Sometimes, It’s About the Littlest Things

Hi all,

I’m running a little late with posting, this week. That’s what happens when school is closed for spring break. I start cleaning and lose sight of almost everything else. (This coming from the girl who always gave her mother grief for using vacation time to clean. Help! Does this mean I’m becoming my mother???)

Here’s the latest I tried from Jessica Smith TV. What I’m liking about her routines—and the ballet barre workout I referred to in my last post—is feeling supercharged when I’m done, with a willingness to keep going. The energy seems to have translated to the tennis court, too! I ran down so many shots and didn’t feel tired at all after 90 minutes out there—double what I could do last fall.  (Oh, the hours I spent on the courts in my mid-late 20s. Still feeling that kind of joy when I’m swinging a racquet.)

A couple of days ago, online friend and fellow blogger Carrie Rubin brought up an interesting question about twinges of regret about life choices we might have made. Read her post here. (Psst! Carrie’s posts are always worth the read.)

Anyway, she got me thinking. Of course, my thoughts meandered in other directions—and I didn’t want to be a copy-cat. I landed on seemingly little things that wind up being life-changing.

Now, I’m not talking insanely dramatic life situations. For me, a YouTube video and a piece of tape wound up impacting the day-to-day.

This connects to the fitness videos I mentioned these past two posts. Around this time last year, I decided to give zumba a whirl. I’d taken a class; wasn’t thrilled with the instructor. Being someone who has a hard time following steps, I figured I could start and pause a video as needed and work at my own pace.

Long story short, I felt something not move correctly in my left hip. No pain. At least not until a month or so later, when I couldn’t tell which came first, the pain in the hip or that in the knee. I was also an avid user of rocker-bottom sneakers (i.e., Shape-Ups)—they never, ever bothered me prior. (I’ve given them up but still miss them. It’s okay.)

By June last year, I had enough of a problem to interfere with my lifestyle. That included walking. (I was afraid to attempt tennis.) Sitting certain ways and getting up off the floor after working with my school kids had become a major issue. I broke down and went to see an orthopedist. He offered a knee brace, ibuprofen and physical therapy.

Immediately called a former co-worker. She’s not only the most amazing physical therapist I know, she’s become my “sister-from-another-mother.” She told me the brace  would align my patella (a.k.a kneecap) exactly the way athletic taping would, minus the bulk. Went to her house that same night. Came home taped and taught how to do it myself. She also showed me a few key exercises, but I’d be lying if I told you those were the magic.

A piece of athletic tape applied once or twice a week since then has altered my day-to-day for the best. Within a week, most of the pain subsided. (I’d say I was 95% improved, and with minimal medicine too.) I even took my chances on the tennis court right around then, and came back happier than I’d been in months. The barre workout appears to have handled the rest of the discomfort. My hip is feeling 99% improved since TWO days after starting that. Go figure.

So, reader-friends, I turn over the blog-mike to you. What seemingly little choice or change did you make that significantly impacted your day-to-day, or your life on the bigger scale, if that’s appropriate?

Best wishes for a Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all those who celebrate!

And special thanks to Carrie for inspiring me this week.  🙂

Cheers,

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilson, Our Real-Life Neighbor

Hi all,

Hope you all enjoyed a less rainy and gloomy weekend than those of us on the east coast did, but in the end, it’s all good, right?

Just a little shout-out here for a couple of YouTube workouts I’ve been thoroughly enjoying as of two weeks ago. Have a friend who swears by her ballet barre workouts. Being a non-gym kind of girl, and in definite need of a shake-up to my exercise and walking routine, I looked barre workouts up.

Came across two I really liked:

Jessica Smith’s Ballet Barre Workout (no barre really necessary, unless balance is a major issue) and BarreConcept’s Ultimate 20 Minute Barre Exercise Workout. (The latter instructor has an English accent and a voice that takes a bit of getting used to, but she’s in my head now, lol. Plus, the workout is short and even a bit addictive. Besides, the second woman from the left is me, right?) I am most pleased with having been able to do most of both workouts the first time, and that none of the moves are overly complex. Yep. Even I can follow them.  PLEASE NOTE: Don’t forget to consult your physician prior to beginning any workouts, especially if you have health concerns of any kind.

Other than that—and having nothing in particular to share this week—figured I’d tell you about our family’s real-life Wilson. (This would be the friend that dramatically called across the lawn when hubby had me believing he’d bought that Harley. That story posted two weeks ago. If you like, read it here.)

Wilson’s legal name is so not Wilson. Long story short, he and his family moved in next door when I was pregnant with my younger son. We had a pool then, and a wooden stockade privacy fence.

Yep, every day, our new neighbor peeked over the fence, much like Tim-the-Tool-Man’s neighbor Wilson did in the TV family-comedy series, Home Improvement. I started calling him Wilson. The name also served us all well, as it created a distinction between hubby and the guy next door, who just happen to share the same name.

Wilson and his family moved at least ten years ago. He and hubby remain close buds.

The name stuck. Most people who meet (or have met) Wilson through us have no idea that is NOT his first or last name, lol. And my boys? To this day, they call him Mr. Wilson (not to be confused, however, with the Mr. Wilson of Dennis the Menace fame).

So y’all confused enough? Have you ever named someone in your life after a TV character? If you were to do so, who would you pick?

Okay, we be done for today. Please share if you feel inclined to do so. Anybody try his/her hand at the cookie bar recipe I posted last week? If so, how did they turn out?

Be well and have a wonderful week,

Joanna

 

Change my Self-Image? Uh…Yeah!

Hello friends,

Still recovering from last week’s change in family status, if you will, and working to get back on some kind of schedule. (Thanks so much to all of you who reached out. I posted a thank you yesterday.) This was meant to be a PEM post but we’ll put it up a day late and hope you enjoy it on a Totally Terrific Tuesday (TTT) instead.

Let’s get real, people: ‘skinny’ is something I’ll never be. It is, however, nice to have come to a new place in my life, one I sort of stumbled on by accident. (Seems I do that a lot. Something to be said for hindsight, I suppose.)

Anyway, having grown up overweight—and still there, though in a healthier place than two years ago—my mom never failed to look at something fashionable on a mannequin without stating, “That’s not for us. That’s for __________ (insert name of thinnest of my friends at the time).” Being pear-shaped has its supposed health benefits but isn’t fun when one is out looking for dresses or sets that are sold as a unit. (We pear-shaped girls tend to be a size bigger beginning at the waist and ending at the knees.) Over the years, I’ve learned how to spot styles that fit a little better, which makes for less frustrating shopping sprees. And recently, I walked out of the store with a dress fit for my favorite Fran Fine.  (An awesome day: perfect fit and absolutely no tailoring necessary!)

  I am so not model material, lol. Kept telling my son to make me laugh and look more natural but…oh well…

Okay, sidetracked as usual, but I’m soon to get to the point. Started exercising pretty regularly about two and a half years ago. Those small, consistent efforts have added up for my shoulders and down for the pear part, resulting in a more balanced overall figure. (For those interested, you can access that two-part article here and here.) Hey. The other day I actually saw some deltoid definition—imagine if I were REALLY consistent.

Post point? My body image has changed. I realized this during a recent casual exchange with some long-time male friends. I happened to be chatting with these guys while exiting a church function. (Quick backstory: these guys, who NEVER in all the years they’ve known me said a word about my weight had twice commented on me having lost some about a year prior.) While going down the stairs, I noticed some type of wire that spanned the width of one of the top steps and commented to the guys about how easily a woman’s spike-heeled shoe could get caught in that cord. Being male—and one in particular who prefers his ladies on the less-meat-on-the-bones-is-more type—they immediately goofed about how especially damaging this could be to the stairs should an overweight woman take a tumble.

Of course, I went into hands-on-hips stance coupled with THE LOOK. Their hands took on instant guard pose. “We didn’t mean you!”

“Didn’t think you meant me.”

Here’s the cool part: at that moment, I really got that they did not mean me. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not only did they not see me as overweight, but for the first time ever yours truly did not see herself this way.

I still have those days when I wish God hadn’t mixed the top and bottom molds. But today, I have those moments when I feel like He didn’t. They took a long time coming, but they’re here. My consistent efforts will hopefully keep those good moments around.

How about you?  Has how you see yourself changed in a way you never expected? If so, when and what triggered your ah-ha moment?

Thanks again for all your support and have a great day,

Joanna

Working Out is Portable!

Hello, everyone. Rafa and Roger never made it to the Aussie finals. (Without them, does the Australian Open even count, lol? ) Tennis fans know, though, the circuit on both sides is bursting with tremendous talent and extremely likable players. Makes it hard to root for one w/o feeling badly for another. Nothing against Andy Murray, but with dynamic David Ferrer out of the mix I’ll have pulled for Djokovic in peace, lol.  Next week, I can enjoy the SuperBowl, knowing I was on board for the better part of the season. (Love my Giants’ jacket but think I jinxed them with it. They’re nosedive started the Sunday after I bought the darn coat!)

Oh well, enough of that. As I was putting together this post I got this feeling of how very blessed I am in this writer’s gig. Still working on learning the difference between writer and author, but taking baby steps in that direction and finding folks along the way willing to teach. In this case, Joy found my blog, left me a very kind message and wound up with an invitation to visit. Since I love is keeping things eclectic, Joy’s take on getting us out of that chair in front of the screen (any size, any kind) applies to anyone and pretty much anyone.

Introducing my newest writer/online friend:

Joy E. Held: author of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, Who Dares Wins Publishing

Connect with Joy: Blog: www.writerwellness.wordpress.com; Email: joybeth1109@yahoo.com

PLEASE NOTE: This information is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified health care practitioner. Seek council before starting any exercise program.

THE PORTABLE WORKOUT: WALKING   Joy E. Held  Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity

I know, I know. You hate to exercise. Most of us do. I teach six yoga classes a week and workout on the weekends (Sunday off,) and I resist working out sometimes just like anyone else. But times have changed. Technology isn’t to blame. It’s to be commended because with changing times have come new ways to get physically fit because of technology’s vast array of offerings in the world of fitness. But are all the options helpful?

Writer Wellness came about fifteen years ago when fellow critique group members asked me what the secret was to publishing, working part-time, raising a family, and staying in shape. My dance and yoga background was a natural part of my everyday life, but it wasn’t for my friends. I took a step back, examined what I did, and Writer Wellness was born. I determined that my personal program of journal writing, exercise, meditation, eating right, and noodling around with creative play kept me compassionate, productive, and creative. What else do we want? Good health.

Over the years I’ve seen exercise go from aerobic class twice a week to cell phone apps where scantily clad gals demonstrate yoga poses that most of us only look at in books. Let’s get real. A good, old fashioned workout that raises your heart rate and brings out a little sweat doesn’t need much equipment. Some time, the right shoes, the right space or equipment, and knowledge of what to do are all anyone needs to achieve health. (Amen!)

Here are some simple ideas to get you going on the road to physical fitness no matter who you are:

1.WALK: on an indoor track, around the neighborhood, on a treadmill, at the park, around the lake, in the woods, in the gym, or in the office building. Get good shoes with a SUPPORTIVE ARCH and buy an additional orthotic insert to support your heels and arches even more and hit the ground walking. Start out with brief sessions and build up to 30-minute walks three to five times a week. Some people don’t do anything but walk and it works wonders. Challenged physically? Find a gym or buy an inexpensive recumbent bike and squeeze soft stress balls in both hands WHILE you work out on the bike for up to 20-minute intervals several times a week.

Please allow me to add to that: anyone who is physically challenged might want to consider seeing his/her physician for a referral to a physical therapist or specialized trainer. With only one or two visits (at times rendered in one’s home, and possibly covered by health  insurance), these professionals can help design a home exercise/fitness  program tailored to the unique needs of this particular population.

2.DVDs: Don’t buy them at first. They get stale fast. Borrow them from the library or rent them from Netflix and maintain a steady diet of exercise videos on the television screen. Once a day, pop in the dvd and work along with the cuties in tight pants for whatever time you have to spare. If you don’t do the whole session, remember to cool down before you move along to your next project. Morning, noon, or night. Just workout a few minutes every day and you will eventually see results you thought only belonged to scantily clad girls in cell phone apps. You can be your own cell phone app with a little bit of determination and variety. Don’t intentionally sabotage the plan to get healthy by repeating the same thing day after day. Make the effort to shake things up regularly.

Be well, write well,

Joy

That ‘regularly’ part is key, Joy. I’m moving into my second year of consistent exercising (frequent walking included) and loving the results! I was so inspired by the changes, a post by author Riley Quinn and feeling good about myself, I wound up writing a two-part blog of my own about it. (Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Lead to Inspiration! Part One; Part Two). By adding some dance moves (tying them into a given song’s beat, i.e., J-Lo’s ‘Let’s Get Loud’ is perfect for incorporating lunge-type movements with the Latin beat), I keep it fresh and fun. My YouTube playlist keeps the music current and retro-mixed and totally customized to my tastes for free! Finally, I try not to obsess about a missed session, either, by picking back up ASAP. Keeps it from being a chore and no guilt!

That’s it, friends. Thanks to Joy for sharing her wisdom with us, and thanks to all of you who stopped in. Let’s call this Wellness Week: tune in Thursday when Diane Lang brings more of her brand of sage advice for managing stress to the bloglight. Hope to see you then!

Have a wonderful day,

Joanna