Category Archives: Exercise and Diet

An Oasis of Calm

I don’t know about you but lazy hazy Sundays are a thing of the past. I spend most of my Sundays carpooling my 4 boys to 3 different schools. First carpool is at 7.15 am, last is at 8.30 pm.  On the lightest Sunday, I still have the earliest and the latest to do. There is never a break.

I dream of sleeping in on Sundays (by sleeping in, I mean past 6.30 am). It has happened once or twice, generally when they boys are in Montreal visiting their father.

Today I was up before it was light, by 9 all the kids were at all their various educational establishments and I wanted some time to myself. Time away from the chores that awaited me at home. Laundry and dishes can always wait!

I went to the gym. I left my phone in the car on purpose. I took a book with me, propped it up so I could read while I worked out on the elliptical. I lost myself in the story for a good solid half an hour, was not aware of my surroundings, my legs were moving rhythmically without much thought going into it. It was bliss.

I want to try for a half hour of similar bliss every day – and not necessarily at the gym. Just time to be myself, to be uninterrupted by technology, to just breathe and just BE.

Do you carve out any me-time? How?


Back to the gym

I haven’t really had a decent work out in three months. I did start back at the gym last week, but only did elliptical. I started off gently. This week it’s back full force, the weights and exercising all the muscle groups.

I asked the surgeon what I can / can’t do. He did tell me that pretty much any exercise I do will affect my neck. It will hurt. Don’t push too much, but don’t be a wimp either. Listen to my body.

Well. Ow freaking ow!

Seriously though, I had a wonderful work out. My muscle tone is not that badly affected by my three months off, which is a relief because it did take me almost 6 months to build it up to where it was pre-surgery. BUT the doc was right. Everything affected my neck. Even sit ups pulled on my neck. I didn’t do as many reps as I had wanted to – I know I need to build up gradually, but I was not prepared for even the most benign of exercises to pull at my neck.

I will take tomorrow off or just do cardio, then back again to the machines and the weights. I need to be in fighting form. Being stronger helps me think better.

Off to shower and wait for the Advil to kick in. But, I am glad I am getting back into shape. I am taking care of me, as well as everyone else, and that’s so important.

Rabbis Sound Alarm Over Eating Disorders

The NY Times ran an article yesterday “Rabbis Sound Alarm Over Eating Disorders” that brings to light the suffering of many young women in the Orthodox world that are suffering from eating disorders. This paragraph jumped out at me.

“There are a lot of mixed messages,” said a 27-year-old woman from a strict Orthodox community in Brooklyn, who once carried less than 100 pounds on her 5-foot-6 frame. “My grandmother would see me and say, ‘You look so good, you’re so skinny — come eat, eat.’ ”

Our world revolves so much around food and celebratory holiday and Shabbat meals, but unfortunately there is a lot of focus put on the girls to be skinny. One of my Boro Park charedi cousins once told me “you can never be too rich or too skinny” and she totally believed it.

I find it interesting though, that this obsession with being thin does not seem to apply to the boys. Very few mothers of girls are asking the boy’s waist size or weight when they are discussing a shidduch.

Size shouldn’t be a consideration in shidduchim – health is more important. Let me tell you something, being pregnant takes a lot out of a healthy body – if the body is starved of nutrients beforehand in order to maintain that size 2 that got a girl married – that will only lead to problems in the pregnancy and perhaps long term.

We need to focus on health, and how to maintain good eating and exercise habits – but how are we going to get this message through to those who need to hear it? How are we going to help those already suffering from eating disorders as a result of the peer pressure? How do we remove the shame and stigma associated with mental illness in our communities? How can we teach self-acceptance to those who are unwilling to learn?

Gym Update (Ow Ow Ow)

Well, it feels like we joined the gym months ago, but it was three weeks ago? Maybe four? The KoD and I have worked out a routine of when we go and most of the time we have gone together. I work till 2pm most days, and we are at the gym by 2.30, home by 4 to be there to welcome the kids home after their long day at school.

Last week the KoD had to go on his own once or twice because I was sick, and the week before I went alone on Sunday and he stayed with the kids. I much prefer working out with him because even though he is a sadistic trainer, he knows what he is doing.

Today he gave me one heck of a workout. I have been home almost an hour and my muscles are still oscillating. He introduced me to a new apparatus – the stomach cruncher. The word torture was invented for this machine. My abdominal muscles are screaming…and I only did 3 sets of 5 reps…at 10 lbs!!

So the KoD has to show off and do 3 sets of 10 reps at 40 lbs. He had to tease me that I was being shown up by a guy so much older than me. (How old is he again? 76?) I said to him, he can only even begin to think of showing me up, when he is able to carry a baby in his belly for 9 months and then give birth and do that FOUR times. THEN we can talk about who is showing who up. Yeah, old man, shove that in yer pipe and smoke it!!

Of course the more I spit and growl, the more I kvetch and complain, the more the KoD laughs at me. He thinks I am sooo funny the way I call him evil and mean – but come on folks, saying “one more rep” does not mean you can get away with saying that a hundred times.

He mentioned today that someone should film our work outs because I am so darn cute when I hiss and gripe. He giggles so much when I give him the stink eye. Must be love…

I have to say though, I feel good. I really do. I was having some stomach issues for a while, and it seems that working out has really eased the pains I was having. Still have to be careful about my diet and all, but physically I feel so much better. BH. That, plus I am getting some great definition in my arms, legs and stomach. Everything just feels so much tighter despite the fact that right now it feels as if someone twanged my muscles really hard.

I think I have a new addiction, folks, but this is a healthy one 🙂 .

Gym Etiquette

So the other day I was at the gym working out in the women-only work out room (it was men’s hours for the large work out space) and I saw a woman using one of the machines. It was the lateral pull down one. She was using it completely wrong and I was worried she was going to hurt herself specifically her back. I was ellipticalling away and as I worked out I pondered the best way to approach this woman.

I ended up saying nothing as she left before I had figured out what to say. But what could I have said that wouldn’t have ruffled her feathers? I could have showed her how to use it correctly – but who the heck am I to give advice? I am no trainer, I am just a scrawny sweaty wench who should mind her own business….

What would you have done? What should I have done? What should be done in the future?

More Tales from the Gym

Just a brief one.

Lady in the locker-room – just to let you know, he really is my husband and not my father. But thanks for the compliment 🙂 .

Hire my Hubby (if you want a sadistic trainer)

I love the man. Oodles and buckets. Working out with him is one of the smartest decisions I have made in a long time. The end results will prove this. Meanwhile for now my muscles scream in terror when we get to the gym.

He won’t let me overdo anything, which is great. I want to start with heavier resistance than I should, and it’s great that he is preventing me from doing that. But he makes me do 3 sets of ten reps on 3 or 4 machines and laughs – he laughs an evil giggle – when I grunt or spit fire at him because my muscles have turned to jelly and are protesting vigorously. His laugh as he increased the resistance on the elliptical is still echoing in the gym. How was I supposed to know that level 1 was for wussies??

However when the KoD is massaging his sore muscles from the insane workout he does I am all tea and sympathy. No evil laugh anywhere to be found. Why is this? he keeps telling me it will be worth it in the end.

I’m so impatient though. I want results. I want them now. And I see no change, no muscle definition, no six pack – although I do have more energy. KoD tells me I have to give it at least a fortnight to start seeing any difference.

I told him he is the trainer from Hell. He does not let up. He says that he has seen trainers that are way too easy on their clients. You are paying for their service – they need to provide the right bang for your buck.

Maybe this could be a career shift for the KoD? Would you hire my sadist husband to train you??

(Blogged with permission from his KoDness)

Tales from the Gym – Episode One

Before I left the house to go to the gym I updated my FB and Twitter saying that in the next few days I reserve the right to complain about my muscles aching. We finished our workout 45 minutes ago and I am already kvetching!

The KoD has been a member of this gym for donkey’s years, but since our marriage and the commuting between NY and Montreal and work schedules and a whole host of other excuses, the gym kind of fell by the wayside. I had always wanted to go with him to the gym – it took two years, but darnit, we got there, and we will continue to go to the gym together for as long as possible, schedules permitting.

I love the fact that we get money back from our insurance company for going to the gym. We worked out that it practically pays for the membership! With our insurance if you go to the gym 50 times in 6 months they send you a nice amount of money back. If cost is what is holding you back from joining a gym – check your health insurance policy. You may be able to swing it!

The KoD insisted that I turn off my cell phone and deposit it in the locker. This was time to work on ME, time for no one to bother me. I resisted at first, but he was right. There was one woman yammering away on her cell phone and it was interrupting her workout.

Luckily being the gym expert that he is the KoD was able to show me lots of stuff. We started out on the elliptical – 15 minutes. I was very conscious of not pushing myself. I must start off this exercise thing gently otherwise I will suffer the consequences. While I was huffing and puffing and mopping my brow the KoD was ellipticalling away like he’s been doing it all day every day for the last seventeen years. Show off!!

Then we walked a couple of laps around the track, and it was off to the weights. We did a few sets on different machines – the weight resistance on mine was around the 20-30lb range, and his was way over 100… The KoD showed me how to correctly hold my posture for each different machine, and when to breathe in and out. Silly me, at one point I complained that the weight resistance was too easy – he told me to let it go slower. Yowch!! Feel. The. Burn!!

Then it was over to the bicep curls. I used weights of 5lb, he used a lot heavier. I looked in the mirror and was totally yukked out by the sight of my stick-like arms. I need to work on the biceps and triceps so that I can have some definition. Being an ectomorph is no fun – I want shape, darn it!! He then did some shrugs with 60lb weights. That looked totally painful. I didn’t do any as I have absolutely no interest in thickening my neck.

At one point in this work out the KoD turned to me and asked “so did I lose weight yet?” – we had a good old chuckle. I asked him if my stomach had any definition since my workout – desperate for this to work quickly I guess!!

We plan to go together as often as possible – it helps to have a workout buddy. There were other people there, working out in various types of attire. There is a sign specifying that you need to wear proper work out clothes – but not everyone sticks to that. I did.

Off to take a mega dose of Advil and a looooong hot shower… Stay tuned. I am sure this gymming will give me plenty of blog fodder.

Thank you KoD for showing me the ropes!!

“I don’t want to like it!!”

I wrote a while back about us starting to eat healthier low fat meals as a family. (Hey, if I have to suffer, then they do too!!)

Last night I made a delicious supper that was low fat and low cost too! I made meat sauce with lean ground meat (next time I may use turkey as it is much leaner), with whole wheat pasta. I was concerned that the children would not like the whole wheat pasta as it is not white and they are used to white spaghetti. So I mixed the sauce in with the pasta instead of serving it separately and the brown-ness was hidden by the tomato/meat sauce. I served some steamed vegetables on the side.

All was going well, the kids were eating with gusto, until *someone* mentioned that he preferred the taste of the whole wheat pasta to the regular. One of the boys immediately put down his fork. All of a sudden he didn’t like the food because it was whole wheat pasta. Logic didn’t sway him at all. The others didn’t care. They were too busy eating up every morsel that was on their plates.

We are definitely sticking with whole wheat pasta for now – and the kid that won’t eat it will just have to get over his aversion. I have seen him eat it and enjoy it when he didn’t know what he was eating.

What are your tips for getting healthy food into unsuspecting children?

Food and Mood

Do you eat more when you are sad or depressed or lonely? Or do you not eat? What food makes you feel better? What food makes you feel worse? Does eating actually improve your mood or your outlook?

Personally, when I am in a dejected and low mood, food is the last thing on my mind. I have no appetite. I eat really well when I am happy. Just curious how it is for other people.

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