After six months of a fairly dedicated try at a vegan diet, Vinny Sal and I have relented to our doctor’s orders to add some animal protein back into our diet because of prevailing health conditions. We learned a great deal about the vegan diet and the benefits of eating more organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. We learned not only the benefits of eating a clean, ‘earthly’, sans animal products, but there are some really good, and in some cases, better tasting vegan products.
While we are adding back in some animal protein in the way of clean poultry and fish, we are not going hog wild on beef or pork – at least I’m not – Vinny Sal may ingest more beef/pork than me. As for me, I have been 100% dairy free. The results have been amazing with my autoimmune condition and skin. I do miss ice cream, which I have exchanged for sorbet or vegetable/fruit ice pops. I do miss cheese but I feel so much better physically that I have learned to live without it. My dairy-free diet has also helped eliminate additional gluten in my diet too (even though I had already cut out a significant amount due to eliminating processed food). I have Hashimoto’s disease and not Celiac disease, and in my case, I have a high sensitivity to both dairy and gluten. So this side effect of the #Vegan2016 experiment did make my doctor and me happy.
#Vegan2016 All is not lost. We are eating healthier.
Exercise, exercise, exercise!
Neither of us lost a tremendous amount of weight, which we were both really hoping would be the outcome of #Vegan2016. Yet we did realize that both of us needed to exercise every day. Vinny Sal walks at lunch time every day at one of the many local park trails.
My new doctor, who lacks any bedside manner asked me what I did for exercise and how often. “Well, I am at a computer all day so except for my fingers tapping away at a keyboard the rest of my body has limited exercise outside of laundry, housecleaning, and occasionally walking the dogs.”
“That’s not enough,” he replied gruffly.
“Okay,” I said, “What kind of exercise would you recommend I do?” (My question was sincere.)
“I don’t recommend you do any running,” he sneered, “Running for you would be too much strain on your knees,”
(Okay, asshole, I thought.) “Marathons are not my thing at least not yet.” I said blandly.
“Find something you like doing, whether it’s bicycling, swimming, whatever it is you must do it every day.”
Where’s my Fitbit?
I do enjoy walking. I dusted off the Fitbit and started tracking my steps. The results were sad. Not only were the results sad, I forgot my Fitbit was clipped to my bra and it went through both the washing machine and the dryer. Although I felt like a loser, I was going to persevere this time in establishing a daily exercise routine of some sort, but WHAT?
Brainstorming while daydreaming
I knew I could establish a daily habit just like my daily journal, but something (or someone) always seemed to get in the way. During my brainstorming session, I confessed I allowed those interruptions because I just didn’t feel like exercising or taking the time, etc.
Then I thought, I don’t want to buy another gym membership because I don’t want to go to a gym every day. Mornings are for personal writing and I am not giving that up. At night, I don’t want to go anywhere, especially when Michigan turns into a frozen tundra. And in hindsight, every time I think I had found the right gym or exercise class, I pay the money, show up a few times, and realize it’s too inconvenient. Gym membership or exercise classes are a waste of money – at least for me.
Convenience would have to be key in developing a habit of exercising every day.
Working out with Jane
I had invested in Jane Fonda’s workout tapes from the 1980’s. I did enjoy doing all those exercise tapes with Jane alluringly counting 1, 2, 3….
But I have to admit while working out at home was convenient, I am fat and I didn’t enjoy working out like I envisioned. I’m not as flexible as I used to be in the 1980’s. No. Jane will have to wait for me until I find that right exercise in order to feel the burn again.
I love being outside. When I was younger, I LOVED playing softball. I ran track in high school and won my varsity letter in my freshman year; but I am not young anymore. Yet if I was to establish an exercise routine I love doing every day, it would have to be outside.
Okay, so I am back to walking. How can I figure out how to do this walking exercise work for me since going to a gym and working out in front of the television hasn’t made me enjoy exercising again.
As I was sitting on my fat ass at my computer in my office one day staring out the window, I watched Penny and Barkley making their daily perimeter walk in the backyard.
Walking the guilt-free way
I like walking the dogs but I have to admit it is a chore. Harnessing them up, making sure I have an unlimited number of poop bags, and then we are off to the ‘start and stop’ races.
They are just like toddlers.
“You took him for a walk before me!”
“Hey, why does she get to go for a walk first?”
Each is a good walker in their own right, but the guilt is tremendous if I don’t walk both of them at the same time. Barkley has to write his story on every twig, bush, or leaf. Penny is pointing at every real or imaginary chipmunk or rabbit begging for the chase. They each want to go their own way and the end result is being pulled apart at the shoulders or having one of my legs wrapped up on dog leashes.
My gym was in my own backyard!
I didn’t need to buy a gym membership. I didn’t need to harness the dogs. I could do the perimeter walk with Barkley and Penny! They could run, play ball, pizzle and poop to their hearts content without the benefit of dragging mom one way or the other.
I bought another Fitbit clip. This one is burgundy that glows in pink rather than my last one which was black with white LED. I am NOT a burgundy/pink kind of gal. In fact, I was bummed that this model didn’t come in blue, my favorite color. Other Fitbit models come in blue, but I don’t like wearing anything on my wrist.
My backyard is fairly big with a privacy fence. The pups do their perimeter walk one time around clockwise and the one time counter-clockwise. I measured the number of steps of one lap around the perimeter of the backyard with both of them giving me quizzical looks.
Approximately 200 steps. That means 50 laps for 10,000 steps.
Would it get boring? I wondered.
The Perimeter Walk
Day one, after dinner, I looked to see how many steps I had for the day. My minimum start goal was to have at least 5,000 steps a day. I was way below the minimum so in order to go over 5,000 steps, I would need to walk 14 laps.
The pups loved it! “Mom is outside playing with us!”
As I walked, I would throw Barkley his beloved blue ball while Penny chased him. It was like being in a dog playground.
I walked 7 laps counterclockwise and then 7 laps counter-clockwise. I kept count of the laps on my iPhone. The weather was beautiful.
One week later
Dogs never cease to amaze me. They know what time it is when any activity happens to include them. Promptly at 7 p.m., they are looking at me. Penny leads me to my walking shoes. Barkley is at the door with his blue ball firmly clenched in his mouth. It’s time for the perimeter walk.
Two weeks later
It hasn’t gotten boring yet. Michigan has been in a bit of drought so every day has been sunny, muggy, and hot. I have enjoyed walking the perimeter because I can empty my mind of the day. Oddly, I don’t wear earbuds to listen to music or podcasts. (Whether I am writing or driving, I need silence. No radio or television.)
The perimeter walk starts at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Now that football season has started, Saturday and Sunday perimeter walks will have to be at 10 a.m. I don’t feel guilty anymore about walking the pups. They seem to really enjoy play time outside and they really enjoy my walking the perimeter with them.
There have been a few perimeter walk modifications and goals. I downloaded on my iPhone the app, “Tally Counter.” https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tally-counter/id288732372?mt=8. Each time I pass my starting point, I easily click the counter so I can keep track of my laps. Each day I increase my laps by 2 starting with a minimum of 14 laps.
Weather notwithstanding, I have investigated, proper weather gear because I do not want the weather to impede my progress with establishing the perimeter walk as a daily routine. Thank you, www.REI.com for having the proper weather gear in my size.
You had to know I would have to have a hashtag.
I’ll show that doctor. Competitive? Just a little. I will be working out with Jane in no time. Who knows, maybe a 3K, 5K, or marathon may be in my future.
#FitbitTheOwl will be posting progess reports.
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