The Feel Good Factor of Exercise

I’m back in the pool finally. It took a few days of 100plus temps to convince me it was hot enough to go for a swim. Right now I alternate between 40-50 minutes of non-stop swimming, or splitting my time–20 minutes on the stationary bike and 20 minutes of swimming.  Now that I’m swimming more, I’ve cut out my weights workout. Swimming for me is mostly an upper body workout.

But what I’ve been musing about for quite a while is that “feel good factor.” After any kind of exercise, I feel good. I feel stronger, younger, not so lame. And I always wonder, is is truly a physical feeling, or is it more of an emotional response to having worked out? Or do I feel emotionally well because I actually DO feel physically more fit? Do you know what I mean?

And I realized as I wrote this that the runners are saying “Doh.” They’ve known about the endorphin thing forever. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that feeling! I don’t think I workout hard enough to muster any endorphins.

But I really do like feeling that good after exercise, even if it is for a short period of time. Its a motivating factor the next time I face the drive to the gym.

Conversely, I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t say that there are days when I feel really bad (every joint in my body hurts–all I can chock it up to is barometric changes.) And on those days, it is just about impossible to make myself do any exercise at all. Fortunately, those days are the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, just wanted to encourage some of you to keep on trying with the exercise. If its not enjoyable, or you feel really bad afterwards, change it up. Lighter weights, increased reps, a different machine… it took a long time for this “natural non-exerciser” to make exercise a regular and enjoyable part of her life.

Up Close in the Garden

We finally had a break in the weather, and this morning it was downright cool! Felt lovely. As I inspected the garden, I was inspired to grab my camera and try out the close up lens.

Lantana love (exactly how many pictures can one person take of Lantana?)


A different bloom on the same plant:


And a bloom from a different lantana:


Petunia love. I love this petunia so much. It doesn’t photograph as beautiful as it is in person. The blossoms are extra large and have a heavier look than most petunias. And then of course, there’s the whole “its apple blossom colored” thing going on.



I love that they’ve been able to add yellow to the petunias. We had a few drops of rain this morning!




Moss rose. One of the few blooms on the plant. The Queen thinks they are a delicacy.





Squash blossom! These are soooo huge and sooo vibrant. I guess the little ants like them too.


The Japanese lantern plant.


And SQUEEEE!!!! I have a rose bush, and it actually bloomed!!



AIM: Changing the Plan?


This month we are musing over whether or not change is necessary in maintenance, and how or if we have changed our own maintenance plan over time. There are a couple of other changes happening at AIM, but I’ll get to them at the end of this post.

Is change necessary? IMO, if your maintenance lasts long enough, your body’s needs will change over time. You know, aging and all that jazz…

Has my own maintenance plan changed over time? Do birds have wings? Do fish like water? You better believe my maintenance has changed over time! Sometimes it has changed out of necessity (I don’t need to eat as much. You know, aging and all that jazz…) Sometimes it has changed for the better (I eat more whole foods now than before.) Sometimes it has changed for taste, or convenience, or just for fun.

Here are just a few examples. I used to be the Queen of Cool Whip Lite. I never ate fruit without Cool Whip Lite. I regularly mixed it into my cottage cheese fro a delicious tasty snack (or breakfast or lunch.) EVERYTHING could be improved with a little Cool Whip Lite.When I switched to eating more whole foods I stopped buying Cool Whip Lite (is there any real food in Cool Whip Lite?) For a while, while I was learning about eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods from my diet, I increased the amount of healthy fats that I ate. That resulted in a weight gain for me. There’s nothing wrong with healthy fats in the diet. But when you are a volume eater, it doesn’t work so well. For a long while I subscribed to the “you shouldn’t drink your calories.” But I found that a protein smoothie was a simple and satisfying way to get lunch in. With low calories and at least 20 grams of protein per serving, a smoothie will keep me satisfied for several hours. I still drink protein smoothies for lunch most days. Oh, and speaking of processed foods (we were speaking of them, weren’t we?) most days I eat at least one Quest bar. For me, they satisfy my sweet tooth without any sugar, and they provide 20 grams of protein, thus keeping me satiated. I’m not recommending this to anyone in particular. Just keeping it real and telling you what is working for me right now.

My exercise has changed over time as well. That is partly due to my body’s limitations (bad knee and back) and also just for the sake of staying interested in exercise. As much as I like things to stay the same, its fun to try something new once in a while (and according to the experts, its good for you too.)

Is there anything that has not changed? If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that in general the calorie count has not changed. For my particular form of obesity, it seems I just need to limit the amount of food I take in. Choosing the RIGHT foods makes maintenance more enjoyable (and successful.)

Our AIM group is going to changed things up too. Our good buddy Shelley is leaving our group (but she won’t be far away–over there at My Journey to Fit every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!) And we are going to change our AIM posting intervals to quarterly posts. We’ve covered a lot of maintenance ground in the last year or so. This will give us time to identify new and interesting topics related to long term weight loss maintenance, and bring some interesting conversation to you about that.

Be sure to visit my AIM friends to see what’s changing in their world.

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Lori @ Finding Radiance

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

Garden Vignettes

I just love these little flower vignettes when I am inspecting the garden. So many of them include surprises–that just increases the joy! The nasturtium are volunteers from last year.


I planted the pale yellow petunia and the blue lobelia, but the deep magenta petunia was a volunteer hybrid too.


More petunia volunteers next to the salvia.


What’s wrong with this picture? That little volunteer pansy that survived, despite the heat and the crowded planting, and Noah’s pansy munching. Delightful!


All the colors of nature go so well together!


A new plant–gallardia. I like the solid yellow color of this one. Reminds me of cone flowers–maybe I’ll have better luck with them. You can see I got a few ground covers there. I’ve got a couple of places that aren’t so good for the flowers–I’m hoping the ground covers will take off.


The volunteer morning glory. It is absolutely this brilliant in real life. Next to a white petunia that I actually planted, and a volunteer marigold.


Here is a view of my green beans and one of the tomato plants. I am getting just enough vegetables to enjoy something for dinner almost every night.


The honeysuckle is holding its own against the humongous cherry tomato plant!


And the morning glory that I planted gives me a few pretty blooms every morning. This vine REALLY likes full sun. Next year it needs to go someplace else.


And that’s what’s happening in the garden this week!


The One Thing No Country Home Should Ever Be Without

Can anyone guess?

Hydrogen peroxide!

Does everyone know why?


Probably everyone knows this, but I still hear the occasional person mention tomato juice as a skunk odor removal. All tomato juice does is make such a mess that you might temporarily forget that your dog stinks.

And everyone knows that skunks only come out at night, right? So that is most likely when your dog will get sprayed by a skunk.

And who really wants to go out in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to look for hydrogen peroxide?

One of the first time one of my dogs got skunked was shortly after I moved here. I didn’t even have a fence. I had come home from a night shift, and it happened. I had to leave my dog outside, yelling at him “YOU STAY THERE” while I drove off in search of H2O2.

About 4:30 this morning, Bess let out an alarm bark. She considers herself the early warning system for Noah. Because sometimes he sleeps very soundly. Anyway, the next thing I knew, Noah barked, followed by that horrible rotting flesh smell….

I actually managed to kind of sleep until 6am, and then the search was on for hydrogen peroxide. Under the kitchen sink? Nope. How about the bathroom cabinet? Nope, but I did straighten up under there. Maybe. Just maybe there would be some out in the laundry dungeon. BINGO!!!! I was so glad to see that ancient bottle of H2O2.

Here’s the formula, in case you haven’t heard of it: 1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide (2 cups,) 2 Tbsp baking soda, and 1 Tbsp dish detergent (like Dawn.) Mix well, and wash the skunky parts of your dog with this. Try to let it sit on your dog for a few minutes, and then rinse very well. Don’t put any leftover solution in a closed container and save it. Evidently it will explode.

Anyway, we are now all clean and relatively smell-less. It was actually very fortunate that I had decided to give Noah a bath yesterday. It was easy to identify where he stunk and just wash those parts.

Have a sweet smelling weekend everyone!

The Relentlessness of Food

Lately I’ve grown a little weary of the endless counting/journaling/calculating/decision-making nature of the way I choose to eat and control my daily meals. Food–its just relentless! Its always there. You can’t live without it.

Even when you decided almost 10 years ago that a certain food item is not healthy and you don’t need to have three a week and in fact you very very seldom ever eat one (hamburgers,) ten years later they’re still there, and you find yourself still wanting one too often. Even the “good stuff”–whole, healthy non-processed foods–if there is too much in the house at one time, its easy to eat too much of that stuff too.

I know its a temporary feeling. I’m not on any type of slippery slope. I just wanted to put that out there–its relentless. It never ends. Its wearying.