Work It Out

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re taken or single, you can still have fun celebrating this holiday. If nothing else, treat yourself to some yummy chocolates or a heart-shaped pizza and binge-watch your favorite show. I know lots of people think this holiday is bogus and is just for corporate America to make money, but if we’re going to celebrate anything it should be love!

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I could not get him to keep this on, can you tell by the expression on his face? It was too cute not to get a picture of!

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I really didn’t expect anything from Derek, because we did say we were not going to get each other anything. He surprised me with a box of Fannie May chocolates, specialized assortment of Pixies and Raspberry Cremes, my favorites! He is the best hubby!

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Terms of endearment……….

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Made this yummy dinner as my gift to Derek. Pork chops, mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and onions, salad, and garlic bread. Busted out some of our nice dinner ware wedding gifts for the occasion!

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This delicious peanut butter and chocolate trifle took FOREVER too make, but it’s so creamy and rich it was worth it!

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This little chocolate drop was looking for any kind of dropping!

This last resolution of exercising more often has been the most difficult to stick with so far. Exercising regularly has always been difficult for me, despite being an athlete in high school. It is not something I feel particularly passionate about; general health, wellness, and overall well-being – yes – but not so much exercise. However, I made this commitment, and like the others so far I’m going to do my best to stay faithful to it.

I have found that it is not about having more time, but rather about making the time to exercise. Everybody is busy, and we all get the same number of hours in a day. Due to my 4-10’s work week schedule I have 3 full days off every week (which I love)! So, I have committed to exercising those 3 days. I pick 2 other days of the week to squeeze in my other workouts. I find this difficult some weeks since I do work 10 hour days I am typically home later in the evenings and not motivated to exercise. To make things easier on me, I have kept my workouts short and simple. This way, I feel like they don’t take up as much time. Plus, if I can stick with these simple and short workouts then I have something to build better workouts off of.

I strength train my lower extremities 3 days a week, and do yoga 2 days a week. I chose strength training my legs for a few reasons. One, I am on my feet literally all day at work, and my feet/knees/hips/back get achey after 10 hours of this. If I can strengthen my legs then my joints are better supported and I can tolerate these long days better. Two, I am going to run in the Christie Clinic 5K again this year. When I have gotten into running in the past my knees really bothered me. I have learned throughout working in physical therapy that when your joints are hypermobile they are not well supported during increased activity. This leads to more movement in your joints, leading to increased discomfort. We cannot strengthen our ligaments (tissues holding our bones together), so to combat this we must strengthen our muscles that connect and move our bones. I have noticed a significant decrease in pain when I have strength trained in addition to cardio in the past. So, before I even begin a running regimen I decided to work on my hip and leg strength.

I got into yoga a couple of years ago. On Pinterest (of course!) I saw a link to some youtube videos of a yoga instructor, and heard good reviews about them. Since they were free and I was in no position to be forking over money to take a class, I thought I would try them out. It turns out that I really enjoyed it! I could definitely tell I was getting an overall body workout as my muscles were tired and sore the next day, and I loved the feeling of stretching. I could also tell I was more mellowed out after doing yoga. The yoga workouts I continue to do are for relaxation, balance and control, core strengthening, and hip stretching. These take me about 30-45 minutes total to complete if I do them all at once. Not too bad really, and I feel so stretched out and calm afterward. Actually, I find it to be very beneficial at the end of the workday to help me unwind!

With this resolution, I am hoping to build a lifelong habit of exercising regularly. I feel many people begin an exercise regimen to lose weight. Once they have lost the weight then they either think they don’t need to exercise as much or lose the motivation to exercise because they have achieved their goal. They quit exercising, often gain the weight back, and are back to square one. Exercise is not something that should be used only for an end-goal. It should be used to drive a lifestyle change. Everybody should exercise at least a few times a week, and this should happen over the course of a lifetime. It should be looked upon as just another daily task you have to do, such as brushing your teeth or showering. No matter what, most people make sure to brush their teeth and bathe on a daily basis. Exercise should be viewed in the same manner. It doesn’t matter if it’s 20 minutes or 2 hours (though 20 minutes sounds way better to me!), just be sure to do SOMETHING at least 3 days a week for general health and fitness.

Time for my next resolution. Since last Wednesday was the beginning of Lent, I decided that my Lent challenge would double as my next resolution. However, rather than giving something up I decided to make a point to do something each day instead. I am going to make a point to pray everyday. Typically, I do say some sort of prayer everyday. It helps me feel and stay connected to my spirituality, Sometimes though, I either say a quick prayer and rush through it without hardly thinking about what I’m saying, or I fall asleep in the middle of my prayers. Whoops! So, to help me achieve my goals I wrote down everything that I want to pray about each day in the format of a list. This is to help keep me on task during my prayers rather than allowing my mind to wander, and hopefully prevent me from falling asleep! I have made Lent promises in the past that I stuck with and developed lifelong habits from. For instance, I gave up pop when I was in high school. I’ve been out of high school for 10 years, and rarely do I ever want a pop. 10 years, I’d say that’s a pretty solid habit!

Even if you don’t celebrate Lent or are not particularly religious, one way to begin a good habit is to promise to do it for a prolonged and concrete period of time. My resolutions highlighted in this blog are completed over the course of 2 weeks, and carried out from that point on. If 2 weeks is not enough for you to concretely develop a habit then make it 4 weeks. If this doesn’t work, try 6 week, 8 weeks, whatever works for you. Giving yourself a timeline can make your goals feel more concrete, like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Once you get to that light, hopefully this goal has become such a habit for you that you hardly have to think about it. You don’t have to muster up the motivation to do it because it comes naturally for you to do. And remember, be patient with yourself. We are only human, we make mistakes and have a difficult time creating new habits. Give yourself a break once in a while, and wake up the next day with a cup of coffee and a renewed sense of motivation. Don’t give up and sleep all day like this little chocolate drop, no matter how cute you look doing it!

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