Tag Archives: healthy living

It’s Okay To Take Rest Day: 6 Ways to Know When It’s Time to Give Yourself a Break

21 Aug

We all need days off– to let our muscles recover and repair and to mentally give ourselves a break from the routine. Most people schedule their rest days into their week. But, how do you know if you need one?

1)      You feel the “twinge” that something isn’t right: I mentioned yesterday that on Sunday when I was working out my lower back started not feeling right. I continued my workout as low impact but high intensity as possible, and when I didn’t see much positive progress with it yesterday I made it a rest day. It’s okay to switch around when your rest day is based on when your body is asking for it.

2)      You’re lethargic or you have trouble sleeping: Sometimes, becoming overly lethargic throughout the day or not being able to sleep soundly at night is an indicator of over training.

3)      You absolutely dread working out: Now, there’s a difference between the usual “ugh I don’t want to get out of bed and go running this morning!” and the absolute dread associated with exercise burn out. Make sure you’re sure that it’s the later before you give yourself a rest day—and don’t let it turn into a regular excuse.

4)      Progress has slowed significantly: This may seem counter intuitive but sometimes if your progress has slowed or come to a halt it might be that your body needs a rest.

5)      You’re sick: If you’re suffering from a terrible cold or other illness, it’s okay to give yourself some time off to heal. Just make sure that as soon as you’re feeling better you get back into it!

6)      You’re becoming obsessed: Remember it’s about balance. If you are overdoing it and exercising is all you can think about, it might be time to give yourself a break and reconnect with your friends, families, and other hobbies or interests you may have neglected.

This all comes down to listening to your body! And, as always, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have. Remember, just because you took one day off doesn’t mean you’re going to fall off the wagon completely. Rest days should be a part of your regular exercise routine. You can also do active recovery on those days, like light walking, stretching, or yoga.

How often do you take rest days? 

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Spreading Myself Too Thin

14 Aug

Warning: this post is kind of whiny–

But, If I’m being brutally honest (and there’s no reason not to be here, right?) I’ve been exhausted lately.  I think I’m spreading myself too thin and I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that I want to do.

Try as I might, I can’t add more hours. So, I’ve got to do something about this. I can’t keep going the way I am or I know I’m going to burn out. And, importantly, I’m not letting my working out go to the wayside. Something else has to budge instead because getting healthier is way too important, not only right now, but for the rest of my life. I have to move that up on the priorities list and decide what is a bit lower down that I can cut out.

Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe around the barge li...

Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe around the barge line and terminus of the flume (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes I think I can do everything. But, I’m tired. I can’t. Something’s got to give.

Sorry for the lack of positivity in my post today, but I’m hoping that the honesty makes up for it?

Other Ways To Measure Progress- Besides The Scale

10 Aug

“But, I’ve been working so hard and haven’t made any progress!”  “Why am I gaining weight if I’m eating healthier and working out?” “Is this even worth it or working?”  It can be incredibly frustrating when you feel like you’re putting so much time/effort into something and the scale just isn’t budging. Since I revealed my weight earlier this week and discussed how we often label ourselves based on “our number”, I’ve been thinking a lot about other ways we can measure and track our progress besides the scale.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the amount of effort you put in equaled the results you saw? It might not be equal, but there is definitely some level of correlation between your effort and your progress towards becoming a healthier person. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways you can track this progress besides the number on the scale—which we all know is affected by so many things.

Tape Measure

Tape Measure for tracking body measurements. Lose those inches! (Photo credit: incurable_hippie)

Here are a few of my favorite ways to see success:

  • Measurements: Every month, I take my body measurements and track them on a website (but even an excel spreadsheet would work). It’s so nice to see those inches coming off even if my scale tells me otherwise. I use a vinyl measuring tape for this and it works perfectly.
  • Clothes: Dig into that closet! Are your clothes fitting better? Are they literally falling off of you?
  • Photos: Many people take pictures regularly (in the same outfit, location, pose, etc.) and compare them side by side. This is a great way to really see the changes in your body.  Every month or would work for this, you won’t see much/any change from one day to the next but over stretches of time you can definitely see a difference.
  • Energy & Emotions: Is your energy level higher? Are you generally feeling happier and better about yourself? This is a highly underrated way to track your progress in my opinion.  If you’re feeling better—isn’t that so much of what this journey is all about?
  • Workouts: Your fitness milestones are another way to track how you’re doing. Are you running faster or further? Are you getting stronger? Are you able to do that workout with more intensity? This all speaks to your improved fitness level—stamina, strength, cardiovascular health, etc.
  • Other Indicators: BMI, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, etc.: If you’re numbers driven, another great way to see how you’re doing is by regularly monitoring other parts of your health like blood pressure and cholesterol. Work with your doctor to determine how often you should be testing these.  They might be able to help you with goal setting and any other health measurements you might want to monitor—like for me; my A1C measurement is a huge indicator of my progress.

Do you track your progress using any of the above methods? Are there any others you use that I might have missed? I’d love to hear them!

That’s It! Thursdays: I Am Not Scared Of My Diabetes

9 Aug

“Our medical records indicate that you may have diabetes. And it’s up to you to manage it. If you don’t, the consequences can be serious and life threatening.

No joke. That’s the first line of the letter from my insurance company that I came home to last night. Really? Is that supposed to motivate me to get healthier? To sign up for their “Diabetes Control Program” that they say is a personal health campaign?

Maybe some people. But not me. I’ve never been very motivated by fear, or threats, for that matter. All the POSITIVE things that can come about from me becoming a stronger, healthier, and happier person are what gets me moving. By making myself a priority and understanding my current health status and future goals, I can move forward.  Fear makes me freeze in place. It paralyzes me. It makes me feel like what I have is a death sentence. But in reality, I know it isn’t. For me, my diagnosis was a second chance– a reality check if you will.

“Get Healthy” Diabetes Threat Letter from my Insurance

And really, don’t you think I already know that when not managed diabetes can have terrible consequences?  Is this really supposed to be some sort of eye-opener for me?  Not quite. Everyone knows that.

But what many people don’t know is that when managed, a person with diabetes can live a healthy, happy long life.  If this letter started with that– maybe tempting me with learning better ways to be successful instead of threatening me to be compliant, I could have potentially taken it seriously. Instead, I find it almost insulting. Don’t worry though. I’ll make today a good day– I’ll work out, eat healthy, take my medicine, and check my blood sugars. I’ll be a model of good health. Not because of you, though, insurance company. Because of me. For me. For my loved ones. So, for this That’s It! Thursday, I’m focusing on the positive results I can have by managing my diabetes well– rather than the negative things that could come about should I decide not to take care of myself.  I need to focus on my goals and how to achieve them. That’s how I’ll move forward.