Category Archives: Metamorphosis May

The Cake is A Lie

the_cake_is_a_lie_515The cake is a lie. It isn’t even cake. It’s a vehicle to further solidify the truth I have created for myself right now, which is that I’m beyond saving. I’m too far gone. I’ve lost all of my motivation, slipped far from my health and fitness goals, and so now this is what I deserve. I deserve to eat a huge piece of cake, not because I’ll enjoy it but because the sugar will make me sluggish, and I’m not even that hungry, and it’s there so I might as well eat some, since that’s what I do.

And so I go to bed. Another day with too much sugar and not enough movement. Another night I’ve pushed myself to exhaustion before collapsing into bed to lie awake.

It’s become clear that my own well-being isn’t enough to motivate me out of this place. Not right now. And so instead, I’ll do it for her. Because I want to keep letting her spend one night a week in my bed, letting her believe it’s an indulgence for her when it’s just as much a treat for me. Because I want to feel alive and exhilarated and strong through every moment I get to spend with this fantastic kid. Because I want to have the energy to give her the attention she deserves in the precious few hours I get with her during the week. Because I want to keep up with her, challenge her, and teach her to own her own power.

20160523_174544For her, I’ll sleep more. I’ll hydrate more, move more, stretch more. I’ll do more yoga and meditation. I’ll stop mindlessly eating for punishment, for guilt, for boredom and sadness and stress and frustration and social ease. I’ll be mindful, purposeful, and honoring of this one body I have, that I get to share with the most amazing soul to ever walk this earth.

For her, I’ll recommit to my yoga practice, which does my heart and soul so much good.

For her, I’ll go back to Camp Gladiator in June, as planned. I’m scared to go back, terrified of the heat and the difficulty and returning after two months off. I’m worried I won’t be able to do it, that I’m so unfit that I won’t be able to finish the first workout, that the frustration will keep me from going back more than once, that I won’t go back at all. But I will. I promised her I’d go back, and so I’ll go. Because it makes me happier, healthier, better prepared to face the world with m very best.

It won’t be easy. I’m in such a rough spot that it’s going to take near-constant recommitting to my goals. I need to be prepared for gentleness, for patience, and for extra focus on being aware and in the moment as much as possible. But I have to remember I haven’t completely run out of sparks. I did do a half-marathon on an exercise bike to earn my first Hogwarts Running Club medal. (It’s awesome.)

It’s time. Summer is coming. My incredible kid is GRADUATING FROM FIRST GRADE. We’ve got a busy, fun summer ahead of us before starting a whole new school year. We’re looking at maybe moving, in the same area, but to somewhere a little closer to her school or a little closer to my office while still in the school district. My career is really shaping up beautifully, with a job I enjoy and work I am proud of. It’s time.

So help me out. Tell me how you climb out of a funk, what you do to get back on track, and how you handle setbacks in that process.

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The Secret of Change

The secret of change…

The truth is that I’ve been thinking about change a lot lately. Specifically, that I think it’s time for one. I injured my tendon, which led to a month off from bootcamp to let it heal. In that month, it was my job to wait for the pain to fade, and then focus on daily yoga to help stretch out my tight, overworked body and let things begin to heal more fully.

And maybe that’s what my mind needed too. So the pain began to lessen, and…I got bronchitis. For the 4th time in the last 3 years. I am a bronchitis machine, it would seem. And so I didn’t do yoga, and I shouldn’t have. I listened to my body. I took time off. I slept. I hydrated. I rested as much and as often as possible.

Two weeks later, when the exhausting hacking cough finally abated, I was finally ready to return to yoga…only to discover the pain was back, but different this time. Sharper, lower, less severe but more insistent. So I went back to the doctor and…my tendon is healing nicely, but it turns out that some of the pain was thanks to a build up of uric acid that has formed a sizeable crystal on my heel.

I’m taking a medicine to dissolve the crystal, but as it’s dissolving the pain is much worse and any impact or weight bearing is rough.

So it looks like I’m out another month until the crystal is dissolved. I’m super bummed about it, but sticking with daily yoga and doing the workout Mike sent me a few times a week.

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In Stillness

I want…space. Space to breathe, to stretch, to create. I want lightness, ease, and more time to cuddle.

I can choose to be aware, or I can cruise through life mostly checked out. Lately, I’ve been checked out. I’ve been telling myself it’s because I’m just so busy…but whether that’s true or not, I can’t afford it anymore.

I’m fighting real anxiety these days, with physical hints of panic attacks just below the surface. I constantly feel like I’m barely holding on, and I can’t keep doing that to myself. I let it spiral in April, and now I’m midway through May and trying to pull it all back together.

I want truth. I want to be honest with myself, for myself.

I want to dress in ways that make me feel lovely instead of invisible. I don’t intend to abandon my nerd shirts, because they’re very much a part of my honest expression of self…but I want to be better about pushing the limits of what I think of as ‘comfort’ when it comes to my appearance, because what I really mean by that is that I’m choosing what’s easy, what’s familiar. It’s like I get dressed every morning and choose between feeling pretty and feeling comfortable, and I don’t think both is an option. It’s confusing and weird. I ordered one last Stitch Fix (that’s a referral link!) even though I haven’t had great luck with that, just because I’m hoping for something that works for me. I’m also considering Gwynnie Bee when our finances improve a bit.

I want to feel like I’m aligned with my own personal truths, with who I really am. I’ve felt aligned before, but right now I’m not even sure how to find that path, let alone get back on it.

I need to feel stable, to feel safe. I need to stop feeling the world unravel around me. I want to stop lying in bed, worried about a thousand things that will never happen. I want to strip away all of the unnecessary things that surround me every day and circle in on the things that matter most.

I want to make and consume food that lights my fires, that excites me again. I want to spend time in the kitchen with the kid, crafting things just because we can.

I want to walk in the sunshine more than I sit under fluorescent lights. I want to meet myself on the yoga mat every day. I want to close my eyes and find stillness, explore the me I don’t always share, and find the touch points that allow me to embrace her entirely, every day.

I want to sleep more, because I’m a better me when I’m rested, and because sleep fuels everything else that happens in my day. Sleep returns me to myself, as I undoubtedly become lost through the course of the daily trudge.

I want to be right here, right now, doing only what I’m doing – not allowing my head to spin off into the other million things I might need or want to do today. I want more play and less work, more love and less tension, more air and less stress.

I want fresh produce and fresh air. I want to lay in the grass, giggle with my kid, and not always feel exhausted.

So it’s time to lay out what that takes for me, at least to start.

  1. In bed by 10pm
  2. No caffeine during the work week
  3. Yoga 4-5 times a week
  4. Meditate every day
  5. Cook one real dinner per work week
  6. Cook two real meals on the weekends
  7. Wear something that makes me feel pretty at least once a week
  8. Document the things that light me up…the foods, the outfits, the moments

(as inspired, so often, by Mara)

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The BFG

I’m $230 away from my goal for SATURDAY’s ! Help my brother & I support . Any amount helps. 

I haven’t been posting much, or talking much, or writing much. I’ve had ten million things to do and think about and handle, and I’ve been pinging off of my stress maximums for a little while now. Finally, things are officially, and so I introduce the source of much stress and much joy.

The BFG.

DCtoFLThe Big Florida Geo-relocation. Yes, it’s possible I made up that last word just so I could use BFG.

So…we’re moving to Florida. Like now. In fact, we’re moving in a little over two weeks. I gave notice at my office. I found an incredible new job I’m super excited about. Evi is enrolled in a great school. This week I’m trying to arrange movers and storage space, since we’ll be crashing at parents’ for a week or two until we can see some apartments in person. We have to sort and trash and clean and pack and stack and donate and sell. There’s a ton to do, and almost no time to do it in. I’m trying not to freak out, because the truth is that the move is a wonderful thing for us.

The move was initiated thanks to a region transfer at the husband’s job, and it meant we had a lot of flexibility around where we’d live. So thanks to luck and circumstance, we’ll be less than half an hour from my parents, my sister, and my new job. The only really tough part is that we’ll also be moving away from my incredible brother. Evi in particular will take some soothing when she doesn’t get to see her beloved Unkin every Wednesday. Thankfully we’ll have so much time with my sister and parents that she’ll be just fine, and we’ll see my brother more and more as we all have time to save up money and fly him down.

So… things are crazy. Everything is hectic and right now and go go go, and I’m trying to stay afloat and get everything done. Once we move, find a place to live, and get settled? It’s kind of going to be awesome.  Florida, here we come! Now I just need to figure out how to survive a 14hr drive with a 5yr old and a dog.

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Of Tracking and Chocolate

I’ve been tracking my food for… I don’t know, maybe a week now? Overall, it’s been pretty predictable.

As it turns out, although the reassurance of this fact is comforting, I actually have a pretty good idea of what I’m eating on a given day. When I first started tracking I worked hard not to alter my food choices because of the tracker, and my results were exactly as I suspected. My calorie and fat levels are low enough that I should be losing weight (and although I’m curious as to how that could be true yet I’m NOT losing weight, it’s just not my focus) and on any given day I’ve had either too much sodium or too much sugar, and sometimes both.

The sodium is coming from packaged foods. Canned or bagged soups to make lunch easy at work, packaged crackers to go with my goat cheese, and anything eaten at a restaurant or from take out. The sugar has obvious sources too, particularly in Easter candy season. I just eat more candy than I need to about half the time. It was a surprise to realize that I’m only over on my sugar by a handful of grams, and I’d even set it a little low per the heart healthy guidelines I’d found. My sodium, on the other hand, is THROUGH THE ROOF on the days when it’s over, which is about half the time as well.

In the last day or two though, since Easter really, things have taken a turn for the worst, and I’m still muddling through whether it’s some latent stress from tracking that’s causing it, or whether it’s just that because I’m tracking I’m aware of the extent of it. I overate on Easter, though not as badly as I have in years past. Somehow that led to the next two days being fueled nearly entirely by chocolate, with little side trips into Pringles and other food designed to make me feel crappy.

I don’t know why it’s happening, and my body is unhappy about it. I’m focusing quite intentionally on NOT berating myself for it, but instead on taking the one meal at a time mentality and trying to make ONE good choice. For today, even ONE choice for nutritious food versus comfort staples that mistreat my body will mean a victory.

I’ll also be focusing more on meditation daily, on getting back to my daily yoga practice, and other ways to promote gentle behaviors that foster my self love.

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Memorial Monday

Happy Memorial Day. I hope everyone is taking some time to be grateful for the meaning of the day, to enjoy time with family and friends, and cherish a relaxing weekend of hard-won freedom.

Today’s a great day for me. I’m home relaxing with the Kidlet, and thinking through what I want my summer to look like.

Summer Walk Challenge ButtonI joined Mel’s summer walk challenge. I saw the Runners World run challenge going around, and I’m definitely off running at least in the short term (and likely in the forever term), but I love being a part of a challenge. A mile isn’t far, and I’m not trying to do it all at once every day, since I know work will sometimes get in the way. Instead I just want to be committed to getting out there every day for intentional movement, even if I have to split it into two or three short walks to get the mile in.

Starting June 1st, I’ve also signed up for the 30 Day Yoga Challenge with DoYouYoga/YogaTrail, and the Back To Her Roots Summer Challenge, which results in an as-yet-undetermined prize! I’m also still sticking to my monthly goals, which shift a little each month based on where I’m at. One big one for the summer is MORE FRESH FOOD!

It may sound like a lot to take on (or it may not, I suppose) but I’m ready for it. This weekend was a perfect example of really staying in the moment, really living my life. Evi and I spent Saturday morning hanging out since Aaron had to work, and a good friend came to visit with her son in the afternoon. We blew bubbles, ran around in the yard, played freeze tag, and laughed a lot. We went out to a nice dinner, and the kids had so much fun.

Sunday was… maybe the best day ever. I woke up tired (Evi’s been having nightmares) and Aaron made me a cup of coffee. I finished it before heading out to my first ever Pilates one-on-one session. It was incredible. It was challenging too. Diane is amazing, and she helped me reaffirm my right to take up space. It was pretty powerful. I also learned that some lumps on my thighs that I’ve long blamed on my weight and cellulite are tissue knots I can break up with a masage bar. So I’ll be getting one of those. I cried for the five minute drive home because I just felt so open and released and like all the pain is both manageable and definitely short term.

I followed up that epiphany with a three hour hike with the family. It was asking a little too much of my legs, but I stopped to stretch a lot, stretched for over an hour when we got home, and felt great.

Then we finished our family day with ice cream from my favorite place.

Essentially, it was perfect. Today we’re hanging out at home in the morning while Aaron works, and then we’ll head out this afternoon to enjoy the sunshine again. It’s shaping up to be a great week, and with FitBloggin coming up, a Joyful June for sure.

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Do it!

invisible crown

Emmie got me thinking this morning about what will really work best to get me and my body and mind to a place where we all feel good, energetic, and at our best. I’m definitely headed in the right direction, but I’m still struggling a lot, and it’s time to look for ways to help myself move forward. Progress is good. It’s healthy. It helps me stay positive and on track.

So, this morning, as I read through the post, I had a bit of an epiphany. I have been coming at intuitive eating from the standpoint that it must be in the moment, immediate, instantaneous food choices or I won’t truly be honoring my body. But here’s the thing. For the most part, after years of, well, eating, I know quite a bit about how my body responds to most foods. I’m learning that intuitive eating isn’t so much about what I feel like eating at a given moment, but about what response it will provoke in my body. Armed with a fairly well stocked encyclopedia of how my body responds to certain foods, I totally CAN plan ahead.

I’m stealing Emmie’s category headers, because each one provoked a response for me, and I want to talk about them.

Adjust your schedule: I really fall down on this one. Emmie points out that while we think the hardest part of a workout is the workout itself, I’ve noticed that getting there, getting up from my desk, making the time… THAT is my struggle. So I’m going to start scheduling my workouts again. I’ve made a spot in my work calendar for lunch/gym breaks, so now I need to plan specifically what will happen for those breaks. I know I’ll need to be flexible, and I’m ready for that. For sure, my workouts will now include one Pilates session, one yoga session, and one long walk every week, along with some more consistent strength training. And god, as I type that out I realize how amazing that sounds to me. Just the thought of that workout schedule makes me excited, makes my heart all aflutter. E voila, intuition…

Adjust your sleep: Under no circumstances do I get enough sleep. I’m always tired, and it’s not helping. It makes motivation harder to come by, and it makes it easier to eat foods that don’t feel good.

Adjust your stress: This one is super tough for me, since I honestly believe most of my stress comes from outside. However, I can practically hear Karen in my head, reminding me that it’s all about how I process that outside influence, whether or not I allow it to stress me out. So I’m working on slowing down in general, taking things in stride, and making plans to cope with stress. I’m also trying to intentionally add more yoga/Pilates into my schedule, which will help with stress levels for sure.

Adjust your shopping: Aaron and I just talked about this last night. I wanted to get back to cleaner eating, and I had a plan to do so, but (frankly) i ignored the plan because I was concerned about the extra costs. After talking to Aaron, we realized we’re actually eating a lot of processed foods right now, and that portion for portion they’re definitely more expensive, and less satisfying as well.

Adjust your family: This one is easier for me. Emmie says to cut back on the eating out. We eat out once a week, maximum, and we nearly always go somewhere like Panera where healthier choices are easier. Our snacks at home are incredibly healthy since Evi picks them out and leans toward healthy stuff naturally. Still, I’ll work to be more mindful.

Adjust your mind: This is a BIG one for me. I’m not sure, but I think it is going to mean a return to more regular blogging. I most certainly can’t afford therapy, so this is a pretty great substitute for me. I have to be vigilant about really thinking through what’s going on in my head. I have to be honest with myself, and with this blog. It’s a long process, but I’m ready for it. I’m also going to start trying a little harder with my fashion. I’ve fallen into a rut, telling myself it’s about ease and comfort, that doesn’t make me feel good about the way I look. I have some decent stuff, so it’s time to take a little more pride in myself.

Adjust your body: I’ve had more than my fair share of testing done lately, so I think I’m in pretty good shape in terms of understanding where my body currently is. What I need to do now is focus on keeping it that way. I need to be paying careful attention to my pain levels, to my stretches and strength building exercises, and to progress markers, no matter how small.

It’s weird to realize I’ve been doing everything in a totally unhelpful way for SO long. The process of getting to a good place is so long, so all encompassing. I have to change nearly everything. I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but surprisingly energized as well.
Thanks, Emmie. I needed this sort of reflection today.
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How I fired my pt and learned to really listen…

First of all, Aaron is stressed out to the max so he’s having a hard time right now, which means we stayed up late talking. It was good for both of us, but left me extra tired.

So  yesterday my pt appointment was supposed to be a half hour and ended up taking over an hour because they double booked all the patients to make up for a therapist who called out. I was frustrated because they should have called me in advance and they didn’t. I said as much, and the therapist offered me a free session if I could come in early this morning. So I got up really, really early and came in this morning.

She asked me to bring my running shoes so she could check for abnormal wear. (None) When I got there, she asked me to run. I told her I wasn’t ready to because of the pain. She insisted, because she needed to “rule out mechanical issues.” And I, being occasionally terrible at self-advocating, did it anyway… Because she’s a “doctor.”

The result was that my legs locked up entirely, and only a very well placed and quite large lab tech saved me from face-planting on the treadmill. They had to have the massage therapist come see me just to get me to the point where I could put any weight on my legs again.

“Fortunately” I had some leftover pain meds from when I hurt my neck, and that’s how I’m at work today at all.

I’m furious. I complained to my therapist, who apologized but mostly blamed circumstances. (So busy, understaffed, etc) I complained to the practice manager, and to my insurance as well, and I cancelled all of my appointments coming up.

Today I’m going to message my Pilates instructor friend, and then I’ll also reach out about a strength program. I’m done with the pt. I’m going to try going with just Pilates and strength for a few weeks to see how it feels. On the way out, another therapist at the practice did talk to me briefly and said he thought pilates could be enough.

Their understanding, and mine too from lots of reading, is that my issues are just the way I’m built. The pain would have happened regardless, although running significantly irritated/encouraged it. Unless I can completely change the length and form of my stride, I won’t run again ever.

Pilates will definitely help me with mental center and balance. The best thing I can do is to super strengthen my lower core: glutes, hips, low/side abs. Doing that will take the pressure off by pulling things up and away from the problem areas, and decreasing pressure on my sciatic nervce. And Pilates will do a lot of that. Paired with a good strength training and walks, I think I’ll be in good shape sooner rather than later.

And, can I just admit how excited I am to be forced to take it slow so that I can go back to going on walks just because I like to, instead of always thinking of the larger fitness goals? It’s just so nice to have to step back and remember the reasons I WANT to move my body, the reasons I LOVE to move my body, removed from all of the motivations that came later – the weight loss, fitness, inches, competition, miles racked up… And I think about how I’d always be reading Carla’s blog about just working movement into every day, and I’d want that SO MUCH, but I’d convince myself it wasn’t for me. I was too fat to be able to do things that way. I had to do something extreme to force change.

What a terrible, unloving way to think, right? I’m done with it. I’m slowing WAY WAY down. Slow down. Listen more. LOVE ME. We have to keep centering around that! Love for ourselves. I honestly believe that if we can keep circling the wagons around continuous self-love, everything else will just… happen.

I love myself.

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Therapy

So…. I’ll be going to physical therapy once a week for the foreseeable future. It’s alright, much better than potential surgery, although that’s not entirely out of the question either.

I’m working hard on doing my assigned exercises every day, and trying to eat mindfully to make up for the lack of intentional cardio. I have the Warrior Dash this coming weekend, which I’m only allowed to do if I’m very good about my exercises. I’ll get the go ahead (or not) for sure this Wednesday.

I think I’m also going to be adding Pilates to my week, since it’s exactly what I need to get better.

Staying positive is tough when my body doesn’t work the way I’d like it to, but I’m fighting to remember that it’s doing it’s best, and I should too.

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Moo!

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As in The Impatient Cow. No? Nobody? Well, apparently I AM the impatient cow.

I’ve been fighting with myself way too much these days. Everything is a struggle. The exact same habits and mindsets that helped me lose the weight I dropped are suddenly the reasons I’m consistently making choices I’ll regret. While there have certainly been times I’ve thrown up my hands and stopped trying, this is the first time EVER that I’ve tried this hard and constantly struggled unless I was really struggling with some rough emotional stuff. So I started thinking about it, started trying to sniff out the issues.

And? Nothing. Sure I have stress. Yes I’m terrified about this potential leg issue. But the stress isn’t new, and the problem was happening before the foot/leg pain started. So… what the what?

Aaron has been maxed out on stress lately too, working half of most weekends and still not keeping up thanks to understaffing. We sat down to talk it out last night, and boom! Lightning bolt! Suddenly, I know what’s wrong.

We’re maxed out. Between the basic job stress and parenting and running the household and a long commute… we just have nothing left. Every “free” moment is spent grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, laundry, dishes, windows, car repairs… And it’s (perhaps not shockingly) wearing me down. I don’t get many chances to recharge.

I’m grateful for my job and thrilled that I still love it. I’m glad we have a safe place to live and enough resources to raise a healthy, happy little girl. But.., I need more. On a given day, I have about 2hrs of mental free time when I’m on the bus but not answering work emails. I think that time is keeping me sane, but I’m essentially immobile.

I have about 45 minutes of potential active time every day, but any time I miss work I worry about falling behind because my job is so important to me, so if I take a day off I’m unlikely to take a gym break for several days before and after.

The less I move, the more vindictive the my food choices become. The worse I eat, the worse I feel and the harder I have to fight to get out from under the guilt. I end up, as I am right now, trapped in this heavy fog of self judgement and guilt and sadness.

There’s nothing I can do about put schedule right now. We’re working as beat we can on moving to somewhere that would significantly decrease my commute and not lengthen Aaron’s, but that is an expensive and lengthy process.

But I’m not powerless. I DO have choices. I can decide how this effects me instead of just letting it happen to me. Björg and I can choose where the feelings take us.

And therein lies the impatience. I honestly believe my attempts at I tuition eating were working…. or they would have I’d is been more patient. If I’d been willing to sit in my own head longer, work to really understand my mind/body connection better, I think I would have been on the right track.

And tracking? So not working. If you look at my food diary since I went back to tracking (please don’t) it’s totally ridiculous. It painfully showcases someone who’s at best not listening and at worst medicating with food. It’s bad for my head and worse for my heart. No more. It’s time to put in the work.

And that’s the crux of it. Intuitive eating takes work. I’ve spent too many years restricting calories, moralizing food, and guilt tripping my body… it won’t be as easy and natural as “intuitive” suggests because I have no damn clue how to listen to my body. But I was getting there and it’s time I commit to doing it for real.

So what’s the plan? MORE YOGA!!! More hiking, when I get the all clear to do so. More soul lifting forms of movement. And food? I thought long and hard about what really makes me happy, and the answer hit me in the face… literally. I was cleaning up my bookshelf, and one of my favorite healthy books (despite the stupid title) fell off.

Mediterranean Women…

So I’m aiming for a return to the Mediterranean diet that makes me happy. It’s clean, it’s delicious. It’s easy. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.

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