Monday, January 24, 2011

Of 12 Packs and 6 Packs

I missed out on a chance to ride yesterday - it was warmer than they'd forecasted - low 20sF - and the wind wasn't too bad - but I hadn't planned to ride so the day got away from me.  And my back was somewhat sore - my back's often sore and sometimes worse than sore, due to some old injuries (including one time when I was jumping and my horse fell right before the fence and I went flying, head first, directly into one of the uprights that was set in concrete - and my helmet came off (not that it would have helped much since it was one of the old "decorative" ones)).  That'll do a job on your neck and back, not to mention giving you a pretty good concussion.  And there are all the times I've picked up heavy things without using good body mechanics . . .

Anyway, this morning I didn't feel too bad and was up picking poo in Pie's paddock (nice alliteration, that!).  He'd left me what my husband and I jokingly call a 12 pack - 12 piles of poo.  That got me thinking about 6 packs (as in abdominal muscles, not beer).  I'm planning to ride two horses at the Mark Rashid clinic in May, and I'm not in shape to do that.  I'm also getting older and need to pay more attention to my diet and fitness - I sort of take it for granted that I eat healthily (and we mostly do) and that all the work at the barn I do and the riding are enough for fitness.  But my diet's not that healthy right now - I sort of let things get away from me over the holidays and haven't been eating as well and have added some pounds - weight's not usually much of an issue for me and I don't even own a scale but my clothes are tight, which is a good sign I'm carrying too much.  And my fitness level is mediocre - to ride in the clinic I need to be significantly fitter than I am now, particularly in terms of core strength and aerobic fitness.

So here's the plan.

On diet:

Eat mostly vegetarian, with some fish and very occasional meat.
Nothing that comes in a package (except things like plain rice, beans, canned tomatoes, etc.) - e.g. no industrially processed food.
No deep-fried food, and be careful about the cheese and dairy.
Eat more at home and less out, and watch portion sizes.
Less alcohol - there's a lot of calories there that have no nutritional value.
No snacking between meals or at bedtime except for a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.
Eat mindfully - don't eat while doing something else and enjoy every bite.

That may sound severe, but it's actually not that far from how I'm eating now.  I used to eat mostly vegetarian, with lots of beans and legumes and wonderful vegetables of all types - there's almost no vegetable that I don't enjoy.  So it shouldn't be hard.

On exercise and fitness:

Take a long (at least 3 miles), brisk walk every day, at a speed sufficient to have some aerobic benefits.
Start doing the core exercises I have from when I was in physical therapy a number of years ago, and also exercise my quads - they've been feeling weak and are important for posture (and riding).
Maintain good posture all the time - chin in and back, shoulders relaxed and core muscles lightly engaged.
Continue doing stall cleaning and paddock picking - it's good strength training.

Sort of New Year's resolutions a bit late!


  1. Sounds like a good plan! I would starve to death if I ate mostly vegetables because I'm opposite of you and don't like very many of them lol.

    I cut out processed foods, fast food and fried food back in September and I feel much better. I think I need to cut out dairy (mildly lactose intolerant) to feel completely better. We shall see. :) Oh and I don't really like alcohol so I don't drink that either.

    I think you'll have no problem getting back in shape following this plan. Are you going to lift weights at all? It's good for burning fat and is great for your bones. Anyway I'm probably rambling on so I'll stop lol. I can't wait to hear about the clinic. :)

  2. You have such discipline! All of your thoughts make a lot of sense.

    It was -10 this morning, going up to 20. At least the sun is out. Please send me some warmer weather!

  3. Very cute name of the post!

    Just recently my mom completely changed up her diet which ended up changing mine as well. Basically we just cut out sodium and sugar. It made a huge difference!

    Good luck with yours!

  4. The core exercises should make a difference with your back. I had surgery a few years back for a herniated disk and if I don't keep my core strong my back will let me know I'm slacking.

    Good luck!

  5. Oh, you've done it've made me look at my life and the way I do (or don't do) things! I've been a Weight Watchers 'life time' member for a number of years, but I've been creeping up, ever so slowly. I'm also trying to eat healthy. The new WW program allows us to eat all the fruit we want, without points. That's helped me a lot. I'll reach for fruit now, most of the time, well, sometimes, instead of the cracker box!
    Congrats on the new outlook. I'm going to sign off this darned machine and head out for a walk!

  6. I do know what a Bad back is like! I totally sympathise with you. My back was broke in two places in 2005, it was severely damaged in 1976, while taking part in a Military Event. There are loads of others too numerous to mention, but like you, I get on with it, some days good, some not so! But the little pills work wonders!!!!

  7. Sounds like a good plan to me. I'm looking forward to getting back to exercising as soon as my recovery from the surgery is over. Besides keeping me fit for riding, I do weight bearing exercises because I have osteopenia and weight bearing exercises helps prevent me going into osteoporosis.


  8. Great ideas. I've also realized I need to be in better shape to achieve my riding goals, so tons of fruits and vegetables, very limited processed carbs.
    I recently started a supplement called Joints-First to counter back pain and after only limited success with chiropractor and physio (I make sure to do my ab exercises) it's worked like a miracle. I should do an ad for them. I was in constant pain for a long, long time, with intermittent episodes of being almost immobilized, and am now pain free. It did wonders for my Mother too (who's 87).
    Anyway, good luck with your plan. It sounds great and good for you for preparing to ride two horses in a clinic. I'm too chicken to ride one :)

  9. Sounds like a wonderful plan to me...I surely wish I had more discipline for I'm sorely lacking. I am overweight and have a bad back, plus I overeat and I'm guilty of eating too much of the wrong things. I've been thinking about joining weight watchers online. My main form of regular exercise is walking, which is very enjoyable for me, and riding...which I do hardly at all except in summertime. I'm in sore need of an overhaul! Good luck with your endeavors!

  10. I see you found your award already! Thanks Kate!!

  11. Good plan. I'm sure by the time the clinic rolls around you'll be fit and ready for action with two horses. Good luck.

  12. Hi Kate!
    Yes..this is a resounding thought amoungst the blogs these days..timely and needed here too, I am afraid.

    I'm in...3 mile "streak" as my running sister calls it, and more mindful eating. Lets all get in shape!It'll be good for our ailing backs too.

    Your Pie looks so cute with Scout on the header!

  13. Sounds like a great plan to have--very detailed and thorough! I have some back problems, too, and find that if I am more active and get my heart rate up at least once a day, that I feel so much better. Right now my hips are hurting just from sitting for work. Moving is so much better for a person!

  14. Good for you in all ways. I've been a little erratic in my diet, I fear. And, I need some more exercise.

    I was going to keep on swimming this winter, but the darn cold I got in December kind of put me well off track.

    I'm sure you will get yourself fit. I have every confidence you have far more determination than I do. *S*

  15. Kate - I am not in an upcoming clinic, but my jeans are just a little too snug so I hear you. Too many calories during our vacation in Florida (supposed to be extra exercising in the sunshine and was instead extra snuggling on the sofa with Christmas snacks!)
    I thought I would try to limit the evening snacks - I love salt and potato chips are my downfall. I switched to green olives - all the salt I crave with less calories. I hope Pie and Sovey appreciate my dedication!
    Good luck with your program. You strike me as a person with serious resolve - like my Brian.

  16. Kate, sounds like you have a plan and a good one! I can't seem to stick to things like diet and exercise and I REALLY need to!

    Oh, another clinic with Mark! How exciting, can't wait til you post about it. Love reading about your clinics with Mark.

  17. I'm with you--except on the diet. I did start to exercise rigorously last week. I'm walking on the treadmill for now--with an incline--and working on my core. I'm very motivated because of the work I'll be doing with BG.


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