09/17/14

Here’s The Thing…

I’ve been brewing a post for days now. A post about the barre classes I’ve been taking. A post about the beginning of half marathon training. A post about how I feel just a little bit sad lately.

This is none of these posts, or all of them. It’s just a collection of where I am, what I’m up to, and why any of it just might matter.

I’ll Be At the Barre

PureBarreSo barre class? I hated the whole idea of it. I took the 10-class coupon I had, and I figured it was worth a shot. I went into it knowing I wasn’t the type of client they market too, knowing I didn’t look the part, and fully expecting to dislike it. As ought to be no surprise, I wasn’t disappointed. I found the focus on weight loss and body type to be ridiculous. I found the fact that everyone was thin and young and wearing a particularly expensive brand of yoga tights and the same blousy tops and sparkly grippy socks to be obnoxious at best. I was frustrated by the lack of modifications offered for new students. In fact, I was frustrated by a general lack of guidance or explanation from the teacher throughout the class.

But here’s the thing. The workout? Was sort of great. It was incredibly hard, but I wasn’t sore beyond some smallish aching the next day. I felt amazing when I was done, I was covered in sweat, and my heart rate monitor said I worked hard. Still, I didn’t particularly want to go back. I went to the second class, and then to the third…and somewhere along the way I started to like it. It’s weird. I still am not a huge fan of the atmosphere or the focus on thin bodies (a common instructor “encouragement” is “the higher the toes, the thinner the thighs – funny since my toes are higher than most) but the way I feel when the workout is done is probably worth the weird. Too bad there isn’t an option for a similar workout with more of a body love message involved. If the franchise in question focused on strength and health benefits versus thin thighs and “that tank top area” I’d be a lot happier spending my money there. Since the classes are stupid expensive, I’ll likely be asking for gift cards for birthdays and holidays and using those as I can. So no regular attendance for me, but when I can go I likely will.

So what happened to Nerd Fitness? Sadly (particularly in light of the cost of the program) it’s just…not for me. The workouts take over an hour every time, and making that happen three times a week was taxing and stressful for me when I was still trying to get yoga and walking in too. The time was a big factor, but might have been less so except that the workouts were SO BORING. SO BORING. Repetitive. Not fun. Every single time it felt like this huge chore and I found myself dreading every minute even when I was in the middle of it. I haven’t 100% abandoned the idea of it yet, but I’m stepping back from it for now in favor of yoga and barre when I can, plus my half training.

Clean It Up

Final-Logo_whitebackgroundI’m still having issues making the right food choices, and lately my cranky colon has been misbehaving quite a bit. Clearly what I’m doing is NOT working, so it’s time to make some other choices about my food. I think it’s time for a bit of a reset with some nice, clean foods so I’m planning to undertake a super real world cleanse authored by my yoga hero, Erin Motz. After looking through all of the recipes, it’s super manageable. Nothing requires a ton of cooking or prep, and none of the ingredients are rare or bizarre. It’s all real food too. No crazy eat only cabbage days or anything.

So here’s the thing. I went with this because I trust Erin as a yogi and a normal human being. She eats happily, enjoys food, doesn’t restrict herself to any particular category. In other words she’s doing what I’d like to do, so I think this is the right choice for right now. I’m a little worried about making it work with my work schedule and Aaron traveling, but I want to at least try it out. I might have to make some substitutions, particularly in light of the fact that my office provides my lunch and I don’t really want to forego free lunch in favor of buying food. So we’ll see how that works. It’s only ten days, so it might just mean ten days of salads from the work cafeteria, which is fine with me honestly. It’s easy.

Half Walk

My half training started this week. Monday was a rest day so I walked an easy 30 minutes yesterday. It was a great day to start because we had a morning dentist appointment. We got out of the house earlier than planned and had time to kill, so we went to a park right next to the dentists office and circled the empty basketball courts for half an hour. It was perfect because the kid could come with me when she wanted to, but since it was gated off she could also run around the court or sit and read when she got bored/tired of walking with me. I wish she could be with me every time! I’m due for a super easy 20 minutes today and it’s incredibly rainy, so I’m trying to figure out when I’m going to make that work. I might just take the kid and dog for an evening stroll the moment we get home, rain or shine, since I don’t see it happening any other way.

Here’s the thing. I love walking. It’s calming. It makes me happy. It eases the various aches and pains I tend to collect from sitting at a desk all day. Even the weird back pain I had after barre class #2 was made better by walking. As long as I’m wearing the right shoes, my previously broken foot behaves itself too, so there’s zero downside. The half training program I’m doing is great too, because none of the weekday walks are more than 45 minutes, so I’ll be able to do them on my lunch break without an issue, and without getting drippy with sweat. I did go fancy and sign up for the Training Peaks version of the program, which has a lot more detail and can be synced to my Google calendar, so that’s awesome. I’m really, really looking forward to repping ENELL at the Holiday Halfathon in December, and for once training isn’t something I’m dreading or hating or trying to get out of.

But I am Le Sad

Yeah. I am struggling with a little bit of sad right now. It’s a combination of stress, not quite enough sleep, a traveling husband, hormones, and the realization that our new Florida home means no “real” fall season. Fall has always been my favorite, so this is weird to say the least. I’m fine, really, and I’m monitoring the situation with care to make sure I stay that way.

So here’s the thing. What it takes to keep me feeling fine is a lot of love and support. It means reaching out to friends and family. It means asking for help. It means spending a weekend away with my incredible husband at the wedding of some of my favorite people. We’re very lucky to have travel points from all his work travel to spend so that we can go. Being and staying alright means making sure regular yoga happens nearly every day, for the sake of my body and my mind. It means drinking more water and less coffee. It means blogging even when I don’t feel like it, because sometimes getting it all out is what it takes to keep perspective.

Push the Limits

9-16-2014 2-04-44 PMKaren posted this on Facebook today and I loved it. I don’t always do well with pushing my own limits, testing the boundaries, and revisiting my long held theories about my own abilities and habits. The more I think about it, the more I feel like I’m letting time pass me by. I don’t have a lot of time to give, but what I do have could often be put to better use. It’s tough because I’m not a believer in the idea that I should never read or watch television or veg out without purpose. It’s not, for me, about constantly filling every second with things I deem to be “better” or “productive”. Instead, it’s about the constant push to listen to my body and my mind and my soul. It’s about filling my time with the things that really feel good to me in that moment. So yes, sometimes that will mean sitting on the couch. Sometimes it will mean extra yoga, or a workout class, or making a salad.

And here’s the thing. There are bigger things that I want too. I want more yoga in my life, and I’m planning and plotting. So here’s where I ask something of you in return. Will you share your yoga questions and concerns in the comments? Will you tell me what you struggle with, what you’d like, what would have to change for you to want to do yoga? I need to know…for reasons.

One Last Thought

giveup

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09/11/14

Run, Walk, Crawl

See those gorgeous medals right there? I’m SO excited to share them with you, and I hope I can encourage you to grab one for yourself. You see, here’s the thing. I don’t run anymore. It’s not news to anyone who has followed the blog for a while. But I DO like moving, getting some sunshine, and earning medals. I mean I really do. Since I’m out of the game for most races, I started getting into virtual medals because it meant a chance to get out and moving, and have some powerful motivation to do it.

Now it’s even more important, as next week begins my training to walk a half marathon in December. I’ve struggled with follow through in the past, so when I was offered the chance to blog for Jost Running (in exchange for a few months of their incredible medals) I jumped at the chance. Now I know I have some gorgeous bling to keep me motivated to train. On those days when I’m really not feeling like taking my training walk, it’s going to make all the difference to know that I can earn a nice shiny medal by getting out there for thirty minutes or an hour.

I know plenty of my runner friends are training for fall/winter races now, so I’m hoping the same can be true for them. The medals are big and beautiful, but they’re also a chance to support some really powerful causes. September’s SOARING medals, which you should get soon, are supporting Team For Kids.  From their website, “Team for Kids is a committed group of adult runners from around the world who add meaning to their miles by raising funds for NYRR’s Youth and Community Services programs while training for major endurance events. The funds they raise provide free or low-cost health and fitness programs to kids who would otherwise have little or no access to regular physical activity. These programs serve more than 200,000 children each year in more than 800 schools and community centers in New York City, across the nation, and around the world.” So every registration for a September medal is going to make a real impact in the life of a child. THAT is meaning. THAT is motivation.

Medals are for a 5K/10K or for a Half or Full Marathon. And if you’re not yet up for a September race? BEHOLD the beautiful October medals. GET THESE NOW on presale, because they sell out FAST. These crazy awesome medals (which are also bottle openers) are selling in support of Midwest Food Bank, which is “a faith based organization it is the mission of Midwest Food Bank to alleviate hunger and poverty by gathering and distributing food donations to not-for-profits and disaster sites without cost to the recipients.”

Even better? You don’t have to run. Walk. Bike. Swim. Get your community involved. Take your family around the block in their wagons and on their tricycles. Push a stroller or a wheelchair. Invite your neighbors to the park. Walk your dog. Just get your body moving and enjoy the gentler weather as fall starts to show up in most of the US.

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09/10/14

MPH@GW: Why #YogaMatters To Me

Sponsored by MPH@GW Public Health

GW’s Public Health blog reached out to ask how yoga has improved my health. Where to even begin? Regularly practicing yoga, which began in 10-15 minute intervals just a few times a week, has given me back so much. I started doing yoga seriously when I was medically directed to stop running thanks to compartment syndrome. At the same time, I stopped tracking calories and food because it was causing me mental stress and, frankly, making me neurotic about food, eating, and social activities. I took up yoga in the hopes of finding a new way to exercise.

What I found instead was so much more. I found peace. I found stillness in my always too busy head. I found a way to appreciate the incredible things my body could already do. I smiled at pictures of myself. I felt proud of my body again. despite all it might not do.

Yoga also had concrete physical benefits for me. With my very special auto-immune version of colitis, yoga gave me twisting and cleansing postures that helped ease the worst of the pains and even helped me cut off symptoms before they flared too badly. Yoga taught me that my issues with food, the size of my jeans, or what I thought I saw in the mirror didn’t matter, and then it went on to help me develop significant strength. Now I can hold a plank, do a pushup, and kickup into a forearm stand all because of yoga (and a little help from my ENELL bra…).

When I practice consistently, I’m calmer. Yoga breathing mediates stress from commuting, helps me get through hard days at work, and helps me recenter when it’s time to slough off the work day and spend time with my gorgeous family. Yoga has also given me an incredible special chance to bond with my daughter, who practices with me more often than not. She loves it when I let her call the poses, and she teaches me so much about patience and bravery and listening to my body when I’m practicing. When I practice beside her, I lose all sense of competition or reaching for that one white whale of a pose, because practicing with a five year old is all about laughter and joy, about silly poses and movement for it’s own sake, about mimicry and love.

Yoga has brought me a clearer understanding of how I want to define beauty, of what strength means to me, and how those things play out in my own body, mind, and life. It’s helped me see the importance of pursuing health instead of a particular aesthetic. Yoga has helped me dig up my own sense of awesome, renewed my confidence, and given me the chance to show off just how much I can do when I put my mind to it. It’s taught me about perseverance in practice, about living outside of my comfort zone and how important the difference is between that and pain. Thanks to yoga, and to the many inspiring yogis I follow online and through Instagram, I’ve made a habit of daily practice that serves as my meditation when all else fails. Also, I can do this:

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09/5/14

Hot Hot Heat

As I drove away from my first ever hot yoga class, made more amazing in that it was taught by my very favorite yogi, I realized something important, something I keep forgetting despite the power in it.

Yoga gives it all back. All the strength, the joy, the love and appreciation for my body…it all flooded in as I met my own gaze in the studio mirrors. I smiled, I sweated. I felt proud of what I could do, and no judgment about the things I can’t yet pull off. I was surrounded by other women, some incredibly tiny and thin, others lithe and capable, and every one of us just did what we could. I didn’t judge how much bigger my body was than the girls beside me, or how much farther from a handstand I was than the woman behind me. I noticed all of those things, of course, but with a passing interest. I was observing facts, not judging myself or anyone else.

Lest you think it was all bliss, I did get sweat in my eyes twice and figured out that pigtails get super gross when you sweat that much. Important lessons all around.

Still, I was so powerfully reminded of how much better my world is when a consistent yoga practice is present in my life. I thought about it in passing all weekend, considering the strength yoga imparts mentally and physically and how I tend to sleep and eat with more care when I’m spending time on the mat. Yoga taught me to love my body for all it could do, and then it went a step further and taught me to love my body for what it looked like, instead of despite it. Yoga taught me to find stillness, peace, quiet…to slow my chaotic thoughts and tune into body and soul.

I thought of this image, posted to the Curvy Yoga IG account a few days ago, and how I’d taken a screenshot and saved it to my phone for a while. I needed the reminder that the time I take for yoga isn’t selfish or wrong, but necessary to my health and wellbeing. It’s not just yoga either, but meditation and healthy food and fresh air too. Those things keep me sleeping better, feeling stronger. They make my mood lighter and keep my head in the right space to do my best work at home and in the office.

All in all, it took me 3 days, 12 hours, and 45 minutes to forget all of that. I didn’t make space for yoga this week. I didn’t meditate so far this week. In fact, I ate three packages of PopTarts while scrunching in front of my computer screen on Tuesday. I didn’t even take a break, except to run downstairs for a soda and some chips.

Now I’m two weeks away from the beginning of half marathon training, and I’m terrified of my lack of follow-through. I know I won’t be successful with the things I want to do physically if I can’t get my food under control. I know I need the right kind of fuel and energy in order to stay focused, work efficiently, sleep well, and be in a good mood.

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08/20/14
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How I Get What I Want

What do I really want?
1. To go to FitBloggin in Denver
2. To work from home at least one day per week
3. To become a yoga teacher
4. To compete in one strength competition, ideally the Disney Fit Challenge

How do I get those things?
1. Save money. This means I have to stop spending money on toys, incidentals, eating out, and unnecessary clothing purchases. Time to tighten the purse strings big time.
2. Work hard all the time. Meet or exceed deadlines. Take more initiative when it comes to learning more about the company. Come up with ideas and share them more often.
3. See #1, but also get back to regular daily practice as a priority. My time on the mat is necessary to being in the right mental and physical space for teacher training.
4. Keep up with my NF training. It will also help with yoga!

This weekend someone I care about spent several hours in the ER and, in fact, is still in the hospital. The person in question is alright, and wasn’t there for something anyone could ever claim was brought on by bad choices or unhealthy living or any such thing. Still, as I waited out that first night, my stomach a mess from a combination of stress and bad food choices, I couldn’t help but think about choices, health, the passage of time, and about all I want from this life. There are no guarantees, not ever, but maybe there is power in choices. Power to say you’ve done all you could. Power to put out into the universe the right energy to attract what you desire. Power to make a difference, however small or temporary, in the quality of your own life.

I’m caught up in thoughts about the importance of really listening, of making a connection with my true needs and honoring them above all else. It’s a path I’m already on, though one I stray from more often than not. So this week, I’m scrapping the big specific goals in favor of one single goal. This week, I will strive to live the life I deserve. I will do this by making choices that bring me genuine, lasting joy. I will listen to my body every chance I get, and I will remember that one moment or day or week of choices out of line with this path is simply another chance to learn more about how to more fully align.

I’m also working hard to align myself with things that matter, and that get me closer to the goals I have of aligning better with real joy. In part, this means forging relationships with some companies that are pretty dear to me in one way or another. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have found a few things that help make living actively more enjoyable for me, and one of them is finding the right gear. Two years ago now I finally bit the bullet and spent real money on a real sports bra, instead of wearing 2-3 of the ones I found at Target or Walmart. The bra? An ENELL. Now I’ve been lucky enough to be chosen as an ambassador for the bras, and I can’t say enough. They’re the only ones that have ever worked for me. They’re super supportive, incredibly comfortable, and the only reason I can do a shoulder stand without suffocating.  More than that, it’s a company out there saying that just because I have a body that doesn’t fit a particular mold, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the chance to successfully and comfortably move in a way that really, truly brings me joy. THAT’s something I can really get behind. The more I thought about the ways I love to move, the ways that make my body truly happy, the more I realized how much of it was possible thanks to the support of this sports bra. Walking, yoga, strength training…it’s all so much easier with something that’s made for MY body, with the added bonus of doing less laundry since I’m not wearing 2-3 bras for every workout.

In the spirit of reaching out and moving more, I also reached out to be a blogger for Jost Running. I haven’t heard back on their decision yet, but I’m excited because it means extra motivation to get up and moving several times a month. Jost hosts virtual races every month, offering beautiful medals and donating proceeds to a different charity every month. I’ve signed up for their races before, and loved the bling and the donation. Now I’ve applied to blog for them for a few months, which means extra chances to encourage others to get up and moving, and great motivation to get me off the couch/office chair as well. And that should be perfect timing because…I’m probably walking a half marathon in December.

I haven’t signed up for the race yet. I want the idea to percolate for a while first, because I have a tendency to jump into these big plans without thinking them through well enough. I did look into a walking half training plan though, and even found a fellow ENELL ambassador who’s fairly local and might be able to meet me for the occasional training walk! I’ve always wanted to complete a half, and when running was no longer an option for me, I figured I would never be able to do it. When I found a local holiday-themed half that accepted walkers, it got me thinking again about finishing a half. If I decide to do it, my training plan would start in early September. I’m thinking I’ll stick to my 2-3 strength training workouts a week, alongside the 4-5 walking workouts for the half training, and scale my yoga back to shorter sessions on a more consistent basis instead of getting in 60-90 minutes but only once or twice a week.

I’ve also been sort of tracking my food lately. I haven’t tracked any amounts or anything, but instead have just been recording what I ate, when, and what thoughts or feelings were part of the choice. I found very quickly that my stress levels and boredom are the two biggest triggers for bad food choices, but that the other key was access. I won’t go buy bad food if I’m at work. I won’t leave the house to go get something bad for me. If, however, it’s already there…I’ll probably consume the entire bag/box/package. So as long as I’m a little more careful about what I keep nearby, I should have an easier time (particularly at work) with controlling emotion-fueled food intake.

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08/12/14
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Wrong, Right, and Everything Else

8-11-2014 2-34-37 PMDay 1

What went wrong:

  1. I made it until 1:45 before I had a near break down in the kitchen and ate some PopTarts. So… that went badly.
  2. I also slept awfully last night so my plan for morning workouts was a bust too.
  3. The PopTarts led to four whole wheat fig bars.
  4. I stayed up way too late reading.

What went well:

  1. I only had two cups of coffee.
  2. I drank way more water than I usually do.
  3. I had a super healthy lunch.
  4. I started out the morning with meditation.

Day 2

What went wrong:

  1. Dog poop. Cell phone won’t turn on. Running late.
  2. Waffle taco. Two bites. SO awful.
  3. Another fig bar.

What went well:

  1. Only two cups of coffee.
  2. Lots of veggies at lunch.
  3. Another morning meditation.
  • The present moment is eternal because it endlessly renews itself.
  • Inspiration is just another word for renewal.

What else there is:

I’m feeling delicate, and frankly I have been for a while now. I know it means that something has to change, but I don’t know what. More than delicate, I’m finding the instances in which I think “I am sad” (versus ‘I FEEL sad’) are increasing overall, which concerns me because it means I’m missing something…some sign, some signal.

dcc891ad0b4cfe5c04c504ca894bc111I’m having thoughts around dieting and weight loss again. It’s my go-to for when I don’t feel like I have control. Pics like this one tend to make me feel a little more that way sometimes. I know that if I did a certain set of things – a certain way of eating, a certain way of moving, I would lose weight. I wouldn’t be any happier, perhaps, but I would lose weight and some part of me, after so many years chasing that goal, would count that as a success. It’s also a reaction to being frustrated lately. No matter how many ways I come at it, how many tactics I attempt when it comes to making the food and movement choices that make me feel my best…it just keeps not happening. I set big goals, and then I just don’t. I eat PopTarts and read until 1am, wake up exhausted, drink too much coffee, and repeat. I watch people around me have success in meeting their goals, and I just…don’t. I tried shifting my goals. I tried focus on interior changes. I tried taking baby steps, then super baby steps, then nearly invisible steps, and I keep falling back into the same pattern of eating and (not) moving that just make the tired and cranky worse. The less I get off the couch, the harder it is to get off the couch. But the thing is? I hate getting off the couch. I seriously do. I want to sit and read and watch movies. I want to type and surf the internet and put my feet up. I always have wanted that. Sometimes I find interludes of a particular type of movement that keeps me motivated for days or weeks…and then I settle back into my preferred lack of movement.

But is that really what I prefer? I don’t feel better when I don’t move. I’m more tired, less secure in my own skin. And as I’ve previously established, the eating is about both confidence and control as well. I eat poorly when I feel insecure, when things feel too easily shifted or when I’m questioning my own abilities.

I feel like I have spent my entire life trying to break out of this routine, trying to eat right and exercise in ways I don’t completely hate. I just keep trying and trying and trying and I never succeed. I know it’s not a race, not something with a final end goal, but I never make progress. I don’t get stronger, I don’t get leaner. Not in a sustainable way or in the long term. I’m tired. I’m tired of constantly pushing to go workout when I’d rather do anything else. I’m tired of considering everything I put into my mouth because I can’t be sure without examination what’s behind the food choice I’m making.

I don’t want to be tired all the time. I don’t want to be short tempered. I don’t want to be more and more sad. I don’t want to give up on the things I believe are best for me. I really, honestly feel better when I’m making healthy choices. I just don’t know how to sustain it. I don’t know how to make it work long term. There always comes a point when I step away and then I can’t get back. I took last week off, and now I have even less motivation to do anything.

I don’t think I have a point here, and I’m pretty sure at this point I’m talking in circles…so that’s what I’ve got for now. I guess… I don’t know. Maybe I’m asking for help. Again.

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08/9/14

When I Quit

In a fit of overwhelmed desperation, I quit trying this week. Monday and Tuesday were unintentional, ending in me falling exhausted into bed with no workout done and lots of sugar/caffeine consumed. By midday Wednesday, when it was reasonably clear that the day was going to end the same way, I made the conscious choice not to try. I let go of any plans to workout. I stopped policing my food. I stepped back. I went to bed early. I did a lot of reading. I ate a ton of sugar and drank too much coffee.

I just needed a break. Was it the right thing to do? Yes. And also no.

I did it because I felt like I was drowning in things to do. Laundry, dishes, clean the house. Walk the dog, pack the lunch, make dinner. Pack the bags, keep the kid clean and fed, remember to pay the bills. Get school uniforms, get gas. Show up at work, do the things and do them well.

Work got more and more busy. Money stress was mounting. I was feeling exhausted and emotional and wasn’t sleeping at all. So maybe the choice to quit was legitimate…except…

Except I felt awful. Even though I was sleeping more, I was MORE tired instead of less. My stomach hurt, like a lot. My stress levels didn’t decrease even a little bit. In fact, between the caffeine and the knowledge that I wasn’t treating myself well, things got worse in the stress department. Getting everything else done got HARDER even though I technically had a little bit more time in the day. I was grumpier, sadder, less pleasant to hang out with. The kid told me I was hurting her feelings because I was holed up reading my book instead of hanging out with her while she brushed her teeth, all because I just…couldn’t.

So my week of relaxing, of letting it go, of giving myself a break? Never happened. Instead I got a week of stomach cramps, exhaustion, stress, sadness, lack of energy or motivation, and guilt over the ways I wasn’t treating myself well. This morning I realized I was DONE with the guilt of it. It was a good experiment. It was worth a try to see how it felt, and it taught me a lot about myself. I always let ME slide when things get crazy, and this week proved to me how terrible an idea that is – I felt worse instead of better…more tired, more stressed, less able to capably handle my days.

So if I really learned my lesson, what am I going to do differently this coming week? Everything. I’m going all in, and I need you guys to hold me accountable to that promise. I’m tired of being tired, and I truly believe it’s in my power to change that on all but the most extreme sleep deprivation days. I can drink less coffee, sleep more, and still have time to treat myself right.

So this week I’m going to do the things: I WILL do two strength workouts (and aim for three). I WILL do at least two yoga sessions. I will also not consume added sugar unless someone buys it for me…which, to clarify, almost never happens, and allows me a loophole for something like a date night dessert. It also means that when I get to work Friday morning, triumphant in my week of happier habits, I can have a single donut and enjoy it if I feel like it, instead of eating three because I’m “hungry” and want sweet stuff.

And for the record – I learned something else too. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to stop, to let things fall by the wayside. Missed workouts? So what. Questionable meals? Fine too. It’s when they take over, when they become the norm, when they begin to take a toll on my wellbeing…THAT is when it becomes an issue.

In other news, perhaps related to all the pushes coming from the universe lately, I’m feeling a weird itch to do…something. I’ve considered roller derby, taking some kind of dance class, and several other out of the box things, all around movement. The truth is I’d love to do any or all of them, but it’s hard enough to manage my work schedule and getting the kid where she needs to go without adding something else to the mix…

How do you find purpose? (source)

Do something, anything. Do anything that is the opposite of what you are doing right now.

Get uneasy, get scared, become a beginner again. If you think you know it all, find something you know nothing about, and learn it well.

Observe how you respond and react. You will learn something new about yourself; not only about your character, but what turns on your light. Once you’ve found something that turns on your light, you’ve found purpose.

When you place yourself in foreign situations, you arrive in your most concentrated form. You will always bump into yourself in the unfamiliar.

The most difficult part of this process is the aloneness. You can’t rely on anyone else to guide you in the right direction. This is a solo mission. Doing it alone, is the whole point of the journey.

Listen to yourself regardless of what others may say. All that matters is your encouragement, not others’ discouragement.

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08/4/14

Right Now! (+Comic Con)

I’m feeling super contemplative today. I went to Tampa Comic Con yesterday (click for my pics – not many), my first ever nerdy con, and it was pretty amazing. Super intense and a little overwhelming too, but overall I enjoyed the experience. Man, I could go so broke if I went to cons more often. Instead of spending a ton of money and buying a ton of stuff, I was careful and came home with some fun prints for the kid and some decals for me. I definitely got excited about the possibility of dressing up for next year’s Comic Con, although I doubt I could handle more than one day there without my introvert tendencies getting the best of me.

It was also nice to get out there because it was easily the most walking I’ve done in quite a while. It was nice to get moving in a climate controlled environment.

In terms of food, I’m a mess. I’ve been snacking too much, overeating, and then skipping dinner because I feel gross. I’m still having too much sugar, too much caffeine. It’s 100% stress related, and honestly right now I only have the bandwidth to recognize it as happening, and no energy leftover to deal with it in any way. We’re having some major financial stress right now, so I’m eating to cope with a situation that I feel utterly out of control on. I recognize that it’s not a helpful choice to make, but right now I just… I can’t.

In line with the images I posted last time though, I came across two more that really held some meaning for me.

Lo and behold, they’re both talking about taking action, about being intentional, about what it takes to truly succeed. Again I feel like there’s something I’m supposed to be hearing here, something I’m meant to be doing…but I don’t know what. Honestly, it’s making me a little bit tired right now. I just having this increasing feeling that I’m constantly playing catch up. There’s never enough time, enough money, enough creativity, enough sleep. I worry constantly about just paying the bills, and am starting to think bigger things like taking Evi to Disney might never be feasible. I worry that she’s still having to be reminded not to put her fingers in her mouth nearly constantly and wonder if it’s because she’s not getting enough attention, enough time, the right kind of stimulation. I forgot to feed her breakfast this morning so she ate a muffin and hot cocoa from DD.

Man, I’m a total Eeyore today. It’s time to step away from the keyboard before this becomes wallowing. <3

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08/1/14

Jumbled

I’ve got a ton going on right now. I’m in line for my first ever week of three strength workouts, and I’ve done better and better about produce. On the other hand, sugar remains a serious issue and my sleep habits have become downright dismal. I can’t fall asleep, I can’t stay asleep, I wake up exhausted.

Work is getting increasingly busy right now, which is good for the passing of time on my work days, and exciting because it is giving me the chance to stretch my talents. Honestly, I’m loving my job and my team here at work, and it’s exciting to get a feel for where it could go in the long term. I feel like this is definitely the sort of fit in terms of work, team, and management that could easily be long haul. Which is incredible because I never want to apply for another job.  The whole process is heinous.

All that is to essentially say that I’m doing well overall, and that my brain is in no state to produce a cohesive story arc here, so instead you’re getting a bit of a brain dump in the form of some pictures I’ve been saving because they spoke to me, and some commentary on those pics.

unnamed (1)This one came from my buddy InTheThickOfFit on Instagram, who has been a tremendous inspiration for me in terms of yoga. She’s also equally nerdy, which I love finding out. Essentially, anyone who gets the super nerd reference in my screen name is forever solidified as one of my people in my head.

So on to my thoughts on the pic. It’s been sitting in my email for weeks now… “And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Whew. It’s sort of a loaded one for me. Living here is new. This job is new. A lot of what’s going on in my life right now is new, and the confirmation that I need to relax and trust the process was a good one for me to hear. I’m still feeling a little unsettled about the move, with everything shifting so quickly, and I’ve had a hard time getting into a predictable routine. Routine makes my days easier when Aaron isn’t here to help, so I’m still feeling shaken by everything. I’m working now on trying to breathe more, sleep more. I want to get back into the meditation I was doing pretty regularly in MD, because I was finding it incredibly helpful in centering me, particularly on tired or stressful days.

unnamed (2)This one’s from Stephanie, and is another one that hit me hard. There are some obvious connections to parenting here, as my precious infant angel child is seconds away from starting KINDERGARTEN with her pierced ears and fourth grade reading level and lacrosse camp and first pedicure and grown up taste in listening to NPR in the mornings. She’s growing up so fast, and I’m doing everything I can to be as present as possible while that happens. She’s too incredible to miss out on, and she helps me remember what really matters in every day.

It’s about me too though. It’s about making sure I’m taking time for myself, getting down time, getting enough sleep. It’s about allowing myself time for creativity and writing, for pursuing my yoga, for making sure I don’t slack on my strength training. Because NOW is the time, right? NOW is what matters most. It’s a lesson I have to learn over and over again, particularly as I have a tendency to worry. I know it doesn’t help, but sometimes I can’t help it. The more I concentrate on right here, right now, the more I benefit from those moments and the less space I have to entertain all the what-ifs and who knows parts of worry.

unnamedThis one totally came from one of those ridiculous internet quizzes. Which Tarot Card am I? Apparently (or, as the kid would say, apparNENTly) I’m the magician. Hells yes. I see things. I make things happen, impossible things even! And maybe, just maybe I really do.

I’m not even 100% sure why I saved this one, except that at the time that I saw it I felt lit up by it so I filed it away with the other images that I felt connection to.

And now as I’m looking through these three, I’m seeing a continuation of theme. Be here now. Let things happen. Trust in myself, my own particular brand of magic. As my kid continues to remind me, the world IS magical, and it looks like all signs point to me needing to PAY ATTENTION. So now I’ve got my antennae up, and I’m doing what I can to keep my eyes open. There’s something coming, it would seem, and big or small I want to not miss it.

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07/25/14

One Month In

In an attempt to keep up with my new habit of more honestly evaluating my work, and also posting Anamaniacs gifs, here’s another installment of where I think I did well and where I think I need to focus harder. To start, I’ll just repost the goals from last time:

  • One baked good/dessert sort of thing per day
  • At least 2 veggies AND 2 fruit servings daily
  • 3 strength workouts
  • 5 conditioning workouts
  • Less than 50% processed foods
  • At least 20 consecutive minutes AWAY from my desk every day

So how did I do? Well…not as well as I would have liked. This week turned out to be a culmination of extra busy, car issues, kid’s lacrosse camp, awful sleep, and extra work hours, and a lot of things fell through the cracks.

What I did well:

  • 2-4 veggies every day
  • 2 strength workouts a week (might still pull off three this week)
  • 2-3 conditioning workouts a week
  • Continued the less sugar route
  • Reduced my processed foods by about 10%

What I’m aiming for now:

  • One truly worthwhile sweet a day
  • At least 2 fruit servings a day (right now I get NONE on most days!)
  • 5 conditioning workouts a week, which include walks and yoga and essentially any purposeful movement that isn’t strength training
  • Another 10% reduction in my processed food intake
  • 20minute break every day at work – this week I missed a day so I’ve had ZERO breaks while trying to make up those hours and, as such, get paid for them
  • 3 strength workouts – at least one done in the morning

I’m liking the way I feel after the workouts, but I’ll admit that I’m finding them a little bit boring. And with the warm up and cool down, all told they take about an hour. I’ve discovered that working out right before bed is a recipe for not sleeping. I’ve just been SO TIRED lately, but I’m still determined to try working out in the mornings instead. I might be exhausted, but getting it out of the way before the day even starts sounds pretty perfect right now.

I also retook my measurements and saw zero change. It was super frustrating, until I posted about it on the FB group for Nerd Fitness and realized a few other things I’ve done that are showing progress:

  1. One pair of my pants feels baggy now
  2. I’ve moved from the Recruit Workout to the Bodyweight 1 workout, and I’m ready to move to Bodyweight 2 now too
  3. I’m completing the workouts faster and some of the really miserable moves (lunges, Spidermans) are getting a little easier.

So I AM making progress. I’m not giving up. I’m also really enjoying the quest features on the revamped Nerd Fitness Academy site, which has now allowed me to give my “character” a goofy cool name and set myself up on the Assassin track (because how could I choose anything else?). I really am a nerd.

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