Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strong Is Sexy

Today was my first official workout day with my trainer, Kara Carlson. This time, Northwest Personal Training was full of people, and although I was initially worried I might not be able to hear Kara's directions with the other 10 or so people working out, it wasn't a problem.

We started with measurements. She measured me in places, no one has measured me before. But hey, the more measurements, the more information you have, and information is a great thing. She (very nicely) commented that she was surprised that my body fat was as high as it was. I said, "It's the height. That's been my problem. I used to tell myself that it's Ok that I weigh this much, I'm tall."

I don't care that I am currently on the border of obese. I know things are changing. I bought a new dress the other day, size MEDIUM, I keep finding "divots" on my body where I've lost fat, and Martin commented the other day that there seemed to be less of me. So I know I am on the right track. Oh, and I feel fabulous.

As she measured me, I was able to show her my insulin pump and insulin pump site and I'm sure she was surprised with how small and fancy it looks. I hope that dispelled any worries she might have.

Soon enough, we headed out to the floor and started the routine. Since I know that I need to actually fatigue my muscles in order to make progress, I agreed to up my weights. Turns out I can lift 12 lbs (when I thought I could only lift 8) per arm. That felt pretty awesome.

I've never had someone be with me before, so it was lovely for her to hand me the weights, hold parts of me that needed to be stabilized, and to check and offer suggestions for correcting my form. It left me free to just focus on lifting and breathing.

Later on we did some core work and I was delighted to find out that the exercise she had chosen for me was too easy. She quickly corrected that. But it felt great to feel so strong!

Strangely enough, one of the best parts of the workout was when she helped me stretch. She pushed, pulled, and put her body weight on parts of me that I simply can't do myself. That felt great.

Because I had skipped the aerobic part of my workout this morning, due to the record heat, they let me jump on the treadmill for 20 minutes. It was boring (I hadn't brought my music) but it was fabulous to workout in the air conditioned comfort.

So, I have my exercises (complete with explanations and graphics) to follow for the next four weeks. Because Kara is evil (in a good way) she wants me to up my set each week.

This should be very interesting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Learn From Trash

Last week, I read Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage and was privileged enough to join the Green Drinks, Vancouver, WA affiliate on a tour of the Waste Connections West Van Materials Transfer Station located in Vancouver, WA., led by Terra Heilman, Waste Reduction Coordinator.

There was a lot to see, and a lot to digest, but I have come up with the 5 most important things I learned from both the book and the tour.

Safety First!

1) Create Less Waste

I include recycling in this, because the definition of waste is something you pay for twice. Once when you bought it, and once when you paid someone else to get rid of it. Choose items with less packaging, compost anything you possibly can, borrow items from friends, and stop buying so much stuff.

Truck moving co-mingled recycling (from businesses).

2) Know Where Your Waste Goes

Things don't just disappear when you put them out by the curb. It's both fascinating and enlightening to know where it goes. For example, my trash gets compacted and barged out to a landfill in Oregon, where it will sit for years and years. Why should I care? Because we will eventually run out of landfill space. Then what?

3) It's Only Recyclable If There Is A Buyer For It

Each recycling facility recycles different items depending on what kind of buyers they have. My transfer station can recycle milk and Tetra-Pak cartons because there happens to be a plant nearby. If you fill your recycling bin with things that aren't authorized, they will just take the long trip to the landfill. Avoid buying products made of items that can't be recycled locally.

Sorted Recyclables

4) Spend Time Wisely

Rather than complaining, or harassing your recycling station about how they don't recycle every darn thing you buy, spend time encouraging your neighbors to recycle. I know it's frustrating that innovation hasn't kept up with our ideals, but we need to deal with it realistically.

5) Don't Put Plastic Bags In Your Recycling Container

Plastic bags gum up the sorters, and then everything has to be stopped in order to cut the bags free. This is a huge waste of time and money. Put the plastic bags in the trash, or better yet, don't use plastic bags at all.

Teeth On the Brand New-Yet To Be Installed-Sorter.

Itching to take a tour of your own waste facility? Try calling the number on your monthly bill and asking. You are welcome.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

As you know, my trainer, Kara Carlson, wants me drinking 3 Liters of water a day. And since, sometimes, I do what people suggest, I am trying my best to do it.

So of course, I created a system to track my water intake. Kara wants me drinking 3 Liters, which equals 4 refills of my water bottle. (Yes, I measured.) Now, some people track how many bottles they drink by putting the target number of rubber bands (e.g. four) on their bottle, and then shifting a band down the bottle with each fill up. I tried that. It looked messy. (Even when I made my rubber bands into a lovely colored pattern.) So I came up with something even better.

I took a cling (those things PBS, The Sierra Club, etc. send you in the mail to try and get you to join) and snipped it into a small square. Then I put a number: 1,2,3,or 4 on each side of the square in Sharpie. So I start the morning with the 1 right side up, and each time I re-fill the bottle, I turn the square to the next number. It's worked like a charm, and doesn't make the bottle look crazy. It's also easily transferred to the other identical water bottle I have.

Now, if I could only fix my new habit of going to the bathroom every hour!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Find Your Motivation

I am not what you would call a morning person.

I skipped make-up and fancy hair dos in High School so that I could get more sleep in the morning. So when I woke up this morning at 6:30 am (Quick- someone catch my mother before she faints from the shock.) my pep talk to get up and exercise did not include anything about how these past 7 weeks of exercising makes me feels great, how I am losing weight, reducing insulin intake (this is a good thing), and building strength. I didn't even summon the image of my lovely personal trainer, Kara, telling me that I could do it. Nope. What got me out of bed? I told myself I could take a nap later on today.

So, if you'll excuse me. I've got a promise to keep.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bust Through Your Comfort Zone

I've always secretly wanted a personal trainer. I wanted someone that could focus on me, tell me what I should be doing (exercise wise), but it's always felt so extravagant that I've never looked in to it. (I also had enough of being yelled at from playing field hockey in high school.)

So last week, I finally decided to step up. After spending some time figuring out exactly what I wanted. I went to Northwest Personal Training's website. The gym is quite close to my house, and I always see their trainers walking around Downtown Vancouver. Northwest Personal Training was offering a free week of classes or a free hour with a personal trainer, so I signed up online.

Days later, I arrived at my appointment early, and was able to peruse the club. It had an intimate feel, but was packed with equipment. It's divided in to: weight room, group exercise room, and then locker rooms. I was pleasantly surprised to see full size hairdryers, fluffy towels, and hair products a plenty in the Woman's locker room (I think I just might move in.) They even provide free locks & keys to borrow so you can lock your stuff up.

Then I met my trainer, Kara Carlson. Smart, funny, and beautiful, we hit it off right away. How could we not? She told me that she had read my blog for research! We went over the paperwork I had filled out prior, talked about my desire to not be yelled at, and my tendency to talk back (I blame the exercise instructors on my DVDs.) and then hit the gym for some tests.

She noted that my left shoulder was much higher than my right, and told me about the wonders of massage therapy, and suggested I get one STAT. (That's when I decided she was my new bestest friend.)

I won't bore you with reports of my spectacular form, but I will tell you what she had me start implementing.

1) Increase water consumption to 3 Liters a day.
2) Adding another cardio/weight lifting session to my weekly routine.
3) Upping the intensity of my cardio session.

I came away from the session with Kara extremely pumped and excited. I see her again next week, to get my official exercise plan and I'm giddy with anticipation!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Suck It Up

This is Sarah Reinertsen

She is, among other things, the only female amputee to have finished the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon.

This is
Melissa Stockwell

She is the first female U.S. soldier amputee of the Iraq War, a marathon runner, and a record setting U.S. Paralympic Swimmer.

This is Aimee Mullens

She is a U.S. Paralympic athlete, model, and actress.

So, please tell me again. What's your excuse for not exercising?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pay Less Dough For Your Bread

My husband has been eating the same kind of bread for about 10 years now: Oroweat's Master's Best Winter Wheat. He is picky when it comes to bread, it can't be too bready, can't be too tough, and Winter Wheat has fit the bill.

And I love Oroweat's english muffins, I switch off between the Flax and the Double Fiber. So when I got a coupon in the mail that told me there was an Oroweat Outlet in Town, I did a little happy dance.

Located at 618 Grand Avenue in Vancouver, WA 98661 and directly across the street from the Washington School for the Blind, lies a building that must have once been a gas station. I figured it was a new place, but the cashier told me they have been there for 40 years.

At Fred Meyer's (local supermarket) Oroweat Winter Wheat costs $4.29
at the outlet it cost $2.39.

So I bought two of each of the bread and the muffins, used my buy one get one free coupon, got my *NEW* frequent customer card stamped AND because I spent $6, I got ANOTHER free thing of bread (Whole Wheat hamburger rolls-which we eat all the time).

Now, it certainly doesn't make sense to take a trip to the outlet in addition to the supermarket each week, but by buying a bunch, and freezing it, I am set for quite awhile.

This location also has products from Bob's Red Mill, Entenmann's, Boboli, and Thomas (to name a few).

I do realize that not everyone lives in Vancouver, WA, so I urge you to try and locate an outlet near you.

Just remember that it's not a good deal if a) you weren't going to buy it anyway and 2) it goes bad.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hit the Trail with Kids In Tow

It's summer, the weather is beautiful and days seem to stretch on forever.
REI wants to help you and your kiddos get out and enjoy nature with their Passport To Adventure program. REI lists 5 hiking and biking trails in your area, gives you directions, and a description of what the trip will be like. You can download and print out the passport for your kiddo, and get it stamped after each trip (you have to go to the store for this). Three stamps earns them a prize and a certificate.

Don't have a REI store nearby? Print out the passport anyway, find local hikes yourself, and come up with your own stamp/reward system for the kids. And while you are at it, make one for yourself!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Keep Your Eyes Open

Last night July 4th, 2009 the neighborhood fireworks started around 9 pm. Because setting off fireworks is legal in Vancouver, WA *sigh* people had been setting them off every night for a few days. Much to my delight, it hadn't been that bad. Both Martin and I were able to actually sleep and function this week.

But last night, it was loud. So loud that I couldn't sleep. So I went upstairs with my laptop to try and distract myself while people blew up their hard earned money (for no good reason). I got about 15 minutes in to Burn Notice (TV show) when fireworks went off diagonally across the street from my house. There were a bunch of teenagers, lighting them off in the middle of our not very wide street. I could hear the clink of glass bottles, and the sound of more being opened with a bottle opener.

After the first one went off, I considered closing the window, but when they lit the second one, it fell over somehow and I saw it sending sparks up the street in all directions, towards various parked cars. It even caught another neighbor's law on fire in two spots. One of the girls screamed and ran over and patted out the fire with her hands. At this point the whole street filled with smoke.

I decided (since these are the same neighbors that lit our backyard on fire from their fireworks two years ago) to go sit outside. So I turned on the front lights, walked outside and around back to get the hose. I dragged it to the front of the house and hooked it up. At this point the teenagers scrambled behind a white mini-van parked in the driveway, trying to hid behind it. What they didn't realize was that 1) glass is see-through and 2) they were standing directly beneath a street lamp.

The street was littered with little weights w/ parachutes (I guess they are what popped out of the fireworks). So I grabbed a chair, pointed in their direction, sat down in my driveway and kept watching my show. After about 10 minutes, they finally stopped hiding and one of them smashed a glass bottle in the street in front of their house and they all went inside.

10 minutes later two girls walked out of the house and hopped in a blue/green hatch back car and drove away (in the direction opposite from me). About 20 minutes after that 3-4 guys walked out of the house and got in to the white minivan (I had already made a mental note of what kind of car it was). They sat in the car for about 2 minutes, as if deciding something, and then revved the engine. Then they pulled out of the driveway and started driving towards me (it would have been easier and quicker if they had driven the opposite direction-away from me). They slowed a little bit as they passed by, then sped up to my neighbor's yard waste container, which was sitting at the curb about 15 feet away from me.

The driver yelled and then shoved the yard waste container over with his hands and peeled off down the street. I'm 100% sure he thought it was my container and was pissed that I had ruined his fun and wanted to a) show off and b) vent some anger.

But what he didn't realize is that he was right beneath another street lamp and I could see his license plate perfectly.

When I woke up this morning, most of the fireworks mess had been cleaned up, but the container was still knocked over.

I'm glad the mess was cleaned up, but it still bothers me that that boy both a) felt the need to get back at me for sitting on my driveway and b) was willing to do it in front of me.

If he is capable of this when he knows someone is watching, what is he going to do when no one is watching?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Swap That DVD

My husband and I own a whopping 12 DVDs. 8 of which are workout DVDs and 4 of those, I don't really use anymore. Rather than leaving them to collect dust, and because I'd love to get some new ones without paying much for them I looked in to swapping them.

My first stop was Swaptree, a place where you can swap DVDs, books, CDs, and video games. I played with the demo, but was disappointed that I couldn't actually search through the current listings. But because I could swap various items, not just DVDs, I signed up. Once I signed up, I searched through the listings and saw that Swaptree had hardly any workout DVDs, and none that I wanted.

Also, after investigating, I realized I don't have excess books or games to swap, so I moved over to SwapADVD.

Here, you can actually search the listings first and I found many more exercise DVDs, so I signed up.

Upon entering my DVDs, I was notified that two of them were already on some one's list, and was asked if could send them in the next two days. So I printed out the shipping "envelopes" and will mail them today. Because I only had 4 DVDs (if you enter 10 you get an automatic credit) I will have to wait for my sent DVDs to be received before I am eligible to get any myself, but I'm O.K. with that.

All in all, I think that swapping DVDs is a great idea, and I pick SwapADVD as my favorite swapping service.