Spring, motivation and the 80/20 rule to staying fit

Friday, May 15, 2009

If you see me in person, you’ll dismiss my notion of trying to get fit and lose the weight. But as all of you know and experience, no matter what people say about how you look and feel, there’s only one person that TRULY knows how you look and feel – and that’s YOU!

In my early 20’s I had some eating issues. I’m naturally thin already but I don’t know why I had to worry about being thin. Luckily for me, I found “true happiness” 14 years ago . My husband has always been a tremendous support.

I still weigh myself every day - just to have a guide when I have to be serious about exercising. I give myself plus 5, 6, 7 pounds before I say, “Oh boy, it’s time to do Tony (Tony Horton’s Power 90).”
I’m approaching 45 and I keep saying I’m perimenopause for the past 4 years. I noticed my moods and my metabolism changed. My favorite part of the dinner is dessert, so you can imagine my surprise when I go on the scale the next day and wondered how I gained 4 pounds in one day!

Yes, that’s me. I can gain 4 pounds in a day – 10 pounds in a week and although people say, “I’m crazy” – believe me, when my undies stop fitting, I know for sure, it’s time to put on the brakes on the desert and head to the basement and do the 90-day workout with Tony Horton’s Power 90 DVD. (I tried other DVDs and this particular DVD worked for me. I’m sure there are other exercise routines that work, too. So feel free to share them!)
I do the work-out because it does help me to be fit. And once I focus on exercising, the apple pie and vanilla ice cream no longer seems inviting every single night. I guess when you work hard to push your body; your mind just knows that sugar-based food is poison.
I’ll never get the 6-pack abs, but I love the feeling of being toned and being able to wear sleeveless shirts.

There are obstacles in getting to that goal. Before I reach my 3rd week, PMS intervenes. And being bugged with these uncooperative hormones, all of a sudden I’m bloated! I lose control and that “PMS thing” can ruin all the motivation I have the past 3 weeks working out. So I have to be strong and complain to my husband – who in turn reminds me that “this cycle” happens every single month! So don’t beat yourself up if you end up succumbing to the call of “apple pie and vanilla ice cream” or whatever food you crave.

Walking is great but sadly, it’s not enough to lose weight and be overall-toned.
Eating the right food – especially natural and whole foods, is beneficial to your fitness regime. Last summer, I had major food allergies due to antibiotics that caused major neurological disorders. Unfortunately, none of my doctors had a medical solution for my disorder. Luckily, my husband is fond of researching everything online. We found out that I need to be on a low thyramine diet. And natural food was just the answer!

Blueberries – juice in the morning and the actual blueberries were my favorites! We eliminated red meat, pork and processed foods from my diet. I was eating plenty and yet surprisingly didn’t gain any weight! (My husband lost the weight he wanted to lose, too). Now that the symptoms seem to have disappeared, I occasionally eat steak – medium rare with smart balance, please.

Here are some tips I’ve learned:
1) Adapt the 80/20 rule : Eat healthy 80% of the time and reward yourself 20% of the time. This way, you don’t feel like you’re being deprived of the “good” stuff.
2) Stop drinking soda. (This one was superbly tough for me. I used to drink liters of diet soda a day. Now, I can’t even stand the taste of soda. See how our body and mind adjust to our eating habits?)
3) Fruits – especially blueberries are awesome.
4) Drink plenty of water – this is the most important of all!
5) I’m allergic to caffeine but I heard that cutting back on caffeine helps. Try green tea or decaf tea. (I don’t drink coffee, I’m a decaf tea drinker. This may be tough for those who rely on coffee every morning)6) Eat right - chew slow, savor the flavor!
7) Skinny does NOT mean fit
8) Sleep deprivation can only make you moody - so make sure you get enough zzz's.

But then holidays came along– always happen during winter months when you can’t go out for a jog or a walk. So now fast forward to this month, I find myself 10 pounds heavier once again and can’t fit into last year’s summer clothing.

That’s why this week, I challenge myself to be fit and so fortunate that there are others out there who plan on being fit with me, too. Visit and join us in theMotherhood’s Motivate-me-to-be-fit circle!

Today is the 4th day of my work-out challenge, Strength/sculpt training. I planned on setting aside 30 minutes lifting weights but didn’t get to do it in my basement because of “motherly” duties. Since today’s in the 70’s and sunny my husband and I took advantage of the warm weather. So I combined my zenwalk with fitness. (Check out Motherhood's Share the Love Motherhood Zenwalk Circle) We did our zenwalk earlier this morning (3 miles) and then after dropping off our youngest to gymnastics, we headed to the town’s park and walked for another 3 miles. (This weekend’s supposed to be raining!)
I can’t believe how many people were “power” walking – walking with weights, fast-pace; riding their bikes; strength exercise using the “ParCourse Fit Circuit” i.e. half-knee bends, push-ups, pull-ups, log-hop, etc.
Here’s today’s scenery at my town’s Nomahegan Park.

Staying with the schedule to work-out and eating healthy won’t be easy but we can definitely all do it because we have the will to change, the will to be fit.

So here’s a toast to all of us!

Until next time, keep smiling!

Just remember, you have the power to change - (click to see more photos)

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  1. Thanks for sharing this post, Jen!

    I've been on a mission to lose 10 pounds this month, and have started to get back on track as far as my eating is concerned. However, my exercise regimen is non-existent, and I KNOW that that will be the thing that puts me over the edge! Thanks to your post and lovely pictures, you have just inspired me to get my butt off the couch and moving again! :-)

  2. What an inspiring post!!! I am on a mission to lose the rest of my "baby weight" from over 6 years ago, lol. It has been a struggle for me for several years now but in the last couple years I have lost close to 30lbs. I have about 15-20 to go, but have been lacking energy and motivation. Your post has definitely given me some inspiration =) I wish we had a park like that near me!!! It's gorgeous! Have a fabulous weekend!!

  3. That was truly inspiring. I always look forward to reading your posts.
    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  4. Thanks for the inspiration I needed today to get moving (and sweating).

  5. Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for sharing this link with me! 80/20 is a great idea! I have cut out soda but I don't own a scale so IDK if it's working!

  6. What a great post! I've been on a healthy eating plan (i.e. no junk!) for just over a week and have lost a little, feel less bloated and generally better about everything. Its even easier to say no to those foods that tempt. I did have to have part of today off though - I went out for lunch and indulged, not in quantity but definitely in the type of food - i.e. creamy sauce!!

  7. What a beautiful park!
    Age does seem to change the metabolism -
    A few years ago, I cut out almost all processed foods - just the bare necessities - butter, cheese, a few dressings, those sorts of things. I actually didn't eat a lot of processed foods anyway - but cut out more - I do think eating as many fresh vegies and fruits really did help. I don't eat a lot of meat - but have to be careful to get enough protein. I do still have a few bad habits - and some day I may be able to let those go - meanwhile I try to eat as healthy as possible and hope that it undoes some of the negative effects of the "bad" stuff!
    You are so right re: skinny does not mean fit! I'm actually not skinny - I'm at a perfect weight for my height - but to a lot of people this seems skinny - it's because there are so many very overweight people in our society that when people are at a good weight many think we are too thin! I've always been pretty lucky with the weight thing - I tend to be underweight - which really isn't a good thing either - I did put on about 20 extra pounds due to some meds years ago - took me 2 yrs to get that 20 pounds off!
    The only time I weigh myself is when I go to the Dr! I find that if I just go by how I feel, and how my clothes are fitting, I do ok.
    an ex friend who was very overweight would eat about 3x as much as I ever do - her extremely fit hubby said if You really enjoy eating and want to eat a lot - then you gotta exercise a lot! Makes sense!!!!
    Schools need to put more PE and recess back into the schedules!
    Your youngest is a cutie! Sorry his (and your) friend will be leaving!
    Love your walks Jenjen!


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