Category Archives: AllowanceAugust

Have To/Get To: A Perspective Shift

(As inspired by my favorite parenting role model, Carla.)
 
I have to….
 
I get to…
 
It’s a pretty different sentiment, and one I think I might be missing when it comes to a lot of what I do in the day. So it’s time for a massive reframe that focuses on everything I have to be grateful for.
 
I have to go to work.
I GET to go to a job I love, with people I enjoy working with and learning from, and I get to do it all in an environment where I’m comfortable, supported, and challenged.
 
I have to get so much done every day.
I GET to live a life full of people who trust me to get things done, and done well. And I get to benefit from not only their trust, but their appreciation and praise. Even better, I get to do it all with the help of a tiny but powerful team of people – both at work and at home – who make sure it’s always awesome.
 
I have to get up early.
I GET to wake up in a safe, warm home, cuddle a kid I adore, and get into my fully functional car to get us both where we need to go. And half the time I get to stop for coffee, which is a considerable luxury no matter how you look at it.
 
I have to go to meetings at the kid’s school, and chase people down to get her the education I need.
I GET to be involved in my kid’s education, to advocate for what’s best for her, and take advantage of staff and faculty who want what’s best for her as long as I’m engaged in helping to make it happen. I get to stay on top of what’s happening in her school days, and understand better every day what she needs most, and how I can help be the one to get it for her.
 
I have to work out.
I GET to spend a portion of my hard-earned money on a fun, supportive bootcamp where people genuinely care about how I’m doing and want me to succeed. I get to sweat out my frustrations a few times a week, because I have an incredible support system that helps make it happen, from friends to workout with me to an incomparably awesome mom who watches the kid.
 
I have to eat better.
I GET to focus on my health and happiness, to consume foods that make me feel my best and fuel my best intentions for my long-term health. I get to shop for things I like, spend time making them with care, and share them with people who share my goals. I get to make choices about what I eat, where it comes from, and how I prepare it, instead of being forced into less healthful decisions just because my financial, social, or resource situation dictates those things for me.
 
I have to spend money on my old car.
I GET to benefit from a car I didn’t have to pay a dime for, that continues to fairly reliably get me where I’m going, whenever I need it to.
 
I have to spend time and effort on cleaning the house, putting away the dishes, doing laundry etc…at the end of a busy day, when I’m tired and worn out.
I GET to live in a house with all of these comparative luxuries, and I get to provide them for my family. I get to wear clothes that are nice enough, eat off of dishes I bought for myself, and surround myself with a living space where I’m both safe and comfortable.
 
I have to handle everything, all the time, because my husband travels during the week.
This one needs more than just a reframe because it’s not entirely true, although it is something I find myself thinking a lot. I don’t have to handle everything alone. See aforementioned support system. But still, the reframe is…I GET to spend more time with my daughter than I’d be able to otherwise, and we both get to spend more time with my local family. I get to work a job that allows me some measure of flexibility to put my family first when I need to. And I get to shape the way I spend my free time on work days based only on what I want and need. I get to be the one she has deep conversations with, the one she cuddles with at night, the one she regales with school-day stories. I get to be the one to help her with her homework, to read her bedtime stories, and to watch Cupcake Wars with her while we eat dinner.
 
So the truth? I have so very, very much to be happy about. I’ve gotten into a rut of thinking about all that I “must” do lately, and it’s long past time I reframe it all to consider everything I get to do.

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The Journey So Far…

On July 28th, I bought a journal at Target, sort of on a whim. It was right after I wrote my last blog post, which was all about feeling stuck and needing to find a way to push.

Things didn’t go so well at first.

7/29: I’m feeling tired and frustrated with Day 1. I’m trying to make plans–to eat and move with care, to make good food choices, to get back to daily yoga–but I feel so lazy and already so discouraged. Lost before I began…which isn’t going to get me anywhere, and I know it.

7/30: I think I’m scared…scared to succeed, to discover my own limitations. I don’t want to know how out of shape I am, how dependent on junk food I’ve let myself become, how hard even simple workouts might be for me now. I’m afraid to find myself having to start over from 0…and what if I can’t? What if I make it two minutes? What if I hurt my knee? What if it’s my fault?

8/1: Today was a mess. I felt fat and awkward and ridiculous. I couldn’t stop making uncharitable comparisons and I felt awful about myself all day.

8/2: My body image is suffering big time right now. I’m feeling incredibly self-conscious, about my stomach in particular. I don’t like feeling disconnected from my body this way, and I’m trying to think through other paths to recapture my connection to myself. I’m trying to consider new plans for movement, nutrition, thought…anything that might help me respark the connection that I seem to have had only the barest grasp on.

And it just kept getting darker.

8/3: I am in one giant black hole of self-criticism right now, pulling me in half and half and half again until my self-love and my confidence are reduced to so much confetti. I feel scared and lost and frustrated, and I don’t even know why. I want to reach out and ask for help…but how? Help with what? I don’t even know what I need right now, so how do I ask for help? How do I break out of this current pattern–this all-too-familiar, old-school pattern–of doubt and discomfort, of food as punishment and movement as something to be rebelled against?

8/4: Man, today was pretty dark in terms of my mood, and my food was totally hopeless…I wake up every morning and commit myself to making beter choices. So far, I haven’t made it past lunch before abandoning that commitment and tossing myself fairly headlong into half-intentional destructive eating and thoughts that chip away at all of my confidence and joy.

But then? Maybe a little upswing?

8/8: Overall a great day, with food and movement I enjoyed. I spent time with my favorite people and didn’t stop to think about my pants size, my stomach shape, or anything else that could have put a damper on my day.

And that tiny upswing had me spending HOURS plotting out a DIY version of the Fix to try. I’m way too broke for the real deal, but found some resources online so that I can do something sort of similar.

8/9: I’ve plotted, planned, and prepared, and atleast on paper I’m all ready for my DIY plan. I’m pretty scared of it, particularly in terms of how hard the workouts are going to feel.

Today was day 1…

8/10: I started the day with vigor and determination. The workout was SUPER tough (I felt pukey twice), but it was also great. I was hungry almost immediately though, and thought about nothing but food all day. I was so cranky, and by dinner I was sluggish and feeling weak & foggy. I could probably have chosen a better meal plan, maybe more veggies up front…so I’m going to try again tomorrow with a little more flexibility to my eating. I do need to focis on more produce, more real food…but maybe not in such a restrictive or controlled way. Today’s complete, constant focus on food was incredibly unealthy for me, and reminiscent of alot of dark head spaces.

So that’s where I’m at. By the end of the day, I deviated from my food plan with beer and cheesecake. Still, a MUCH better day (with a real, tough, sweaty workout) than most of the ones that have gone before…so that’s where I’m at right now. And now Gail has put out this FitBloggin Call to Action, and I want to say I’m in…

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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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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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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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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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