Friday, December 29, 2017

It's Almost the New Year

I love the surge of changes that start showing up around this time. Resolutions. Goals. Whatever they are or you want to call them; now is the time.  It may be timing but some friends who have also struggled with weight loss are ready to try new things. I don't think that these are necessarily resolutions, but they're popping up around the same time which is what prompted me to think about the fact that the new year is upon us. This is the time of year that I am thrilled that I (mostly) workout at home or outside. I do think it's great that so many people start doing new, good things for themselves. Whether they're there for a month, three months, a year,or longer, they're making progress.  Sometimes people fall off the resolution train and don't go back for a long time. That's okay. It's their life. It's their health. And  maybe someday the changes will be permanent. We all struggle sometimes (exactly why I'm here, working to lose weight again). I don't care if it's January, July, or November, if you're there and you're working -- you are awesome.

 I haven't been to spin and yoga in a few months and need to get my schedule organized so that I can get back to class. With the holidays and how busy work as been, it's been hard. I need to just sit down and get it figured out and be strict with my scheduling. I'm honestly not looking forward to the influx of resolutioners but hey, even if it's crowded for a bit, I'll be glad to be back at it.  I cannot express how much I've missed class; especially yoga. Yoga at home (home-ga?) is not the same. It just isn't. It's more like a "workout" than an experience. I like the experience of the class. It's more peaceful. Savasana is SO much better with an instructor (and essential oils!) than it is listening to someone through something recorded - whether it be an app or DVD. Some are good, but it's not the same.  I've been out of yoga and spin since - AUGUST!! I injured my arm in one of the most non-athletic ways possible. I grabbed  a case of water with one and and flung it into the back of the car before a road trip. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.  A case of 16.9 ounce water bottles is heavy; too heavy to be lifting and flinging with one hand. Anyway, the best I can come up with is that I pulled a muscle or something. My symptoms were consistent with a pulled muscle. I mentioned it at my last doctor appointment but it was feeling better/starting to resolve by then so I didn't request anything for it. I've also had some chiropractic adjustments that have helped.  It can get a little sore when I'm lifting heavy but it's not bad. That's usually my sign to back off. I can do down dog and some other yoga poses without pain so I think I'm ready to go back.  It's super hard to do yoga when you can't put pressure on an arm without it screaming in pain.  So, yes, I miss it and need to get back.  I guess I will just flow in with the resolutioners.

My changes tend to come before the new year. I've noticed that December seems to be the time of year that I change. Sometimes November. When I first started losing weight and changing my lifestyle- it was December. I've bumped up my fitness around this time of year in the past too. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm not a winter fan and it's too dang cold and nasty to go anywhere. It's a lot easier to workout if you're home more often! And here I am this year... Doing the same thing. I started keto in November and got off track a little between Thanksgiving and my birthday. I'm sure I could have lost a little more weight than I have, but I'm happy with my 7 (I think 8 by now) pounds in the last month; despite the ups and downs. I like to say that I've been "loosely" following keto, with one day as a "free" day. Some people call them cheat days but I don't like that phrase. I feel like just the word "cheat" makes it seem like I'm doing something I "shouldn't" which gives it negative meaning for me. That's just me though... Everything is different for everyone. This is a largely mental game which is why there really isn't a "one size fits all" plan for weight loss. Our bodies are differently, including our brains.

In thinking about it, I realized that I'm actually following more of a carb cycling plan, with keto being the plan on my low carb days. I know that eating keto-style only on certain days doesn't actually qualify as keto because the whole point of the keto way of eating is to get into ketosis. Basically, I'm not giving a name to what I'm doing, but it definitely more on track with a carb cycling plan. I've been reading more about that and I like that there is a little more flexibility in it, and that I can change it up based on my workouts for the day. I guess I'm in the middle at this point... I like keto and obviously reducing my carb intake has been beneficial and resulted in some weight loss (after gaining and then stalling!). I plan to sit down and review what I've been doing and see about a new plan. I will likely make my low carb/keto days more frequent - maybe three, with one moderate, two more low, and then one high.....And repeat. This gives me a free day (which I'd most likely work into my schedule on Saturdays). With run club, I have dinner out. I stick to "lower" carb foods, however some of them are not that low and I like to have a Mich Ultra or two on those nights. For me, Tuesday would be the day that makes the most sense for my moderate day.  Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday seem like they'd be the easiest days to stick with low carb/keto.  If for some reason I go out on a Friday maybe that will be my high carb day and I'll stick to low carb on Saturday. We haven't been eating out on the weekend, but have ordered in sometimes. Those are definitely good days for the high carb day. I can vary the plan so that it works best for me and can vary it a little weekly, in case I need or want to change my days around. Sometimes "all keto all the time" can be hard. If I'm going to dinner with people who are eating whatever they want and having drinks.... I'm probably going to want to do the same. Depriving myself doesn't work. In fact I feel annoyed and irritable when I deprive myself of too much.  This can also lead to a binge. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and sometimes have the "all or nothing" attitude. I'm working on letting go of that thinking and just being okay with things. A more flexible plan would help with positive thinking.

I would like to be down ten pounds before my next doctor appointment, which is about a month from today. It's roughly four-and-a-half weeks. Ten pounds is very do-able and safe, however knowing my body I will be totally fine with eight. So I guess the goal is eight to ten, with ten being an awesome bonus.  If  I lose less, I'll evaluate and see if there's anything I can change or if that's just the way my body is progressing. Any loss is a good thing and honestly if I'm down five or six I'll be okay. I don't know that I can say that I'd be satisfied or happy, but I can be okay with that. I'm aiming for ten though and for me I have to focus on that.  If I say "eh five or six is okay" I might be a little more lenient on myself.  I'm a little complex in that I need structure but I also need a little flexibility within that structure.

 See? The experience is varied and personal to each of us. And? The brain; it's important. Learning about and knowing yourself is important to success.  I also know that I need to plan (anxiously awaiting my new planner, which I only just ordered!) ahead. I feel more at ease and happier when I am able to plan ahead.  I don't like chaos or disorganization when it comes to living my life.  My tendency to allow clutter to enter my small house (not enough space, I tell ya!) doesn't always reflect that. But, inside, it drives me crazy. A room in my house may feel disorganized now and then, which is an easy fix. When my life seems disorganized; I don't feel so great and it's harder to stay (or get back) on track. 

With that, before I close...

My 2018 goals:

1. Run 3 half marathons (minimum)
2. Continue to lose weight and reach my goal
3. Declutter and better organization
4. Actually follow that cool money saving plan that everyone shares this time of year. I always think it looks neat and think "oooooh I'm going to do that." I never do it. Remembering to plan it and do it... Good (and fun!) goal.
5. Improve my running pace. Yes, fartleks will have to happen.
6. Work more on self-care.  I don't do this enough. Step one - getting back to yoga.


See you in the new year!!

XOXO

Thursday, December 28, 2017

How Does Time Go By So Darn Fast?!

It's been almost two weeks since my last post! How does that even happen? I guess I've been so busy I just haven't taken the time! The holiday season will do that, I guess.

So....What's new? I'm down seven pounds. I have been "loosely" following the Keto way of life. I say loosely because I'm not perfect. At this point though, just a reduction in carbs has obviously helped. I was a little off but not de-railed during Christmas. I had some carbs but I didn't over-indulge.  Of the four Christmases I went two, only two had typical holiday meals.  One was sandwich and snacks and the other was similar with hors d'oeuvre style food. No desserts at two of four.  I had two small brownie bites at one of the dinners.  I made a lot of gifts this year so I didn't make my typical mountain of various sweets for gifts so those weren't around to tempt me. I got a few little candy things in with gifts but nothing extreme.  No boxes of candy canes to deal with. 

Having two puppies, I decided that a Christmas tree and my typical decor were a big "NO" this year.  They get into everything. Rocky likes to find absolutely everything he should not have. He's almost four months. Wrigley started settling down around that time so I'm hoping Rocky will too. He's a Boxer though, and I know how those little stinkers are! They can be puppy-like into their senior years! He's adorable and hilarious and even though he's a little mischievous now, I wouldn't trade him for the World. He will get, at least, a little better as he gets older. Wrigley still likes to steal socks and random objects but isn't into as much as Rocky is. However, Wrigley just turned six months and is maturing.... He's starting to pee on everything that's not familiar to him.  He even tried to pee on some Christmas gifts.  I think he succeeded in doing so on one present. Thank goodness it's for my favorite little girl.... And it's a doll so it's in a box. I really hope that in another month or two his marking behavior will be drastically reduced (post-neutering).  So, wild puppies helped me to stay on track with eating.  Workouts were way off track....

I haven't worked out much in, ohhhh the last week!! Rare for me! I was so busy with pre-Christmas crafts, shopping, wrapping, and work, that I was packing too much in and workouts are what suffered. Over the Christmas weekend I didn't do much of anything has far as working out. If only running around like a crazy woman burned calories! I think worked out last Friday morning and that was it until Tuesday. Yesterday was insanely busy soooo my workout was non-existent then too. I just didn't manage my time well enough and was exhausted after work last night. Today has a much better outlook and I anticipate being back on track now. Tuesday's workout left me feeling pretty great which made not working out yesterday even more of a let down. 

I recently started participating in a local running group. I did a run a few weeks ago with them and then Tuesday was my second. I honestly thought that I probably wouldn't do much with the group because... WINTER.  Let me tell ya 'bout me and winter. We are not friends.  It's no secret that my winter running is on the treadmill.  I've trained for half marathons throughout the winter on that dang thing. Let's remember, I am slow... That, at times, equals hours (up to three!) on the treadmill. Do you have any idea how boring that is? Sometimes being on the treadmill actually gives me anxiety; the kind where your skin feels crawly and you're just like "omg I can't!!" and have to take a break. So... Tuesday. I did a thing. Correction - I did a CRAZY thing.  I ran with run club. OUTSIDE. IN. THE. WINTER. IT. WAS. SEVEN. DEGREES (F). If not for my friend Angela going, I'm sure I wouldn't have gone. Given that 30 (sometimes warmer!) is my cut-off, I wasn't quite prepared. I've read tons of things about Winter running and what to wear but I didn't really pay attention to what to wear below 20 because... That's not my thing. So, after talking to my friend to figure out what I needed, buying it, and putting it on. I went to run club. I was at least a minute slower than my already slow pace - getting used to all of the gear was a challenge in itself. However, I did a decent three miles; did not free (um, Smartwool Socks, you're the stuff of life!) and actually my head was so warm I was sweating. A lot. Most importantly; didn't die. It was an accomplishment and despite my slow pace - I'm pleased; just in the fact that I ran in seven degree weather. I also realize this gives me zero excuse to miss out on other Winter runs. It will, undoubtedly, take someone else motivating me because I am not a fan of the cold... However, I know now that it can be done, so at this point, I have no reason to miss run club.

I suppose that's about it as far as my fitness and health update.....Not much else is new. Oh!  I love bulletproof (well sort of) coffee now. I've been having that for breakfast and love the flavor the MCT oil gives the coffee. I haven't gone totally bulletproof yet because I haven't added the butter that it calls for. Maybe I'll find "grass-fed" butter at the store. Does anyone else find that term odd? I know it's the beef that's grass-fed, however the way it's written makes it sounds like the butter itself has eaten grass.  I know, I know... Who thinks of this? My brain... Welcome to it. I also haven't bought the actual Bulletproof brand of coffee yet. Guidelines say a "good" or "upgraded" coffee - whatever that is. That stuff is expensive and really, who's to know what constitutes "good" coffee. If someone would like to send me a bag of nearly $20 (per 12 ounce bag!) coffee, I'll me happy to try it. I'll even admit it if I'm proven wrong and the coffee does something that my preferred brand does not. I'll blog about the miracle that is the Bulletproof brand and how my measly grocery store brand doesn't come close to comparing. I buy pricey coffee as it is, however I don't think it's nearly that expensive! I'd have to do the math as far as the per k-cup price and ounces to see how it adds up, but I will do so if someone forces me to eat crow. Again, though; on your dime. I'm not at the point that I went to spend that much money on that little coffee - all magic and/or super powers aside.

Okay, NOW, that's it for the update on health and fitness. Life in general is going well. The holidays were a little rough bump, but got through the stress (remember both good and bad stress exists!) without much difficulty. Life as usual has resumed.

Now, to get back on track with H&C (Hammer and Chisel) and some cardio! My Dad replaced my treadmill motor so that's back up and running. Perhaps a little run is in order.  Today is not a regularly scheduled H&C day (it's actually my "off" day according to the plan), but I need to re-work my plan so I think I'm good for today. Plus my muscles haven't felt sore since Saturday, which I miss. Sometimes I crave it.  I mean, I feel like a marshmallow or some other such type of lumpy substance when  I'm not active. Not an enjoyable feeling.

Hope your holiday season has been amazing!!

XOXO

Friday, December 15, 2017

I HAD a Really Good Topic for a Post....HAD.

I was going to post a few days ago and honestly just didn't pick up my laptop to write. I was just kind of like "yeahhhh I don't feel like it."  I've been like that a lot lately. I think it could be stress building up. I'm also having trouble sleeping so then when I get home from work in the evening my motivation to do much of anything is super low.  It'd cold and dark and by the time I make and eat dinner, it's getting late. At that point, after a busy day, I just want to relax.  I've also been getting frequent headaches the last month or so. Those have been less than fun and I feel like doing absolutely nothing when I get one. Staring at my phone is awful because it's just too bright. 

So, anyway... I thought "oooooh I should post about that" and didn't. Now? I cannot for the life of me remember what I was going to post about. I suppose I'll just share an update until it strikes me. 

I am continuing to workout at least five days a week but I am for six.  I have been taking a weekend day off but sometimes I do seven days. Last week I only did five because I ended up being busy Saturday and Sunday was my Birthday and I wanted a day of complete relaxation. This week I'm on day four so tomorrow will be five; possibly six with Sunday included.  I should be working out those days because my Hammer and Chisel plan has me working out every day but Thursday. I usually do something different on Thursdays because I get involved in these Fitbit work week step challenges so I really want to get my steps. If I don't workout, I fall short. And if possible, I really want to win. There are some days that get super busy and when I'm busy at work... I'm on my butt most of the time.  There's not much time with back-to-back clients to get up and walk around for a bit.  Doing anything like squats or even walking in place would be far too distracting in a therapy setting.  If I were sleeping better, I could probably get up earlier and workout. However, there's the not getting enough sleep issue.  I've also never been a big morning person, but if I can sleep, I can get up and workout, even on days I may have to force myself.  It might be lighter cardio than normal but I can at least do something.

I've started taking Melatonin at bed time and the last couple nights that has seemed to help. Of course last night I had the headache so in addition to the Melatonin, I had Excedrine and Ibuprofen in my system.  The night before, though, I just took the Melatonin and slept well.  I even got up early to get my H&C workout done. Of course, I didn't have to be in to work quite as early as other days,  but I could've easily stayed in bed longer.  Now I'll have time to at least do some cardio at lunch so that I can get more steps in. I have a higher goal than normal today because I took yesterday off.  There were a few times this week that I had a "oh who cares" attitude but I did manage to reach my goal every day (except yesterday). I feel better today and am ready to tackle it so I get at least my 50,000 for the week (M-F). I won't win either of the groups I'm in and I'm okay with that. Honesty this week I've been struggling just to get motivated to do my regular, scheduled workout. I have noticed that if I don't get it in during the day time, I won't in the evening because I'm so tired.

I don't think that I'm a particularly depressed person, but I go through ups and downs like anyone.  I've noticed I'm having more trouble lately and I'm not quite sure why.  I wouldn't say I'm in a depression, but I'm a bit more emotional.  I have had some stressful things happen like anyone.  I wonder if a large part is that Buddy died this year, and now Belle is struggling with what appears to be similar to what he had happening.  I'm clearly struggling with the knowledge that she is going to decline.  I thought that the day had come last week when she fell and apparently could not get back up.  When my Dad stopped to pick up the boys and let her out, she was just laying on the kitchen floor.  She's still here and doing okay; she has her harder moments but so far she's managing.  I suppose that all of that stress can add up without realizing it.  I suppose it's just typical stress. 

I do wonder about a couple things that I may check into at my next doctor appointment. I have had some changes - with the head aches, not sleeping, not being at all motivated in the evening.... These mimic depression symptoms. Depression is, basically, chemicals in the brain... I was reading about my symptoms (started with motion sickness and migraines being linked) and what seems to be going on sounds like it could be that my serotonin levels are low.  Some other criteria fit and it can impact on weight.  I've lost a little, but got off track with my Birthday and really just got back on track the last couple days.  I guess I had an extended Birthday celebration! I wasn't horrible, but had some leftover treats and such - more than what I typically do. 

The other possibility is all stress. Stress is sometimes there and we don't even know it. And it can be good stress too.  I'm not running around a big ball of anxious, depressed awful stress. There are good things. There are sad things. There are average every day things that can be stressful that aren't either good or bad.  I wonder what my hormone levels are like, particularly cortisol. That's been linked to stress and stress-related issues, including weight.  I haven't gained recently but haven't lost much either. I am down a couple pounds this week, so I guess I'm moving in the right direction.  Now that I'm back on the right track, we'll see what the next week brings.

I'm out of time for now. I'll write again soon - hopefully something of more substance than just an update.

XOXO

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It's All About the Choices We Make

I woke up this morning, still in a less than fantastic mood. I definitely did not want to get out of my warm bed. Cuddling with my three little creatures would've been the better choice (in my mind).  I didn't have to get up so I decided we would just lay around.  Then I heard the familiar roar of the garbage truck rolling by. It took a moment before it really sunk in that I needed to get the garbage out, like now, if I wanted it to be picked up. I jumped out of bed, picked up both puppies and put them outside, and then went and helped Belle outside.  The poor little pups were probably half asleep when I sent them out to go potty.  I grabbed the bathroom trash and the kitchen trash, threw on a coat and some boots and ran out the back door.  I combated the puppies, who really wanted to slip out the gate to go off on some unsupervised adventure.  I got the garbage can to the curb just as the truck came rolling down my side of the street.  I grabbed yesterday's mail out of the mailbox and ran back to the house.  I was just convincing the dogs to stop jumping on the gate and move to let me into the yard when the truck rolled up in front of my house.  That is, most definitely, the closest I've come to nearly missing the garbage truck.  I've forgotten it before but today was close.  However, it was out in time and I got to cuddle with my three little loves.  And I needed that this morning.

I was up late last night; just couldn't fall asleep. Then when I did get to sleep, I didn't sleep well. In the little time I was asleep, I woke up at least three times.

**Apologize in advance for any typos I may not catch.  Apparently Rocky does not like me typing. Or he thinks that my fingers hitting the keys on this strange (and old) contraption is entertaining.  Anything to play! He keeps trying to jump on my lap and nip at them.**

Anyway, last night I didn't sleep well.  I think I was a bit overwhelmed with stress; what seemed like one thousand thoughts swirling around in my mind.  I was like the creeper dog Mom and just started at them, with an occasional little pat on their little rumps.  Belle probably got a bit more of the attentions and petting than the boys, but they were cuddle up snoring so I'm sure they had no idea; nor would they have cared. When I got up this morning, I was a bit agitated at having to get up so quickly.  Wednesday is always garbage day so I really don't know why I was so annoyed with the fact that it was happening. It was probably just my lingering not-so-good mood.

When I fired this ancient piece of equipment up last night, I discovered that I had left some pictures on it.  Most of what I found were from around 2011 or 2012.  I was freaking skinny.  I can honestly say that I didn't realize how good I looked. I looked healthy, but skinny (for me - not like a size zero or anything); especially compared to other points in my life. Present moment? Included. For sure. When I saw those pictures I could've fallen into a really bad mood.  Was I bummed? Yes. Am I still? Yes.  I think I was really able to look at those pictures as what they were though... Me, at least five years ago. Do I think I looked better then than now? Obviously. If not, I wouldn't be fighting in this continued battle.  I have been highly disappointed in myself. Highly. Like, super highly. SO much so that I've been kind of an ass to myself sometimes.  Negative self-talk never did anyone any good. I know this. I teach this. Positive self-talk (not in some inflated way) is essential.

This morning I didn't hate myself. I didn't beat myself up over how disappointed that I am that I gained some weight back. Do you know what I did notice though? It was about my body. It was just a neutral, random thought, which lead into more positive thoughts.  It actually helped set me up to be in a pretty good mood for the morning. In all honesty, that's worn off by this point in the evening. I'm a little crabby. I'm a little down but trying not to be down on myself.  I'm tired - that's the problem.

"Oh my gosh, my back is so sore!!"

That was the thought.  The completely average thought that helped me to change my mood from ("ugh I don't wanna get up!!" to "today's not going to be so bad." I realize that soreness is not something that typically puts people in a good mood. Depending on the situation and type of soreness (a little headache; chronic pain), it can put people in a really bad mood. Not me; not today.  What I realized is that my soreness is because I've been doing strength training again.  I'm hitting those muscles in different ways and I'm working them.  My first thought was "I must be doing something right!" The soreness reminded me of the fact that I'm working out and giving my body what it needs. This lead me to thinking about feeling good and feeling healthy.  As much as I groan about it, or curse the trainer in the midst of it, strength training is necessary and good for everyone!  My thoughts developed into positive self-talk/thoughts about myself; my progress; my strength.  They reminded me of good things about myself.

We all have choices.  We have choices every day. There are those that are easy and routine. There are those that are harder.  There are those that are a struggle. And there are those that are an absolute nightmare to have to make - especially when you know in your heart that they're the right choices, even if you don't want to make them. It's what we do with these choices and our thoughts surrounding them that matters.

This morning I could have very easily chosen to stay in my grumpy mood and not have acknowledged my (good) soreness.  I could've taken it in a bad way and felt like I'm not doing enough, training hard enough, or it could've helped me walk right back into that negative place. I could have compared what I looked like in the mirror this morning to pictures of me from five or six years ago. I could have allowed disappointment to set in, and I could've been in a terrible mood all day. I didn't though. I chose to look at all I've done and continue to do. I chose to love myself in spite of my own shortcomings. It's okay to have shortcomings. It's okay to feel down about them.  It can be a very fine line between  that and kids who are getting into things like that as a means to cope.

Thinking traps.  Google them. They're where we get stuck with our automatic thoughts.  They're not positive. They're not happy. They're negative thoughts about ourselves; about our abilities - or our perceived shortcomings. They can hold us back.  They can change us.  They can make us feel down and keep us down. We have the power to change our thoughts.  Sometimes it takes work. It can be hard. It's also worth it.

I could've had those pictures in mind, had an automatic thought, and got stuck in feeling badly because of those thoughts.  Instead of changing them; I'd have allowed them to grow. I'd have felt pretty horrible about myself.  As much as things in life can be hard or stressful, I shouldn't allow them to make me feel horrible or determine my happiness. It's up to me to make the choice to change these thought patterns and be kind to myself.

Nope. I am not looking at this as how much "better" I was back then.  I chose to accept it and focus on the positive about myself.  I was sore because my muscles are growing. I'm being kind to myself.

XOXO


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Failure.

Do you ever feel like a failure?

Most of us do, at least once in our lives. I've felt like I've failed at things before. I've failed at losing weight. I've failed at keeping weight off. Hmmm.... Although; I can say I've never failed to gain weight. I'm pretty sure I've failed a test. Math was always my nemesis. I'm sure I had to have failed a test at some point. Never a class. But a test? I can't say for certain, but I must have.  I've tried new things and I've felt like I've failed. Last night I followed a new recipe (although it wasn't really a recipe or all that new...) and I failed that, which really bothered me because I'm a really good cook. Usually.  Apparently the recipe I read that said 30 minutes at 425 degrees was meant for other stoves.  Not mine.  My lovely creation burnt.  Some might be salvageable if I eat around the burnt part, but that really takes away from the enjoyment of the meal. And I'm really trying to do that with things... Just be more mindful.  Apparently that helps with how much people eat. I'm pretty sure one veggie in my mouth and I'd have been super mindful of he fact that it tasted like a charred nightmare.  Seriously... WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY STOVE? All those colorful, gorgeous, healthy veggies.... Burned -- almost beyond recognition.

I don't feel like a failure at blogging which is interesting since I used to blog just about every damn day and my last blog post was roughly five months ago. But, nope, not feeling like a failure over that.  I think I've said more than once that I when my weight gain started, I got away from blogging. It's fun to blog when you are successful and feel great. It's harder when you're not. I mean, just look at Facebook. A lot of posts are bragging. Social media has made us (as a whole) more self-centered than ever. I honestly fear for our future... And it's not the fault of kids. They only know what they learn. Who's teaching them? Just think about that before you blame the younger generations.

ANYWAY... I have felt the pull to post a couple times but I haven't. I think I needed a big break and time for self-reflection. I needed to do some self-evaluation and self-discovery. I've had moments along the way, but honestly, I haven't done much of that until now. That's probably why I'm writing this. I've hidden the more vaulnerable things; the ugly truths. I realized, a few years ago now, that people were reading what I wrote and using it against me. I've posted about that and at that time I was angry about it. I am pretty sure I said I didn't care, but I think I did. Now, I can honestly say... I don't freaking care. I suppose that enough time has passed that I feel like if any of those people are still concerned with me, they've got bigger problems in life than I do. I'm past it. And you know what? There's always going to be someone who has something to say. I guess it was the using it to hurt me part that really bothered me. And hurt. Clearly.  I suppose they accomplished their mission. I suppose they must have had a really good laugh at my expense, and hopefully that laughter and negativity gave them the release they needed and made them feel better.  Oh my gosh -- I gained weight!! HILARIOUS!!

I guess?

The last year and (almost) four months has been hard. My Papa died August 19, 2016. That was hard. I've lost Grandparents before but this experience was different. I was younger when each of my Dad's parents died.  I hadn't had years of experience working with older people. When they died, hadn't yet been there with people, telling them that it's okay to let go.  Fast-forward several years, to a living room, with a family gathered around a hospital bed.  My Mom and Dad, Grandma, Uncle and Aunt, and me... Actually my Aunt and I were outside when my boyfriend came out and said "they need you to get in there; they think he's dying."  My Aunt and I moved so fast we nearly flew to his bedside.  He seemed to be choking.  He was awake and alert.  He struggled to breathe. Out of my mouth came words that I'd said, more than once, during my career; "it's okay to go." This time it was more personal. I remember saying "We love you Papa. It's okay to go. We'll take care of Nonie." It wasn't said so much as it was sobbed through tears.

For a while I had some guilt.  Guilt over my sweet Grandpa, who had been declining, dying.  It's a natural process. It absolutely sucks. I'm not good at death. That has been clear to me.  Shoot, that was clear to me last Christmas when I opened a gift and burst into tears. It was a sweet gift from the heart. It was a decorative pillow with a photo of my Grandparents and I on it. Honestly my reaction surprised even me. I was definitely bummed about Christmas but I didn't think I'd have that reaction.

But.  Back to my guilt.  Why did I feel guilty over something that was happening in front of me? Something that I didn't have anything to do with? At the time, I thought I did. Even though I knew what was happening, I thought it was my fault that he died when he did. I don't think I've shared that with anyone. And now, it sounds kind of silly.  Papa was restless and we (my Mom and I) were talking about his Ativan.  I said "just give him the Ativan; that's what it's there for."  This was a sublingual medication, meaning it just goes under the tongue and dissolves. It doesn't require chewing or swallowing.  I think he must've tried swallowing it and my Mom gave him a little water.  It was during that time that he started to choke. I felt like it was my fault because I said to give him the Ativan.  I thought that had I not said that, maybe that wouldn't have been the time he died.  Looking back in a rational frame of mind, I realize that it was not my fault.  I also remembered that when he did take his last breath he wasn't choking.  He wasn't restless.  He was alert. I looked him in the eye when I told him he could go.  One thing I'll never forget is that just before he closed his eyes, I saw a tear roll down his cheek. And then he closed his eyes and left this life behind.

I believe a lot in signs and symbols; whether they're just a comfort or the stories behind them are true. I believe in them. Maybe they're just stories to make us feel better. Maybe I've just noticed since he died, but I've seen a lot of cardinals in the last year and four months.  I'm pretty sure the same one, sometimes two (I'm pretty sure that's his buddy Father Toolis with him). Every time I see him, I call him Papa.  We never "get over" people. We get through death; as time goes on we begin to adjust to our new normal (and that can be a long process that some never truly adjust to).

And then came February and the scary experience with Buddy when I was in Florida for the Princess Half.  I briefly mentioned that in my previous post, but didn't go into much detail.  After an unexpected medical emergency (a tumor on the spleen which then ruptured - and more than one surgery due to complications), Buddy was on the mend. He was full of life and he was even running around playing like a young man again. Then May happened and I lost him. Quickly.

It was a Wednesday that it started. He was having trouble getting around; was falling a little and just seemed a little weak.  This was pretty standard for him after his arthritis diagnosis the summer prior. I did what I usually did and gave him a pill, thinking that he'd feel better.  He didn't. In fact as the day went on he seemed to have a little more trouble.  I may have even given him a second pill later that day. I can't quite remember.   In he evening, I noticed him falling more. He laid on the ground with his front legs stiff, straight out in front of him.

When we got up in the morning, he needed some help getting up. He would walk a couple feet and then take a header into the ground. His little legs just did not want to work. The front legs were stiff and seemed paralyzed; he didn't seem to have that connection between his brain and legs.  He fell another time and just couldn't do it; he couldn't get up and couldn't walk. I picked him up.  I carried him in and out of the house and car that day.  I called the vet as soon as they opened and said that his arthritis seemed to be really bad even though he had medication.  I took the first opening they had and cancelled my clients at work.  My Mom came over and helped me get him into the car and take him to the vet.  My Dad was leaving a dentist appointment as we were on our way there, and pulled out right behind us.  He followed us to the vet and carried Buddy in for me. There are two vets in the office we go to and we see both of them.  The doctor who cared for him throughout the surgery in February saw him and asked, "what's wrong with Buddy?" and he genuinely looked concerned.  My Dad later told us that he'd seen him at the store a week before and he asked about Buddy. My Dad told him how well he was doing. We were asked to leave him for a couple hours for some testing. So we did.  Talk about nerve-wracking. Also, Buddy has never enjoyed being left at the vet so I apologize to anyone who's ever encountered his crying.  He was so bad as a puppy that after he was neutered, I was called and asked to pick him up early because he wouldn't stop crying no matter what they tried.  That was always him - really good at crying when he wanted something.

I got a call that afternoon that we could come
pick him up. The doctor said that they did x-rays and nothing showed like it did when he had the arthritis flare up (which also effected his back legs not his front). He was given a med there and I was given two more tabs to take home. This medication was strong enough that by the time he had three doses progress would be evident. If there was no change, it would be time to make a decision on his care.  One was that we could’ve taken him for an MRI. A brain or spine tumor was suspected since he had already had the episode with the tumor in the spleen. 

The next day came and there was no change. I spent all day on the floor with him. I got him his favorite treats; a donut, a Happy Meal. He could no longer hold himself up so I held his bowl up to him. I tried to do the same with water but also used a medicine dropper to give him water. Most of this started the night before. We all spent the night in the living room. I had a garbage bag over his bed, a blanket over there, and puppy pads over the blanket. He cried to go out but I encouraged him to go potty where he was. And he did. I had warm soapy water and warm water in bowls. I gave him sponge baths after he peed.

He was alert and pain free. But he was paralyzed. Had I chosen the MRI, I’d have had to continue the same method of care at least until then. He didn’t have a good quality of life. I had to let my baby go. With no change, we went to the vet knowing that we would have to say goodbye. Looking into his eyes, telling him I loved him (through sobs), and saying good bye was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 

I’ve questioned myself since then. What if I had done the MRI? What if it wasn’t a tumor? What if it could’ve been treated? Had I made the wrong decision? Had I failed as a dog Mom? 

I still struggle with that. 

Belle has been showing those same signs. Several months ago she started a med and the vet said it’s something neurological. I don’t know if the med does a lot of good but until recently it seemed to help. She fell and couldn’t get up yesterday. It took her about 10-15 minutes to recover. My Dad was watching her and called me. I called the vet. He said that it could be a slipped disc. It could be something in the brain or spine. She falls and needs help getting up. She stumbles and trips. The young boys knock her down (crazy puppies, I tell ya!). 

I don’t have a lot of hope. I’ve read up on it and it sounds like what Buddy had. If it is, the only confirmation is via autopsy. Here I am six months later, watching her decline. I’ve not fully worked through my grief from Buddy. I can’t handle this. My Birthday is coming up and I pray that’s not the day. Or Christmas.

I’m stressed (some other things too but that’s the main one which I think makes everything else seem worse). And I’m depressed. I’ve been depressed since I lost Buddy. It was 9 months to the day since we had lost Papa. 

My weight loss slowed.  Then stalled. Then I gained a little back. I’ve been losing again and have been working harder. Well until yesterday happened. I haven’t binged but I’ve done some emotional eating. And I do not care. Zero. I
Just want to stay home with my girl. All the time. I don’t but inside I want to. Work is good. It’s an escape. 

I’m scared. I know what’s coming and I want to enjoy every moment I can with her. Or sit on the couch and cry. I cry every time she falls. I want to enjoy her but my God it’s hard. It is SO damn hard. All I feel at this moment is sadness and fear. Maybe a little agitation. I actually yelled at the puppies (Wrigley and Rocky) for accidentally knocking her down. And then I cried about that. 

I’m still deep in my grief from Buddy and now I’m (prematurely) grieving her. She’s right beside me now but I can’t stop being sad about what’s coming. Then come the questions. Have I done enough for her? Could I be doing more? Did I see the signs early enough? Did I act fast enough? Did I get her to the vet when I should have? What do I do know? Should I try the MRI with her? Have I failed her? Have I failed as a dog Mom? Again? 

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. I can see signs of depression, obviously related to grief. Then I think of people with other things happening. A Father lost a son last night. A little girl lost her Daddy last week. Are my stressors really that bad? I feel guilty for hurting when others are hurting too; maybe more. It’s all different hurt but it’s also very similar. While situations are different, each heart is hurting; maybe broken. Some
people view dogs as “just a dog.” I see souls
of the sweetest living beings. I see unconditional love in their eyes. I see innocent creatures who need to be cared for. I feel love; real, true love. I couldn’t love them more. 

These dogs are my babies. My heart hurts. 

XOXO

Thursday, July 20, 2017

It's Not That I Love Food That's the Problem. It's That I Hate It.

That was my realization last night. People are so judgmental. I was talking about how people tend to look at others and make assumptions. Like someone making a comment about the only running I do (did; this was a while ago) is through the McDonald's drive through. I know, not as clever as I'm sure said person thought it was. And certainly not funny. At all. The funny part is that the person who said it could've easily been looking in the mirror. Yes, I laugh at that now. No, I wouldn't say that to anyone. Just making a point... Pot. Kettle. You know.

I've gained weight back. I'm working to lose it. And have lost some. I can see the changes. I still have work to do. I've plateaued. As anyone who's plateaued knows, it's a struggled. I feel stuck. It was s much easier the first time. It's time to re-evaluate and make new changes.

Some people probably look at me and think that I love food. I don't. I hate it. And that really is the problem. I eat it but the relationship I have with it isn't one that's healthy. And even when I was at my smallest, it still wasn't the healthiest. I don't know that I'll ever have a truly healthy relationship with food. But I can make the one I have with it one that is better. I've used it emotionally. I've tried to avoid it. I have viewed it as bad; as something destructive. For me, it has been. Frequently.  It doesn't have to be.

I have decided to make new changes. I've been trying to figure out what it was that made me so much more successful (and my loss faster) last time. A friend is going through the same struggle. In fkact our stories are quite similar. We are both searching for answers to the same question. What's different now? Is it that we both blogged more in the past? Is it that we were so active on Spark People? Did this keep us accountable?  She's had a baby. I got a new boyfriend. Are these factors

























bigger than we realize.

I can say that it was much easier when I was alone the majority of the time. With a boyfriend who lived far away, being single, or not in the same town as others, I had it easy. I didn't have to worry about anyone else. It wasn't as easy to meet up for dinner. I could eat what I wanted without worrying about whether someone else would eat it. I didn't have to worry about bad food being around as often. But I started my gain before I moved. New boyfriend, yes. But did just the weekends make THAT much of a difference? It seemed slow but it creeped up. And up. And up.

Clearly I do better when I can be more selfish. I prefer to eat how I want to.  I don't want to think about anyone else. The good news is that my boyfriend is on board. We have a healthier mindset and attitude. He's working on his health too. He's made positive changes; improvements. He's lost almost 20 lbs. He cares about himself and his future in a different way than he had in the past. We are a work in progress but we are healthier.

I know there are some changes he won't make to the same extent as I do. But this is new for him. He's in a different place. I'm going plant based most of the time. I'm working with him to replace red meat with chicken or fish twice a week. I'm teaching him about moderation and changing his thinking. No one is taking anything away or saying "you can't eat that." It's about decreasing and replacing. He can still have pizza or a burger sometimes. He's just not having that type of diet every day. I may eat fish once a week or fish and chicken once a week (each) but I'm eating plant based the rest of the time. A red meat treat will be infrequent. Very infrequent. Rarely.

I realized that when I was losing last time, I wasn't eating red meat or much dairy.  I ate turkey, .chicken, and fish. One once daily, usually. I might have cottage cheese or yogurt once a day several days a week. I wasn't following a plant-based diet but probably followed it 80/20. I aimed for healthy 80/20. Clean 80/20. Now it'll be plant-based 80/20. At least. Unhealthy stuff would make it 80/15/5. Or something. I'd like to say I won't eat any junk but that's not realistic for me. When food and I are getting along, I enjoy a treat now and then.

I need to do better with meal planning and prep. I do better when I do. I may change my tracking and accountability because I feel like that could have a role in this. Maybe I need the social aspect in order to have (better) success. I can work harder. Not in terms of working out. I'm good at that. I love that. But in other ways I can do better.

With that, I'm off to do some work.... My book, my journal, and then an evening walk with the pup. Yes, THE pup. We lost our Buddy in May.

Oh yes....And THAT.  All of the stress that started in February didn't help matters. First Buddy. Then my boyfriend's Grandma (more than once). Then... I don't even know what else. It was rough. Then when hugs settled a little and seemed better... Buddy had another sudden problem and within a few days we had to say goodbye. It was two months yesterday. It's been hard. We miss him like crazy.

Okay.... Now off to my work.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BED Rears its Ugly Head

There are many disease I hate and wish didn't exist.  There are those that we see all the time and that steal loved ones from us way too early. Like cancer.  There are those that cause young, healthy people to physically deteriorate over time, sometimes stealing their physical abilities before they've hit middle age.  There are those that effect children. Their precious lives are shortened drastically. They have different abilities that sometimes make life a struggle. There are diseases that limit people mentally. There are disease that make people feel like prisoners in their own minds.   There are diseases we can see and others that we don't see. Diseases are horrible. Researchers work tirelessly to find treatments and hopefully cures.

BED (Binge Eating Disorder) is one of those "hidden" diseases.The exact cause is unknown, but believed to be one or a combination of things such as genetics, changes in brain chemicals, depression or other emotional issues, and/or unhealthy dieting. No one knows exactly why they get this disease and once it comes on, it doesn't seem to go away.  There are medications to help treat the symptoms but much like other similar "disorders" it's a fight to stay in recovery. Learning triggers and ways to prevent binges is a key.  I've worked through it before and had a lot of success losing weight; nearly 200 pounds at one point, settling at a comfortable 170-175 pounds lost at one point in time.

A few years ago, when I changed jobs, I didn't have insurance for a bit and stopped taking the medication that helped me.  Combine that with having a new boyfriend (about four years ago) and I gained quite a bit of weight back.  I allowed his bad eating habits into my life on the weekends, which slowly creeped into weekdays.  Then I moved and with greater access, it was easy to just "give in." I recognized it again, finally, just over a year ago and went to the doctor. I've lost about 45 pounds. And I've stalled.  I can't seem to lose anymore. I haven't been able to figure out why.

Until yesterday when I was talking with someone else who struggles.  I'd been ignoring binges that had started to occur. Sure, I've had better control in the last year but without owning up to some of the symptoms of my binges, I've been lying to everyone, including myself. I guess I just blocked out those things... My trigger hasn't been emotional like it used to be.  Well, I guess boredom is an emotion, so I guess somewhat. I continue to work out and eat mostly healthy but those times that boredom sets in and I can't find myself satisfied, binges occur.  I've also find that trying to restrict myself leads to me feeling angry, which results in a binge.

Thinking of the past is also a trigger. I get so pissed off when I see how skinny I was (and still didn't think I was) in 2012.  My thoughts of comparing myself now to then has been a trigger. I've gotten upset with myself and binged. I was ignoring them so I'm not exactly sure of when or what happened, but I know that binges did happen.

Recently I've been doing a cleanse to detox.  This cleanse cuts out a lot of foods, which is hard.  After a week, I allowed myself one real meal.  I acknowledged it and moved on. Back to the cleanse the next day (yesterday). Then last night I did it again. Then I saw someone with an unhealthy food that I, in all honesty, don't even like.  And I wanted it.  I didn't get it but when I went to the store to get healthy groceries, I gave in and bought it. Then ate it after I got home. Which made me feel bad. Then I said "screw it" and ate nearly an entire bag of Skinny Pop popcorn.  The big bag.  I felt all the classical emotions after. And I felt physically ill. My stomach hurt. I binged.  I ate way more than necessary, or normal, in a short period of time.  I guess I was getting tired of the cleanse and that's all it took. The "I can't have that" mentality got to me and it triggered me. I noticed myself getting annoyed with my boyfriend when he'd say "oh yeah, you can't have that." I'd tell him,"No. I am CHOOSING not to have that." And everyone assuming the detox is for weight loss. While that is a (short-term) effect, that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it to get all of the disgusting toxins out of my body and to help get me back into clean (super clean!!) eating again. The binge made me realize that, maybe two weeks is too long for me. I was doing well until week two started. Maybe a week detox is a better option.  Too weeks is, apparently, a trigger. As is allowing others' words to creep into my own thoughts.

Today, I am back into the detox with a somewhat different mindset, but also still very angry with myself. I'm really working to journal it out and move on. What's done is done. All I can do is be honest and get back on track.

So, that's what's new with me...

Today is a new day.

XOXO

Monday, April 3, 2017

Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon Race Report

The Run the Bluegrass half was one of the races on my race bucket list. It's slogan is "America's Prettiest Half Marathon," and that slogan is not a lie.  It was SO beautiful!!! The race was in Lexington, KY at Keeneland (horse racing!). My Aunt, Uncle, one of my cousins and his fiancee live there, so my Mom and I turned it into a long weekend trip, which was fabulous on its own! Family time is always precious and the race was just one of the highlights.  It was the first race that my Mom saw me finish (she and my Dad were too busy talking during my first half and missed me coming in - I will never let them forget that). And my Aunt was there to see me finish too. They waited in the cold, layered in clothes, gloves, and equipped with hand and foot warmers just so that they could see me finish. That meant so much to me. 

Some of the course was on Keeneland property but the majority of it was on country roads by some gorgeous horse farms.  At one farm, some horses (who looked to be a bit young yet) followed us! It was SO cute!! They saw the group coming and started galloping right along side us.  They looked like they were having such a fun time.  We saw lots of horses out, but even just the views of the hills and fields was something spectacular. If you can appreciate the calm beauty of nature, you must do this race!

You may also want to appreciate, or at least accept, hills. Kentucky is hilly. There are some hills that aren't so bad and a couple (especially one) that are freakin' hard. It's definitely one of those "gently rolling hills" types of races. But the views make it all worth it. As the soreness fades from my legs I can only remember a few of the hills... The rest are kind of a blur.

I took my pace a little slower than normal; or tried to. I knew that there would be lots of hills and I'd done some short incline workouts, but no long runs. This was one of those races that made me feel recharged as far as my love for running. It felt so good. For most of the early hills, I just slowed my pace going up, and let my legs fly as fast as they wanted on the way down (within reason because I didn't want to fall and log roll down a hill, so I did engage the quads to slow myself down a little bit). The weather was, in my opinion, perfect for running. That morning was chilly; in the 40s and cloudy. That's huge for me because the sun can play a HUGE factor in how well I perform in a race. Damn fair skin. Other than hydration stops, I think I only walked part of one hill early in the race. Then, just before half way, the hills seemed to grow.  It was around mile six that I went "okay, now this is serious." We were up and right back down; then right back up.  This continued with few flat spots.  Because I took the pace a little slower, I reached the half way point a bit behind my usual pace, which I expected. Actually I thought I'd have a super hard time and planned to take the entire time allowed to finish (I did not).  Anyway, so that continued. And then just before mile nine there was a nice turn and downhill that almost flattened out for a short distance.  Then as I crested the top of that next small hill, I saw that going down was a lot bigger.... And going up looked steep.  

It was mile nine.  Ask anyone and they'll tell you that the mile nine hill (for the half; I believe it's mile four-ish (?) for the seven miler) is the beast.  Seriously, it's the Mother of all hills.  Mile nine is also Meg's Mile.  If you aren't aware, Meg Menzies, was out for a run with her husband one morning and was hit and killed by some idiot drunk driver. After her death, Meg's Miles (also look at it - Meg Smiles) was born. Meg's husband Scott has been very active in honoring Meg and keeping her memory alive. There was a poster with Meg's smiling face on it that said "Meg's Mile." I heard Meg's story when it happened and have often thought of her on runs (#run4Meg is very popular in social media too). I looked her picture and felt emotional for a second. Then I thought, "okay Meg, help me out here.  I have you and Mav on my mind." And Ed (that Dad of two of my good friends who passed away the night before) was on my mind too. I jogged, slowly, up part of that hill, and then I walked a bit.  I got to the top and jogged again. Correction: I got to what I thought was the top.  You see after that curve, the hill actually kept going and curved, and then it curved again before it was done. I swear that thing seemed like mile ten should've been waiting at the end. In reality, mile ten was at least half a mile away. 

So, mile nine came and mile nine went.  Didn't die. Was super tired for a bit and mostly walked to mile ten. I did have a few short jog intervals in there but I walked too. I did the same until I saw mile 11 approaching. Mile 11 is the beer mile.  As we came into mile 11, the aid station was set up with water and Sword on one side and beer on the other.  It was a small amount of beer. I've never accepted the beer during a race before. This time? I drank that little cup with pride. I don't know if it was the beer, the super fun guy at the aid station, having backed off for two miles, or something else but suddenly I felt better.  By this time I'd long past the point of wondering "do I still have legs?" I mean, I know that they didn't fall off but I couldn't actually feel them. It was like they'd gone numb. But they weren't numb.  It's odd to explain but I just trusted them and went with it.  I started to run again; actually run not just jog at a slower than normal pace (I was naturally slowing down some but not as much as between nine and 11. I still included some walk intervals because I was getting tired, but then I'd have a sudden burst where I was like "I love life!" and I'd run again. I guess those last two miles were all over the place. I jogged slower, I was on pace, I walked a bit. But they were all over the place in a good way. Most blogs I'd read said that people gave up on even attempting a PR early on. I was aiming to finish in less than what I expected. And? I did. And? I finished strong. I turned the corner and saw about 1/4 mile before the next little turn into the finish straight away... We were hidden behind a building so I even continued my slower pace in there. Then I saw the finish and I picked up the pace a little. And then I freakin' sprinted and silently cursed out some people who I was sure were going to ruin my finish line pic and I'm proud of that finish. Damn proud, actually. I don't think I've actually hit a hard sprint into the finish of any of my half marathons. I've ran through them but sometimes it was a very slow jog. This one was different.

I was nervous about this race and all of it's hills; which I'm sure are actually gently rolling if you're not running up them. The course was described as "technical." I was afraid something bad would happen and I wouldn't finish. I thought "soooo do they sweep people in this race?" I even thought of changing to the seven miler (until I thought of the medal and the accomplishment and how very badly I wanted both). In all honesty, even though it wasn't my fastest, it felt like one of the best. Maybe the best. My finish was actually right in the middle of my other four races. Most importantly I had that awesome, freeing feeling while I was running. I felt like I was flying going down some of those hills. The time passed and in the few moments of "what am I doing" that I had, giving up wasn't an option. I kept looking at my watch thinking "I'm not doing too bad." I was passing people even toward the end (even into the finish!). My legs are still a little sore today and that race was hard, but I feel great. What's really great is that I would've PR'd that day if it had been a flat course. Probably by a lot, because those flat spots felt amazing to me; even the early hills didn't feel bad. 

This race definitely made me feel something I don't think I've felt since completing my first half.  I felt emotions and I felt such a huge sense of pride in that accomplishment. I think it was all those hills.

And to give credit to the hills; I now plan to continue to do short incline interval runs at least once or twice a week. Given the level of soreness in my legs and glutes, that will be a great way to work on some awesome leg muscles and to lift and firm the booty. 

Run the Bluegrass wasn't just a race that I crossed of my bucket list or a race in another state (but yay for state four!)... It was a race that showed me that I can continue to make progress and overcome whatever challenges are thrown at me. It reminded me that I'm strong and can accomplish the goals that I set for myself.  RTB made me experience running in a way I haven't in a while. I felt the love. And now I want to go murder some more hills!!!

XOXO

Princess Half Marathon Race Report

This is a little over a month overdue, but better late than never!!

I did my second PHM at the end of February. It was a nice, but too quick, little trip to Florida.  The weather was perfect! I got some sun, had some fun, and ran. There were a couple stressful calls from home so there were moments that things weren't so amazing but everything is looking up for those who were involved in those situations.  There were almost a couple deaths and that began a very rocky month for the two of them.

So the trip itself was wonderful. Disney is always an amazing experience. And, I think I fell even more in love (if that's even possible) this trip! I managed to do the Four Parks, One Day challenge and it was... Exhausting! I slept very well that night!! I'm already contemplating my 2018 trip. I really want to do the Glass Slipper Challenge (GSC), so if I were to plan correctly and register immediately, I might make it in for next year.  There are a limited number of participants and it sells out quickly. the GSC is 19.3 miles; the 10K and the PHM.  I'd like to be there for the 10th Anniversary of PHM but I also want to branch out and experience a different race (Wine and Dine Half) as well as a different time of year to visit. I'm sure it's pretty much the same in November as it is February.

I got up early the morning of the race and did my morning race routine. I dressed as Belle this time (which was planned before I knew she'd be the featured princess, so that made me even more excited!). Belle is my favorite princess (one of my dogs is named after her), so it was only natural that I dress as her. I'm surprised I hadn't done so until now! Other Disney Princesses I've dressed as (for races) are Cinderella; PHM, Aurora PHM Weekend 5K; Ariel Halloween 5K; and now Belle for this year's PHM. I was on a bus before the cut off, but the line was SO long, I was cutting it a little close. Last time I did PHM I took a later bus and got right on. It was a different resort though, so Pop must've been more popular for runners. I was there early enough to check my bag and eat my little breakfast. I had forgotten about the little walk before the race corrals. I think I had a 5K in just from walking around all morning.  I was in my corral in time to do some stretching and just to get in the zone.

The race went really well. I didn't really pressure myself for time this time because I knew what to expect. With roughly 28,000 runners there are spots where it gets crowded and bottle necked. I just ran... I didn't pay much attention to my Fitbit and honestly don't even remember my exact finish time. After the sun came out I stopped at every aid station that offered sun block because I'm sure I was sweating mine on. And there were several hours between when I put it on and when the sun came up! I even stopped to stretch and get some biofreeze.  I was really laid back with the race and just wanted to enjoy it. I had my typical problem of slowing down with the sun beating on me and the temperature heating up quickly (it was actually pretty cold before the race and at the start!). So, sunblock and good hydration it was.  It definitely wasn't the worst race I've ever done (time or how I felt), but I also took my time. I did have a couple moments of "okay, I'm over this!" but that's because I was getting so dang hot and hadn't applied sunblock. I also wasn't quite a fan of their sunblock.... It was just sitting there to grab at will. And it was a spray.  I wish I'd had someone to spray me because I think I would've had better coverage and wouldn't have had to get so much. Also, it did not appear to be a sport sunblock which I prefer because it handles sweat.  That's a very mild complaint; not even a complaint, really.

It was a great race, I felt pretty good after, and had a fun time! I attempted to drink around the World again after the race.  I didn't do so well (again) however I did better than last time.  I split a couple drinks just so I could say I had something in those countries, but I got too full too fast. I really think that people who drink around the world are either a big ol' mess or have a strategy in place... My strategy would be to devote an entire day to Epcot and that purpose. I think that people must start in the morning and stay all day; or start early and take a mid-day break (and nap!) then go back to finish.  Or maybe they divide it over a couple days or evenings. I think I'd do better going a couple different evenings when it's not as hot. We were there for several hours and I think I made it 1/4 of the way this time; well between 1/4 and a 1/2.  Had I attempted the whole dang thing, I'd have been sick. It is not an easy feat... Next time I'll have a plan and will accomplish it!

Once again RunDisney put on an awesome race and I had tons of fun!!!

XOXO


Two Months and a Little Extra

So far behind; yet again!

I'm not even going to do much of an update... Life is good! Still working out, still mostly eating healthy. Love me some yoga, spin, and running. I'm not doing as much with weights but am finding a way to work that into my routine again. After seeing a pic of the back of my shoulder, it makes me want to lift again. That muscle looked ah-mazing in the picture!

I have two race reports to write so I'll focus more on those. And, as usual, I'll try to post more. I'd like to... As always... Siiiigh. So little time.

XOXO

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Just an Update!

Weight loss continues, slowly. Still more slowly than I desire. I wasn't happy with my rate of loss over the last three months. My weight is down, but for the majority of that time it bounced around between the same five pounds and had basically stabilized. I'm having a hard time getting past "last time" and how much faster it was.  Fresh perspective is hard to gain when you know how something progressed so easily once before. That was in 2009. I'm just a little older now.

I was adding more exercise and this week I was forced to back off (the dreaded "crud" found me). Guess what.... It hasn't been detrimental. Weight is stable. I think maybe I've been pushing a bit too hard. I am really trying to back off on doing so much exercise.  On the days I do spin and yoga, I do not need to run.  On run days, I don't need to spin too.  I've been working to add weights/strength training into the mix for at least 30 minutes a day and I'm finding that it's hard and stressful.  Spin and yoga alone are almost two hours; that's the time period I'm gone, but spin is about 45 minutes. Then it's off to work and on lunch I've been running (well, mostly walking this week, since you know...breathing...). I'm finding that leaves me short on time as far as getting weights in. And by the time I get home at night, I'm tired and honestly, I just don't want to. So, I could get up a little earlier and get something done before everything else.  That would probably be the easier option. That will require going to bed earlier... That's pretty much something I constantly need to work to improve.

 I'm thinking of cutting out the serious strength training and doing some body weight training. These random half hour periods I have between clients are used for various this (like this). I can easily do some body weight squats, lunges, and whatever else during those down times. I also don't have to go to my basement gym to use my big, heavy weights, so they're a lot easier to do during the couple hours of relaxation I have at night.  I didn't lift heavy the first time I lost weight and it's okay if I don't now. The important thing is that I'm moving. I like gaining muscle and I've noticed that I look different at my current weight than last time I was here, but I'm getting stressed trying to get it in, which isn't good.  Or maybe I'll cut down a couple days. If I strength train a couple days a week it's okay.  I'm not going to be making any huge muscle gains but I'm also going to maintain my strength and what I have now.  I'm kind of at the point where I'm thinking "fat loss now, muscle gains later." I'll still do strength training because it helps, but I'm not going to exhaust myself or worry because I have it scheduled and don't get to it.

I'm too uptight. I need to learn that it's okay to not have to do things in a certain way.  I have to make it fun again. I have to enjoy it, not feel like it's just something I have to do.  I still like working out but the love I had for it just doesn't have that same spark. I'm probably doing more harm than good with all the exercise I've been doing. Most days my caloric intake is 1200-1500 (on a higher day). I can burn up to 1600 (that's based on however myfitnesspal figures it).

I've been all over the place diet-wise, trying various things and realizing that it doesn't matter what I'm doing, my weight isn't budging. Clearly I need to revise it.  I generally eat healthy. I have treats sometimes but the amount of treats shouldn't be preventing weight loss.  I'm thinking maybe it's the quality. That's one of the problems I had with a certain weight loss plan/company. Eat whatever you want, just stay within this range. That's not okay. I think I can clean up my eating even more and maybe that will help my body. It's time to re-visit my old logs to see where exactly I was at in terms of macros, calories, etc. I don't eat horribly now but obviously there is some room for improvement. I was eating "sort of" low carb but not following any specific plan exactly. I was still allowing for some good carbs but cut down a lot. I was eating  more treats like hard boiled eggs, cheese, and little meat snacks.  You know what? That's not good either. It's just a quick fix. And I know that. It's also really not a good plan for, ohhhh your heart. Sometimes high protein comes with high fat. Red meat could be a factor for me. It's fatty. I buy the extra lean ground beef and lean cuts of whatever else, but the little meat trays at the store...Not so lean. I can allow those now and then but I think that I've had too much of that.

In reading about various "diets" I think that what I used to do looks very much like the Mediterranean Diet.  I'm going to refer to that as a Mediterranean style of eating because I don't diet/do diets. When I refer to my diet, it's my dietary intake. Not some fad or quick fix that does not really work in the long run.  Also? Wine.  If you follow the actual Mediterranean Diet it allows for wine. But it says a glass of red wine. I'm more of a white drinker. Wonder if that counts. By the way, I don't drink very often so that's kind of a funny thought and fitting alcohol into my diet isn't a concern for me. Honestly, I'm not sure when I last had an adult beverage. It must have been New Year's Eve when I had two light beers.

I suppose that's about it... I continue to plan ahead for workouts and fit them in with my work schedule. It seems to be working out pretty well doing that.  It also gives me a tendency to get a little stressed if the day doesn't go as planned and I don't get something done that's scheduled, so I'm trying to just let some of that go and roll with it. I don't need to exercise for two hours a day. If I miss something, I'll be okay.  Sometimes being too rigid can cause difficulty.

Hope life finds you well!

XOXO




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Angel Card Got Me Again.

Yoga has become a huge part of my life.  I love everything about it. I love the physical work, because....Exercise. I have also noticed some changes in my body since I started yoga. I'm stronger. I'm more flexible. Some of the poses are easier (which should happen after two months of consistency).  Some poses, I'm still working on (looking at you crow - I got up and stayed up for like three seconds once; didn't immediately come down. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN SO JUST COOPERATE WITH ME!).  I leave class feeling refreshed and at peace. I wish my schedule allowed for me to go every day. I can usually work it so that I can make it to class three times a week, plus choreoyoga on the weekend (which is just FUN!). This is the first class (admittedly though, I haven't taken many) that I've looked forward to. I get annoyed if I have something come up and I have to miss a class. I enjoy my spin class too but yoga ranks right up there with running in my little bubble.

The thing with yoga is that it really does become part of a lifestyle. It can release so much from the body that a person can feel different (better?) mentally too. When you feel better/different, you start to see things around you differently too. Yoga is about self-care as well as how you behave toward others. When you feel better, you're more likely to treat others (and yourself!) better. I've never had much of a problem with the treating others well thing. Sure, there have been people who I've allowed to "get to me" at times and I reacted. I never used to be good at standing up for myself. Once I found my voice, the fighting spirit within me was like "helllloooo there!" In terms of reactions, if someone was mean to me, I wasn't going to let them get away with that and in doing so, I was mean to them too. Over time (this was even pre-yoga), I realized that the mean things people said, which typically were exaggerated, didn't really matter.  In the end, it comes down to... Why would they treat me that way?

When people are asshats to you, there's a reason. You did something they don't like. You have something they want. They struggle with their own feelings so your success or celebration brought out their anger. Jealousy. Greed. Lots of things can cause people to be jerks. That kid who is mean to everyone? He's probably struggling with something - home life, self-esteem... None of which is a reason to be a bully, but there's something behind it. Unless that kid wants to be mean for no good reason, which is another type of problem.

Generally when I've been an asshat it's been in response to someone else's high level asshat behavior. Or because I've been standing up for others. Or because someone needed to be called out on whatever was happening. I mean, communication... If you don't tell someone what is bothering you and discuss it, it festers and turns ugly. I guess I've not been a total asshat with that type of thing. People hate criticism and usually the response to it is negative. So, maybe that wasn't as much me as it was a reaction turning it into more. Or maybe I was mean about it. Could be either.

I was getting better at the whole "letting go" concept prior to yoga. I was working hard to stay positive and be happy that issues were no longer issues. I decided that people who really truly know me, know me.  They know the positive as well as the negative (because we ALL have negative). The people who know me take time to understand me, to talk, and to listen. People who really know me will ask if they hear something. They'll want my part of the story. People say that there are three parts to every story: yours, theirs, and the truth.  I hate that concept. Sure, sometimes things are exaggerated but just tell the truth. We avoid the truth because we don't like to look bad, we don't want to admit to our "faults" and we want everyone else to just love us without question. Here's the thing - the people who love you will love you without question despite your faults. I've become pretty good at saying "I did this..." or "you know, I said this and it probably wasn't so great." People, it is okay to admit to your own problems. The more you hide them, the more people start to realize it.

Yoga has brought all of that out even more, but in a different way. I'm learning to be more peaceful about things. Acknowledge and move on. You can't change what anyone thinks or says about you. If they really want to know you, they'll watch and they'll listen. They will give you a chance based on you rather than what someone else said.

My fighting spirit is still there. It's just there in a different way. I'm trying to react to hurt (although, thankfully, I haven't faced much of that recently) in a different way. Instead of reacting and behaving in the same manner, I'm working to better my response.

So, in terms of treating others well, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I suppose that's because it's my life.... It comes easy. I've always been a good listener, empathetic, and I've always just cared. For a long time, that was my big flaw.  Others first, me....Somewhere down the line.  That's not okay. There needs to be balance.

Over the years I've struggled with self-esteem. There's never been much "bad" that anyone can say about me. I'm smart, I'm driven, I'm motivated, I'm kind... The one thing people will always attack is the thing that they know (or think) is the thing that should bother you the most. For me it was always my appearance. Those "fat" comments or lies about what others may have said are what really got under my skin.  People find out which buttons to push and they push them.  For a long time because of how I felt and viewed myself, I sometimes let others treat me badly and I took what they said to heart.

I'm done with that. I'm taking real, true criticism better (from valid sources). What's different is I like and appreciate myself even more. I am better able to look at the positives before the negatives. Most of the time. I still get on myself about not losing weight fast enough (scale obsession doesn't die even though I know that lifting can impact it; even though I look different/my body composition is different). I guess I don't want to be (sorry if I offend you; this is a personal thought - just for ME not my view of anyone else) one of those people who is like "this is who I am and I'm good with it." Maybe I worry too much about just being "okay" with my body. There is a very fine line with accepting yourself and living behind a belief that isn't really for you. And that's me. I'm happy for anyone who loves themselves no matter what and who can live being over weight and own it without hesitation. I can't do that. It's not for me. I want to see change (various change, not just weight). If you really love who you are, awesome. If you want to change, do it. I guess I worry that if I'm too accepting I'll become complacent and stop striving for my goals. That's not what I want.

We put a lot of emphasis on weight/thinness/bodies. I'd say most women have had some struggle with their appearance at some point in their life. It impacts how we think about ourselves and each other. People are mean. Everyone wears judgey-pants but some people are just cruel and don't see any fault in it or feel remorse later. I if I think something judgmental, I analyze it. I think it's human nature to judge, but how we handle it and what we learn is important.

So....

This morning at yoga, I cried.  A little bit.  Only a few tears, but they were there. I also had the whole tingly nose thing going on as I tried to stop them from really flowing. I've heard that this happens at times. I think it's because yoga is mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes it just happens. Kinda like when people sometimes fart during certain poses. I've read articles about it. I haven't witnessed it. Or haven't noticed it. I guess it's because I'm so connected with what I'm doing, that I don't notice what others are doing so much.

ANYWAY....

I have a really hard time just clearing my mind and listening during savasana. It is one of the most challenging poses for me.  Physically it's not hard to lay on my mat. Mentally, a totally challenge. Just listening and clearing my mind is hard. My mind always wants to go. It's on to the next thing on my list before I'm there. I think that in our society, this is a common problem. Think about it - even when you go to sleep, your mind is thinking of things before you fall asleep and while you dream.

Today I got the "listening" angel card. I've gotten it a few times and think "why this card? I listen really well. I listen all day. I listen to people in conversations. I feel like people are listening to me when I speak. I feel validated and important." Today, as I made a conscious effort (because I remind myself of this after EVERY class) not to let my mind wander as much. I wanted to really be present, listen, and reflect. And I did. As our fantastic teacher, Lauri, was talking, so much of what she said was clicking. Naturally when someone says something your mind comes up with a response. That was me today. I was truly listening to what she was saying and it reached me. The message came through and I reflected. As I did, I felt tears in my eyes. I guess it was just an overwhelming, emotional feeling of making a specific connection. Now I have learned something else about myself and need to work to move through that.

That darn Angel Card. It got me again.

XOXO

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Holidays!

Well, the holiday season took me away from blogging! I honestly didn't even think about it until this week. I guess with shopping, get togethers, and other activities (plus normal life), it wasn't a huge priority.

Now I'm back.

Not much has changed. I'm still working to bring Ainsley's Angels to my area, which also took a little bit of a back seat through the holidays. I've found though, that a lot of businesses wait for a new year to do donations and sponsorships.  I also found some possible state/government grants, but have to check with the AA staff on how to go about that and if it's even allowed.  The applications call for information that I don't have access to. I guess I've been working on it in a different way; more research and trying to figure out how to go about certain things.  It's proving to be a pretty cool learning experience!

Activity is about the same. I let the ST slide but am working that back into the routine the last couple weeks. It has been a little difficulty with holiday work schedules and such but it's progressing. I think next week will be a little easier with my normal routine.

I have had a little weight loss. I (mostly) behaved over the holidays. I indulged a little, so I didn't lose a whole lot.  It was more routine and being places and poor planning that resulted in slowed loss.  But that's okay. I didn't gain a bunch like a lot of people do so I'm okay with that. I have also continued to workout. Working out is one of my top priorities, after work and family. I will work my weekday schedule and fit in workouts where I can.  Yesterday I had to break it up into one smaller period and one longer period. Generally, that's how my workouts go. I get some ST done at one time then cardio at another. Or if I'm going to class, I set aside my time for that and then do something else later. It can be done, if you can plan ahead (as much as possible) and work it out.

I bought an Erin Condren planner last year and have really been using that more often and for everything! I am finding that much easier than having specific planners for things or saying "I'll do this on this day...." but not really looking at my available time.  I got a planner/run journal for Christmas. I'm writing specific workout details in that, as workouts happen. I plan ahead but even then sometimes things come up and plans have to change. And, that's okay.  Because there's always time somewhere to do something. Maybe that means one day is busier, but it gets done.  Where there's a will, there's a way!!

My next half is coming up... Soon!! I think it's coming up on 50 days away in another day or too! SO excited!! I'm already registered for two more! I am doing the Flying Pig and my Mom bought me registration for Run the Bluegrass for Christmas. Those are all between February and May.  I anticipate I'll be doing more than three this year. Hey, that's already two more half marathons than last year!

My training was sort of off. I am still running. of course, but I strayed from the plan a bit.  I have been including the speedwork though so I am seeing an improvement in my time. I really need to get some distance runs in. I think in the last couple months, I've been at a10K or under.... So my last long run was my last half at the end of September. A few long runs and I'll be feeling good. I need to play around with pace too.

So that's about it for now - life is good. All around!