Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Let's Talk- Life Skills and Lifting

I am grateful for Tuesdays for a couple of reasons- first, because it is a lot of fun to answer questions you guys throw at me, and second, Friday's tend to be a bit emotional for me so it's a nice way to kind of recover and keep it light.  Friday was tough...not so much because I didn't want to write it, but because writing it makes it feel so real.  So final.  But you guys came out in droves supporting me and I am so grateful to you all of you for walking with me through a rough time.

Today is going to be a miss-mash of topics, because I have a few questions that I have been meaning to answer the past few weeks and they are all just kind of getting thrown together!

1) How did you start/implement your kids' life skills?
Someone asked me about this recently, and I realized that while I have talked about life skills before, I am not sure I have actually talked about the "how tos"- how we started and how I implement them.  In case you don't know, "life skills" is the term I use in my house instead of saying "chores".  Here is a picture of what the chart looks like now:

There are chores listed on the side, and then each kid (that is old enough to do chores) has a color paper, and wherever their paper is, those are the chores they have for the day.  Every Monday I switch the chores around.  They do them before lunch and after dinner, but some of the chores are "all day" ones, meaning whenever it needs to get done they do it, such as empty the dishwasher.  It did not start out this way...when they were all younger and nobody could read, they each got their own little chart with pictures.  The morning list would be things such as "Take off jammies, get dressed, brush teeth, make bed, see Mommy" and the evening list would say "Take off clothes, put on jammies, brush teeth, clean toy bin, see Mommy."  Each item would have a pictures next to it so they could clearly see what they were supposed to be doing.  The point of this was to get them in the habit of having things to do and following guidelines.  The chart evolved as my kids got older and were actually able to do more things and read.  So here's the thing: as is the case when teaching your children new things, it takes a LOT of ground work before they just do it themselves.  When you first start, expect to take SEVERAL WEEKS of you doing every single chore WITH THEM.  Yes, that means you will announce to your kids that it is "life skill time" then you will point to the chart, explain what it means, and do it with them and explaining it until they are all done.  After a few weeks, you will be able to still follow them but give them a chance to do it themselves.  When they do come to the place where they do it on their own, it is very important to CHECK THEIR WORK after- if they do a lackluster job or if they skip things and you do not make them correct it, then you will have trouble later on with bigger stuff.  Yes it's a lot of work, but this is a crucial part of training kids to become functioning, responsible adults- at least thats what I hope, lol.

2) Can you please tell me how to do weight training??  
Arg.  I have my sister to thank for this!  A couple days ago my sister posted a picture on facebook that I texted her, and while embarrassing for me, actually sprung up some of you asking me questions and showing an interest in weight lifting.  It is no secret that I despise cardio...I have lost a lot of weight after each of my pregnancies and with the exception of the year I completed P90X, I have never done it using cardio...and many times I have done it with diet alone.  I weighed 200 pounds at the end of 4 out of 6 of my pregnancies, and I currently weigh just under 130 pounds...so I am not kidding you when I tell you that diet is enough to lose weight, and that weightlifting really helps burn fat and lose inches.  The first thing I hear from ladies is that they don't want to "get bulky".  Since the pic has already been posted, I will go ahead and just show you:

Does that look bulky to you?  Jeff actually calls me scrawny, lol.  Women's bodies are much different than a man's.  I can tell you that inches are lost rapidly when you lift...and I personally go for low reps with high weight, and these are the beginning of my results.  My goals are strength and definition...trust me, if you lift you will NOT look like this:

Bulky muscles like that take extreme calorie consumption along with hours of very deliberate weight lifting...you will not accidentally get bulky, lol.  I personally feel alive when I lift weights.  Whether it is life experiences, my illness, or just who I am, I love feeling strong and powerful and healthy.  I hate cardio and I simply do not have a lot of time or energy to spend exercising.  But weight lifting can take a very little amount of time, use very little cardio-type energy, and can mostly be done sitting down, lol.    Muscle is a active tissue and literally just by existing it burns fat.  So the more muscle you build, the more fat you are burning in a resting state.  

3) Ok, so what exactly do I do?
Ok, you will need a set of dumbbells.  I never buy the set weight kind...I have a set where you can add different weights to the bar, because I never stay on the same weight for very long.  So here is the breakdown for lifting as far as getting the results you want:

High rep + low weight = toning
Low rep + high weight = muscle building

So, if you just want a little toning and to feel good, you will want to do maybe 3 sets of 12-15 reps.  If you want to lose inches and get a little more defined, you will want to do 2 sets of 6-8 reps and then increase your weight once you can do that several times.  I do the latter.  All my teenage years I did the former and never got any visible results.  I was very strong, but not well defined.  Just a few weeks of lifting for muscle building and I can see a difference.  You don't want to life every day, you have to give you muscles a chance to recover- it is actually in the recovery stage that they rebuild.  So maybe 3-5 times a week, or whatever works for you.  This is NOT precise "medical advice"...it is real me, with real experience, telling you what I really do.  

You can google actual exercises to do, but just keep in mind it is not about "how many you can do or how much weight you can lift" as much as it is about PROPER FORM.  Without proper form you are working all the wrong muscles and can injure yourself. Just keep that in mind ;)

You have to find what you love.  Find what makes you feel alive!  In my constant state of being unwell, I treasure the times when I am able to something that makes me feel like me.  I do not do things because I "should" or because I feel like I need to look a certain way.  I can grab an easy handful of my stomach, and I have back fat.  Oh well.  That doesn't have anything to do with me pursuing and doing things that breathe life into my body.  So find what you love and go for it.  I am not able to lift all the time.  I have to time it right with my medication, and make sure I am having a good week but I take advantage of when I am able to....because when you are doing something you TRULY love, everything else in your life just kind of fades into the background and that is a nice reprieve. :)

I say this every time I talk about weight or exercising, but I will say it again: you are beautiful.  You do not need to lose weight to be pretty.  I am sure men struggle to some degree, but us women ave taken a brutal blow to our self esteem simply by existing in this culture.  It is tough and will knock you down before you even realize it.  So please be deliberate in your self-talk.  Resist the urge to look at yourself and criticize everything you see.  I do it...and I hate it.  Sometimes I know in my head how ridiculous it is but yet I still can't seem to shut the voice out.  But fill your life with meaningful things and do things because you truly like them, and let's kick the crap out of self-hating, shall we?

Next week I am going to attempt something very exciting, and also a first for me.  I am- providing I can figure out how to execute it- planning on doing a video tutorial on how to make bagels!  Haha...you know, about a billion of you have asked me how to make them, and while easy, it is hard to verbally explain.  So I am going to do one of those cool "how to" videos where I stand in my kitchen and try not to ramble on too much while I show you step by step how to make bagels.  So stay tuned and by this time next week you will be able to have your very own carb festival!  

Have a great week, and I will see you Friday.  :)

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