Mothers, Jeans and Self-Esteem

Welcome to another week, folks, and a new theme. Always a pleasure to be here and share with you! Thanks so much for stopping in 🙂

mothers day flowers 2014   Mother’s Day Flowers from all my men–I’m too short to get a good image if vase is on table, lol.

Joanna n baby boys  I’m thinking my boys were one and three (?) in this image. Now the big one is the little one, and the little one is the big one. Where did the time go?

Joanna n Niconus 05-11-2014  Older son and his ma on Mother’s Day–the other guy goes camera shy. 

joanna n hubby Mothers Day 2014   Hubby and me on  Mother’s Day :). Now why didn’t I insist on a photo with both my boys????

So last week I shared about jeans, finding that elusive, “perfect-fitting” pair (I’m sure I’ll look for a loooong time, lol) and some encouraging news on that topic via Charlotte Hilton Anderson’s blog, The Great Fitness Experiment. (Among the reasons I’ve always liked Jennifer Lopez too. In many ways, she put those of us whose back ends like to uh…hang out more than others on the map. She also very kindly helped designed a line of  jeans made to fit said folks. Thanks, J-Lo! )

Rather than drag y’all through a longer-winded post than usual last time, I figured I’d pick up with a related topic today. (I promise, people, I’m working on keeping these shorter. )

Much as I love jeans, I hate shopping for them. (I’m to the point where I’m NEVER in the mood to shop for anything—eh, maybe shoes every once in a while. I always seem to gravitate toward the same colors and styles anyway. Seriously, how many red jackets or purses can one person have?)

A couple of years ago, I was killing some time on a Saturday morning. Strolled into the local TJ Maxx and wandered over to the jeans rack. I wound up trying a tan pair of skinnies just for the heck of it, in a brand that tends to fit me better than others.

Danged pair actually fit okay, even in the trouble spots. Long story short, I didn’t like them enough to buy them. I did, however, feel encouraged b/c a pair of “skinnies” almost fit well enough to be a choice.

Met up with my mom later that day. Feeling good, I told her about the jeans. Her automatic (paraphrased) response? The jeans fit because they weren’t cut right and/or had stretched.

No way on the planet—in her brain—I could have lost a pound or two, or have walked and exercised my way into that cut.  Then I wonder why shopping for clothing is more distasteful than it should be, lol.

So go figure, a few weeks ago, Mama actually complimented me in a pair of skinny jeans. I believe she phrased it something like, “I don’t know if you lost weight or it’s the pants, but those look good.”

Whaaaat???????

Mama almost knocked me out. (Feel free to go a little LL Cool J here.  What can I say? My latest TV addiction is NCIS Los Angeles.)

Joanna n mom Mothers Day 2014   Okay. We’ll let Mamma have a spot on the blog b/c she said I looked nice in my jeans. 

So, my blogger-friends, shall we go there? Shall we talk about how our self-esteem relative to clothing all comes back to Mom, lol? If that’s the case, what helped you get past it? (For me, a single book changed a lifetime of perspective. This related blog post tells that story.)

Here’s the link to the post that got me started on this blogging jag. (It’s over at Charlotte’s blog.) I also came across this assortment of seemingly simple exercises  Charlotte authored for Shape magazine. I hope to have checked them out more closely by the time this post airs.

Have a great week, everyone!

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockin’ Jeans and The Great Fitness Experiment

Welcome to the second full week of May, folks. Hope all of you are well.

Poor hubby should be in recovery by now. The anniversary/wife’s birthday/Mother’s Day annual event is over again. Every year the poor guy gets slammed.

Back to business: I subscribe to more blogs than I can keep up with, but I do try to hit on each every now and again. This one absolutely made my day. It proved I’m not out of my mind—okay, maybe just a touch less than I thought.

I always enjoy posts by Charlotte Hilton Anderson, author of The Great Fitness Experiment (book and blog that go by the same name). I’m sure she is far fitter and way more fitness-savvy than I’ll ever be, but she also tends to be very real. A post she aired about two weeks ago caught my attention big time.

She talked about jeans, about how hard it is for those who work really hard at building and sculpting their thighs to buy jeans that fit them well and comfortably. Believe it or not, those with “musciliscious” thighs (which I’ll never have), experience problems with jeans very similar to those of us blessed with “ample” body parts and the so-called-healthy pear shape. Gapping waistline, “sausage legs” when fabric hugs thighs too tightly—those of us who love jeans know how elusive that perfect-fitting pair is to find.

She also mentioned a company named Barbell Apparel that is getting ready to launch a line of jeans that fit well-muscled folks. I figure, said company can only benefit the well-endowed crowd. (Here’s a Washington Post article that shares a tad more detailed, for those who are as excited about this as I am.)

Getting back to my questionable sanity, Charlotte helped me feel a lot better. I’ve recently gotten into some barre workouts. (Some related posts, including a link to my favorite video of same, are listed below.)

In the past month, since I added the barre workout(s), I’ve been feeling really good physically. As I commented on Charlotte’s post, however, I’ve also been noticing that my never-will-be-musciliscious-thighs seem to be growing despite the exercise efforts I’m putting in.

Perhaps they are, for once, maybe for the right reasons. Who knows for sure?

My weight has held now for about five years. Yes, it’s more than I want but still a good 25 pounds better than when I started making lifestyle changes.  The evening before I wrote this post, I nervously put on a pair of pants that had been sitting in a bag for two years—one of those pairs I had hoped to “get into” after losing 5-10 pounds.

I’ll be danged if I didn’t do just that–with my weight still where it was when I bought them, I’m pretty sure.

Joanna--04-26-2014 (Of course real estate between the waist and the knees is undercover–it’s all about illusion, right? 😉 )

Anyway, this is a big thanks to Charlotte for helping me realize that I’m not totally crazy—and for inspiring me to try on those pants. BTW, a pair of black jeans that fit awesome were in that bag too. Those just got hemmed at the tailors! Yay for jeans that fit well!

Rather than drag this one out, next week I’ll talk about Italian mothers and how they influence one’s self-esteem so well, lol.

So, where do you stand on this topic? Do you like jeans? Does fitness make you feel good or frustrate you? Did you ever consider that fitness had drawbacks?

Here are the links I mentioned above:

Sometimes It’s About the Littlest Things

Can One Book Change Your Life?

Healthy Snacks? I’m Thinking Not–Part 1

Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result In Inspiration!

Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result in Inspiration! (Part 2)

My (current) favorite ballet barre workout 🙂

Have a great week folks! Please don’t hesitate to SHARE should you like the content or feel moved to do so in any way!

Until next time,

Joanna

 

 

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

 

Healthy Snacks? I’m Thinking Not–Part 1

Happy Tuesday, friends. Hope y’all had a great weekend. I’m working hard at getting back on the blogging track. Thanks for taking the time!

Pet peeves: a subject I can have so much fun with on such a broad spectrum, but I’m limiting it to one. (That’s so I don’t use up all my post ideas all at once! ;))

Weight loss, management, maintenance: call it what you like. I’ve had the questionable joy of struggling with it since childhood. Not where I’d like to be weight-wise—probably never will—but I still have to remain conscious of it daily just to tip the scale where I do so that my clothing fits and I feel good being in my skin.

I’ve done my share of reading on the subject and have learned to apply many principles to my eating and exercise as a result. I’ve blogged about my experiences. (Feel free to check some of those posts out; links are listed below.) And I still click on a headline here and there, just to see what the trends are in ‘healthy’ eating these days.

Last time I did I was terribly disappointed.

People, make sure you take everything you read with a grain of salt and look beyond the surface. I won’t link to the article that fired me up enough to write this post. I will, however, caution everyone who struggles with weight and/or simply adopting a healthier lifestyle to be aware of the traps that are out there.

Case in point: the post I read cited ready-mixed, low-fat yogurts, 100-calorie snack packs and some cereal choices. BTW, the oft-lauded pretzel can be a big-time downfall too.

Here’s my beef: every one of the choices listed was high-fructose corn syrup and/or sugar-loaded.  Unless you’re at an upscale market buying real whole wheat or the multigrain variety, pretzels, cookies, etc are most likely made from base flour products, too. Now there’s a recipe for weight gain, even if you do any of these in moderation, especially if you’re not big on exercise!

Am I saying you should never…? Perish the thought! Nor am I an authority on this subject, just someone sharing from personal experience. I just find myself more and more hesitant to pick up any of the above.

In the interest of keeping this short, I’ll do two posts. Look for my way of jazzing up the health-value of the snack foods listed above later this week.

And here are the links to articles I’ve written related to the above topic:

Newsflash! Bloghopping Can Result in Inspiration—Part 1

Newsflash! Bloghopping Can Cause Inspiration—Part-2

Real Life Game-On! Participant

Change My Self-Image? Uh Yeah!

Can One Book Change Your Life?

Until then, have a wonderful week. If you care to, please SHARE via one of the buttons below! Thanks so much!

Joanna

Real-Life Game-On Participant!

Happy Thursday, people! Hope all is well with all of you! Looking forward to getting my life back once the US Open Tennis Championship winds down as well as a visit from a pair of Aussie cousins who happen to be in town! Always fun!

And, while we’re dealing in fun, this is why I love the internet. You just never know who you’ll come across, especially once you get yourself all a-Twitter! (Look for an upcoming post on how powerful a social media tool Twitter is, but be warned, I have yet to write it, lol.)

Moving on! Allow my newest on-line friend to introduce herself AND a fun approach to dieting I knew nothing about! Welcome!

Hi! My name is Joanna Clark Dawyd, and I’m excited for the opportunity to be Joanna Aislinn’s guest today.

While browsing on the internet one day, I came across a book, called The Game On! Diet, by Krista Vernoff and AZ Ferguson.  I read reviews, and I was intrigued by the concept. I posted an event on Facebook, inviting some friends I thought might be interested in making healthy lifestyle changes.  To my amazement, twelve people wanted to play!

Now, I must warn you that the book is full of swear words! Usually, I wouldn’t recommend something like that, but to me, the message of this book is worth overlooking a plethora of f-words.

The game involves making healthy choices, in food, exercise, and a few other areas.  But to provide motivation, it turns those choices into a competitive sport!

We began the game on May 16th, with two teams.  The prize at stake: a delicious dinner prepared by the losing team for the winning team. Not all the players knew everyone.  Some only knew one other person.  But one aspect of the game is building a support network, so we each got five points per day for communicating with both teams.  We sent emails back and forth every day, full of trash talk, support, and meal suggestions.

Throughout the four weeks of the game (my team lost, but it was a close race!), I lost about5 pounds.  I discovered that it can be fun to exercise!  Who knew? My kids and I had crazy dance parties, and they “helped” me exercise using the Wii Fit. I rode my bike a lot more than I would have otherwise, taking the kids along in the trailer. I even attempted running a few times.

The most important part of the game and the book is the flexibility.  Exercise is simply defined as activity that raises the heart rate and lasts for 20 minutes. And unlike other diets, this one allows for one entire day off, plus an additional meal off from the rules. ( I still can enjoy my Tim Horton’s Iced Cappuccino!)  The rules also allow 100 free calories of anything each day.  So I can have BBQ sauce on my steak, or butter on my toast if I want too.  This makes it much more likely that I’ll stick to the rules.  If you’re already on a weight loss food plan, you can use that plan and still play the game.

After our game ended, I decided to keep playing.  I printed out more score sheets, and my weight has been going down, for the most part, ever since. I do give myself a little more lee-way than I would if I were competing, but that’s ok!  It’s ok not to be perfect. It’s not about the score, or even about the weight or my size or shape.  It’s about feeling healthy.  It’s about having energy to play with my kids.  It’s about walking up the stairs without panting when I get to the top!

If you enjoyed this and want to read more of my rambling, visit my blogs! I write aboutbooks and writing as well as creativity and DIY home decor. (Here are some of Joanna’s creative works–love Crayons! Joanna is also find-able on Facebook and Twitter, too.)

       

Joanna, thanks for this opportunity!

So much fun to have you, Joanna!

And always a pleasure to have all of you stop in! The Game-On! Diet sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve found that the only way to keep up with exercise and fitness is to incorporate things you truly enjoy (i.e., tennis and walking for me) as well as easy, effective ways to see results. (That’s why I keep up and vary the small weight workout.) The ‘time off’ concept is invaluable too, as is allowing oneself the luxury of consciously letting self- discipline slip every now and again. Keeps me on track in the bigger picture.)

Now we turn the spotlight on you, visitor-friends! How about sharing what works for you in the weight/fitness/healthy lifestyle practices? Don’t be shy! If what you share resonates with one person, wasn’t it worth the comment? (Maybe even make a post out of that, too ! :))

A great day to all,

Joanna 

Djok-hold On the Grand Slams for 2011

Wanted to post this yesterday but didn’t want to take away from my previous engagement with the wonderful authors over at Reflections in Hindsight. If you missed my post about what I’d do differently given the knowledge I’ve gained in the past near-two years, hope you take a moment and read my thoughts on that subject here.

 Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

What a final stretch to get to the finish!

Via a physical display on both sides of the net that left the rest of us mere humans exhausted just watching, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal showed why each owns the ranking of Number One and Number Two, respectively. (When it comes to fitness and athleticism, though, I’m giving these guys a tie at top billing.) And when it comes to rooting for your favorite player? It’s to both these young guys’ credit that you felt badly pulling for either one at any time b/c that meant you weren’t pulling for the other guy at any given moment. (I know. It’s up there with keeping up with that ball going back and forth across the court.)

Beginning with Serbia’s Davis Cup win Novak Djokovic spent from then through today amazing the tennis world with his eye-popping record of 64-2. I’ll paraphrase what  Rafa Nadal so graciously said in his interview at the end of the US Open Tennis Men’s Final, where he came in as runner-up: he (Novak) has done something incredible that will be extremely difficult to repeat.

And that folks, is why The Djok deserves to hold that trophy high and revel in his moment. He earned it.

See y’all tomorrow! We’ve got Joanna Clark Dawyd, quite the interesting visitor. Stop in and show her some love!

Joanna