Feelin' Chalky

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gearin' Up!

This post is (mostly) for the ladies...the ladies who like to get down...and sweaty.  Um, ahem, I'm talking exercise. I used to think people were nuts when they talked about their workout "gear." Gear...schmear...or so I thought...until I became one of them.

Don't get me wrong. I started out with nothing but a pair of stretchy capri pants, an awesome pair of shoes, and my lungs.  You don't HAVE to have "gear" but it sure helps make your exercising much more enjoyable.  It takes your mind off of your underoos falling down, the blisters developing on your heels, the bra strap that inevitably falls down every time you start to get your focus, your hair that's in your face and mouth, and the possibility of two black eyes.  My chosen activity right now is running but I think most of this gear that I am about to discuss is pretty universal.  Here are my top picks for workout "gear:"

1. A great pair of shoes. First and foremost and oh so important - shoes...good shoes.  Don't go grabbing some old jalopy, stinky pair in the back of your closet.  Your barking dogs will give you an earful the next morning.  I used to think that buying shoes specific for an activity was dumb - just a way for shoe manufacturers to jack up the price.  But alas, I might be slightly mistaken.  I still think a good pair of shoes costs way too much but in the end they are well worth the investment.  Last Christmas I went to a place in Carmel called Blue Mile. They specialize in fitting you for the right kind of shoe - specific to the kind of exercise you're in to.  They even video tape you running or walking on a treadmill and then slow down the recording to see how you naturally step (it has a fancy name - "video gait analysis").  It gives them an idea of how much and what kind of support your shoe will need.  It's pretty interesting really.  I got a fabulous pair of kicks that fit better than any other shoes I've had.  No achey feet in the morning anymore.  I think I will go back this year and get some shoes specifically for running since the pair I have are mostly for walking.  The whole shebang cost me about $90.  My feet thank me everyday.  Essential.

2. Nice socks.  Going along with the whole foot thing...get a good pair of socks.  Again something I used to roll my eyes at...but if you are blister-prone...this is a good upgrade.  I got some socks at the same store that are like Heaven on my feet.  They don't slip and they really add cushion in all the right places.  Very nice.  Plus they keep your feet dry.  I need to get some more.  The ones I bought have a band that wraps both sides of the heel and are made by a company called Balega.  They're seriously great - like a foot hug.  You can check out their site here: www.balega.com  

3. A good sports bra.  This is something I resisted for a long time - mostly because I didn't really think there was anything out there that would lock and load like I needed it to.  Next to going to a blacksmith and having some kind of metal suit forged I thought I was S.O.L.  Once again...wrong.  I researched and looked and researched some more and finally settled on trying a bra by Under Armor.  I will post the link and you will see that this puppy just looks bad to the bone.  No movement is coming outta that straight jacket!  I got it early last week and to be completely honest it took me a good 15 minutes to figure out how to put it on (thank goodness I've been doing yoga - phew!), but I love it!  It fits great and the straps stay up and now I can save money on under eye make-up.  Thank you Under Armor!  If you want any specifics about sizing...let me know.  I wasn't sure it would fit at first but it fits great!  Here is the link: Under Armor workout gear

4. A headband. I got this one down.  I may look like a biker mama running down the street but no wispy hair is getting in MY eyes!  I bought a semi-stylish cloth head wrap at Tar-get (said with a French accent) that I decided could also double as a keep-my-stinkin-hair-outta-my-face device when I am working out.  It is completely functional - and in my opinion necessary...unless you are a man...or bald (which in that case - sorry).

5. Pants with underwear built in.  I am not sure what the correct name is for such a thing, but last winter I bought a pair of adidas workout pants that had underwear built into them.  I thought it was strange at the time, but now I know why there is such a beast.  Nothing is more annoying and workout sabotaging than underwear creep.  It can creep both ways...it can fall down and tick you off and it can creep up and irritate you (in more than one kind of way).  Anyhoo...it is really nice to have that freedom to just slap on some workout pants and not worry about slippage.

Those are my current top 5 picks.  I am sure the more I run the more I will long for other items.  Right now I am happy with just using my cell phone as a stopwatch and I don't run long enough to need one of those water backpack thingees...but maybe someday.  Until then...race you to the stop sign! Ready, set, GO!

*I am not being paid to endorse any of these products although I sure wish I was! ;-)

Friday, September 2, 2011


I've been contemplating what to write about lately.  I am in a new phase of my journey which I have entitled, "whole new me."  It's a play on words you see...I am learning who I truly am now...and at the same time really striving to live a "whole" life, one that is balanced.  It's funny.  I thought I knew who I was.  I didn't...and I still don't.  What I have learned over the past year and a half is that my excess weight was partially a means to hide the real me - and in turn shelter myself from pain, rejection, failure.  Maybe it was even to keep me from the greatness that God stamped into me.  We all have greatness stamped into us you know?  Through that sheltering process I lost myself completely - plum forgot who I was.  And now that most of my excess weight (read: protection, shield, or force field - haha) is gone, I am left dazed and confused!  Obviously there is a whole lot more to that equation, but that's a big piece.  Moving on...

The big thing that has been weighing on my mind lately is, "WHO am I...really?"  I am not the girl that started this journey.  I mean, sure, there are glimpses of "her" in me - there always will be, but for the most part I am a new person.  After weeks of rolling this around in my head I decided that who I am now doesn't really matter.  The meat of the issue is really deciding who I want to be.  When I look deep down inside and picture "me" at my best...what does that look like?  Here is what it looks like for me: 1. I am smiling on the inside and out, 2. I feel uninhibited - free, 3. I am active - usually I envision myself running and playing with the kids, 4. I am confident and strong - I believe in myself, 5. I am successful.  Now I want to clarify the part about success.  When I say, "success" you probably immediately think about money.  I tend to see success as more than that.  I see myself helping others reach their goals and I see myself following God's will and direction for my life - that's what I qualify as success.

The next step beyond who I want to be is to decide how I get there - what steps do I need to take?  Well, first off...I have to practice.  Practice what?  I need to practice being confident, being strong, uninhibited, happy, active, successful.  This means stepping out of my comfort-zone...disallowing myself to be complacent with my life.  Talk about culture shock! :-)

First stop?  Active.  UGHHHHH!  Active?  It goes against every fiber of my being, but I know that being active is a big part of overall health.  I have always associated "active" with pain, embarrassment, and failure - it's no wonder I have an aversion to it!  The first thoughts that flood to my brain when I think of exercise and activity are ones of gym class, Jr. high basketball, the biggest girl in gymnastics, lame attempts at t-ball, failed try-outs for the color guard...let's just face it...I am not the most coordinated creature on the planet.  I wasn't designed for athletics - I am an artist at heart.  BUT it's time for me to create NEW visions of what "active" means in my life.  So that is what I am going to focus on from now until Christmas.  I will still be blogging about food (duh) because, well, I love it, but I am also going to make myself more accountable in the activity department.  You know, that dreaded "e" word? Exercise?  Yeah I am going to do that...at least 5 days a week...maybe 7!  I will try to do a weekly post of the things I have tried.  Who knows...maybe I will find something I truly love!

So here is what I have been up to the last several days/weeks.  One thing I always thought I would hate is running.  Seriously.  What can be pleasurable about being sweaty, out of breath, and in pain?  I don't know what got into me the other day but my body told me to get out of bed and run.  So I did.  The first day I patted myself on the back because I thought I'd run a marathon...not so much.  After measuring it I realized that I ran a half a mile.  Oh well!  It was a half a mile more than I would have ran if I had stayed in bed! :-) The next day I ran a whole mile without stopping!  I was really proud of myself!  For me this was an accomplishment!  I couldn't even run a mile without stopping in High School.  I got a C- that semester because I failed to run the mile!  Anyway, this achievement made me realize how far I have come.  My body is so much more full of life!  I can do more than I realize!

Now it's on like Donkey Kong!  I am pushing my limits everyday - trying to see what I am made of.  There are three goals I have for next summer: 1. I want to run a 5K - the whole thing - no stopping, 2. I want to walk the mini with my best buddy, and 3. I want to participate in Warrior Dash.  Those are three things that I know I can do if I just keep pushing myself.  What are your goals?

If you would like a daily update on what things I am doing EACH DAY to become the bestest me I can be...please friend "The Incredible Shrinking Mama" on Facebook.  I will post everyday the things I did to better my health.  I want to make it a challenge to all of you out there to post things too!  I'd love to hear from you!  We can support each other!

Now go get strong!