Goal 1: Establishing a Fitness Program

TO TACKLE MY HEALTH & FITNESS GOALS I’ve decided to pursue a couple of things:

First, I am going to further my practice of yoga by attending at least one class a week, culminating in a teacher training course in mid June. This is something I’ve been considering doing ever since I began attending regular yoga classes in Montreal a year ago, and besides the benefits to my physical health, teaching yoga will help me grow spiritually as well.

Second, I plan to take up kickboxing, a sport in which I’ve always been interested – mostly because other martial arts I’ve tried move too slowly for me (I’m too ADD to try to perfect one move for the duration of an entire class). Not to mention, kickboxing is great for losing weight! Because of the interval-style training and the fast-paced competitive environment, you can burn between 600-800 calories in just one hour.

I bought a Groupon for ATA Martial Arts Kickboxing classes, and attended my first class last week. Loud pump-up music blared during our class with buzzers, bells, and countdowns played over it to signify when to change exercises. I learned some new exercises with nothing but a band, and I got to beat the sh*t out of a punching bag. What more could you want in a workout? The next day, though, I felt like I was 80 years old. Well, no pain, no gain, right?

As a side note, for those of you interested in trying it out but afraid to be the uncoordinated or unathletic one, the majority of my classmates were actually middle-aged women trying to get in shape. So don’t be intimidated! Go sign up. Ilovekickboxing.com has all kinds of deals running all the time.

Additionally, I’m finally taking care of my knee issues by going to physical therapy once a week so they can teach me exercises that will strengthen my knees and the muscles around them. They also give me lots of free things like exercise bands and pieces of styrofoam to roll around on (no really, this thing gives a killer massage). Once my knees get the OK from PT, I’d also like to start running again, and maybe even run a couple 5Ks. I’ve found that whenever I have a goal to work towards (even a small one), doing the work doesn’t seem nearly as daunting.

FOR ME, EATING WELL IS MORE DIFFICULT than keeping up a fitness routine. Ever since I started counting calories this past Christmas, I’ve been on a roller coaster of resolve. While I’ve been able to gradually change what I eat, I still find it difficult to control how much of it I eat. It’s all the snacking that gets me. I’d like to think that it’s our snacking culture that is the (or one of the) true culprit in American obesity.

When I studied abroad in France, my host mom asked me once why I was eating in the middle of the day. “It’s not meal time,” she said. This apparently makes sense to the rest of the world, but not here in the US of A. To be fair, I think that healthy snacks eaten at specific times of the day to ward off hunger are a good thing. For example, lately I’ve planned two healthy snacks (I love SlimFast snack bars – they taste like candy bars!) between breakfast at 7:30 and lunch at 1:30. This has prevented me from, say, buying a candy bar and a soda from the vending machine to try to assuage my hunger. And I eat them only when I am starting to feel hungry, not because I feel like eating.

IT’S THIS MINDLESS SNACKING THAT WE NEED TO AVOID. When I began tracking my meals, I became much more aware of how much each food is “worth” so to speak. Here’s a little list I came up with to help put things into perspective.

Foods that have 100 calories (aka 15 minutes on the treadmill):

  • 1 medium-sized banana
  • 1 average-sized (non specialty) slice of bread
  • 1 packet of mayo
  • 3-4 large tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz glass of 1% milk
  • 1 10 oz can of beets
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 1/2 Tagalong Girl Scout cookies
  • 1 1/4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 shot of tequila
  • 4 Tostitos Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips
  • 1 slice of sandwich cheese

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