Sad is okay.

unnamedSometimes it’s alright to be sad.

In the constant forward chug of days and routines, of lunches packed and tiny pigtails securely fashioned…sad happens. It’s hormones, or lack of sleep. It’s too much stress, too little downtime. It’s too much sugar or not enough laughter. It’s all of these things or none of them, in an endlessly shifting combination too complex to explain or predict.

Right now, I’m sad. This morning, as I drove in to work, I had the startling realization that I’m allowed to be sad. It doesn’t require fighting or changing or struggling. I don’t have to try to change it. I can just sit with it. I can recognize it as a temporary state of being (aren’t they all?) and give it space to stir around a bit. I can cry just because it feels like the right thing to do at the moment. I know it’s about hormones for me right now, but it hardly matters why.

Sad doesn’t mean depressed. Not for me, not right now. Instead, it means I’m delicate, easily stirred. It means I find myself whisper close to the deepest sadnesses I hold in my heart every day, suddenly an unintended finger brush away from hard hitting memories, the waves of grief and loss still tangible as the rain that falls every day in the Florida summer.

I think sometimes those sads, those heavy, dark, dense bits require some airing out. Sometimes they demand some attention, dammit! I spend most of my days in a consistent state of reasonable happiness, and while that happiness is both well reasoned and utterly authentic, it’s not all there is to me. The sads don’t require constant attention. They don’t need to be honored hourly or daily or even weekly, most of the time. Their needs don’t follow the cycle of my life, but instead march along to their own dark rhythm (I like to think it’s the Imperial March). It makes it impossible to predict when they’ll show up, but I’ve spent so much time trying to force them back, hold them in, and conform them to my consistently content life.

What I’ve finally realized is that the don’t require conformity. The existence of my deepest grief and pain does not in any way devalue my experience of joy and comfort and love. Sad isn’t a negative feeling. In fact, by giving it room to exist and stretch its wings now and again, those other feelings are bolstered and brightened the way a touch of salt can bring out the best flavors in a cake or a stroke of black on canvas can whiten whites. So today I choose to sit with my sad, to honor it as just another part of all the awesome that is me.


Bad vs. Good

I started my Nerd Fitness journey three weeks ago. I had high hopes for making big changes all at once. Of course, life happens, and not everything went quite as I’d planned. Generally, this would be a time for me to lament my awfulness by rehashing everything I could have done but didn’t. Then, in some cases, I’d backlash with the reasons why I should be proud/am awesome. Thanks for the most part to some #JustTrollin love, I’m changing that up to something simpler, more honest, and less morally charged.

What I did well:

  • Week 1
    • Veggies at 10/14 meals
    • 1 strength workout
    • 5 conditioning workouts (walking, yoga)
  • Week 2
    • Veggies at 8/14 meals
    • 2 strength workouts
    • 3 conditioning workouts
    • Under 72g sugar 5/7 days
  • Week 3
    • Veggies at 10/14 meals
    • 2 strength workouts
    • 4 conditioning workouts (walking, yoga)
    • Monitored my intake of processed foods
  • Overall
    • Transferred all of my workout notes, stats, and instructions into one notebook to make it easier to track and to know what I’m doing at the gym
    • Completed 17 hours of intentional workouts, compared to less than 10 (and mostly <5) prior to these three weeks
    • Upped my veggie intake at dinners and on weekends just by paying attention
    • Started paying close attention to my sugar intake (no more sweetened coffee) and my processed food intake
    • Lost 8.2 pounds
    • Graduated from the Tutorial workout to the first level Bodyweight workout

What I could have done better:

  • Week 1
    • More strength! One workout a week is not enough to see the progress I want
  • Week 2
    • More conditioning. I like walking and yoga. No excuse not to do them
    • Less sugar. Drop that level to even less than 72g, which was an arbitrary MFP value
  • Week 3
    • Step it up with processed foods. Now it’s not about monitoring, it’s about action

My goals for the next two weeks:

  • 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

Excuses, Frustration, Macarons

Yesterday I ate six macarons. I bought them at the mall, where I went to get some walking in without getting sweaty in my work clothes. I saw the macaron store and knew that if I walked in, I’d buy something. I walked in, and knew that if I bought something, I’d eat it. I bought twelve, and knew that if I put them in my desk drawer they’d never make it home. I ate six, giving myself a stomachache and a case of the angries, before I chucked the other half. They weren’t even that good.

Then I sat there confused, trying to figure out what went wrong. I did my strength workout the day before and was proud of myself. I did yoga the night before and it was super challenging but still felt amazing. I’d only just finished a 35min mall walk and was feeling pretty good about finally getting a conditioning workout in on a non-strength day.

I’m super exhausted this week. Thanks to car issues, we’re staying at my mom’s house again, which means sharing a bed with my floppy-sleeping, cuddle monster kid. I love the cuddles, but I’m pretty positive it’s impacting my sleep big time.

Is that an excuse? Maybe. Probably. Is an excuse inherently a bad thing? I feel like the way we use it, it always means it’s something you say to lie, to cover up the fact that really you COULD have done that thing you were supposed to do but didn’t.

And holy frack. There it is. (See, writing brings answers sometimes.) I know why I ate those damned mediocre macarons.

I felt bad about myself. A comment left on my blog after I asked to be called out made me feel bad. I felt like I was being judged, like I might be lying to myself, like maybe I’m not doing very well after all. So what was the super offensive, hurtful comment? (It was neither of those things.)

Great post and I’m going to give you some #tribelove right now that my coach always calls me on. Making excuses. That whole paragraph about exercise is full of excuses about why it doesn’t get done but at the same time you have some good ideas in there about how to make them work. You like to work out in the morning but need time to wake up? Get up a few minutes earlier. Seriously, if I had a dime for the number of times my coach told me “work it out” when I gave an excuse as to why I couldn’t get a workout in, I’d have enough money to go to Denver.

As for yummy, healthy foods? Pinterest is your friend. Also, buy a spiralizer from Amazon for about 30 bucks and start making zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Life changing.

I know. Bari’s so mean, right? Except that she’s NOT. She’s doing exactly what I asked her to do. Here was my response yesterday morning:

This is something I really struggle with. During the work week, for instance: sometimes I can get my workout in at lunch, but if I have a project due I can’t skip out when work is needed. After work, I have to leave right away to pick up my daughter, make dinner, walk the dog, do the dishes, do the laundry… it’s all on me because my husband travels. My workouts take an hour or more, so to do them in the mornings and have time to shower and get to work means getting up at 5am. As it is, I’m barely sleeping enough. I know it sounds like excuses, and maybe it is…but I genuinely don’t know how to work it in.

Look at that. A whole paragraph of excuses, right? But…I mean, is it? I’ve talked before about how ridiculous my days are. Most days I don’t get a lunch break. It’s just me to get myself and the kid ready and off to our places every morning. The dog routinely wakes me up in the middle of the night for a walk because she’s getting old and her bladder sucks. I’ve been sleeping with the kid for a week and she throws arms/legs over me every hour or so and it wakes me up. I wake up feeling 100% exhausted already. When I leave work, I’ve already had to depend on my mom or dad to pick the kid up from school because I can’t get there in time. I get home, make dinner, eat dinner, walk the dog, handle bath time, do story time, chat about the day, and it’s all I can do to stay awake once she’s headed off to sleep. I feel stretched to my limits and I don’t know how to make it different. Yes, I could wake up earlier, but I’m ten seconds from falling asleep as it is.

And yes, I could take a different approach and say this “isn’t a priority” right now versus I don’t have time, but I feel defensive about it because the priorities I’m putting ahead of it are my kid, food, sleep, my dog, and my job. I do a lot better on the weekends, when my husband is home and I have backup and sleep time and no work to worry about. I get my workouts in without feeling crazed, and the kid gets one-on-one time with her dad, which they both need.

I just…I don’t know where the line is. What’s an “excuse” versus an explanation? In what cases am I making the right choice? Do I sacrifice sleep or time with my kid to exercise? Do I risk work falling behind at the new job that I love so that I can get to the gym? Is it true that those things would happen if I made time for the gym more often? Would I be even more exhausted? Would I be missing important kid time? Would work potentially suffer?

Right now the answers feel unclear. Would I be more tired? Maybe, or maybe I’d be less tired because working out would give me energy. Would I miss kid time? Well, yes. I mean there’s no way around that. If I work out during my time with her, then I’m not with her. I could work out after she goes to bed instead, but that makes it really tough for me to fall asleep. Would work suffer if I go to the gym at lunch? I think this is a super unpredictable answer. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. There are days when I could get my work done even with a gym break but if everyone else in my department is busting it to get work done, I want to be here helping instead of ducking out.

Dangit. I just don’t know. I’m feeling frustrated and a little angry. Of the utmost importance though, I want to thank Bari for her comment. It got me thinking about some big, important parts of this whole journey. If I can think them through, I’ll be able to come to conclusions I’m comfortable with and make decisions from an informed place.


DoNUT Mess with Me Right Now: Cruller of Deficiency

SALT WATER CURE PRINT – click to get one

Sometimes my feelings hit me hard and deep. They roll over me like ocean waves, the same salty taste on my skin as tears roll down. It happened in Kia‘s FitBloggin yoga class – lying unsuspecting in savasana when I was suddenly hit by tears. Tears of release, of acceptance, of contentment, of body love. The emotional waves always come as tears. Maybe it’s that trope about salt water…

The thing is though, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes I’m so intensely UNaware of my emotions that discovering them (usually in some roundabout way) comes as an unsettling shock. Feeling those feelings (spoiler: these are usually the unpleasant ones) is the only way I can work through then and make sense of them, but how do I feel them when I’m not always aware of them?

Two ways, both of which come down to awareness. The first responsibility I have is simply around being in the moment. I say simply, but it’s probably one of the most difficult things I aim to do on any given day. Being right here, right now is tough for me to manage. I’ve got a lot to manage and I have a hard time not constantly thinking ahead to the next thing I’m responsible for. I’m working hard to change that, though, because it means I’m rarely giving my full 100% to anything I’m doing. Particularly when it comes to my kid, that is wholly unacceptable. The other way I can be aware and accountable is by examining my thoughts and actions even when I’m not feeling vulnerable or stressed out. Because I’m finally acknowledging a sometimes extreme lack of awareness around my emotions, I have to be thinking a little harder about every day.

What helps:

  1. Yoga: Doing yoga is one of the very few times that I can remain successfully in the moment for more than a minute or two at a time. The more time I spend on my mat, the more aware and connected I am overall.  A lot of the time, something will come up on the mat that I haven’t been dealing with at all. When I cried in savasana, it was because I was finally letting go. I was releasing and settling in and feeling something I’d been stoppering up.
  2. Friends: Reaching out to friends when I’m having a hard time, or just maintaining ongoing conversations with friends helps me keep a closer eye on how I’m really feeling. My good friends know me well enough to know when something’s not quite right and they help me see it.
  3. Writing: Writing something down has always been helpful to get me thinking. I usually set out with a particular point or intention, but as I write it nearly always morphs into something else. One sentence sparks another thought, direction changes, and I get out the things I’ve been ignoring.
  4. Meditation: Oh man. This one is so big for me. For a while I was meditating for 5-10 minutes every morning and it was a game changer for me. I’ve fallen out of the habit, but I still turn to it when I’m feeling a little lost. The whole revelation I had around sugar last week was a direct result of meditation. I just sit in a quiet place and listen to relaxing music with my eyes closed and try to let my head settle a little.

Meditating, in fact, is what brought me to the conclusion that most of the time when I crave sugar what I’m craving is comfort. I’m looking for validation. 90% of the time, when I’m reaching for sugar it’s at a point when I’m feeling like I’m not enough. When I feel embarrassed, unqualified, uncertain, or deficient. It led me to the rather interesting realization that a lot of my work snacking is directly centered around worrying that I’m not actually qualified to do this job that I’m loving so much, that somehow I’ve been exceptionally sly in convincing everyone of my amazingness and at any moment they might find out I’m just sort of average. The weird bit is that I don’t actively feel that way. I don’t sit around thinking I’m not good. I do, on most levels, believe earnestly in my skills as a writer…but maybe because I like this job so much, I worry about not being as awesome as I want to be.

imageI had it confirmed yesterday, as I ate my second donut (enter the Cruller of Deficiency) while driving around town trying to find a way to fix a problem I feel responsible for. I don’t want to go into detail here because it’s not just about me, but in the end I felt like I carried blame, so I ate donuts. I don’t know if it goes as far as punishing myself, because as I’m eating the donuts I sure do enjoy them. I still haven’t figured out all the ins and outs of how this thing works, I guess.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Realizing the source of a lot of my sugar addiction. Working on immediacy and presence. Being in the moment. It’s tough stuff, man. As an update on the work snack situation, we’re ordering from NatureBox now and I have input! It’s not perfect, but it’s much better.



As I sat in the #ToughLove session at FitBloggin, I had a lot of conflicting emotions. I went to the session because I wanted to support Steve & Sue, and I thought it would be interesting. At first, I was feeling pretty resistant. I felt weird, and spent a lot of the session arguing in my own head. I wanted to disagree with what was being said, and at first I did. The more I sat with it, though, the more I wondered if the issue was that I disagreed, or that it was exactly what I needed to hear.

After much thought, I did what I’m finally learning to do well. I reached out to chat it out with a friend. At the risk of looking lazy, I’m just going to paste in the relevant stuff…

H: So now I’m in this spot where I want to do more, get stronger, and specifically clean up my foods…I am an emotional eater from a household of junk food lovers, and I don’t know how to clean up the food. Intellectual arguments don’t seem to work. I know the science. I know the worth of clean foods. I feed them to my daughter. And then I stress eat oatmeal creme pies at work.The session was a struggle for me because I want some accountability, but I’m so damned fragile right now and still trying so hard to figure out what I can do that won’t make me crazy again that I don’t know what help to ask for. Also, I’m afraid of being pushed (either directly or in a reactionary way) right back into the physically and mentally unhealthy things I was doing before.

T: They really ARE out to get us. I know playing the victim card feels like bullshit, but you know what, we’re absolutely the victims here. They are VERY well armed. They have huge budgets, research divisions, behavioral psychologists…you’re targeted SO SPECIFICALLY. (“They” being major food corps)

H: I’m a sugar addict and it scares me. I’m terrified of how much control it has. I’m trying to track my macros now, because I think upping my healthy fat and protein might help curb the cravings.

We talked about how the free snacks at work were a HUGE issue for me, and I got the suggestion to write to HR about it.

T: Talk about the marketing. Talk about the studies. Talk about the snacks that are available. Talk about how much you appreciate the company’s effort to fuel employees through their day, then talk about how TERRIBLE a job they’re doing at it. Then suggest resources that could make it better.

I admitted to being scared to rock the boat, and through a lot more conversation was finally convinced that I’m doing the right thing. By asking for the healthy snacks I need, I’ll be doing a lot of other people favors too because the sugary crap is dragging us all down. We talked more about eating cleaner, about organic foods.

 H: I don’t feed my daughter that way. But when something has to give, it’s always me.

The more we talked, the more I realized what a disservice I was doing to myself, and as an extension, to my family too. I’m worth taking good care of. And when did it hit me?

 T: If you’re making good choices for your daughter, and shortchanging yourself, she will see that. And children respond to actions over words. Careful you don’t teach her to put herself last.


Well, fracking frack. If that’s not a crying at work type of statement, then I don’t know what is. Further conversation and some serious workplace meditation (thanks, empty conference room) led to the weird realization that I crave sugar when I’m feeling insecure. Because WHAAAAATTTTT?!? I mean, seriously. Knowledge BOMB right there. So weird. I’m sitting with that in an attempt to recognize it, label it as such, and work from there.

In the end though, the long-azz conversations led to me actually wanting to participation in a #justtrollin post of my own. I’m calling myself out. I’m making it clear what I want and how I’m going to get it, and I’m opening up the doors to all of you to call me out (with love, please) when I’m not following through. I’ve been scared to do this, because I spent so much time away from tracking and weighing and working so hard on getting into the right headspace. Now that I’m there, I’m so scared of losing it that I fought the notion of this post. I felt like if I went back to any old habits (blogging? tracking exercise? measuring progress?) I’d somehow be undoing all the work I did. It took my own personal Badass Buddha to help me realize it would just be the next step to build on that work.

So here’s what I want, some of which was straight up stolen from other people’s #justtrollin posts.

  • Clean up my social media
  • Take clear, consistent steps toward cleaner foods
  • Keep up my strength training plan
  • Remember how awesome I am

Social media:

Taking a cue from Thea, I pared down my social media accounts. I combed through my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and got rid of the people I don’t ever interact with. Thea’s right. I can’t have meaningful interactions with the people I actually care about when every feed is cluttered up with hundreds of posts from people who I never have conversations with. Now things are still pretty full, but much cleaner, and it’s easier for me to see the people I care about. Keeping everyone in the loop and staying up to date on their comings and goings helps keep the feeling of community strong, and that community is what helps keep me energized and motivated to make the right choices.

Clean eating:

Today at a team lunch I finally realized something EARTH SHATTERING. Something that, in fact, just proves out my theory that this work I’m doing now is building onto the work I’ve done on my mental well-being instead of tearing it down. Ready for it?

It’s not about not having the pizza. See, we sat down to lunch at a reportedly awesome pizza place. I looked at the menu and thought, “I should get the salad.” I thought about it and I realized I had two distinct choices. 1) I could get the salad and feel virtuous. Virtuous, miserable, and unfulfilled as my coworkers ate pizza around me. 2) I could get the pizza, load it with veggies, and really enjoy my lunch. So I did. I got a thin crust personal pizza with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and spinach. It was wonderful, I loved lunch, and I brought half home for dinner. Making the right food choices doesn’t have to be awful and restrictive just because that’s how I did it for so long.

This is also the first week since I started my new job that I haven’t eaten an Oatmeal Crème Pie. I was eating 3-4 a day on some days. It was getting dark. Stepping away from them is step one in my attempts to clean up the food. First up, I’m cutting back my sugar. I’ve stopped putting any in my coffee, opting instead for coconut oil at home and plain half & half when I’m out and don’t have a nondairy option.

The NF eating plan calls for heading in the direction of paleo, but that just doesn’t jive for me so instead I’m focusing on the things I think will help me the most. Sugar is my first concern, and then I want to focus on drastically reducing the amount of processed food I take in every day. As always, I’m much better about it with Evi, but it’s time to make sure I’m taking care of my own needs too. Processed stuff is going to be difficult, as I’ve developed a lifestyle that’s fairly dependent on those “easy” foods, but it’s worth the effort. It might also be an uphill battle with Aaron a little bit, as I’m not sure he’s sold on the value of them, but I think if I can prove that it won’t be a significant price increase then I’ll be able to sell him on it in time.

Just like everything else, this is also about listening to my needs. I got my mom’s trainer to do my macros for me and I was tracking for a while, but in the end it was making me crazy again. I was angry all the time, and it took Aaron calling me out on it to make me see it for what it was. I stopped and was IMMEDIATELY more relaxed. Tracking just doesn’t work for me, and the truth is that if I’m working hard to reduce my sugar and my processed foods and I’m sticking to my planned workouts, I’ll be more than fine.

How you can help

  • Point me in the direction of easy, cheap recipes using fresh foods.
  • Share your tips for saving money while still getting fresh, local foods.
  • Tell me where you shop to save money on fresh, unprocessed foods.
  • Share ideas on how to make things like lunch snacks for kids that are cheap, easy, and unprocessed.

Strength training:

I’ve done decently well with sticking to the Nerd Fitness workouts so far, and I’ve also been pretty good about cutting myself some slack when life gets in the way instead of declaring myself a FAILURE for veering off the schedule. I’m not loving the workouts, but I’m trying to remember the purpose of them, and I do feel pretty awesome when I’m done. I was amused to discover a fair amount of motivation the other day when the gym was playing American Ninja Warrior during my workout. Turns out that watching people do cool things involving strength is pretty motivating sometimes.

I’ve switched to doing the first level of the bodyweight workout instead of the tutorial workout. I think the bodyweight is meant to be harder, but it was the better workout for me. The tutorial workout left me so painfully sore that I could barely walk or sit down for four days. The bodyweight workout left me feeling distinctly sore, but not in actual pain. Definitely the winner, and I think it won’t be too long before I can move to the second level of the bodyweight workout as long as I’m consistent about working out.

Finding time for the workouts is tough for me because there’s always something else going on. On the 4th I managed to go to the gym while everyone else headed to the pool and meet them later. Where I find issues is around timing. The best plan is for me to workout first thing in the morning, but I like to take my time waking up. Once I wake up and have my coffee, it’s time to get off to whatever our plans for the day are. During the work week I can go at lunch time, but it’s tough to take the time in a very busy new job. In the end though, these are all excuses. Yes, some work days aren’t going to allow the time for workouts. Yes, some weekends are going to be about family time and relaxing instead of working out and sweat in the gym. But most of the time? Most of the time I need to be making the time to workout.

I also can’t forget the importance of conditioning workouts. Walking is something I love and it’s so beneficial. It’s also an easy thing to work in on weekends during family time. Yoga is SO important to me, so necessary to not only my physical health but my mental  well-being…and for no reason I can think of, I’ve been letting it slide lately. No more of that.

How you can help:

  • If I’m not talking about working out, I’m probably not doing it. Call me on that.
  • Share your ideas, tips, suggestions on how to make time for working out when you’re busy. We’re all busy, and a lot of people are making the time, so tell me how YOU do it.
  • Share the details about when you choose NOT to make a workout your first priority.
  • If I go more than 2 days without posting a yoga pic on IG, call me on it.


Find ways to choose joy. I’m awesome. I know that a lot of the time, but I frequently forget it. It’s time to work on keeping my awesomeness in the forefront of my consciousness every day. I’m working hard on it, and it seems to be working right now.

How you can help:

Just keep being YOU. Seriously, I’m so inspired by everyone around me. My FitBloggin peeps and everyone else I’ve come to share this space with. Share your stories.

So we’re in this together, right? And ♪♫everything is awesome when you’re part of a team♫♪ .



FitBloggin+: Recap & Aftermath

I’m home. I’m reasonably settled in too, which is nice. And what’s more? I have SO MUCH to write about. I want to share where I’m at with my Nerd Fitness journey. I want to talk about my experience at FitBloggin this year. I want to write in particular about the Tough Love session and do the “homework” of writing a letter to myself to call me out a bit.

I don’t know if that’s too much for one post…so I’ll just start going and see where I end up.

Nerd Fitness: I’m doing damned well with this. I haven’t gone perfectly as planned, but the whole point this time around is to remember that life is that way. I’m extremely unlikely to ever be able to follow a plan perfectly to the letter. My first week consisted of veggies for lunch OR dinner every day, and veggies for lunch AND dinner four out of seven days. I did the NF workout on Monday, met with my mom’s trainer for a lifting workout on Wednesday to establish my baseline, and then did some easy strength on Friday. I also did Zumba, yoga, and a 5K. I feel really good about the work I did.

This week’s goal is to do three strength workouts, stick with the veggies, and add in another nutrition goal. Originally that was going to be no grains at breakfast, since the nutrition guidelines for NF are headed toward paleo, but after a long conversation I’ll get to more of later, I’ve decided instead that I’ll aim for less sugar. I’ve already started by putting just plain half&half in my coffee, which works alright except that my body is not a dairy fan…so I tried a tablespoon of coconut oil. You do have to BLEND it in. If you stir it, it’s oily and gross. I used my mom’s immersion blender (getting this one soon – that’s an affiliate link) and friends? It’s SO AWESOME. I used coconut oil and coconut coffee and it was great. Smooth, sweet, no need for anything else. I’m also going to be tracking my sugar, aiming for less than 72g a day, which is the seemingly arbitrary number MyFitnessPal sets when you log in.

I was EXHAUSTED yesterday, so I didn’t manage a workout at all, but I hopped over to the gym this afternoon at work and did the first bodyweight workout for NF. Tough, but I liked it. I’ll be sore for sure.

FitBloggin’14: The first day of FitBloggin this year was a little hard for me. With everything going on, having just moved, so much change…I was feeling unsettled and homesick. It’s such an unfamiliar feeling for me when I’m at FitBloggin that I worried something fundamental had changed and I wouldn’t have the same experience this year.

Turns out I just needed to settle in a little bit. I had awesome roommates: Dacia, Andrea, & Angela. Not long after I arrived, I got to finally hug Alan & Christine. Then I saw Karen and Deb and Sam & Matt. The hugs never stopped, and I started to feel more and more at home. FitBloggin really is a chance for me to come home to my people again every year. I missed Jen, Meredith, Carla, and Susan like WHOA, but the chances to connect and reconnect abounded.

So what do we DO at this conference? I think it depends on your focus. This year, I spent more time with friends and a little less in sessions, and I don’t regret it at all. Let’s see. We went on a ghost tour of Savannah. Our guide was totally insane and by the end we were pretty bored, but it was fun to see the city at night.

I skipped Friday morning bootcamp in favor of sleeping, then had a great breakfast. I made it halfway through a workout session before an oncoming migraine got the best of me. Lots of water and a little medicine later and I was bouncing back alright. I missed out on CrossFit to head to a session led by Christine, which was full of some really great thoughts on maintaining weight loss motivation, and then we got a little lunch time visit from Mickey Mouse! runDisney was there to talk about their races, but I couldn’t help focusing on the strength competition at the Wide World of Sports. I can’t get the Disney Fit Challenge out of my head, so it might need some more researching. I spent some time Friday afternoon wandering and relaxing, and had my traditional yearly dinner with Gail. We wrapped up Friday night with a drag show (so awesome) and a lot of dancing. I think I got to bed at 1am.

Saturday I got up for the BEST YOGA EVER with Kia, who I adore. It was well worth getting out of bed even if I was a little hungover. Just a little. After breakfast, I went to Steve & Sue’s session on Tough Love. That one was a tough one for me, and it took me the rest of the weekend to decide whether it was because I disagreed with the idea of calling people out, or because it was exactly what I needed to hear. I decided on the latter, mostly after a long conversation with Terry. I’ll get to more on that in the next section.

I did ZUMBA!!! with Sue & Sam, also known as the only time all year I do any Zumba-ing. I love their class because I sweat, I dance, I laugh. I feel sexy and powerful and amazing, even though dancing usually makes me feel pretty uncoordinated. I had lunch at Moon River with some of my favorite people, including a lovely local beer, and got to say goodbye to Sue, who was already headed out. Le sad.

Saturday night I had an incredible dinner at Alligator Soul. The atmosphere was fancy and fun, and the food was amazing. I had a moonshine flight, mind-blowing shrimp & grits, and was briefly married to Steve. We headed back in time for some truly amazing Ignite presentations. My favorite, and not just because I got a shout out, was Dre & Martinus rapping. I also got the chance to reenact a presentation in the hopes of winning a gift certificate. I HATE speaking in public, but getting the chance for some great yoga gear from be present was too much to pass up, so I bit the bullet and got up there.
I’m SO glad I did. I was so nervous, and so amped. I felt silly and weird, but I also loved it. The energy was amazing, and I had such a good time. I always say I’m going to try to do more with public speaking, so there is FitBloggin yet again helping me achieve a goal. There is nowhere more supportive or fun to be taking those risks.

Awesome new bracelet with green beads, and BRAVE ring from bama + ry

After the Ignite reception wrapped up and I managed to get my hands on some SWEET jewelry there was more fun in store. Side note: I love Jasmine from bama + ry SO FREAKING MUCH. For starters, she’s one of two people who understands my blog reference without me explaining it. Secondly, she makes amazing jewelry that’s breathtakingly beautiful and still affordable. I do need to save up for the Maya Collection though, because it’s incredible and I want every piece. More than that though, Jasmine is just…amazing. She’s got the sweetest smile, this incredible understanding of grief and loss, and she’s just…I don’t have the words. I feel like I’d hang out with her all the time if we lived close. I just realized I never got a pic with her and now I’m mad.

And then…I played Cards Against Humanity. First time ever, and fortunately I was with some awesome people who just laughed at my discomfort. J It was completely hilarious, so much fun, and gave me a chance to get to know some great people even better than before. I went to bed at 2am.

Sunday came too fast, as always, but I got up with Christine and headed out for the 5K. I can’t run it, so I walked with Steve instead and it was a great chance to catch up with him. I really enjoyed our chatting, and got a bonus phone booth photo. I had breakfast, got to have some wrap up conversations with a few awesome people, and made the six hour drive home.

And like that, it was all over… except it wasn’t. So many things still brewing. Emails to HR, food revamp plans…all for another post it seems, as this is long as crap now.

Next year FitBloggin is in Denver, and I WILL BE THERE. With bells on, perhaps. Or maybe not. But there. I will be there! I might even be brewing up a tattoo idea so that I can get one there like Dubyawife did this year.


FitBloggin Day 1

In a lot of ways FitBloggin is like coming home. There’s a core group of people here who will always have a piece of my heart, and even if I only see them once a year this time with them is so special to me.

This year is no different, although a few key people are missing and it makes me a little tiny bit sad. That being said, I’m still surrounded by support and love and so much laughter.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is a safe space, that no one cares about my jiggly tummy or is convened about the size of my butt. Not even the young, thin girls. Everyone here is on their own path, and they either love me or don’t know me or don’t care. Here I can just be me.


I Joined the Rebellion

I hinted at having started something new, and I HAVE! I was blogging it elsewhere in secret, but I suck at keeping secrets. Besides, those of you who will see me tomorrow might need an explanation for my stiff legged walking and disinclination to sitting down…so I just pasted in my last 2.5 days of secret journal.

June 23

You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

–Dr Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go

Here I go. I’ve officially joined The Rebellion.  I’m tired of tired. I miss feeling strong. It’s time to take on a challenge and own my own fitness.

Why not? I have reasons. I have excuses, I have fears. I’m putting them all aside and giving myself the chance to feel stronger, more awake, more alive. 

Today for me is all about making the right choices, about parsing out my decisions into manageable steps instead of jumping in with both feet and trying to do it all at once.

In the end, my days will look like this:

Nutrition: No soda or juice. Limited alcohol. Veggie with every lunch and dinner. Limited dairy. No grains at breakfast. No after lunch snacks. Lots of water. No desserts. Limited bread, pasta, and processed carbs.

Workouts: Monday – NF strength workout, 20min walk Tuesday – 60min yoga Wednesday – NF strength workout, 20min walk Thursday – 60min yoga Friday – NF strength workout, 20min walk Saturday – 60min yoga Sunday – 60min yoga, 30min walk

NF & Bullet JournalIn the past, I would have taken on every one of those changes all at once. Nerd Fitness really stresses making a few small changes, 1-2 at  a time, so I’m trying to break these up. I’m working on a schedule for rolling out each new change, but for this week I’m focusing on a veggie at every lunch OR dinner, plus doing the NF tutorial workout 3x/ 

Repurposing the bullet journal

For the moment at least, I’m repurposing my bullet journal as a place to keep track of my NF goals… I’m also wondering if the nutrition goals with help with tummy issues, so I’ll track them here too. Today’s tummy issues: moderate, could be cycle related 

June 24

Lunges of Death

I sweated my way through the tutorial workout last night to interesting and humbling results. Here’s the breakdown:

  • pushups – easy on my knees
  • squats – mostly easy, full squat
  • inverted rows – way too easy, did single arm db rows with 5lb
  • planks – easy, straight arm
So… that was enlightening, and I certainly did sweat. The truth is that I was expecting the workout to be SO much easier than it was. I got sweaty. I got my heartrate up. 
Most surprising? How easy the rows were (need heavier weights and I’d like to try real inverted rows on a bar) & how HOLY SCHNIZZLE HARD the lunges were. They HURT and by the end I thought I might die. I’m shocked I can walk today.
Also? Starving today. I’m trying really hard not to EAT ALL THE THINGS, but also to balance that with the fact that my nutrition goals this week are specific, so even if I make choices that might be a “fail” for an as-yet unassigned goal, I need to focus on the WINS of meeting my intended goals for the week.
Physically, I feel alright. I had a burger last night that I think I’m paying for a little. I’m looking forward to my vegan lunch and hopefully a nice walk this afternoon…maybe on the treadmill since it feels like a swimming pool outside.
WHY? Why are lunges so hard?
Also? I kind of want to go to my mom’s gym once to see how much I can lift.

June 25

I Might Die

Oh God. I thought I was sore yesterday. Today, after FOUR advil, I can still barely move. It hurts. Going to the bathroom is super awful. I have to lower myself onto the seat and pull myself up again. And in my crazy head, I’ve decided a half hour session with Bekah to assess my lifting baseline would be a good way to spend my after work time. Tomorrow I drive for six hours. I’m gonna die. I need to spend at least an hour doing yoga tonight and probably another hour tomorrow morning if I’m going to survive. In food news, I’m not doing well. I read an article about upping fat to fight sugar cravings, so when I get home from FitBloggin I’m going to try a few days of Bulletproof coffee (without the fasting, but with careful breakfast choices) and see if that helps with both the sugar and the super morning hungries I’ve been dealing with. I’m also not where I want to be with conditioning workouts this week…but THAT’S NOT A GOAL FOR THIS WEEK. I have to keep reminding myself to reward the goals I’m meeting and stop thinking about the goals I’m failing at. I can’t fail at them, because I haven’t set them for myself yet. Just because I know they’ll eventually be goals doesn’t mean I fail if I don’t meet them now. I don’t hate the idea of thinking about them now, because by doing so I often incorporate them in tiny ways leading up to implementation… but I gotta give myself a break! Can’t walk. Ow. 

Challenge Fail (#wycwyc)

At the beginning of the month I agreed to take part in a 30 day abs challenge with my mom, sister, and brother. I was really good for the first week or so, but due to a combination of sick and tired and lazy and busy and everything else that could be an excuse, legitimate or otherwise, I found myself sitting on day 16 of the challenge and I still hadn’t completed day 10.

I thought about it a lot. Probably more than is warranted for an internet abs challenge. I did want to strengthen my abs. I didn’t even find the first few days particularly hard. So why wasn’t I following along? Some days I had really good reasons – nausea, exhaustion thanks to an entire week of no sleep – and other days I just…didn’t wanna.

Finally last week it occurred to me, right alongside the decision to give up the challenge. I hated it. I mean I REALLY hated it. It wasn’t the difficulty. It was the boredom, the monotony, the pointless feeling. I hated every freaking second. So, following my general life rule to not do things that suck when and wherever possible, I decided to quit.

I felt weird (guilty?) about it for a few hours before I decided that was ridiculous. Refusing to do something I hate is never a bad idea. So instead I thought more about what led me to take on the challenge in the first place. What was I hoping to get out of it?

Strength. Overall fitness. Something to feel good about. Something to mark “complete.” (I love lists, man.)

[Sidebar: I just this instant realized that somewhere in the moving process I abandoned my bullet journal. Huh. I obviously don't miss it, despite finding it incredibly useful prior to moving. Maybe I'll start it up again in July just to see if it's still helpful.]

Sorry. (squirrel!) Anyway, I was looking for general strength and fitness improvements, and a minor sense of achievement. I spent my morning routine trying to figure out what else I could do, and I remembered #wycwyc. So much better man.

Before I got dressed, I did 10 pushups. Then I read on Facebook that Carla’s friend was doing 10 squats every time she went to the bathroom at work. I go to the bathroom a lot at work thanks to a potent combination of hydration and caffeination, so I figured I’d toss that in the mix too. I did 70 squats and 10 counter pushups total.  I continued the pattern through the week and did calf raises, squats, pushups, and anything else I could think of.

And this, my friends, is progress. Recognizing what feels right. Stopping what feels wrong. Taking time to tease out my goals. Finding new paths to those goals instead of giving up because the first plan failed. I’m feeling good about it, and it’s led me to an all new strength adventure…


The Fat Jokes

I was in the car with my mom on the way to work last week. We’re in a temporary car share situation that, while probably not terribly convenient, is giving us lots of time to talk and I’m loving that. Not shockingly given the previous weekend’s body image kerfuffle, we ended up on the topic of body image and how I’m doing and feeling.

I said that while I still struggle, overall I’m very happy with the work I’ve done to get my head on straight. I feel like I’m making progress, enjoying life in THIS body right now, and pleased with the choices I’m making more and more often now. I said I’d be alright if my body never changed, as long as I kept up with the choices (like lots of yoga or not so much sugar) that are making me feel happy, healthy, and strong.

She asked if I really meant that. It felt like a weird question, and I admitted that I do still struggle sometimes, but that overall YES! I did mean it. She was asking, she said, only because she’d noticed something that contradicted that statement when I went to work out with her on Saturday.

Turns out – TOTALLY without me realizing it – I was making self-derogatory fat jokes.

Wait, what? I don’t do that. I don’t, I swear. Except I did.

What’s up with that? I was nervous. I was definitely intimidated by the idea of working out with my mom’s exercise group, which is a bunch of women who regularly meet and do bootcamp classes and runs, so they’re super fit. I knew, intellectually, that my mother would never be hanging out with hateful and judgmental women. I understood, in my head, that I wouldn’t be judged. Everyone was, in fact, lovely and super impressed with my flexibility. But I was scared anyway, and it came out in such a primal, gut reaction sort of way that I didn’t even know I was doing it.

I was tempted to ask my mom what I said. I’m still a little curious about it. I do remember one thing as we showed up – instead of taking credit for getting my mom out of the house, which is what DID happen, I gave the impression she’d dragged me out to the workout. Not cool, man! I wanted to go. I should have owned it.

So there it is. Always a work in progress, right? Hearing that I’d been making self-defeating comments made me mad, then sad, then just left me feeling…weird. Now I feel like it’s not a bad thing. I need to know, because it means I need to step up my levels of awareness in situations where I feel intimidated. I need to own my awesome, because it is significant.