Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category

Bye-Bye 2016

I have been doing year-end reflections on this blog, and really wanted to do it this year again (even though I haven’t been writing nearly as much). To start, here were my goals from the beginning of 2016:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation ✓
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking ✘
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized ✘
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more ✘
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better ✓


E started grade one and is learning how to read. C has entered his threenager stage. DH and I found two awesome babysitters who kids like, and we’ve been doing date nights more often (but not enough). We stayed at a hornet-infested cottage in the summer, but had some good times too!


After looking at our options, we decided that we’ll stay put. So, instead of looking at real-estate listings, we began thinking of how to improve our home. We added serious colour in our kitchen, DH built a mudroom area in the basement,  we replaced the huge bed & desk in the office with awesome Murphy bed/desk, and we took down hedges at front of our property.


I played soccer this summer, but have decided it’s just not the sport for me. I signed back up at the YMCA, and have been using it much more for swimming and yoga. I’d like to start playing badminton this year and get back to riding my bike.

Mentally, things really went downhill in the Fall, and I stopped doing all the things I know I need to do to have a happy life (eating/sleeping well, exercising, reading, knitting, time with friends). With my time off, I’ll be focusing on making this a priority.

One good thing with my long drive to work (1hr15min each way), I got through a LOT of audiobooks, and hit 13 books for 2016. Check out what I’ve been reading here.


I began the year by teaching at university/college levels, and I quite enjoyed it, but realized quickly it would not be a sustainable career option (low pay, limitations on how much I could work, nowhere to grow).

In the summer, I took 2 additional qualification courses to make me more marketable to public school boards. I got hired by one board as a supply teacher, but didn’t get on to the local board (which is the goal).

I did get my first public high school teaching position in September (what’s called a long-term occasional assignment, where supply teachers fill in for permanent teachers on leave). I was teaching grade 11 and 12 physics, and the contract was until the end of January. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to overwhelming stress/anxiety. I’ll get back into the game when I’m ready, but will only be supply teaching.


There’s my 2016 in a nutshell! Stay tuned for what my hopes are for 2017.


Love the Y

While I was still seeing a rehab team, I had appointments with a recreational therapist. Out of all the therapy I did, I thought this would be the least useful, and it ended up being the best and (I think) most important for my recovery. My RT was amazing and really worked hard to find options for me to get me back to being active. She researched several gyms in the area and would give me reports on their programming, if they had childminding, what the cost was, and how easy it would be for me to get there and get in/out of the building.

After considering several options, DH and I talked them over, and decided to get a family pass to the YMCA. It’s more expensive than I thought/hoped (about $100/month), but we went for it because it has the types of classes and facilities I like and use (spin, step, yoga, pool), it’s close by, and includes parking. The price also includes all programming for us and Evan, and free childminding for Carter. This last one was a big one for me, because there’s no way I’d go otherwise.

I’ve been going 1-2 times per week, which has been amazing. It’s awesome to a) get out of the house, b) take off the “mom” hat, and c) be able to move and use my body! I’ve mostly been swimming, which I’ve been loving, and of course I end it with a dip in the hot tub (ahhh!!). To top it off, Carter LOVES going to the onsite daycare. The ladies love him because he’s just so happy and smiley. That makes it easier!

We have tried going as a family of four – DH and I working out, Carter at the daycare, and Evan in their mini-Y program (they set up a gym with a bunch of different games/equipment for 3-5 year-olds). Unfortunately, Evan didn’t like it at all, and apparently cried for me the WHOLE HOUR he was there (parenting win!). So, we’ll just keep using as best we can now, and hopefully try again with Evan when he’s a bit older (3.5 is SUCH a fun age, right?).

Fit for Kids

I’m definitely starting to feel my fitness abilities becoming limited by my pregnancy. It’s tougher this time because Evan wants me to run around with him a lot, and I just can’t keep up anymore. He’s getting faster, and I’m…well…not. 
I think my fitness level this pregnancy is better than it was with Evan. Having an amost-3-year-old helps, but so does the prenatal yoga classes I’m taking, and generally just being more active at work. 
That being said, I’m starting to get excited about having my body back after Jelly Bean arrives. I hope it won’t take long to get back to my exercise routine I had before I got PG: I was in love with the Jillian Michaels workouts I was doing, and was just starting to get into a couch-2-5K plan and biking. I’m also thinking about taking swimming lessons to get some tips to improve in that area so I can do that more.
My motivation to get fit has evolved over the years — now, it will be mainly to keep up with two boys, who will just keep getting bigger, faster, and stronger.


Warning: navel-gazing bitch-fest coming up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to be pregnant…but I’m not a happy pregnant lady. It’s hard, people! The thing that gets me the most is the limits it puts on me.
I have to worry about eating certain things (no soft cheeses! careful with deli meats! I’m sure many others that I just ignore!), and there’s the whole no alcohol thing. Not that I’m a huge drinker, but I like to relax with a glass of wine if I want, or have a beer on a warm summer day with a burger.
My cardio ability also goes to crap. This upsets me more this time because before I got pregnant, I was doing really well with working out. I had all sorts of goals in mind for this summer like running a 5K, or doing a long bike ride for charity. In the first trimester, I felt so horrible and tired that there was no way I was going to exercise. At this point, I get winded walking up a flight of stairs, so I’ll need to start up again slowly. I am registered for a yoga class starting in a couple of weeks, so hopefully that, coupled with the warmer weather (so more walking/biking opportunities), will get things rolling.
The toughest part for me is the no Advil rule. Given that my shoulders/neck/back seem even worse when pregnant, means I’m dealing with fairly constant pain. Sure, it goes away for a couple hours here and there, or I might even have a full good day, but then it’s back and Tylenol doesn’t do crap. I’m doing a lot more stretching and I think I’ve killed my hot bean bag (I swear it’s losing it’s heat capacity — is that possible?), but there’s only so much that can do. 
Needless to say that I’m excited for the baby to be born…not only because it’ll be amazing to have a new baby in my arms, but so I can start getting my body back again. 

A Difference

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working out rather consistently. Nothing huge – just 2-3 times a week, but I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my fitness level already, which is great! Looks like I’m not a non-responder, which I was a bit afraid of.
In the summer/fall, I found it was a lot easier to fit exercise into my day because it was warm and light enough in the mornings to go outside for a run or bike ride before I got ready for work, or I could ride my bike to work. But, once the winter darkness and cold crept in, I had to re-work my plan. I think I finally found a grove that works for me. It’s a bit hectic – I have to wait until DH and Evan are out of the house in the morning – and gets me into work slightly later (10-15 minutes), but I think it’s worth it.
I also have tried very hard to change my reasoning for introducing exercise into my life this time around. Instead of focusing on how my body changes (losing weight, losing inches, fitting into clothes, whatever), I’m focusing on how my strength and endurance are improving – that I’m doing something good for my health and well-being, not just for how I look. I find it’s been much easier to motivate myself because fitness changes seem to occur more rapidly than physical changes. Plus, it’s a nice change not having to focus on the way I look – something I’ve been growing tired of recently (not that I don’t want to look good, but I want to be finally happy with what I have and who I am).
My hope is I can continue this simple plan until it starts to warm up and get lighter in the mornings so I can start running and biking again.

Shorter Slacking Intervals

Trying to incorporate exercise into my life has been up and down. I often go through spurts of feeling very motivated, then into valleys of laziness.
I’m starting to realize this is okay. Following EcoGeoFemme’s advice on a post of mine a few weeks ago, I’m trying to keep in mind that adding exercise to my life is an on-going process, not something that happens over night, and not something that has to be all-or-nothing. Some weeks are better than others.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the time interval between my motivated periods (i.e., the length of my lazy periods) seem to be getting shorter. There is only so long I want to be lazy before wanting to exercise again. 
Another thing that I’m doing is modifying my routine to something I can maintain. At the moment, I’m trying to fit in one yoga session and two aerobic exercise sessions (either Gillian’s 30-Day Shred or a couch-to-5K walk/run) in per week, and it’s going well.
I recently became motivated again because of a blog post written by Sam B over at Fit, Feminist, and (almost) 50 (a blog written by two of professors at my university, and it’s really great!), She talks about research that says sitting is pretty much the new smoking, and how getting daily physical activity isn’t enough to offset the risks. Seriously – go read it (and the rest of their posts)!
As exercise is slowly becoming a part of my regular life, I have set a goal of running a 5K. Not sure when right now – this will depend on a few factors – but it’s on my bucket list!

Exercise & Eating Better Screws with Body Image?

Here’s a brain teaser: I actually tend to feel worse about my body when I’m exercising regularly and/or keeping track of my eating habits.
I think it’s because I’m focusing on my body when I’m changing my exercise/eating habits, and so I tend to look critically at myself more often. When I’m not doing those things, I’m not thinking about my body, therefore I don’t look at it in detail much.
I hate this, because it can negatively impact my progress and attitude and I start the downward spiral: Shouldn’t I feel and look better if I’m being healthy? If I don’t, then why do I bother? Quitting soon follows.
This time, I need to fight this. I’m not sure how, other than to just try my best to ignore it.
Does anyone else have this problem? How do you combat it?

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