Week Twenty Six!

It has been 26 weeks since I started my fitness plan.    It was exactly six months yesterday.    I am halfway to a full year of working to get and stay as fit and as healthy as possible.  With all of the benefits I have discovered and all of the encouragement that I have received, I have no intention whatsoever of slacking off. I have no doubt that I will be celebrating a full year of fitness  six months from now. ๐Ÿ˜Š

This morning, Molly and I started our day with  a 3 km walk.  We began going on daily walks on July 1st – two and a half months ago.

Molly’s 1st Official Walk

Molly was a big, rambunctious puppy,  so I was concerned about what would happen if I failed to control her.   I decided THAT would never happen.  In my infinite wisdom, I decided to take the easy way out.   As we set out on our first official walk, Molly was securely strapped into her harness and I had a death grip on her leash.

Needless to say, that did not go well for either of us.   Molly did everything in her power to make our walks a daily battle.   I tried a clicker, I tried treats to reward (and occasionally bribe) her.  I finally resorted to a special training harness.  All had limited success.  Finally a few days ago, I was watching a video of a dog trainer working with people who had dogs with particular issues.  One woman came out with a little dog that was always straining at her leash and trying to attack other dogs.  The dog trainer looked at the woman and told her to stop engaging her dog in a game of Tug of War.   The woman  looked so much like me.   She had the leash wrapped around her arm six times  AND had a death grip on it to boot.  I was embarrassed for her – and for me!  The next day I loosened my grip on Molly’s leash and she was WAY better.  This morning, I extended her leash about three feet (it has different metal rings that I can clip on to).   That made ALL the difference.     Molly and I walked along at a comfortable pace without a single incident.

As we were trucking along, it occurred to me how often we try to take the ‘easy’ way when dealing with challenging situations.  I don’t know if everyone does, but I am sure it is pretty common for people in my age group (baby boomers).   We watched our parents work SO hard that it just didn’t seem right.  We decided we would have easier ‘better’  lives ( and that our children and grandchildren should be equally blessed).   Except life does not  work that way.  We are challenged in order to grow stronger and healthier –  mentally, emotionally, and physically.   Taking the easy way out just doesn’t cut it.  (Nor does trying to pave the path for our children and grandchildren,  but that is a whole other chapter in my book on questionable infinite wisdom. ๐Ÿ™„)

The easy way, is particularly counterproductive when it comes to getting or keeping fit and healthy, especially as we age.   Collagen which is vitally important to every part of our bodies begins to decline in our thirties. (Unless we are born with a genetic collagen disorder – then it begins before we are born ๐Ÿ˜ง) By the time we hit our sixties – and looking to retire and ‘take it easy’, it is a serious issue for many of us. At our age, even those who are healthy and strong can lose collagen in a matter of weeks if we do not keep active and maintain a healthy diet.

I found this article online and it explains in a better way than I could, what collagen is, what it does, and ways we can maintain and improve our levels of it even as we age. It does not mention how important physical activity is to maintaining and increasing our levels of collagen, but that is definitely an important part of the equation!

https://vibrancemedspa.com/what-happens-to-collagen-as-we-age/#:~:text=Your%20body%20begins%20to%20lose,habits%2C%20and%20poor%20diet%20choices.&text=While%20it’s%20possible%20to%20accelerate,possible%20to%20slow%20it%20down.

The great news is, we absolutely can maintain and improve our levels of collagen as we age, but there is no easy way to do this. We have to do the work and maintain a proper diet. The ‘work’ does not have to be unpleasant – walk, run, dance, swim, lift, hop, skip, and or jump. Find and do what works best for you. And the diet does not have to be bland or unpalatable. It has to be nutritious, although there are specific foods that are better at supporting collagen levels.

I walk less than one hour every morning, I do one thirty to forty five minute You Tube Zumba class when I get home. Other than that I do my housework and cooking, spend time in our garden, brush Molly and clean up after her. That is pretty much it. And I have never felt better and stronger. It is amazing. I am so glad that I am not still trying to take the easy way out, sitting around and hoping I feel better tomorrow so I am up to doing something. I know I would never have felt better going that route.

That is it for today. It is beautiful out and I am ready to get out there to enjoy this weather while it lasts. Take care and have a great day! ๐Ÿ’ž๐ŸŒž

Ps.. the new header image on the website version of my blog is a modified version of a picture Prim sent me last night. ๐Ÿ’ž

Would You Buy This?

Since I started working on my health and fitness in February,ย  I have searched You Tube for fitness videos, Amazon for workout clothes, and Googled low calorie healthy meals, nutritional facts,ย  and the like.ย  Naturally, I have been bombarded with advertisements for related products – most often diet pills.

This one has became a regular!

I do not take diet pills.ย  In fact, I don’t take ANY pills that I can avoid,ย  and most of the one’s that I cannot avoid disagree with me one way or another.ย ย 

My ‘stash’ and the Claritin doesn’t agree with me. ๐Ÿ™„ I have been taking prescription Siv-Rabeprazole (for excess stomachs acid) and I am occasionally prescribed Prednisone and/or antibiotics for my lungs. None of the prescription drugs agree with me. ๐Ÿ˜ข

I find the claims made by this company (Keto Max Science) to beย  particularly questionable.ย  How does anyone lose 79 pounds in three weeks and not have loose skin hanging off their body?ย  Do these pills automatically suck up excess skin?ย  Do these pills build muscle? Do these pills make one feel better – physically, mentally, and emotionally?ย  Do these pills lower one’s blood pressure or strengthen one’s heart?ย Do these pills lower cholesterol or blood sugar?ย ย  Do these pills improve one’s lung function?ย  Do these, or any diet pills actually make, or help, anyone lose weight?

It would seem unrealistic to think there is a pill out there that provides any of the benefits of physical activity and a reasonable, nutritious diet. The market is flooded with diet pills so they must sell. But do they work?

Just wondering. Take care and have a great rest of your day!

Molly for the Win!

I am so excited today!ย  Molly and I went for a 2.5 km walk this morning and she crushed it! She walked all the way to the park (the long way) and just strutted along like a champ.ย  She even got a thumbs up from the ex dog sitter enroute.

Then…ย  we got to the park and one of her favourite crew members was working beside the path and a family was walking towards us.ย ย  I led Molly off the path to walk along the tree line and she just trotted along beside me.ย  The family smiled at her and the maintenance woman said she was doing GREAT. ย  It was so fantastic!

We did it!ย  Molly and I.ย ย ย  I am just so proud.ย ย  I did invest some money in harnesses – and finally a training harness, a clicker, and LOTS of treats.ย ย  And I have gotten tips from Dan, and my sister Lorraine, and the ex dog sitter, and the lady I met at the dumpster yesterday who watches Caesar Millan You Tube videos, and Donna with Myles from Mexico.ย ย  And I have gotten a lot of encouragement from too many people to mention. And it was all appreciated! But, it was Molly and I who put in the work and it all came together today.ย ย  I am not about to slack off on my vigilance or claim to have totally ‘tamed the beast’ but today was a win!

Molly, celebrating with a well deserved nap.๐Ÿ’ž

Getting to this point with Molly has not beenย  the easiest thing I have ever done and nobody would ever mistake me for a professional BIG dog trainer.ย  (Or a small one for that matter).ย ย  Molly has lived up to the Pyrenees reputation.ย  She is STUBBORN, independent, powerful, intimidating, loud, relentless, and can be more than a bit obnoxious. At (almost) six months,ย  she is still very much a puppy.ย  She has landed me on the ground twice on our walks. She has jumped up on me, scratched me, and scraped me with her razor sharp baby teeth. I have pulled some UGLY litter out of her mouth (a very flat, dehydrated, roadkill squirrel yesterday ๐Ÿคข). She has lunged at other people and barked at other dogs. And.. she leaks a little when Dan comes home or Genie stops by for a visit. Easy does not describe her.

BUT… Molly is so intelligent and affectionate and gorgeous and beyond entertaining. She challenges me and she inspires me. She keeps me on track for getting fit and staying fit which is huge for me right now. I just want do much to be worthy of this amazing dog. She has so much potential in the right hands.

Way to go, Molly! ๐Ÿ’ž

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day! ๐Ÿ’ž๐ŸŒž

Week 25 -More Challenges

I have been working out and getting fit for twenty five weeks now. I started out in February hoping that if I put a bit of effort into it that, by spring (in Saskatchewan), I would feel a bit better, breathe a bit easier, and have a bit more strength and stamina. I can’t believe how that bit of effort has paid off.

This morning, like every morning Monday to through Saturday, I got up, washed down my B12, Vitamin D, and Lutein with half a cup of coffee and did my Advair inhaler for my asthma. This was followed by my breakfast, which this morning was a bowl of cereal. Next, I spent half an hour organizing Molly’s walking kit and getting her into her harness and myself into my sneakers and jacket. Then we headed out for a 1.5 mile walk. (That is not a record for us, but I do not want to push Molly too hard until she is used to her new training harness.)

We got home, Molly got her good girl treat and I took my Spiriva inhaler for my COPD and my bronchiectasis and followed that up with six ounces of beet juice. (Which I make a litre at a time from Salus Beetroot Crystals, the juice of one lemon and one teaspoon of ginger, plus filtered water). After a short rest, I did my favourite You Tube exercise video.

Now I am ready to move on with my day, being better, stronger and breathing easier than I ever have. The benefits of that bit of effort never cease to amaze me.

But, like everything else in my life, I have my challenges working out and getting fit.

This weekend I took Molly across the street to the ball diamonds to work with her and her new harness and I got attacked by mosquitoes – lots of mosquitoes! I was wearing yoga pants and the beggars bit right through them. My legs are covered with bites. I could not sleep on Saturday night so I took an antihistamine hoping that would ease the burning and itching, since nothing else had. The antihistamine did nothing for the bites but it did make me groggy and fogheaded, and feeling weak all day Sunday. I was able to get out for a short walk with Molly but the rest of the day was a write off. Last night, I went to make supper and found that I had wrenched something in my left arm (somehow?) and I could not lift a small pot of noodles to serve them out. My arm and back muscles are stronger than they have ever been, but one little tweak and it was gone. Rediculous! And so unfair! Life should not be so challenging when one is really trying to make it better!

Except… I need challenges – I need physical and mental and emotional and spiritual challenges. It is the challenges that make me better and stronger. If my fitness journey was too easy, I would start slacking off, going through the motions, until I drifted back to my old ways. Inevitably I would be back in my rocking chair, wrapped in a blanket and feeling weak and miserable.

So… Bring it on life. Bring the benefits and the challenges because while the benefits are a nice incentive, it is the challenges that really push me further and higher than I could possibly imagine.

PS – I finally came across a bit of advice from The Farmer’s Almanac that soothed my mosquito bites. Wet an antacid tablet (like Tums or Rolaids) and rub it on the bites. I have no idea who first thought “Let’s try this!” but it works. As for my arm, Who knows? but no noodles for supper tonight. They would be wierd on Taco Salad anyway.

Mmmm – Taco Salad

That is it for today and for this week’s fitness update. Take care and have a great day! ๐Ÿ’ž๐ŸŒž

Strong Women ๐ŸŒน

This one is for all the women in my life – especially the young women just starting out, or the older ones just starting over – a new job, a new relationship, a new lifestyle, a new life. Whatever the case, this is for us.

“Strong women don’t have attitudes, we have standards”. – Marilyn Munroe
“The question isn’t “Who’s going to let me?” It’s “Who’s going to stop me?” – Ayn Rand
” Don’t let anyone speak for you and don’t rely on others to fight for you”. – Michelle Obama
“Above all, be the heroine of your story, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron
“A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for everyone else.” – Unknown
“A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, a woman of strength knows it is in the journey that she will become strong.” – Luke Easter
“The strongest actions for a woman is to love herself, be herself, and shine amongst those who never believed she could. ” – Unknown
And finally… ” It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” – Rumi

That’s it for today. Take care and have a great day! ๐Ÿ’ž๐ŸŒž

Week 24 To Health and Fitness

I persevered through another week on my mission to health and fitness. This week has become another turning point in my journey – mostly in a good way but I do have a bit of a challenge going.

Starting with the POSITIVE – my physical and emotional health are definitely going well. We have been getting a lot of heat and rain so very humid (for us). Despite that… I have managed to keep up with my daily walks with Molly and my daily You Tube work outs. The workouts run 30-45 minutes and I can work through them without a single pause.

This is the one I did today. It is one of the videos that I have been using regularly lately. ๐Ÿค—

Molly is still having her difficult days on our walks and today was no exception. I am expecting a package from Amazon today which includes a new training harness for her. I sure hope it helps settle her down a bit!

I did clear out some clothes in my closet that has gotten to be too large for me now. That has to be a good sign and I am sure happy to see it happening! โ˜บ๏ธ

I am noticing a definite shift away from just pushing myself through workouts, walks, salads, and cold showers. I still do all of those things but now those things are a natural part of an overall active and healthy lifestyle. I am still excited about getting fit – and my goals are going beyond myself to others –

  • Being able to provide Molly with the active lifestyle she deserves
  • Being a stronger, healthier partner for Dan
  • Being a better role model for our grandkids
  • Being more active and outgoing in our neighbourhood
  • Being an inspiration to others who are toying with the idea of adopting a healthier lifestyle
  • AND something that has become increasingly important to me – Doing everything I can to avoid being an unnecessary burden to our already overburdened Health Care Services. Even without my chronic health issues, I think that is so necessary.

The NEGATIVE this week is that I am finding myself dealing with a mental meltdown of sorts.

I have been on this journey for five and a half months. I have been more than happy with how it has been going and the results I have been seeing. Whoo hoo! Yay me!

Living LARGE!!!

But during the past few days, I have been finding myself interacting with likeminded souls. I have met a number of people in our local parks – one here, one there, walking their dogs, jogging, on their bikes and I have joined a small group of fitness conscious individuals online. This should all be great! They are all friendly, amazing people working towards a common goal.

But here’s the thing. My mind is suddenly flashing back to high school phys-ed classes. My Saskatchewan highschool phys-ed classes of the early seventies were NOT about physical fitness or developing a healthy lifestyle. They were about discovering the next hockey or football star or the next Olympic athlete. They were about competitions between teenagers who were not even close to being on a level playing field but being judged by who could run faster or jump higher or throw a ball further. They were about winners who were given trophies and medals and losers who were abused mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I know, this is bizarre and rediculous. I am sixty-seven years old. I have done things in my life – big things – major accomplishments. I should have the confidence and capability to see someone who can outperform me physically without coming unglued. But here I am…. judging myself and finding myself lacking. ๐Ÿ™„

The good thing is, I know it is just one more challenge to face and overcome. Just like the physical challenges that I have pushed through and the emotional challenges that I have pushed through, I know I can and will push through this and come out all the better off for doing so. Hopefully sooner than later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Just another bridge to cross!

That’s it for today and this week’s fitness update. Take care and have a great day!๐Ÿ’ž๐ŸŒž

Sixty Seven ๐ŸŽ‚

Today I turn sixty seven and I have to admit, I have never been so excited about growing older. ๐Ÿค—

Every year of my life has brought joy and sadness, love and loss, challenge and triumph. This year has been no exception, other than that the past five months have been exceptional when it comes to personal growth, wisdom, and understanding.

It all started so innocently and easily. I felt miserable and looked worse. Physically, mentally, emotionally – I had drifted to a really blah place. One day, enough was enough. I got off my butt, cranked up some tunes from the sixties and danced. I started to eat better and I found ways to improve my diet and fitness level.

  • In the past five months I have:
  • Gone from basic dancing to Zumba (aerobics to music) using free videos on You Tube
  • Mostly given up junk food snacks
  • Spent more time planning and preparing healthy meals
  • Started drinking six ounces of beet juice, and eating a couple of tablespoons of sauerkraut a day. I also eat about a quarter of cup of sunflower seeds a day – which I buy raw and airfry with olive oil, lemon juice and hot sauce.
  • Started to take cold showers in lieu of hot baths
  • Started walking my Pyrenees pup every day
  • Meditated daily for the first three months – not so much lately – but I have been spending a lot of time out and about, enjoying fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature.

Everything I have been doing takes minimal time out of my day, the cost is negligible, and the results have been amazing. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, I have never felt better or stronger. Surprisingly, shockingly actually is that the one change that I have made, that I enjoy the most, is the cold showers. I go from cool water to straight ice cold. The initial discomfort is NOTHING compared to how much better I feel after a cold shower. My dry, itchy skin is gone! Even on a cool day, I am warmer getting out of a cold shower than a hot bath (because the air is warmer than my skin), and I just feel good. One can never imagine a cold shower as being a good thing but it is a game changer. โ˜บ๏ธ

Now for the before and after….

July 2020 – Celebrating my birthday with Dan, Amanda & Family
July 2021 – Celebrating Dan & Amanda’s Wedding Reception 
July 2022 – Feeling better than ever and looking forward to turning 68 just so I can use this photo as another ‘before’ picture.

That’s it for another day – and another year. I have no idea what this next year has in store for me. It will probably be a mixed bag of challenges and blessings – BUT I am ready for both and everything in between. I am so glad that I took that first step five months ago. It is never too soon and never too late. ๐Ÿ‘

Take care and have a great day!๐Ÿ’ž

Sometimes it is hard to tell a challenge from a blessing. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Week 22 to Wellness

I am still pretty much in a holding pattern as far as progress is going!ย  I am not terribly concerned or even disgruntled by this.ย  I am not losing ground, which is good and I figure for the time being the progress is just going on beneath the surface.ย 

My blood pressure is still holding really good.ย  I have been averaging 120/76 over the past month and that was with a couple of little spikes. I don’t know if the improvements is due to my daily workouts or the beet juice but I will keep doing both.

I am also still doing the sauerkraut.ย  I don’t know if it is helping my digestion any but it is sauerkraut and I love it and it came highly recommended so sticking with that as well.

I have been partaking in a cold shower every day or two and I can’t say how much I am enjoying them!ย  I don’t even like hot showers but I feel SO good after a cold shower.ย  It reminds me of a Mark Manson quote that Genie shared with me a couple of weeks ago..ย  “Wanting positive experience is a negative experience, accepting negative experience is a positive experience.” So much more profound than “No pain no gain.” ๐Ÿ™‚

And the good news this week!ย  After a couple of ‘challenging’ walks with Molly this weekend, we had a great one this morning.ย ย  If she hadn’t gotten excited and jumped all over the hard hats at the Regent Park exit it would have been an A+ for her.ย  To be fair, I think they wait for her now and they do get as excited as she does when they see us coming,ย  so it isn’t ALL her.

Pathway in Patricia Park
We walked all three parks again and the only other visitors we met out and about were a couple of old crows. ๐Ÿ˜ข
Molly was proud of herself today – and deservedly so.

The weather was perfect! The mosquitoes were tolerable. The litter was not too bad. All in all a beautiful way to start the day, and again not something I plan to drop from my daily routine.

That’s it for today. Take care and have a great day!๐Ÿ’ž

Week 21

It has been twenty-one weeks since I began my fitness journey. In those weeks, there has been a lot to celebrate. Every week there has been some notable improvement to my health and fitness. That is pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, I am in a place where the improvements are becoming harder to come by and less notable. That is not terribly surprising. Regardless of what you do, how you do it, or how well you do it, there are challenges along the way.

So… My thoughts on week 21

#1. Humidity – Our temperature has finally begun to rise, we have had frequent short spells of rain and our humidity has risen accordingly. That may be great for something, but not so good for my lungs. Activity indoors or out is a struggle. I have kept up with my Zumba every day (except Sunday, which is my ‘rest and recover day) – but the struggle is real!

#2. Walking – I cannot believe that Molly and I have been walking daily for two weeks. It seems SO MUCH LONGER. I was so excited about walking our new pup. It was such a long wait until she was fully vaccinated and cleared to go. Now we are walking and it gets worse every day! Molly is getting somewhat better at dealing with the traffic, but…. The warmer weather has brought out the people in our neighborhood. These people seem to be worse than ever for tossing their litter on roads and sidewalks. Molly is distracted by each and every piece. Walking the walks is one ongoing chorus of “Molly come on!” And “Molly drop it!”. Walking in the park is somewhat less distracting but the mosquitoes are brutal and Molly stops regularly to roll in the grass or….

… strike a pose. ๐Ÿ’ž

#3. Cold showers – I think that I have had three cold shower experiences. When I decided to add these to my fitness routine, the main draw for me was the possibility that cold showers could help me to develop some brown fat on my body. Brown fat is the fat that insulates one body and burns calories to keep a body warm. Living in Saskatchewan and facing the prospect of walking Molly this winter, brown fat sounds like a pretty good idea, well worth the effort it takes to produce it. So, how have the cold showers been going? The first one started as a regular hot shower until I felt ready to go for it . I turned off the hot water and the blast of ice cold water was more than I was prepared for. I got out as fast as I got in. I approached my second cold shower a bit more cautiously. I got into a hot shower and gradually turned back the hot water a notch at a time, until I was hit by the blast of ice cold water. Then, once again, I beat a hasty retreat. Last night, I tried another route. I got into a cool to lukewarm shower. Every few minutes I went a little cooler. When it was cold – but not ice cold – I settled in for a two or three minute chilly dousing. I don’t know that it was enough to start producing brown fat cells but there were a couple of things that I did notice. After exiting my chilly shower, my skin felt smooth and there was none of the typical hot shower, or hot bath, dry itch. Also, my hair was smooth and soft. I have spent a lot on hair products in recent years, some with better results than others, but my hair always seemed dried and fried. Last night, not so much. Obviously, it is too soon to tell if I am sold on cold showers, but I am definitely not ready to throw in the towel.

#4. Sleep – For some reason I am struggling to get any decent sleep – even now that Molly has become a solid sleeper. I sleep for an hour, then I am awake for two, trying to figure out why my sleep is so filled with disturbing dreams. It’s not even nightmares as such. I dream that I am back at work and freaking out because I can’t remember when I last paid the company’s payroll taxes, or some other such nonsense. It is annoying, exhausting, and frustrating.

That is it for this week. I sure that things will turn around and that I will find I have made a big leap in progress one of these days. In the meantime – it is about the journey, not the destination. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Take care and have a great day!๐Ÿ’ž

Cooling off after a walk in the park.

Week 20

It has been 20 weeks since I got out of my rocking chair and started getting fit for spring. It has been such a great journey, I have had no inclination to quit once spring sprang or at any other time in my foreseeable future.

As always, I noted a few improvements this week.

#1 – For the first time since I started working out, I noticed that when I am working out, I was really not struggling to breathe or to catch my breath – even on warm and humid days. That is amazing! With asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis, I used to struggle to breathe all of the time.

#2 – My hands look younger. My blood vessels are not as noticeable. I don’t know if that is because my skin is healthier or because my collagen levels (that affect blood vessels) is better. Either way, that is cool.

#3 – My stamina has improved considerably. On Saturday, I spent the entire first half of the day working to clean up our entire yard in anticipation of a visit from my sister, her husband, and their two German Shepherds – Heidi and King.

This was after they arrived. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ. I can hear Dan out back recleaning the back patio as we speak.
Heidi appreciated the nice cool sand.
King – The first pure black German Shepherd that I have ever seen and he is GORGEOUS!
Molly and King went hard.
And rested frequently!

Dan and I had a good visit while watching our dogs carry on. Dan barbecued us a delicious steak and shrimp supper Saturday night. On Sunday, I whipped up some pancakes and bacon, Dan and Jerry went golfing, and Lorraine and I got in a good visit while keeping an eye on the canines. It was a great visit and the weather was perfect – warm, windless, and absolutely bugless!

The dogs all got along great – especially King and Molly who are both still puppies (big puppies). Heidi has quite a few good years on her and struggles with arthritis, so she was more content laying back and watching the young ‘uns.

That’s it for this week’s report. I am still working out, planning to get in some good walks with Molly, and anxious to see how far I can take this fitness program that I am on.

Take care and have a great day!๐Ÿ’ž