When you love to eat, you've got to move.

Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category


Posted by pjcloud9 on December 13, 2010

‘Tis the season for people at the office to show appreciation for one another in the form of food.  Every time I go to the printer to pick-up a paper, there is a new box of truffles or cookies or candies staring me in the face.  Every stop in the breakroom consists of leftover pizza or sandwiches from a team party.  And don’t doubt for a minute by later this week, the crockpots will be fired up challenging the circuitry of this facility with their slow-simmering little smokies and Swedish meatballs.  (The air quality will be challenged in multiple ways as well.)  Potlucks all around – ew!

Join me on Twitter as I hash it out with #HolidayFattening.  The intent is if I Tweet it, I won’t eat it.

Tips to stop the madness of #HolidayFattening in your life these next 2 grueling weeks:

  • Tweet it so you won’t eat it: #HolidayFattening (Or eat it and Tweet it and guilt ensues – FUN!)
  • Find a way to burn a few extra calories each day.  Park farther away, take the stairs, get up from your desk and walk around for 5 min, etc.
  • If you can find time to workout among the holiday chaos, add 10% time each day for the next couple weeks.  So, if you want to get 20 minutes in, add 2 more just for good measure
  • Shame those who bring in treats by making a list, passing it around to the department and then posting it for all to see on the intranet (oh, not that one – sorry!)
  • You can have a taste if you aren’t afraid to throw food away.  Take an enjoyable bite or two, then pitch it.  Half the calories!
  • Be the life of the party by bringing healthy food in for the potluck.  Veggie trays, pita chips & hummus, be creative not creamy.

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A very insightful WSJ article on getting *gasp* slower

Posted by pjcloud9 on September 10, 2009

I loved this article from the Wall Street Journal last week and have been meaning to share it.  Great perspective on making fitness, even doing races, a lifelong endeavor.

Enjoy!  Click here.

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Go girl!

Posted by pjcloud9 on August 26, 2009

Sometimes you are able to influence other people.  Other times it is extremely difficult.  You may influence someone in an unintended way.  Or, when you are not even looking, not even trying, you influence by accident.

My four year old daughter is a sassy one.  She is strong-willed, opinionated, a fast & loud talker, extremely social – always looking to connect with another human being and have a conversation – especially with little people like her.  She is one to watch in my book, also, one to BE watched if you know what I mean.  Her own brand of trouble hovers around her.

Over the course of the summer I have enjoyed our time together as I take her to the pool a couple times a week for swimming lessons, then afterwards I let her swim until she drops the remainder of the evening.  She flits, she floats, she flies away in the pool as she talks to every kid that will talk back to her, shares their toys (yes, takes their toys to share back with them), and shows no fear.

It has been interesting to watch the difference in her attitude towards food and fitness and how it differs from my twelve year old son.  I truly believe it is due to my personal attitude toward the same at the two-to-four year old influential time period.  My son gravitates naturally toward burgers and naps, where my daughter likes fruits & veggies and loves to run around and play.  Certainly lots of twelve year olds go the same route as they hit 7th grade, but I see clear differences in how my daughter is at age four and how my son was back then.

The other appeal about my little daughter – who doesn’t love to go shopping for a little girl who wear a size 4?  The clothes out there for that size and age are darling – so easy to create a wardrobe for a girl that makes the closet burst at the seams.  Some of the fashion is a bit too edgy – it seems that the size 4-7 girls clothing starts to replicate women’s fashion from the bikinis to the low-cut jeans.  We do not go that route!  However, I am a total sucker for the Target C9 girls fitness wear.  There are yoga capris, tank tops, warm-ups, tennis skirts.  The stuff is really darn cute.

Last fall I picked up a black warm-up suit with white side stripes in a breathable mesh for the girl (as I love to call her).  To layer underneath, a black breathable Under Amour type t-shirt with a star design on the front and faux-layered white long sleeves underneath.  She took one look as was OK with it, not overly excited, but she did wear it.  A feat for a picky girl.

This spring the worst happened.  The zipper of the warm-up jacket broke.  And with how Target moves through merchandise, there was no hope to replace it.  We kept it around for awhile since it was warm out and she really didn’t need to wear the thing anyway.  But once we hit time for garage sale/closet clean out this summer, it had to go.  Looking back – wow – that was a mean, heartless mom moment.  I mean, who cares if the zipper is broken?  But, we discussed and got rid of it anyway.  She had been doing OK with the tennis skirts and tank tops for most weeks up until she came across the star shirt in her closet a few weeks ago and demanded the zipper jacket.

There is no zipper jacket.  Remember?  We talked about it and decided we should get rid of it because it was broken?  (She’s FOUR.  I suck.)

For the last several weeks every trip to Target I have glanced at the girls C9 fitness wear every time I go, in hopes that fall would bring some new selections to curb the girl’s need for warm-up gear.  To my surprise and delight – this past weekend – Target came through!  They have an almost identical black with white stripe warm-up outfit in girls’ C9 fitness wear for the Fall!  I grabbed the only sixe XS in haste and purchased right away, price being no object (although, it’s Target, come on!).

I had been redeemed!  The girl was thrilled, put the outfit on right away.  And proceeded to wear it the next day, too.  And the next.  And the next.  (Squeezed ONE washing in.)  Needless to say, I am horrified to take her to preschool everyday in the exact same outfit, also one that is not weather appropriate – long sleeves, black, jacket?!?  She is a sweaty little red-faced fireball each day when I pick her up – warm-up jacket on all day, with it zipped to the absolute top.

So what do I do to remedy this situation?  I spy a CORAL version of the warm-up suit at Target yesterday while running in to pick up some gift wrap and a card.  Again, I hurriedly grab the XS as if it is the last item of clothing in the store and dash to the checkout.  Super score, super spoiled girl, she is ecstatic and for the first time is four days I get her to wear different clothes.

Through all of this, I am partly annoyed, partly amused by it all.  And now, as I look at beyond its face, I am partly proud of the influence I have had on my little daughter.  She wants to eat fruit and veggies.  She wants to swim.  She wants to run.  And she wants to wear cute, fashionable workout apparel.  Go girl!  I am right there with you.

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Exercise & diet – a powerful combination

Posted by pjcloud9 on August 17, 2009

Seriously, she is running for cake.  What could be better?

Seriously, she is running for cake. What could be better?

Dear Time Magazine:

RE:  August 17, 2009 cover story “The Myth Abouth Exercise”

Back in the spring of 2005, my dream was to lose 100 lbs and wear “normal size pants” that I could buy in a store instead of online, while still eating cake and other assorted pastries, of course – as any normal American would strive for.  It took me one year to do it, but I was successful.  And three and a half years later, I have kept it off. At first I just started walking, eating more vegetables and less sugary snacks. Then four months later I started doing the elliptical trainer instead of walking. Then five months after that I started running instead the elliptical. Then a few weeks later I signed up for a triathlon with five months to train – and that was that! Since the summer of 2006, I have finished fifteen triathlons and several other running and duathlon races. I even got third place in my age group/category in the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon in 2008 & 2009!

I think is extremely dangerous for a publication of your stature and influence to take a melange of interesting, thought-provoking studies and twist them into an article that purports that exercise is not where it is at to lose weight.  I would contend that if any of us tried hard enough, we could find some study anywhere supporting our point of view, no matter how outlandish.  I am living proof that exercise and diet are a powerful combination.

I am no scholarly expert, but it seems pretty common sense exercising is not something people should be discouraged to do.  It builds physical strength and endurance.  It builds mental toughness.  It enhances cognition.  I am 37 years old and I am in the best shape of my life because I have committed to eating well and exercising regularly.  I accomplished my weight loss while working at a Fortune 100 company’s corporate offices with a forty plus hour per week demanding job, two young children at home, and living the commuter life in the suburbs.  I contend I could not have been so successful at work and at home were it not for the exercise portion of the equation.  Take a look for some studies that support that.



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Posted by pjcloud9 on July 29, 2009

Hey Urban Dictionary, usually I think you are pretty funny, true that.  Yeah, I am a follower of your “Urban Word of the Day” direct e-mail shenanigans.  Usually I LMAO.  Oftentimes I use the word you present in a sentence in conversation that very day.  Periodically, offending or pissing other people off.  I happily take the hit – for you (plus it’s fun).  But seriously, the way you chose to start off my week on Sunday was not appreciated.

My Inbox, Sunday morning:

Subject: Cankles: Urban Word of the Day

“The area in affected female legs where the calf meets the foot in an abrupt, nontapering terminus; medical cause: adipose tissue surrounding the soleus tendon, probably congenital, worsened by weight gain and improved in appearance only by boots. From the English “calf” meaning wide portion of the lower leg, and “ankle” meaning slender joint of leg with foot.

If I didn’t have cankles, I might be able to wear those Prada loafers with my capri pants.”

Cankles.  Cankles?  You had to go there, didn’t you?

Sure, I have used the related word thass.  Yes, right here on this very blog, as a part of the writing process, in an effort to try and release the body image issues that have haunted me my whole “big girl” life.   I look to unite others, especially us emotional women, around acceptance of who we are, what we can change and what we must accept.  This e-mail, this Sunday morning ambush, seemed to be a vicious reminder that if I don’t stand half of a chance in impacting my thass, then there is no way in hell that I will be able to affect the cankles.

Yes folks, the cankles have been with me my whole life.  Somehow, the combination of the Czech/Irish/Scottish DNA and I believe the environmental effects of hard farm & ranch living on my ancestors has made them all the more sturdy and tree trunk-like.  As a child, I was unaware that I was sporting cankles.  I knew I was a more sturdy girl in comparison to my fair sisters and friends, but I did not have an awareness of the ankle region at all.  I am thankful for that as I look back, being that today it is not uncommon for an 8 year old to discuss their need to diet at the dinner table.

I think the awareness hit in that junior high-ish, awkward time of life.  Oh, and it was the Eighties.  Mini skirts, cropped pants, tight rolling, anklet socks, ballet flats – much of the fashion of the Eighties did not allow to cover or enhance the appearance of my cankles.  What is a girl to do?  I was self-assured enough, and naive, to just go with it.  I did not hide.  I am proud of that.  Everyday in front of my full length mirror, I carefully smoothed, tightened, and arranged that day’s chosen outfit.  I practiced the best stance, the most flattering view of the cankles and hoped that I could pull it off at critical moments throughout the day.  I was masterful at minimizing them through a sort of special effects approach.  One of my favorites was just to make my hair bigger.

As mentioned in the “definition” of cankles above, the condition can be “worsened by weight gain”.  Word.  I have experienced that many a time in the past decade.  While I was working full time downtown, commuting from the ‘burbs, going to night school for my masters, the weight gain was upon me.  In those four years, the cankles (and other parts) ballooned.  I primarily went after masking it by wearing boot leg pants and super long skirts.  Heels helped as well to lessen the obvious appearance of straight from calf to ankle lines.

As you can see, I have become very strategic about cankle camouflage from a fashion perspective.  And even though I am in the best shape of my life right now, the cankles still rule me.  I do not wear skirts.  I do not wear shorts.  I am the girl who wears CAPRIS in triathlons!!!  (The longest pants I can swim in!)  I wear pants and jeans and keep the cankles to myself.  It is really not about me, I have simply decided it is best not to subject others to this unfortunate “adipose tissue surrounding the soleus tendon” that I have been given.  And I am OK with it, really, it is the “abrupt, nontapering terminus” I have been dealt in life.

And based on that rant, I will now get back to my body images issues and working on those bit by bit every day.  Join the club.

But really?  The definition of Cankles standalone, out of the blue, in a Sunday morning e-mail.  Of all the words, ouch – that hurt.

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Don’t Be Intimidated

Posted by pjcloud9 on June 11, 2009

Don’t be intimidated by people you perceive as athletics, athletic, or “in shape”.  They are no different than you.  They have simply prioritized and/or made a commitment to their fitness endeavors.  And if they have been at it awhile, your perception of them may be that they are advanced or partaking in workouts that you could never do.  Think again.  You can do exactly the same thing if that is what you want.  Just do it your own way.  I am guessing you probably have before at some time in your life, if not in fitness than in your education or in music or some other passion of yours.

When it comes to being active, only a small percentage of people have been consistent their entire lives.  Based on what life dishes out, often times people move in and out of a routine.  School changes, work changes, family changes, habits change, environments and access change.  All of these things make life exciting, but they also challenge your ability to be consistent in many things, a big one being physical fitness.  All of us are typically struggling to find the time and/or motivation to be active.  I know I do!  For me, triathlon has been the answer the past few years.

However, I go back and forth about how detailed I should write about triathlon on this blog.  When you hear the word “triathlon”, it probably invokes a specific image for you.  And I am thinking it may have sort of a negative connotation, in that it sounds really hard, thus the reasons I don’t want to write too much about triathon are:

  • Triathlon (swim/bike/run) is a daunting or intimidating exercise for most people
  • The perception could be that I am bragging or think I am somehow better than others because I do triathlon
  • Because of these two previous points, readers may tune out and think “this is not the blog for me”

The reasons I DO want to write about triathlon here are:

  • Triathlon is the personal motivator for me, it is a big part of my life.  I want to help you find the same thing, anything – that activity that catches your attention and keeps you engaged.  When I am in training for triathlon, I get to eat what I want – which I love.  I also have to stay on my training regimen so I don’t look stupid huffing & puffing on the race course – embarrassing!
  • If I can do a triathlon, seriously anyone can.  In the end, it is mental over physical in a tri.  Yes, you have to train your body appropriately to the distance you are looking at, but your mind takes you over the finish line.  This applies to a lot of things in life!
  • I love the community of athletes that participate.  If you ever get a chance to be a spectator at a triathlon, it is exhilarating!  You have weekend warriors, newbies, and at many big races – professionals – all together on the same course on the same day having a shared experience.  I cannot tell you how many strangers, race participants and spectators, have given me words of encouragement during a race that literally kept me from stopping.  I think of these people that I do not know all the time when I am working out on my own.

So there you have it, a little glimpse into why I do triathlon and a little encouragement to find what works for you.  I in no way think I am better than anyone else or have some need to intimidate others with what I do.  For me, triathlon is what works right now.  And I do not kid myself to think it will work forever.  It motivates me and gives me a quality of life I love.  I hope that you can find the same thing, and I am committed to helping you in that quest!

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Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Posted by pjcloud9 on April 6, 2009

One issue that people have when facing the daunting task of losing weight and getting in shape is thinking that there is a quick fix, a miracle of some kind that they can pursue, rather than putting in the hard work. I am here to tell you – SORRY – that is simply not the case!

This news can be a tough pill to swallow when we are surrounded by media talking of bailouts and stimulus packages. Bottom line is that in order to effect you personal well-being, you have to sign up to do the hard work yourself. The good news is, it can be done. IT IS POSSIBLE!
For those of you who have not met me, have no idea what I really look like (better photo on the blog coming soon!), you are probably thinking who is this chick? She is probably some size 4 wearing, 5′ 10″, high-metabolism, runner who eats whatever she wants. Easy for her to say.
I have to let you know, that is not the case.
I am, in fact, a 5′ 8″, over 150 lbs. (OK, over 160 lbs.!), meaty, “athletic build” (HA!), tree trunk-thickness leg-toting, size 10-12 (depends) women who has to constantly weigh the questions: What did I do today to burn calories? What can I eat?
April is the month that I celebrate my weight loss success. I lost 100 lbs. in one year, meeting that goal in April 2006. I started out by simply power walking at least 3 days per week in 1 hour doses and watching what I ate. I limited myself to one Diet Coke and one 100 calorie sweet treat per day. I simply did what I could to address my heftiness & lack of fitness by coming up with my own “plan” after reading a ton of magazine and seeing a ton of weight loss ads and talk show topics on TV while I was on maternity leave with my daughter spring of 2005.
You know what you need to do, don’t you? You at least have a slight idea of how to start. So why not? Why not make today that day and start? It will not be easy. There will be bumps in the road. But would you rather face a few of those bumps them the ones facing you in the mirror today?
I dedicate this point of view to this amazing country we live in, the greatest country in the world – The United States of America. We are free. Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness are ours for the taking! Start to find your happiness today in how you feel and how you look. You will be amazed at what you can do if you put your mind to it. And please come back here, because I am dedicated to supporting you!

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A Slight Complaint for Ms. Jen Lancaster

Posted by pjcloud9 on February 8, 2009

(Editor’s note: This letter was originally composed last summer yet was never sent to the intended recipient in fear of being a pain in the ass. After meeting Ms. Lancaster at Blissdom ’09 this weekend, I feel compelled to share it. Let’s just say she signed my copy of “Such a Pretty Fat” with the following quip: “Pamela – I will not run for cake. XO, Jen Lancaster”)

August 24, 2008

Dear Ms. Lancaster-

I wanted to write you a quick note to let you know how much I am enjoying your latest memoir, “Such a Pretty Fat”. It is engaging, entertaining, and has completely captured my attention.

In fact, on my return flight today from a week working in Boston, I picked up the paperback and voraciously took it in, just as I did a cream puff (or two) from Mike’s Pastry in the North End in the days prior. From reading to sleeping, sleeping to reading, it was a delightful sequence of activity to pass the afternoon. (Could anyone get me an éclair, please?)

So, allow me to cut to the chase, here is the issue at hand. I had done quite well in controlling my appetite during a long stress-filled week of work in a city of unfamiliar cuisine. As I mentioned, I did have a pastry here and there, however I happily ate salads and seafood throughout the week as I dined on New England fare (READ: small, reasonable portions). Upon my return to the Midwest plus reading Chapter Seven of your latest book, I suddenly was overcome (like a crack addict) with an incredible urge to devour ribs slathered in barbeque sauce – sweet and sassy – meaty and more meaty. By the time my flight landed nearly two hours late in the Twin Cities, I was indexing all of the establishments that I could coerce my exhausted husband and son into stopping at on the way home, as I knew there were no ribs for me there. I even started to add meat items to the list, such as brisket and wings.

Why such the loss of self-control? Perhaps the stress got the best of me. The exhaustion, maybe. But, honestly my slight complaint is regarding the manner in which you juxtaposed romaine to ribs that put me over the edge. I am sorry, but I must blame you for my personal gluttony of the day. And the ribs, the brisket, the cornbread (with butter), the baked beans, the fries, and the pecan pie. Not to mention the romaine lettuce salad I ordered out of pure logic (and hardly touched) that simply made everything look so much more delicious.

We arrived at Famous Dave’s less than 15 minutes after getting loaded into our vehicle in airport parking. Due to my inability to pull myself together in these critical 15 minutes, I now have at least 60 minutes of cardio staring me in the face tomorrow morning. No thanks to you.


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dark cold wind ice

Posted by pjcloud9 on November 18, 2008

I think the problem with the 20 degree weather in November is that we just aren’t ready for it. One day it is 60, the next it is 20. And 20 feels VERY cold at this point. In February, we will be dreaming of 20 and we will likely wear shorts when it hits this high of a temp. But for now – COLD.

I am trying to figure out how to get motivated to run outside more this winter. There are currently four deterrents that I am coming up with: cold, wind, dark and ice or any combination of the four. Cold dark icy wind. Windy cold icy dark. Icy windy dark cold. You name it.

Dark. Easy to see this is an issue in many ways. You cannot see where you are going, what you might step on. And the obvious personal safety concerns. But it happens to be dark nearly 15 of the 24 hours available in a day.

Cold. Requires an investment in UA cold gear. Then, you put the stuff on, the mock neck, the gloves, the hat, the running tights, etc. and you sweat like no other.

Wind. An exclamation point to the cold.

Ice. I am all about avoiding injury. With this as a big part of my personal workout philosophy, ice is completely non-negotiable.

Now to determine a course of action. Some ideas:

Indoors. Only an indoor track for me. I loathe the treadmill, especially for running. I will do it if there is nothing else available, but it is torturous. Life Time in Bloomington, here I come.

Spinning. Enjoy the fun of indoor biking all winter long.

Core. It is supposed to be the “Winter of Core” (more posts on that later, going to “Butts & Guts” tonight), so get over the cardio addition and relax.

Dark cold wind ice. Thicken up that skin (oh wait, it is) and get your substantial fat layer outside to run.

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