Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result in Inspiration!

How Screwball (aka Kitty) helps hubby puts away the laundry 🙂

A post I read earlier this week at Riley Quinn’s blog spoke to me big-time. Riley very candidly and bravely discussed putting herself out there and being accountable for her weight. I’m pear-shaped and, since childhood, have struggled with the yo-yo thing, too. My pattern includes losing weight and keeping it off until some inciting incident comes along that throws my routine off completely (i.e, my father getting sick, getting pregnant, a small house fire that led to 10 weeks of hotel living and eating out almost every night). Next thing I know, I’m well beyond where I started out. Age doesn’t help (even if I, just like my favorite Fran Fine–The Nanny–can’t seem to age past 29 :)), and every time it’s that much harder to start on the road to loss AGAIN.

So there I am leaving a comment at Riley’s blog. Of course, I got long-winded—me?—and realized I had a post of my own on hand. And since the subject matter ties in nicely with my last post, I figured, why not share what’s been working for me—barring any inciting incidents—ptooey, ptooey! Far from here! The best part is, my current mindset is part of a process that started as a coincidence.

Y’all know I like to get up early and of my obsession with tennis and my current favorite, Rafa Nadal (currently the world’s Number One, thank you very much). Well, last January (2009), I happened on early morning coverage of the Australian Open. Being the restless, multi-tasking sort that I am, I exercised as I watched and continued to do so as the next program started, Kiana Tom’s Flex Appeal.

What do you know? Kiana teaches easy weight-lifting/exercise routines targeted at being done home w/a minimum of equipment. I began watching at least three times/week and incorporating her moves into a routine of my own. I also made sure to include lunges—so incredibly effective when done right—and some abdominal work. With two sets of hand weights (3- and 4-lb each), four 1-lb wrist/ankle weights, an inclined surfaced (old aerobic stepper propped up at one end with 3-inch-high garden bricks) and regular walking (up to 4x/week, up and down hills while wearing shape-up type shoes) I have changed my body proportions enough to have created much more of a balance between my shoulders and my hips (i.e., I’ve the former are a bit bigger and the latter somewhat smaller). As I stated before, I’ll never be thin, but guess what? Those little efforts and short workouts added up! I’m still shy of my goal weight but  figure I’m at least twenty pounds closer than I was before Kiana and I hooked up.

Let’s get one more confession out there: exercise is NOT my favorite thing. When I’m in the groove I don’t mind it and even enjoy it (among the reasons I try very hard to keep the routine). Having a background in anatomy helps; visualizing exactly how a given muscle works increases the effectiveness of the movement. I also look forward to a monthly five-day break, though I often think of female athletes and having to play regardless of where they are in their cycles. Another HUGE plus I recently realized (nothing new or earth-shattering to those who body-build or work out regularly): more muscle mass equals better metabolism equals I can eat those no-no foods (in moderation) more often and not worry about it (overmuch).

How do I stay (or get) motivated on any given day? Most of the time, I’m doomed if I don’t get my exercise out of the way first thing. Once the family is up or it’s time for kids to get ready for school, I get distracted and there goes that window of time, especially on a school day when I get to go to work for pay. I have found ways around that. Since I’m too restless anyway, if it’s during my favorite Dancing with the Stars season, I’ll work out while watching the show.  (I’ll save my filing for that time too—aren’t I great at relaxing?)

I’ve also broken up my workout into shorter segments and spread them over two mornings instead of one. (A plus to that is getting your metabolism moving more often.) Last January I started out with about twenty minutes. As strength and endurance improved, I started adding some different moves to my routine but ended up doubling the amount of time I needed. Breaking up the workout has worked well so far.

I’ve had to find a way around setbacks. A recent fall has literally grounded me from my weight routine for close to three weeks now. (Those darn shape-up shoes can catch the concrete when one doesn’t lift the foot high enough to clear the ground—think I bruised a rib and even had trouble breathing for a week.) I consider that an ‘inciting incident’ that can mess with my dearly-protected routine. I’ve chosen to forego the weights until the pain is completely gone, but try to do two walks a day—even shorter ones—to compensate. (Hey! There’s that metabolism part again!)

Today’s final thought: everyone struggles with something. At some totally unexpected point though, expect to hear something that will stick with you and either get (or keep) you on your way.

Two quick point illustrations: my husband the heart patient smoked for most of his life, including close to six years after a six-bypass open-heart surgery and at least four follow-up procedures since then. The morning of his most recent procedure (March of this year), someone from the quit-smoking department showed. His line to hubby worked a miracle: “You’ve smoked every cigarette you’ve been allotted in your lifetime.” Don’t ask me why that worked. August 25 marks his FIFTH smoke-free month :)!

My magic line came outside the school doors while chatting with another mom, a runner. Her husband had to be out the door and off to work by 6:30 AM. “I put my sneakers next to the bed at night. My feet were in my shoes before my eyes were open.” Five years ago I heard that. I can still hear her say it and it still works! (Thanks, MC!)

Anyway, I have more to share but I’ll leave it at this for now and post the rest tomorrow. (See what you started, Riley?)

Thanks for reading my ramblings. What motivates or works for you? Open up a discussion of your own and we’ll pick it up tomorrow!

Have a great day,


17 thoughts on “Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result in Inspiration!

  1. Hey Joanna,
    That was a great post!! So inspiring to me…I feel the same exact way about exercising. I’m going to try that trick of having my sneakers by the bed. I think it could work. Congrats to your hubby on quitting smoking!!! That is a huge accomplishment.

    Thank you for starting my day off GREAT!!!


    1. Thanks for making mine, Christine–let me know if the sneakers-by-the-bed trick works. Put off my walk just a little this AM but really glad I got it in now that I’m revision-bound. Have a great day and thanks for inspiring me!


  2. I love to exercise. I know, that’s weird, but I do. But I don’t want it to mess with my coveted writing time so I get up at 5 every day. I try to work out every other day this way if something comes up and I can’t fit the workout in I don’t feel badly, but I either do yoga, my absolute fav for a number of reasons, and I power walk. I don’t run as much as I used to because it kills my hamstrings. I used to work out with a personal trainer and that was very motivating because I had someone waiting for me to show up! Keep up the good work, I hope your injury is doing better.


  3. Injury is much improved. One more week and I’ll resume weights. I know what you mean about coveted writing time–seems it’s all coveted around here these days! Haven’t tried the personal trainer–heard great things from others who have. I did find, years ago, that relying on myself to work out was best for me. The ‘buddies’ just didn’t show and I’d cancel too. Once I worried only about me getting to the gym, I did fine.

    Thanks for stopping in! More tomorrow!


  4. Great post, Joanna. So glad to know I inspired someone. 🙂

    I’m kind of the same way with exercise. While I think about doing it, I drag my feet but once I’m in the middle of it, I’m fine. Weird, I know. I have to do it first thing too, or I can think of a million reasons not to do it.

    Walking my dog has led to some inspired writing moments. I came up with an entire story once on one walk. It turned out to be my first published piece so I should definitely do it more often.

    Good luck with working through your inciting incident and congrats to your hubby for stopping smoking.


    1. Hey Riley,

      So nice to have you here–and yes, you do inspire. Walking is supposed to be my prayer/meditation time, but I find my mind often wandering to a scene and often finding some nuance in it I missed previously. My problem with walk-inspired ideas is that I’ve usually forgotten them by the time I get home.


  5. What really got me motivated to work out was buying a poster of my favorite vampire and putting it up in front of my treadmill. Talk about looking forward to working out! LOL


  6. Go, Joanna! I’m an up-and-down-weight person and an on-off-again exercise enthusiast. In most other things in life I’m quite stable so I don’t let that see-sawing weight/exercise bother me too much! But I know I always feel better in all ways when I’m physically more active. I love the shoes in the feet before the eyes open – I might try that!


  7. My mom managed to exercise by waking up early, before my dad went to work, so she’d be home by the time he had to leave. I grew up swimming two or three times a week with her, plus biking several times a week with a friend of mine. University stopped all that. The first summer I was married, I biked to work every day. Since then… well, motherhood and marriage have left life busy and I haven’t fit in a regular exercise routine. Still trying to figure out something that works, especially now that I can’t eat whatever I want without it showing up around my middle. Stories like this help, but it comes down to just doing it. Or something happening to give me enough motivation to just do it. 🙂


  8. I definitely hear what you’re saying and have definitely been there too many times to count. You’re right about ‘just doing it’ but sometimes one little change can be all you need to get started. (I used to walk and push the stroller fast.) Trying to make all the changes at once is overwhelming.


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