Thursday, July 15, 2010

farm shape

I'm on a mission to get in better shape: for me, for the farm, and for my future. Contrary to what you might assume about me I could stand to lose about twenty pounds and they're holding me back from feeling more comfortable with myself, and more fit for the work of everyday farm life. It's a lot easier to buck bales of hay into a truck when you're not wheezing or panting. And it's a lot more fun pounding fence posts when your arms aren't ready to give out as you slam down the 30-pound weight driving them into the ground. I don't want to grow tired based on the fact I'm lugging around an extra twenty pounds; it's not sustainable or efficient.

So I started running again, just a mile a day. I balance this with yoga and even though it's only been five days I feel better. Even if starting a personal fitness program is just a placebo in itself: it's working. I sleep better, I eat better, and I hope that come October I have reached my goal weight while still enjoying the occasional slice of apple pie and bottle of hard cider. I could try and lose thirty pounds and cut out all the foods that I enjoy, but I won't. Life is too short to miss out on all that amazing, homegrown, and homemade food. So I'll check in every week and let you know how it's going. I started on my birthday and I'll share my loss or gains as I plod along once every two weeks or so. Feel free to join me if you too want to feel a little tawnier under your flannel come fall.


Blogger Colleen said...

I'm with ya, for sure. My birthday is on Sunday, and I'm making it my goal to get back into shape. I used to love jogging -- would really like to be able to do it again without getting shin splints!

July 15, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger DarcC said...

I'm so with you. I found a great running progression program to follow call "Couch to 5k", it takes you from nothing up to running a 5k in 9 weeks. I hope we can all encourage each other on here, looking forward to the camaraderie!

July 15, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

I'm with you, too. I always start exercising really good for a few weeks, and then my motivation fizzles out, and I start thinking it's a waste of time. But it really does make a huge difference in your quality of life. Even if I don't ever get super-toned, it'd be nice to not always be worrying about how my clothes fit, and like you said, be more comfortable with myself. Maybe if we all encourage each other, I'll actually be able to stick with it. Thanks for the inspiration!

July 15, 2010 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger A said...

I'm so with you. I could definitely stand to lose weight myself. I would imagine it will make a big difference for you! Keep us posted

July 15, 2010 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I hate running. Try Zumba! :)

July 15, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

I need to get my fat a$$ back to walking too. I lost 26 llbs last year by walking 2mi a day and eating like a reasonable person. It's now hotter'n Hades and I quit walking in May. I have packed back on 10lbs. So as long as y'all are gonna sweat, I reckon I will too. Starting tonight.

July 15, 2010 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Sense of Home said...

I'm with you. For me 10 pounds is the goal. I've been riding bike to work this summer (3 miles one way) and that makes me feel so much better.


July 15, 2010 at 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


July 15, 2010 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Harpy 101 said...

Good on you keeping it to 20 pounds rather than 30. I lost 30 pounds last year and got very sick and very COLD; I should have kept it to 20, and a GRADUAL 20. I've crept back up 15, so I need to take it back down by 5 or so.

It's presently a little-known fact, but was dearly held by our elders, that an extra 10 pounds give or take actually helps you live longer and healthier. If you walk around famished and underweight one strong virus can put you down for the count.

My bod seems to have a set-point where I'm feeling good, energetic and food-content, and it's not a set-point that the government BMI tables agree with-it still calls me Overweight. But I can also work in the garden, pump iron, dance or hoop for another hour and walk my dogs for an hour at night. And I sleep well because I'm not too hungry.

I invite you to be more gentle with this than most people are, and to respect the way you FEEL above all. You eat right and you get lots of activity....don't forget to be gentle with yourself more often. That alone can take you down 5 pounds. Just my experience.

All the best! Take care of you and listen to your bod, please.

July 15, 2010 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger small farm girl said...

I'm with you Jenna! But I need to lose more than twenty pounds. lol.

July 15, 2010 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Count me in! I lost over 40 lbs. a couple years ago and alas - 14 of those lbs. have crept back on. I REALLY need to put the effort in again - maybe this will help me - having accountability! Here's to all of us - best of luck!

July 15, 2010 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Great idea! Count me in - I could easily drop 15-20 lbs and I know I would have a lot more stamina. Something every farmgurl needs.

July 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger quiltaholic said...

I am in! I started walking, and meeting friends at the gym earlier this year, and next week I'll be competing in my first ever 5k. I haven't lost much weight yet, but I feel so much better that it compensates for that.

July 15, 2010 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Conviently Crazy said...

I think I would like to join in on this weight loss. I'm more than a couple pounds overweight and could really stand to loose about 50 pounds or so. It has been very hard to get started on a real workout regimine. (I have fibromyalgia.) I used to love going to the gym. I think this will be my first step towards that farm dream. I'll need to be in shape. I think that might be just the motivation I need to work through.

July 15, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Funny Ernie said...

Oh, I so need to do that but....I can come up with all kinda reasons not too. I hear Colleen on the shin splints. That's what I think of when I think jogging though it has crossed my mind to take it up. Unfortunately, in order to jog anywhere I have to drive somewhere first, which sucks. I'll jog with you mentally, instead. Good Luck!

July 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Taxlady said...

You don't really need to lose the whole 20 lbs. Muscle weighs more than fat. As you gain muscle from exercising, your goal weight goes up. :D

July 15, 2010 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Taxlady said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 15, 2010 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

The little guy and I are with you. He just weghed in at the healthy
26 lbs at his 18 month checkup so he is right where he is supposed to be. However, I am about 20 to 30 lbs over where I should be thanks to the above mentioned (but I still love him). :)
In addition to farm chores, we have started walking our road once a day (1 1/2 miles) unless the weather is unbearable. Jillian Michaels has also been kicking my butt about 3 times a week.
Lets encourage eachother and provide a place to check in - we might be more successful this way.

July 15, 2010 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger greendria said...

What a coincidence! I had an appointment with a nutritionist this past Monday at 8:30 a.m. In a great stroke of luck, my insurance picked up most of the tab and will continue to do so for the next three visits (so you may want to check yours, I never even thought of it). For years I have struggled with wanting to “look” good but feeling “superficial” for caring. Finally, common sense won out, I realized I needed to lose about 20 lbs for health AND aesthetics – not supermodel, just self-respecting – and I needed help doing it. So, in case it will help any of you, here are the changes she’s got me trying for the next 3 weeks: 1) Exercise 30 min 5 times a week (ideally 3 cardio and 2 strength - push-ups, squats, etc, no gym needed) 2) 1c fruit with breakfast, 1.5 cups cooked or 3 cups raw vegetables with lunch, 1 c cooked or 2 cups raw vegetables with dinner 3) lots of protein with each meal, including yogurt, eggs, and lean meats. That’s a start – Rome wasn’t built in a day!

July 15, 2010 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Coincidentally, I've just started to go back to the gym & yoga after a long hiatus, and I'm glad that so many people on this blog are focusing on the same. Thanks for encouraging us all to keep up with you Jenna!

July 15, 2010 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Amy McPherson Sirk said...

I'm there, too. I lost 22lbs this past spring. The hot summer has me stuck in the house, meaning I've put a little back on. I work in a commercial kitchen most of the year so I know I'll lose even more weight once work starts up again in late August. Nothing kills your appetite quite like having your hands in food all day.

July 15, 2010 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Hi Jenna
just started running myself one month ago. I do 30 minutes. 2 minutes running, 2 minutes walking and it feels really good. The last few weeks I didn't do as much as I wanted, but this saturday I will be starting again.
keep up!

July 15, 2010 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Patrick Wohlmut said...

Very coincidental, but just after I read this post, I found this one on another blog:

An interesting piece on a number of levels, I think. Best of luck in reaching your goal!

July 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Affi'enia said...

I'm with you. I did a 5k "run" last month and jogged about 50%/walked 50%. I'd like to do more of these and actually be able to run them!

July 15, 2010 at 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been doing pretty much the same thing with running, biking, and swimming (there's a draft blog post in the works right now) with the idea that getting in shape now for an eventual farm is not a half bad idea. It also, of course, makes me feel better in general for all the reasons that you list, but it's a good feeling to know I'm getting in shape with a goal like that in mind.

July 15, 2010 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger miz hannahlu said...

it never ceases to amaze me, when i take a break checking in on CAF, that when i see what's going on in the world of Jenna, your struggles and journey resonate so similarly to my own...a Cancerian thing maybe? or just similar passions.
for myself, i've journied from running my first 10K last summer to limping through a half marathon in October to allowing paralyzing depression literally freeze me to the kitchen table, homemade bread in hand, running shoes grounded.Tears and worries about a spouse out of work and an astronomical Californian mortgage, and 15 lbs of excess weight appeared in a month. i try not to look back at where i was and just keep moving forward! so in triple-digit heat and being at my heaviest, i may not yet be running again, but i am MOVING!
it sounds corny, but it is a tremendous comfort knowing that so many amazing people out in the world are going through the same journey. Sincere thanks for sharing this very personal part of your life, truly are the awesomest!!! and i KNOW you will move forward in this latest endeavor

July 15, 2010 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

Our break from roller derby ends next week. I'll be so glad to be back to forced exercise. I always feel so good after practice. I've also cracked down on my eating in the last few days too. Just heard on WAMC about lack of sleep causing weight gain so I'm going to start going to bed earlier too. i have a bad habit of being up too late.

July 15, 2010 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good - I'm joining in too! :) I need to lose that same darn 20 pounds - seems they came home to roost about a year ago. Time to go!

July 15, 2010 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Can't run because of knees and heart (in fact a gradual walk uphill makes me pant horribly) but-

I'm in too, although my goal is more like thirty pounds. But if I could have it off by the first week of October when my birthday rolls around, I would be one hot fifty-one year old! Warm?

One warm fifty-one?

July 15, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Damn The Broccoli said...

My 'Farm' measures about 50 square feet but it keeps me very active. This and eating mainly vegetarian means that I am struggling to keep weight on!

I am like a streak of pump water as it is, but just the standing up and down in a garden every day is enough exercise. It does mean I can manage a slice or two of cake every day!

i don't think I would change it for the world, I'm going to need to seriously up my calorie intake when I have my own land.

It's well worth remembering that when you are thinking about your health, excercise happens in strange places.

July 15, 2010 at 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOOD POST~~~~~~~~~~~~Support!!!!.................................[/url]...............

July 15, 2010 at 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna,

I almost commented on your recent post about how farm breakfasts will keep you from ever being a size four...and now you've brought up the running and I can't help myself. Food and running are some of the best things ever. I run mostly for mental health, but it's a nice shape-maintainer too. After gaining a winter 15 or so (law school + winter is a deadly combo), I'm back down to my normal healthy weight ...just from running. I don't diet. I just can't. I really love food and get downright mean when I'm hungry for too long anyhow.
So there were a couple of comments on shin splints and I just wanted to mention that since I began running in the Vibram five-fingers (look them up- they're great), I haven't had the knee and hip pain that had begun to plague me after 18 years of running (some of which was pretty long distance). I'm totally sold. ...but, if you're running on gravel or some other non-smooth surface, they really aren't an option.
AND, I wanted to address the comment about exercise alone not leading to weight loss- Consistent running has always done it for me...and I have this (potentially insane) fear that if I ever diet and then stop my metabolism will turn on me. Enough exercise will always result in weight loss- just not everyone has the time, desire, or physical ability to jog 30 miles a week.
Congratulations on your new run routine (and if you need any advise or support- just say the word)!
PS- I love your blog and that you're so prolific!

July 15, 2010 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...


July 15, 2010 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa Richards said...

Started walking my three miles again today and added some arm exercises with weights plus some stretching.

Good luck everyone!

July 15, 2010 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

This couldn't have come at a better time. My kids are going to their grandparents in Florida for nearly three weeks. It's the first time they've ever been away from me for more than a couple of days, so in order to keep my sanity I think I'll join you and take advantage of the extreme amount of me time by getting back into working out again. Maybe I'll even kick it off with a juice fast...fresh veggies from the farmers market should be good in the juicer!

July 15, 2010 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger William said...

I'm in the same boat with you hun. I noticed that I was breathing a little harder in my small garden so I figure I needed to lose a few lbs. Good thing I have a garden as I'm almost only eating what I get from the garden and started riding my bike. My goal is 34lbs.

July 15, 2010 at 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna, one workout program you might be interested in is "New Rules of Lifting for Women" It's one of the few programs out there based totally on body BUILDING, increasing strength and muscle mass, rather than about reducing body size, which is the assumed goal of a lot of women's workout programs.

My GF is huge into lifting and the changes I've seen in her body in the last year are astounding. Nothing sexier than a muscled back, male or female.

Anyway, it's cheap to start, and you can do it at home. The first phase only takes 10 minutes a day, although later phases can eat up more time. But hell, you don't build muscle without putting in the work.

A ton of things get easier when you have the muscle to back yourself up.

July 16, 2010 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Robbie said...

You go, Jenna. I, too, recently started a running program after twelve years of not running (though I was walking a couple miles every day). I've lost 20 lbs so far (only a few of it with the running) and I have 40 to go. I'm right with you for your 20; I'll be cheering us both along. :)

July 17, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Robbie said...

You go, Jenna. I, too, recently started a running program after twelve years of not running (though I was walking a couple miles every day). I've lost 20 lbs so far (only a few of it with the running) and I have 40 to go. I'm right with you for your 20; I'll be cheering us both along. :)

July 17, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Robbie said...

You go, Jenna. I, too, recently started a running program after twelve years of not running (though I was walking a couple miles every day). I've lost 20 lbs so far (only a few of it with the running) and I have 40 to go. I'm right with you for your 20; I'll be cheering us both along. :)

July 17, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Rose, aka whorlwindweaver said...

I'm in. I have an elliptical trainer and love yoga AND good food, so I'm completely on board for this challenge.

July 18, 2010 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

I am with you too!! Today is my 39th birthday and I just gave birth to my son 4 months ago. I need to get back on the program so I'm readdy! is a great website to use. I would love to run, but for now I'll take walking my son in his stroller until I can work up to the jogger. Next year I will be back on my bicycle with the new Burley we have to ride around the farmland around our property!

July 20, 2010 at 10:12 AM  

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