Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Is Here!

Spring is here! It's a time of renewal, rebirth, and even redemption. It's a great time to determine where you are on your journey to become a healthy writer and decide if you are happy with your progress. Are you doing your best? Can you do more? Do you want to increase your efforts?

I do want to step it up. I have lost a little more than 7 pounds since the beginning of 2010. I'm happy to see a loss and can feel a difference for it, but I don't think I've been doing my best this winter. I know I've been struggling a little with backsliding the past couple of months, and I really don't think I've done enough in the area of exercise.

I've only averaged two trips to the gym per week over the winter months. Now, this is something. I also walk about 30 - 40 minutes a day for my commute, but my winter weekly gym attendance is nothing compared to what I was doing in the summer and fall when I averaged 4-5 visits to the gym a week.

I felt better when I worked out that often. I also find that one of the many benefits of exercise is that it makes the food stuff, making healthy eating choices in terms of what I eat and how much I eat, a lot easier. I'm not sure why that is, but there is a clear connection. When I'm working out a lot, I am doing better in almost all areas of my life.

I also think part of my journey to becoming a healthy writer is learning to love my body and appreciate what it can do. Exercise helps a lot with that. One of the slogans everywhere at my gym is Know Your Own Strength. When I attended the body pump weight lifting class 2-3 times a week, I was learning how to love how strong I could get and what I could do physically. It felt so empowering. Furthermore, nothing made me smaller as quickly as strength training.

Yes, some of this need to learn to love my body is typical female hangups with body image. Another part of it comes from the fact that since my sister had a stroke at the age of 5, she has had physical disabilities. I spent a good part of my life feeling guilty for being able bodied, so learning to love what my body can do has been a very hard lesson that is still in progress.

In many ways, I've missed working out hard at least 4-5 times a week, and I hope to get back into that pattern this spring. It's something I've started working towards already. Daylight Savings Time has really helped. It's so much easier for me to go to the gym when it's still light out, and there are fewer clothes I have to put on to go outside.

This spring fever need to increase your exercise is also influencing my Weight Watchers buddies. Several have signed up for running races. A bunch of them were talking about it after a meeting a couple of weeks ago, and they inspired me to finally purchase some kick butt sports bras. This has been on my list of things to do for awhile. I am well-endowed in the chest area and hover in the D to DD range. I need a super supportive athletic bra. I've asked around for recommendations, and several friends mentioned the bar system that the Title IX Web site has for rating sports bras - the more bars the better the support. Given how expensive these super duper sports bras can run, I wanted to try some on first.

Walking home from the metro one day, I passed a lululemon athletic store. I went in to see what they could do for me, and I walked out with 8 killer sports bras. I can vouch that the ta ta tamer (someone has a sense of humor as that is the real name) is amazing. There's almost no movement at all. It's actually made a difference in my workouts. I no longer hold myself back on certain moves in my classes that previously had been very uncomfortable due to the size of my chest. These bras will also make it easier for me to contemplate the idea of adding running to my exercise repertoire. I plan to go for a run with my friend Elise Hayes at the WRW retreat in a couple of weeks as a kind of experiment. It'll be interesting to see how it goes.

I have done my best to set myself up for a successful spring in terms of exercising more. I went to the gym 3 times this past week, and I'll get back to that 4-5 times a week range soon.

Does the arrival of spring make you evaluate your current efforts to become a healthy writer? Are you doing your best? Can you do more? Do you want to increase your efforts?

13 comments:

MaryC on April 5, 2010 at 8:43 AM said...

Hi Michelle. I definitely agree with you on the point that exercising makes it easier to make healthier food choices. For me it seems to be a combination of reasons. First it's a matter of wondering if I'm putting all the effort into exercising, why would I sabotage myself with bad food choices. But more, I think it that it's a mindset. Exercise makes you feel good and healthy eating does also. One acts as a reminder for the other.

My increased exercise has been in terms of time spent walking the dog. Longer days/warmer weather have me taking him for long walks in the park. I find that even brief spurts of running with him translate to a pound loss.

Deb Marlowe on April 5, 2010 at 8:57 AM said...

Hope this post works!

Michelle, I'm with you on the need for a great sports bra. Thanks for the recommendations!

Michelle Butler on April 5, 2010 at 10:17 AM said...

Thanks, MaryC. Sounds like you and your dog are having wonderful trips to the park. :)

Michelle Butler on April 5, 2010 at 10:17 AM said...

Best of luck on your search, Deb! They make a big difference.

Deb Marlowe on April 5, 2010 at 10:20 AM said...

Oh, oh--I figured out how to make my computer talk to the blog! I'm so excited!

Elise Hayes on April 5, 2010 at 1:35 PM said...

I definitely slowed down this winter--going for shorter, slower runs. I'm trying to pick the pace back up, as well as the distance. It's going to be a long struggle to get back to the pace I was running pre-pregnancy, and I might not make it there (I am getting older, after all!)--but I do want to push myself harder that I've been doing the past few years.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on April 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM said...

I'm loving the warmer weather and longer days too. I'm working in the yard every day which serves two purposes -- I'm getting needed work done and I'm getting some sweat-inducing exercise. This morning, I spent my two hours laying weed barrier for the rock garden around my mailbox, raking more leaves left over from the fall, bagging some leaves and cutting some limbs and carrying them to the street for the brush truck. It feels good to get that two hours in then take a nice shower and start on the writer part of my day.

Michelle Butler on April 5, 2010 at 3:27 PM said...

Elise, we had a tougher winter than normal. Perhaps that helped convince us to slow down more too. Best wishes on increasing your pace or distance!

Michelle Butler on April 5, 2010 at 3:28 PM said...

That's great about the yard work, Trish!

Sarah Simas on April 5, 2010 at 4:53 PM said...

Hi Michelle!

I'm with you on the backsliding. Sheesh! I've got a trip to Hawaii at the end of the month and will in no way shape or form be the size I pictured. Bummer. I've made it a goal to be more active. Here's hoping!

Best wishes for your continued success!

Michelle Butler on April 5, 2010 at 4:59 PM said...

Enjoy your trip to Hawaii, Sarah! I've never been, but I've heard it is lovely. Best wishes on being more active.

Keri Mikulski on April 9, 2010 at 6:41 AM said...

Love Spring!! And the warmer weather is always better for a work out. Sounds like you're doing great, Michelle!! :) As far as the sports bras, if you go to a sports specific store (Dicks, Modell's, Sports Authority), they'll have the best - Nike, Adidas, etc.. Good luck! :)

Michelle Butler on April 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Keri! I never thought about those stores because I thought of them as boy's stores - and not catering to women athletes. (Also, I can't imagine asking a male sales clerk for advice on sports bras.)

I hope Lululemon is as good of a sports store as those. I dropped so much $ on the sports bras there that I'm out of the market for more for at least a year. :)

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