My Favorite Workout: Walking

I love walking. Enjoying the outdoors, walking the dogs, window shopping. Walking is also very accessible. There’s a reason why there are so many fitness trackers that encourage 10,000 steps per day. It also doesn’t involve many accessories. If you have a comfortable pair of shoes, you are good to go.

When we lived in a building downtown, I walked everywhere. I estimate I could walk upwards of 5 miles or more each day. I walked the dogs around Lake Eola each morning, walked my daughter to her preschool, then walked across downtown to my office building. There were several months where I was walking to her school for lunch. We walked to the grocery store on the other side of the lake, we walked to dinner, we walked to the park and playground. We walked everywhere! That was definitely the least I have weighed since I hit my 40s.

Once we moved to the suburbs, I would still walk my daughter to school but the 7 block walk fell to 1 block. The daily 1 mile dog walk around the lake was 1/2 a mile around the neighborhood (and sometimes not even that since we could just let them out in the backyard). I had to drive to the grocery store and to my office. My daily movement dropped drastically, even with other exercise programs!

I still prefer to walk over driving when I can. When I am visiting my client law firms downtown, I often park and walk from building to building. I’ve even worn through the bottom of my shoes! I love vacations to places like New York City or Las Vegas that encourage a lot of walking. I also love to spend the day at Disney with friends, walking a ton!

There are also many health benefits to walking, aside from the obvious weight loss. The Mayo Clinic says that walking can lower your blood pressure and your blood glucose levels, can lower your stress levels, can improve your memory and cognitive functions. Walking can be part of your self-care routine as well.

This is also a very pandemic-friendly exercise and can be done by just walking out the door. So try and add this great exercise into your routine!

New Year’s Resolutions…Part 2

My last post detailed my annual tradition of setting goals versus resolutions. Part of this process is reviewing past goals. As I started this ritual, I realized I couldn’t do this year like I had in the past.

I decided to take this year month by month. I think especially since the status of the world seems to change so much week to week, this will make things more realistic.

I’m excited for 2021. In January, I’ll be sharing all the stuff I’m doing, including Dry January, my first Diet Bet, my 21 Day Ultimate Reset and how I’m doing with my new workout program.

Giving Yourself A Little Grace

So I’ve been giving myself some grace. Some grace to not update my blog because I’m not feeling especially inspired. Grace to stress eat cake the week of the election. Grace to skip a workout because I’m tired. Grace to realize that despite all of this, the world kept turning and I didn’t fall apart! The alternative would be spending more time in the fetal position than is healthy.

Part of being healthy goes beyond just caring about your body. You have to consider your emotional state, including how much bandwidth you have to take on certain situations. Especially when we are dealing with post-election craziness and a global pandemic, you have to be fully aware what you can take on or more specifically what you can’t.

So as 2020 winds down, let’s all remember to give ourselves some grace every now and then!

My Favorite Workout: Yoga

Yoga is one of those omnipresent things that it seems like everyone has tried at least once. One of the things I love about yoga is it strengthens your body and your mind. It also helps to stretch out all my muscles I make sore while I’m lifting weights. It can be your only method of exercise or you can fit it into a cross-training schedule. It is perfect for active rest days. I am pretty sure I do at least a few down dogs and crows every day just to stretch!

Total Zen

I was fortunate to experience my first yoga class on a rock pier jutting into the ocean in Jamaica. The teacher was an Expat hippie with dreadlocks down to her ankles. It was so amazing and zen, especially at the end, sitting in Shavasana (corpse pose which has you lying on your back, still, at the end of each class) at sunset. I honestly thought this is what yoga was all about.

I didn’t really start taking regular classes until after I had my daughter. I had gained 54 pounds with my pregnancy and when she was six months old, we relocated to Orlando. I signed up for the local YMCA and started attending yoga classes there. Taking classes three times a week, along with regular walks, helped me shave off those 54 pounds and then 10 more! I felt strong and clear headed. My favorite teacher (no deadlocks on this one) would put a lavender scented towel over your eyes while you were in Shavasana. Again, total zen!

Since then, I’ve had private classes in Las Vegas (surprise that I was the only one that signed up for the 8am yoga class), a giant class outside on top of one of the office buildings in downtown Orlando, tried out the Beachbody Yoga, a few apps including one called Pocket Yoga and quite a few yoga DVDs. The favorite DVD (also available online) is Body by Bethenny which is shockingly good for a celebrity exercise program, especially the core section. Yoga is so versatile that it translates to so many different modes.

You can even do virtual yoga! My friend Kelly is a yoga teacher in at the Yoga School of Miami. Unfortunately, I was never able to take her class because of the distance but now anyone can! Just sign up here. With Kelly, you get Pink Floyd, David Bowie & Prince, which is an awesome way to do yoga! Check her out. She does yoga teacher training too!!

Photo by Cedric Lim Ah Tock on Pexels.com

Yoga is perfect for all fitness levels and ages as well. There are even programs specifically for kids. I have heard many times that there is no ego in yoga. You only try and improve yourself each time your practice. I have also found the others in my classes are only encouraging. At the Y, we would have time to practice stands, whether it be shoulder stands, head stands or even a handstand. It would usually involve lots of laughter and cheering when someone achieved the stand that had been working on. I always leave yoga a happier person then when I started! So where some people don’t enjoy working out at gyms, yoga is a much more inviting space for group fitness.

So get your yoga on!

What to do when the plans go out the window

I love to plan. I am a planner. One of the things that has been so difficult during the pandemic is the cancellations! In the beginning, events would cancel slowly. Things started getting crossed off bit by bit until there was nothing left. I eventually just threw my old planner away and started fresh. Even then, I was only putting in new events with a sticky note.

Even without a pandemic, things often go off the rails. You forgot an ingredient for a recipe, you have work dropped in your lap or you don’t feel good enough to workout or cook that meal you were planning. This last weekend, we had rented a boat for a day of fun but found out late Friday that our reservation had been cancelled due to mechanical issues. I also had a migraine Saturday and Sunday which made my planned workouts impossible. Fast forward to Monday morning which is the first day of virtual school for my 5th grader. Not only do we have the expected glitches with 200,000 kids all signing on at the same time, but then our power goes out in the house! No WiFi, laptop battery running low and no A/C!!

When things like this happen, the most important thing is not to panic. Being a lawyer, you always have to think on your feet. When there’s a problem, just stay calm and think what can I do to fix it. I know this is easier said than done but if you can make it even a tiny bit better, you’ve done something. The root of the panic really boils down to not being in control. The quicker you can get some of that control back, the better you will feel. Another big thing is to drop the expectation on yourself of perfection. No one, I repeat, no one is perfect. Everyone is out here just trying to do their best.

So our boat trip turned into a day at the beach. Not quite the same but it was still a lovely day with the family and we chose a beach that we knew wouldn’t be super crowded. A bonus was the sea air and the ocean water helped keep my headache at bay for a bit! When we got home, my body was telling me I needed rest, so I just shifted my planned workouts a bit and I will be finishing 21 Day Fix tomorrow instead of yesterday. I had to drop the expectation of finishing perfectly.

We didn’t give up on virtual school this morning either! We got the laptop hooked up to my cell phone hot spot and just as she was about to run out of battery, the power came back on! If we hadn’t had that stroke of luck, we would have moved on to another laptop and hunted down any battery packs we could. We did the best we could with what we had!

Here’s hoping that our crazy streak is coming to an end but if it’s not, we will just continue to do the best we can! It’s all we can do.

The Importance of Self-Care

So I’m publishing this a little late today and that’s OK. That was part of my self-care. We were on vacation last week. We had a busy weekend with my Husband’s birthday and then had some friends over for a social-distanced pool party. This togetherness and relaxation was exactly what I needed. Letting myself take a few days off from writing was great!

In days past, self-care may have been thought of as a massage or a mani/pedi. I used to get monthly facials, which I found very relaxing and they made me feel good about myself. However, in the pandemic world, these things aren’t as accessible (or relaxing!) as they were before.

The good ole times…

Just because we may be at home doesn’t mean we don’t still need self-care. We just need to change our standard idea of what self-care is. Instead of thinking about getting pampered, think about it as putting yourself first. It’s about suspending deadlines or outside forces that have you doing something that you would not be doing if you had a choice.

We are lucky enough to have a pool and an amazing backyard so a great way to my self-care is floating on a raft in the pool with a cool drink! We also really enjoyed binge-watching Season Two of the Umbrella Academy on Netflix last weekend. We walk the dogs or just play with them in the backyard. When I can get my daughter to cooperate, I love to play games. I experimented with a lot of new recipes (which I will post in the coming weeks). Of course, exercise is a big part of my self-care and something that helps keep me sane! I’ve also been making a point of reading more and practicing my Spanish.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the status of being busy. You’re too busy to attend that social event or to cook for yourself or to start that workout program. However, self-care is the cancellation of being too busy, even if it’s just for 30 minutes or once a week or one night a month. It’s taking a break to put yourself first.

What are your top methods of self-care in pandemic times? What are you most looking forward to doing again when it is safe to do so?

When a pandemic gets your nutrition out of wack

Did you start out when the stay-at-home orders came down thinking you were going to learn new skills, cook amazing and healthy meals and get that six-pack you’ve always wanted? I know for me, I was more stressed then ever, working from home and trying to help my daughter with distance learning while running a household and dealing with my husband working longer hours than normal. It was so stressful!

I don’t know about you, but this is my first pandemic so I wasn’t sure what to expect! I think we’ve all had a bit of tears, a bit of boredom, a bit of alcohol and a lot of Uber Eats! OK, probably a lot of alcohol too! What we probably haven’t had as much of is fruits and vegetables!

At a certain point, I decided we had to get back to a little bit of normality. No, we didn’t head to Disney last weekend when they opened and we still haven’t eaten at a restaurant but I am back to meal planning, although it’s a little different than before. Where I would cook 6 chicken breasts in the Instant Pot on Sundays and divvy them up for the week, I am taking meals day by day but I map out what we are going to eat on which days. I also keep lots of vegetables on hand to roast or steam. Our favorites are broccoli, carrots, asparagus and zucchini. I also make a large salad and split it up into small containers. My husband likes to grab one and eat it while dinner is being prepared and I usually eat one as part of my lunch.

Cooking lots of veggies!

I keep my grocery list on my Amazon Echo, so as I see things are needed, I can just say “Alexa, add broccoli to the shopping list” then access the list from my phone while I am at the store. There are also a lot of other grocery list apps you can get on your phone or put it right into your Instacart order as the items come up. Just make sure you have a list so your planned meal doesn’t get derailed and then temptation to eat that frozen pizza overtakes you!

The meal planning sheet, which I purchased from the Pop Flex store, has a grocery list you can write on the side which is easy to tear off and bring with you. The back is also stick so you can put it on the fridge. There are a ton of subscriptions you can buy to help with your meal planning as well. I have used the 131 Method and subscribe to the Monthly Fix on Beachbody, both which layout a weekly meal plan for you along with a shopping list. I also use a macro tracker called LifeSum which has several meal plans you can choose from. I usually don’t follow these meals plans to a tee, but I do pick the meals that I know everyone in the family will like.

This week, I am going to be doing a 3-day refresh to help kick my sugar cravings that have re-emerged since the pandemic started. This does blend well with what my family will eat. I just add a protein to their dinner while I will stick with the veggies. I will link a rundown of the 3-day refresh here for those who are interested.

Another trick is that I plan for leftovers. One of my daughter’s favorite recipes is a homemade Mac & Cheese with flat egg noodles. I put that in the meal plan for Wednesday night and they can eat that Thursday night too since it makes a large pan. I always fill the cooking sheet with veggies to roast as well so we have those for lunches (or even breakfast) and snack for days.

Here’s a peak at my meal plan for this week. It’s a little light because of the 3-day Refresh, which is just a lot of fruits and veggies. The stir-fry is a classic, easy recipe which you can look for on the site soon! You will also see a plan to order from UberEats on Friday, which is a nice way to treat ourselves after a long week. There’s always a healthy way to eat out so stay tuned for tips on that as well.

I always say putting a plan together is half the battle! So happy meal planning and please stay safe and healthy!