Saturday, September 27, 2014

Self-Care: Massage

As soon as I started to have a little room in my budget last fall, I joined Massage Envy.

from Pixabay

Who doesn't love a good massage?

While massage therapy is considered part of alternative health care, it can be a good complement to other therapies for some medical conditions. Even the Mayo Clinic says:

To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever.
 I have de Quervain's tenosynovitis in my right arm. It's aggravated when I do a lot of typing/mousing or even handwriting.

Since I like to write, and my day job has me on a computer all day, this is a problem.

I sometimes wear a brace on my hand that immobilizes my thumb, but again, this is my dominant hand and having your dominant thumb immobilized is just not practical most of the time.

Part of the reason I took time off from lifting 2 years ago was that my wrist was flaring up and trying to compensate for it, I started having trouble with  my shoulder, as well.

I've been getting massages 2x a month for the last 9-10 months, and I often have the therapists concentrate on my forearm. Getting the bunched up muscles in my forearm to relax takes some of the strain off my wrist. While I'm still having some problems with it and need to be careful, getting this worked on has also helped my shoulder quite a bit.

My shoulders had also been in knots so long from the long-term stress and now my neck and shoulders feel much better most of the time.

In addition to the benefits to relax muscles and tendons, there is an element of having another person touch me.

I was more social in my youth than I am now, and there used to be plenty of opportunities for hugs (or more intimate touching) and things. Then I had my daughter for hugs and tickle fights and cuddles.

Now, I'm living alone again, and I don't have much of a social life, so opportunities to touch people in a non-creepy way don't come up much. Touch is a human need. And touch, all on it's own, can help reduce anxiety.

In my budget, I have massage listed under health care (actually, the master category is "keep my healthy") and I consider it almost as important as my medication and sleep to helping me stay relatively emotionally stable.

Do you have experience with massage? I know some people don't like the idea of strangers touching them in what is a fairly intimate way and some people find some forms of massage painful. What's your experience?

I usually like a really deep massage, the "hurts so good" kind. But since I was already sore from lifting this week, I asked the massage therapist to go a little easier on me today and just work on relaxation.

And I feel wonderful.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The second workout

Yesterday, my quads were still way too sore to lift again.

This morning, I woke up about 4:45 am and couldn't get back to sleep.

From Pixabay

I went to the gym around 5:30 am, still a bit sore, but ready to go again.

I feel like my form is a bit off - I think I'm leaning too far forward, but I've got time to work on that before the weight gets really heavy.

45 lbs*:
set 1: 5 reps
set 2: 5 reps
50 lbs:
set 3: 5 reps
set 4: 5 reps
set 5: 5 reps

Overhead press.  .  . oh how I hate these. . .Always my worst lift. But I think I did pretty well for first time out on this lift after so long off:

45 lbs*:
set 1: 5 reps
set 2: 5 reps
set 3: 4 reps
set 4: 3 reps
set 5: 4 reps

Deadlift. . . It's really a pain to pile plates to get the bar to the right height for a straight deadlift, so I did Romanian DL.  I'll probably do them that way for a couple of weeks. Once I start adding larger plates to the bar, I'll switch to a regular DL.

45 lbs
set 1: 5 reps
set 2: 5 reps
set 3: 5 reps

Yeah, I only did 3. But when the weight gets heavier, it's supposed to be just warmups and 1 set at working weight, so, I figure 3 now covers that.

I went over to the assisted pull up machine and did one set with 140 lb assist (so 55 lbs lift).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Next Day

Ah, the first day after starting back at the gym. . .

The soreness!

I woke up a couple of times when I was turning over in my sleep because it hurt.

But it is a good hurt - not an injury hurt, a "Hey, we're using those muscles again!" hurt.

I knew this would happen, of course.

I've been drinking lots of water and took some ibuprofen.

While at work this morning, I kept getting up and walking around, stretching and stuff.

Going up and down stairs was fun, and going to the bathroom - because sitting and standing back up uses squatting muscles. :)

I came home early and after running an errand and eating lunch, I went for a brief swim. I figured that would get some blood flowing to all the muscles. I only did a couple of laps, but it was something. Then I soaked in the hot tub for a bit.

I'm still sore, but I hope in the morning I'm better enough to go to the gym again. I plan to go to bed early tonight so I can get up early.

I have not yet started counting calories again, but I need to start eating better to fuel the workouts.

By next week, I'll be weighing and measuring food again - that really is the only thing that has helped to pay attention to food.

Guess I'm just rambling today. . . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'm back

It's been almost 2 years since I stopped lifting.

I had an injury (wrist/shoulder), I started working more, I didn't have the time or the energy.

Now. . .  I'm back to 196 lbs, my waist. . . I haven't even measured yet, but my "big" clothes are tight.

I've been afraid to get my blood drawn for an A1C test, but I need to.

In addition, I've finally gotten dental coverage and found out exactly how bad my mouth is - and it's pretty bad.

There have been a lot of good things happen this year, and a lot of stressors.

I realized this weekend that I'm not handling stress well right now, and I hope starting to be active again will help with that.

Mon keeps saying that we should actually start doing something with this blog or shut it down.

I guess I'm gonna start doing something again.

I miss lifting. I miss feeling strong. I had even stopped walking and swimming and that really ain't good.

Once again, I'm huffing and puffing going up the stairs.

Once again, my back hurts if I stand up for 15 minutes or try to do things like clean out my car.

So, today, I woke up early and dragged my butt to the gym.

It's been so long since I've been that they've moved equipment around a bit.

There was a guy using the squat cage, and was actually squatting, well, half-squatting, at least.

So, I did bench press first.

The bar felt so fucking heavy, just the bar. By the last set, I was shaky. But I did 5 sets of  5 reps with the 45 lb bar.

Guy was still using the cage, so I went and did cable rows. 45lbs, 5 sets of 5 reps.

Guy was STILL using the cage. By now, he'd finished squats, had pulled the bar outside the cage and was doing lunges. Why outside the cage? No idea.

I asked him how many sets he had left, and he did offer to let me work in, but there would have been so much changing stuff around to let me that it wasn't worth it. He only had two sets left, so I went to one of the Smith machines and did 3 sets of incline pushups - after the bench, that was tough, but I did them.

Then I finally got to the squat cage.

It was scary.

The height of the bar didn't seem right, even though I had it in the same place I used to. It felt a bit high. I may have to put it down one notch more to be comfortable.

Anyway, I only did 4 sets with the bar alone. My form felt a bit off and I don't think I got down low enough, but first day back and all.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Burgers and candy...Conquered!

I conquered the candy dish at work! Yay! It was not easy and required careful planning.

My current choices are not necessarily "diet" food, they are choices I've made to avoid the candy dish and the plethora of restaurants that surround my office.  I'm sure at some point I'll have to change my choices, but for right now they are working for me.

I've carefully planned my snack drawer at work.  I'm pretty blessed to have a tiny but fully functional kitchen at work.

Contents of my snack drawer:

  • Canned soup - I buy soups that are about 220 calories per can.  I try to keep the cost per can at about $2.00 per can, this means I usually buy them wherever they are on sale.
  • Granola/Protein bars - I usually stick to either Luna, Kashi or Trader Joe's brand.  Mainly because I like them and I also buy these on sale.
  • Trail Mix -  I keep a glass jar in by drawer filled with some sort of nut mix.  I try to avoid mixes with a lot of peanuts and dried fruit.  I usually use the lid as a serving size (not accurate but works for me).
  • I just discovered Snapea Crisps at Trader Joe's that are simply divine and satisfy my need for a crunchy treat. 
  • Peanut Butter - good shelf stable protein 
  • Greek Yogurt - I keep this in the fridge.  
Once a week I'll pick up some fruit and keep it on my desk.  I find if I can see it I'll usually eat it around 3 p.m. when I'm getting the munchies.

I try to bring my lunch to work everyday; however, if I forget it in the fridge at home (which I do way to often).  I have a satisfying back-up at my desk.  

I'm quite aware I could be making better choices; however, this is currently working and I'm happy with the results.  Whenever I find myself eating out more than once a week or snacking from the candy dish, I'll have to evaluate my choices. 

What are your tricks for work meals/snacks?


Saturday, June 15, 2013

What's your number?

Hehe...I'm not trying to pick you up.  I ask/get asked this question multiple times a day from co-workers and friends. I finally broke down and purchased a Fitbit! I LOVE IT!

I was a bit leery about spending that kind of money on...a pedometer.  However, once I purchased it I regretted not purchasing it earlier. It is really easy to wear, you can tuck it into your bra or your pants pocket.  I usually tuck it into my bra first thing in the morning and totally forget about it during the day.

It calculates my steps and how many miles I'm walking.  The best part is it likes to talk to my other electronic equipment.  It shares my information with my iphone, computer, and MyFitnesPal.  It sends me a weekly update with fun statistics, such as most active day and least active day.

It has made a huge difference in my activity level.  The first couple of days I wore it I barely reached 1,500 steps (I'm so embarrassed about this number).  The most I've walked is about 9,855 steps.  On my typical work days I tend to walk about 6,000 steps.   I now walk about 1,000 steps in the morning before work.

This is my favorite and most often used fitness tool.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Slim and Beautiful"

This ticked me off, and I thought I should write about it. I've been neglecting this blog something fierce.

Over on Go Kaleo (you know I love her, right?), there's a comment thread that is still going on from a January post. The post is about Amber's weight loss/progression pictures.

Sometime last night or today, some man posted,

You look extremely slim and beautiful now.
This struck a nerve in me for several reasons. Ok, more than that, it pissed me off.

1. She's beautiful in all her pics.

2. "Extremely slim"? Hardly. In fact, even when she was below 15% body fat (and starting to experience health problems because of it), she thought she was a bit "thick".  Like here, in November 2011, when she wrote, "A Thick Girl's Manifesto". In that post, she says:

I’m beautiful because I love my body and appreciate it for what it’s capable of.


This! So much THIS!

Love what you can DO with your body. This is so important.

She has added a bit of body fat back since that point.

She is beautiful because she is strong, physically and mentally/emotionally.

She is beautiful because she appreciates what she can do with her body.

She is beautiful because she fuels her body properly for her activity level, and doesn't starve herself.

She is beautiful because she is wicked-smart and backs up her opinions with research (and/or formed her opinions with research and experimentation with her own body).

But "extremely slim and beautiful"?

Fuck that.

And now it's time to get off my ass again, and get back to teaching my body to pick up heavy things.

I need to start all over again, at the beginning, with just the bar for now.

But I'll be back where I was in no time.

Off to the gym.