Tuesday, July 14, 2020

EXERCISE ROUTINE DURING QUARANTINE

After months of sheltering in place due to Covid-19, a lot of restrictions have eased or been lifted. However, for some of us, the quarantine continues. As the quarantine drags on, I feel that my motivation to exercise is as elusive as a can of disinfectant spray! 

I'm sure some of you can relate to some of the bad habits I've slipped into during this pandemic. Overeating, binge-watching TV shows, spending too much time on social media, etc.

For most of my adult life, I have been a runner. At the age of 40, I became a marathoner! My main form of exercise has always been running. If for some reason, I couldn't run, I would walk.

Living in Georgia, I will admit that I have always had a hard time staying motivated to walk or run outdoors during the summer months. I simply despise the heat and humidity! But over the years, I have somehow managed to continue with my exercise during the summer, even if I had to get up extra early, and sometimes cut back on mileage a bit.

Now, I not only have the stress of the summer heat, but also the added aggravation of trying to maintain social distancing in an area where it's not that easy to do. Especially given the fact that most people here refuse to wear masks, and don't even consider moving over to distance themselves from other runners and walkers. 




In the past, anytime I would feel my motivation waning, I would look for a new goal to keep me going. I would sign up for a race of some sort. Now, due to Covid-19, that is not an option. So what do I do? How do I rekindle the motivation to eat healthier, lose weight, and exercise when I just want to watch Netflix and eat queso dip??

Here are a few things that I think might help get me back on track-

REVISITING MY "WHY"

I think I've lost sight of the "why" behind my goals. Maybe I need to spend some time reflecting on what I hope to gain by losing weight and becoming more fit. 

SCHEDULE AND ROUTINE

I think that our bodies, as well as our brains, function better when we follow a schedule. In thinking back to my days of regular running, I realize that routinely following a plan was crucial. I always had a training schedule, and I would check it before going to bed each night. I would regularly get out of bed early in the morning before the heat and humidity kicked in and head out for my scheduled run or walk. No sitting at the computer drinking multiple cups of coffee while talking myself into putting off the exercise until tomorrow!

I believe it is essential for me to establish and try to maintain a plan once again. I also think it's necessary to allow for some changes to that plan when necessary.

Tonight I'm going to work on creating a workout schedule as well as a new diet plan. In my next post, I will share my ideas, along with my "why."

Y'all stay safe out there!


Thursday, June 18, 2020

PANDEMIC POUNDS-GETTING BACK ON TRACK

I think we can all agree that life in quarantine has disrupted our lives, creating the perfect setup for packing on excess pounds. 

"Quarantine 15" is a popular term for the weight gain many of us have experienced as a result of the Covid-19 quarantine. 

A certain amount of weight gain after many weeks of stress, self-isolation, and being ever adjacent to the refrigerator and pantry is undoubtedly understandable.  

Although I haven't gained 15 pounds (yet!), the numbers on my scale have definitely moved upward. Maybe instead of "Quarantine 15," I will refer to my excess poundage as "Pandemic Pounds!"



In my case, it doesn't matter what I call it, or how many pounds I have put on, it's time to prioritize my health and fitness. It's time for me to pull up my big girl panties (while I can still fit into them!), stop whining about things I can't control, and do something positive for myself! 

I have veered way off the path of following a healthy lifestyle, and it shows. My waist has expanded, my energy level has diminished, and I just generally feel horrible most of the time. 

TIME TO GET BACK ON TRACK

I have now made the decision to get back on track with my health, and the first step is to work on losing this excess weight. But how? 

Recently a friend posted a picture of herself on Facebook following a 25-pound weight loss. She looked amazing! Not that she ever looked fat. This friend is my age, runs, bikes, and swims, and still has steadily gained weight over the past 10 years. Like myself, she has tried different diets without much success. Until now. 

I was very intrigued. I messaged my friend with some questions about her weight loss, and she said she had followed a 5:2 diet plan.

WHAT IS THE 5:2 DIET?

The 5:2 Diet is an intermittent eating pattern that involves eating normally five days of the week while restricting calories to 500-600 calories the other two days.

After doing some research, I decided that this diet might be a good option for Ray and me to try.

The 500 calorie days (600 for Ray) are referred to as fasting days, although fasting in my younger years usually meant, only drinking water and coffee with no food. This seems a lot healthier!

On our non-fasting days, I would like to stick primarily to a combination Dash Diet/Mediterranean Diet. I have found many meal plans and recipes online for 500-600 calorie fasting days. I hope to share some helpful info as I learn more and adjust to this way of living.

Today is our first official 500 calorie day. I will let you know how it goes!

Have YOU gained weight during the quarantine? How are you dealing with it? Please share!


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

STRESSED



If someone had told me last year at this time that our country, along with the rest of the world, would soon be facing a significant health challenge like the COVID-19 disease pandemic, I would have found it almost unimaginable. And yet here we are. 

The threats to our health and economy caused by COVID-19 are unprecedented. I think I can safely say that most of us have experienced not only extreme anxiety, but feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and confusion over the past few weeks. I know that my emotions have been all over the place.

As I struggle to know what to do to continue to keep my family and me safe with Covid-19 still wreaking havoc.......I know that I have to take out some time to try to de-stress.

So, today I went for a run. The first one in quite a while. It was not a long run, and it was definitely not a fast run. But it made me feel a little less stressed. It cleared my head a bit and made me smile! And during this time when I often feel like I am somehow stuck smack-dab in the middle of a Twilight Zone Marathon .....that's HUGE!



   DE-STRESSING TO REDUCE ANXIETY

While running is great, I thought I would share some other helpful stress-reducing techniques that I am trying to apply to my daily life.

  1. Take a time-out. ...Walk away from social media, and the news for a while.
  2. Eat well-balanced meals.
  3. Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  4. Get enough sleep.
  5. Practice deep breathing.
  6. Exercise daily.
  7. Be mindful.
  8. Do my best.
                                                                                                                                                      


Monday, May 11, 2020

May 11, 2020


Yesterday was Mother's Day, and today is my beautiful Mom's Birthday. Although she has been celebrating her birthday's in heaven for many years now, I still miss her terribly. I guess it doesn't matter how old we are or how long they've been gone, we never stop missing our Mom's, and wishing we could spend time with them, especially on these special occasions.

My Mom didn't have an easy life. She was one of 11 children. Mom told me stories when I was a kid of how poor they were growing up, but as a child who had never lived on a farm in rural Georgia, it didn't really sink in at the time, just how hard her life was. After marrying my Dad, life wasn't much easier for a long time. Mom worked in a cotton mill for many, many years. I can remember her coming home from standing on her feet all day, drenched in sweat, and so tired she could barely move, and yet she managed to spend time with me and get dinner on the table. 

I was the youngest of 4 kids. My brother David was 12, my brother Jimmy was 14, and my sister Zebbie was 16 when I was born. No one ever said, but I'm thinking perhaps I was an "oops" child! My siblings were born in Lincolnton Georgia, and they had a pretty rough life there for many years. As a child, I had heard that they lived without indoor plumbing, which meant doing their business in an outhouse, and I could not BELIEVE anyone could live that way! But when I learned that they also had dirt floors, picked cotton, and had to work in the garden in the Georgia heat, I thought they were surely joking! I was very thankful that I didn't come along until the family had moved to Atlanta where although we were still considered poor, we at least had indoor plumbing! Funny, but when a dear cousin who also grew up in Atlanta asked me several years back if I was aware as a kid that we were poor, I had to admit that I absolutely did not have an inkling. 

When I was 5 years old, my 17-year-old brother, David, was killed in a car accident. Even as a small child, I could tell my Mom was just overcome with a sense of intense sadness. That sadness never really went away. And then, when I was 12, my Dad died from Leukemia, and although my Mom tried to shield me from her pain, it was very apparent that she was once again lost in despair. Of course, back then, most people didn't talk about the pain of loss, and there were no support groups or therapists to talk to. You just kept it all inside. Thinking back, it makes me so sad to think my Mom kept so much pain and sadness bottled up.

I really didn't mean for this to be a sad post, but it seems to have turned out that way. I have never really talked much about my Dad or my brother, even as an adult, and I'm sure it stems from always being afraid to talk about them when I was younger, for fear of upsetting my Mom. I don't blame her, that's just how many families dealt with death back then.

So thanks for the virtual shoulder. It feels good to get some of this out, even if it is just in a blog post.

I promise that my next post will be a bit more upbeat, and hopefully, even running related!

Take care-Stay safe.

Pam




Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Cinco de Mayo Celebrating-Quarantine Style

Hey, Y'all! Today is Cinco de Mayo!

Frida's BQ (Before Quarantine) on my Birthday.

Since Mexican food is my passion, this is a day that I usually celebrate by going to my favorite Mexican restaurant with my family. However, the Covid-19 quarantine is still in effect here in the Robbins home, so sadly, this year we won't be going out for dinner.

The statewide shelter in place order expired here in Georgia on May 1st, but a new order was signed which requires medically fragile and elderly Georgians to continue to shelter in place through June 12th. And yep, I guess that means me! Since I am not only "old as dirt" as my sweet Mama used to say, I am also dealing with a lot of health issues related to breast cancer, so I definitely am on the list of people who should still be hunkering down at home! 

Of course, I don't really need an order from the Governor to keep me in place right now, just good old common sense will do it. I don't think that having my hair or nails done, going to the mall, or even eating out at my favorite Mexican restaurant is worth the risk.

Although I would love to be at Frida's, eating some of their amazing queso and chips, and perhaps some Poblano peppers stuffed with Chihuahua cheese, lightly battered and fried and then topped with a delicious ranchero sauce, (yeah, I may have devoured these a few times!) we will just make do with the food I have prepared for the occasion!



Although as I stated, even without the shelter in place order, I wouldn't be frequenting nail salons, hair salons, restaurants, or any of the other establishments that have opened here recently just yet, I would not presume to judge other people who have a differing opinion (as long as they take precautions to keep everyone safe.)

So what are your feelings on the matter? Has your state opened back up? Are you resuming normal activities? 

Y'all stay safe out there! Or, in there.....whatever the case may be! And Happy Cinco de Mayo!




Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020 No Joke-Celebrate National Walking Day

Today is April 1, 2020. It is also April Fool's Day. Under normal circumstances, this would be a day to celebrate foolishness. A day filled with practical jokes and pranks. But this year, I think we can all agree that nothing is normal in our world right now, and most of us aren't really in the mood to celebrate this particular holiday.

But did you know that today is also National Walking Day? National Walking Day is sponsored by the American Heart Association each year on the first Wednesday of April. This annual event is a call-to-action to increase physical activity by going for a walk. This is simply a day to celebrate the easiest way to become the healthiest version of ourselves.





With the COVID-19 quarantine going on right now, I think we all need to get out in the fresh air as much as possible.

Some Health Benefits of Walking



  • reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
  • increased cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness
  • helps reduce or manage conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure,) high cholesterol, and diabetes
  • stronger bones
  • improved balance
  • increases muscle strength and endurance
  • helps reduce body fat
  • reduces stress



So, have YOU gone for a walk today? I am heading out to celebrate right now!


Monday, February 17, 2020

Imperfectly Pam Runs

Welcome to my new blog!

I should probably go ahead and apologize in advance for this very rambling, first post. I've always had a difficult time expressing myself in writing. My grammar is far from perfect. My thoughts are all over the place. I've always been one for second-guessing whether I'm even making any sense at all. Heck, I have been known to take an hour (or more!) to write a silly Facebook post! And to make matters worse, these days, I have what is known as "chemo brain," which makes me feel like my brain is covered in a dense fog most of the time. So, yeah....it makes perfect sense that I would start a new blog?? Right??

BREAST CANCER JOURNEY

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2016 and spent most of 2017 in treatment. I started on chemo almost immediately after my diagnosis. My surgeon wanted to shrink the mass as much as possible before he performed a mastectomy.


WEEK TWO OF CHEMO
GETTING READY FOR SURGERY

After healing from surgery, I had 33 radiation treatments. 


RADIATION BURNS

RECOVERY

The road to recovery after breast cancer can be full of twists, turns, and unexpected challenges.

When I first embarked on my personal journey, I thought that recovery meant healing from surgery, getting over the fatigue from chemo, and having the burns heal from radiation. I thought healing would happen quickly. 

Although I am incredibly thankful to be alive today, I am still struggling to find my "new normal" after having my world turned upside down by that diagnosis.

I am still dealing with some ugly after-effects from radiation and chemo, as well as some unpleasant side effects from the medication I am on to help prevent a recurrence. 

CH-CH-Ch-CHANGES

Did I mention that I'm also dealing with accepting some of the inevitable changes that occur as we get older? Some of those changes are just minor annoyances, but some of them just plain suck! I always thought that wrinkles would be the worst part of aging! Ha-Ha!! If only that were true!

RUNNING

I have been a runner for most of my adult life. I have run many races from 5k's to marathons over the years. For a long time now, I have had some pretty significant arthritis in my left knee and lower back, and yet I've always managed to run. Not very fast, and sometimes with a substantial amount of pain, but I did it!  

Some of the lingering side effects of the very treatments that saved my life are now making it even more difficult to run, so when I can't run-I walk.

I know that walking is an excellent form of exercise, but I'm not ready to totally give up on running just yet. It may sound crazy, but to me, giving up on running would be like giving up on life! Okay, yeah....maybe runners really are mad!

WEIGHT

One of the things I'm trying to do to help with running is to reach my optimal weight. That one is tough! I have struggled with my weight over the years. Even when training for marathons, I often struggled with a few extra pounds. Since my cancer diagnosis, though, it has been especially tough to lose weight. Yeah, I'm one of those lucky folks who actually gained weight while receiving chemo!

Getting these excess pounds off would be a big help with running, but more importantly, it could potentially help me with so much more. Since my breast cancer was estrogen positive, and studies have shown that excess weight is a significant factor in creating estrogen in our bodies, losing weight could actually help prevent a recurrence. You would think THAT would be the only motivation needed for weight loss, huh?? And yet I still struggle.

IMPERFECTION

I have spent a lot of time over the years beating myself up over not being able to do things perfectly. I felt like such a failure in so many areas of my life. I now have reached an age, though, where I can more readily accept and be at peace with my imperfections. 

So, as I try to lose weight, eat healthier, run more, reduce stress, and continue healing-I will be a bit more forgiving of myself on those days that I slip and make unhealthy choices. And I will have those days. However, I think the key to optimal mental and physical health is progress-not perfection.

If you have read this far...THANK YOU! I promise to try to make my next post a bit less rambling! 

In the future, I hope to share some healthy recipes, diet, healthy living, and exercise info and tips that might be helpful to some of Y'all!



EXERCISE ROUTINE DURING QUARANTINE

After months of sheltering in place due to Covid-19, a lot of restrictions have eased or been lifted. However, for some of us, the quarantin...