Every morning on my five-minute walk from my building to the train station, I hear something from at least one guy. Every morning.

The woman featured in Hollaback’s catcall video was showing a slice of life that nearly every woman has to deal with on a regular basis. For detractors to belittle her experience by saying, “It doesn’t happen that often,” or “It was staged,” or (my personal favorite) “We can’t say ‘hi’ anymore,” is insulting, unnerving and misses the entire point.

There are women being verbally and physically assaulted for not giving some man the attention he feels he deserves. Some women are even being killed.

My walking down the street has nothing to do with anyone else’s desires. My desire to go about my day without having to appease some stranger’s need for attention outweighs any man’s need for a reciprocal hello. As one of my friend’s pointed out, some men need to learn to read social cues. Many men need to ask themselves a few questions before they speak:

  • Do you know this woman?
  • Did you two make eye contact?
  • Did she drop something and you need to get her attention to give it back?
  • Will both of you benefit from an interaction?
  • Are you going to say something to her that wouldn’t offend your mother, sister, aunt, cousin, etc.?
  • Does what you want to say absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt need to be said?

If you answered no to any of these questions, your best bet is to keep your thoughts to yourself.

This isn’t a new conversation. Women have been talking about this for years. Jessica Williams of “The Daily Show” did a segment on it earlier this month.

And still there are some men who refuse to recognize the annoyance that can lead to discomfort that does lead to fear for personal safety when dozens of strangers are trying to get your attention in one day. So, men, get over yourselves and recognize that my not talking to you has everything to do with my personal safety and nothing to do with your feelings.

I’m not going to ask if you’ve been street harassed. I’ll just ask what’s an instance that sticks out in your mind when you think of street harassment?

Summertime Shine (From Sweat)

8 Jul
Sure, it's windowless and depressing. It's also got AC, so deal with it.

Sure, it’s windowless and depressing. It’s also got AC, so deal with it.

Editor’s note: I’ve said many times that I’m a bum, and this is proof positive. I waited an extra day to post. Sorry, peeps.

Like many of you, the long weekend was a welcome respite from the dragging days of summer. I try to lead by example, so I had every intention of going for a couple of runs this weekend. But my bed was just too damn comfortable and it was too damn hot.

Working out in the heat is never ideal. Your body temperature is already at flu-like levels, and you’re exerting yourself (hopefully) to a near breaking point. Basically, you’re beating yourself up. Add outside factors like 90-plus temps and 85% humidity under sunny skies and you’ve got a recipe for exhaustion.

As always, there are ways to beat the heat and still beat your body into fitness submission.

1. Hydrate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: water is best your best friend in any weather circumstance. It’s definitely your life force when you’re heading for an outdoor workout. Remember Game 1 of the NBA Finals this summer? Of course you do. I wrote a lovely post about it. That’s what happens when you don’t hydrate. Don’t be LeBron. Be better than Lebron.

Don't let this happen to you (on an international stage)

Don’t let this happen to you (on an international stage)

2. Keep your activity light. The reason I prefer running is because I’m cheap. It costs the $140 a year I spend on shoes. That’s slightly less than my annual Netflix and Spotify subscriptions combined. But I have conditions for running, and one of which is that the temperature cannot be above 80 degrees. I refuse. During the summer, the Weather Channel app is my friend. Not running, however, doesn’t mean I can’t walk. Second to my love of water is my love of walking. It was so hot here over Fourth of July weekend, I just grabbed my water bottle and took my dog for a nice long walk by the river. Unfortunately, it was so hot that he couldn’t get comfortable. We were both sweating buckets by the end, but at least we tried.

3. Early bird burns the calories. If you must run outside, get up early. Crack of dawn is your best bet because it should be cool enough so you don’t tire out so quickly. But be careful. Tell someone you’re going that early. The crowds are thin at daybreak, leaving great opportunity for muggers. On the absolute rare occasion I go that early, I’ll text a friend that I left.

4. Gym time. So it’s so hot that the sidewalks are steaming. You’ve gotten a weather alert on your phone that people are advised to stay indoors and use the AC. You know what place great air conditioning? The gym. Sure, it can be depressing to to be cooped up on a summer day, but it’s only an hour or two of your day. After that you’re set to enjoy the sunshine.

5. Take a dip. Swimming is so much fun. And it’s an excellent way to get a total body workout. You’ll work muscles you haven’t worked in a while, especially if you’re like me and not a frequent swimmer. For my natural ladies, I know it can be worrisome to keep your hair right after a swim. I’ll have a post coming shortly about that. But in the meantime, get your two-strand twists going, invest in a good swim cap and do some laps in the pool. Your arm and thigh muscles will thank you for it.

6. Spin out. Summertime offers better opportunities for you to just hop on your bike and go. You don’t even have set aside special bike time the way you do workouts. You can bike to work, to school, to the gym, to a friend’s house. And it fits one of my main criteria: it’s cheap! You buy the bike and pay the regular maintenance for chains, brakes and tires (much like a car, but cheaper). Plus, it’s also a great way to get some sun and fresh air.

What do you like to do to keep up your fitness routine during the summer? How do you plan on taking advantage of the sunshine?

top photo credit: HealthGauge via photopin cc

Every Little Step I Take

24 Jun
Who wouldn't want to go exploring on a day like this?

Who wouldn’t want to go exploring on a day like this?

For the past few weeks, I had been in beast mode. I’d been living off of salads, lean meats and beans. I’d been hitting the gym and the pavement extra hard to keep my body in motion.

And I was dog tired.

All I wanted to do is sleep when I was done. My dog had been getting the bare minimum of attention because I couldn’t keep up with him—and he’s 13. That’s 91 in dog years. So basically I was being punked in the energy department by a nonagenarian. Excuse me while I sweep up my ego.

I know I’ve got to keep moving and watching what I eat in order to maintain my health, but it’s difficult to maintain beast-mode levels of diet and exercise. So what’s a girl to do?

I got to stepping. The weather has been phenomenal in New York. We’ve had sunny skies with warm, breezy temps. It’s been perfect for lounging. But instead, I started walking.

Just keep stepping. Just keep stepping.

GIFSoup

I’ve discussed before on here how I love exploring New York and the benefits of living in a walking city. But when you need to stay active and just keep your body moving, nothing beats walking.

Walking has to be one of the most underrated forms of exercise. You’ve been doing it since you were a toddler. You know how it works. You generally have some idea of where you’re going. And it’s an easy group activity.

So why is it the red-headed stepchild of workout routines? Because of all the reasons I mentioned above, especially the part of how you’ve been doing it since you were a toddler. But that doesn’t make it any less valid.

People need to keep moving. We’re like sharks in that if we don’t move, we die. There are actually thousands upon thousands of articles on the web that tell of the benefits of walking, especially getting in the recommended 10,000 steps a day.

Ten thousand may seem extreme, but it can be accomplished pretty easily.

1. Get a pedometer. My hiatus from beast mode has made my pedometer my friend. You’d be surprised how many steps you actually take in a day. If you have a sedentary job like I do, you probably think you take maybe 3,000 steps a day. But what about walking into work? Walking to a co-worker’s desk or another department in your building? The jumping off point to see how many more steps you need to take a day. Who knows? You might be hitting the 10,000 mark on the regular and not even know it.

2. Go on a boo stroll. Summertime is great for cheap dates. And nothing’s cheaper than free. So grab your boo and pull a Jill Scott (take a long long  around the park after dark). You can get to know each other better and burn some calories in the process. It’s a win-win.

3. Walking lunch. Eating at your desk can be a bummer, but so is having to get a wider chair because your butt is expanding. So take that half-hour or so you would to go down to the cafeteria and walk a few blocks around your office. Grab a co-worker so you two can vent about your day. It’s a great mental health break from your job and a fantastic physical health benefit to your body.

4. Park further away/take longer route from the subway. Unless you’re hauling heavy equipment on the regular, there’s no need to park right in front of the office or at the grocery store. A few extra steps won’t kill you. If you’re like me and public transportation is your pal, walk a little further to the next subway stop. Instead of walking the five blocks to my nearest station, I sometimes will walk 10 minutes to a different one. It gives me a small sense of accomplishment.

5. Become a hometown tourist. There’s nothing like discovering something new about your own town. Get off at a stop you’ve never been to before. Drive to a different part of town and walk around. Look up what’s happening in a different area than you usually hang out and go there. See what else your city has to offer outside of your own zip code. You’ll be adding steps in no time.

Keeping it moving is essential keeping your metabolism going. Walking is a great way to do that. And it’s the first exercise you learned. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

How many steps do you think you take in a day?

Image

Post-Thanksgiving Workout

29 Nov

20131129-145356.jpg

Getting my hike on this day after Thanksgiving.