Category Archives: Work It

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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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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How Three Vegan Meals (and One Restaurant Lunch) May Have Reset My Eating Habits

My new job (which rocks, so far) is stocked to the gills with great food related benefits. Free, super tasty Green Mountain K-cups mean I’m getting to try all sorts of fun flavors. It also means I have to limit myself to 24oz of coffee a day…which is probably still too much. Fortunately some of the novelty has worn off, so I’m down to two 8oz cups most days.

We’ve also got lots of other great snacks, including tons of crackers and corn nuts and candy. There’s granola, almonds, cereal, oatmeal, jerky…so much stuff. The biggest plus (that turns out to be a massive minus)? The oatmeal creme pies. Dude. Such an issue. I think I ate four in one day at one point in my first week. Certainly nerves are playing a role there, along with some stress around finding a new place to live so we don’t have to impose on my parents forever. There’s also definitely some emotional adjustment for me in learning to live with my mom, who has developed a plan for herself that works really well and has her feeling awesome…which involves careful calorie counting and tracking. It’s been a tough transition for me, since that mentality means a lot of calorie/weight talk I’m just not used to.

I’m learning. But in the meantime? Massive over-caffeination and serious empty calorie intake via incredible oatmeal creme pie (OCP) consumption.

Another bonus? We get free lunch. (I know, right?!) Essentially, we get eight dollars a day to use toward on-campus lunch options. The first week meant visiting the deli/cafe downstairs and intaking grilled cheese, egg salad, and a pretty decent chicken wrap. When the chance came to sign up for the veggie friendly option and get vegan lunches delivered every day instead, I figured I’d give it a try. I get to pick a whole week of meals on Sundays and they show up around 1pm.

Here’s my first week’s picks:
Monday meal 2 – 2. Quinoa Fuchsia BowL: Hi-Protein Quinoa “dyed” with Cold-Pressed Beet Juice (mild flavor … bold color) Tossed with Hawaiian Purple Yam, Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Assorted Raw Veggies and Herbs…Served on a bed of Greens with a RAWesome Creamy Dill Dressing on the side
Tuesday meal 4 – 4. Southern Comfort Plate : BBQ Hi-Protein Tempeh … Sautéed Greens … Garlic – “Butter” Mashed Potato
Wednesday meal 1 – 1. Slaw’ppy Jeaux…Our Famous Chili-non-Carne in the Raw…Fresh Slaw (Beet, Cabbage, Carrot and Sliced Gherkin Pickles tossed in a Creamy Dressing) & Baby Greens …Load up your Coconut-Zucchini Wrappers with these delicious ingredients and Be Merry! Served with a side of Vanilla Bean-Chia Seed Pudding (Hi-Protein & rich in Essential Fatty Acids!) *GF
Thursday meal 2 – 2. Marrakesh Lettuce Wrap…Our Famous Rosemary-Garlic Raw Hummus, Shredded Purple Cabbage, Carrot & Ma’raw’nated Cucumber…Wrap these Savory Ingredients up in your crisp Romaine Lettuce Leaves & Enjoy! Served with a side of Fresh Fruit Medley *GF
Friday meal 2 – 2. Raw Platter…Mac N’ Cheezy Kelp Noodles…Trinidadian Style “Cucumber Chow” (Fresh Local Cucumbers ma’raw’nated in a mildly spicy Apple-Cider Vinaigrette) … Nicky-Nicky’s Mini Raw Pineapple Upside-Down Cake *GF
Monday’s lunch was pretty good. Tuesday was GREAT once I added a little real butter to the potatoes. Wednesday was decent, and the chia pudding was great. I was feeling full, getting TONS of veggies in, and feeling pretty proud of myself. I was definitely still snacking a fair bit, particularly when lunch comes so late, but making it work.

Today we had a team lunch to welcome me (so nice!) and we went to a local restaurant, where I got a burger and fries. I spent the rest of the day feeling awful…slow and run down with an upset stomach, and I ended the afternoon with corn nuts and another damned OCP. I swear they’re made of crack. Now I’m riding home from work and I feel pretty awful. My head hurts. I’m overly tired. I don’t want dinner. My stomach is cranky.

And then it hit me. Dude. When I had my vegan lunches, I just felt better. I had more energy, felt happier, and made it through the afternoon with more focus. I’m NOT going vegan, but these meals are clean and fresh, often local, and drastically increasing my daily produce intake. They’re forcing me to (re)learn the lesson that produce intake is what my body thrives on. Yes, carbs too. Yes, even some sweet things. It’s about balance, and on days that start with protein and are made up by volume of more than half produce, I just feel/do/think better.

So I’ll be sticking with the vegan lunches for now, and being a lot more careful about eating when we’re offsite. I can also thank my mom for the healthy dinners she’s making, which are helping a lot too. By next week I’m hoping to have a handle on the OCP issue. Maybe one a week?
In movement news, I appear to have FINALLY kicked my bronchitis, so I’ve been doing laps around the lake at lunch. Two on Tuesday, three yesterday. I missed today because of the lunch, so four tomorrow. I’m also doing this abs challenge with my mom, sister, and brother, and I have plans for family yoga tonight with the awesome new My Yoga Pro videos now that the site is up and running. The afternoon walks are great for clearing my head, and after a week of super sickness I NEED the stretch (and mind calming) of yoga.

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There Is No Try

I just spent ten minutes putting together a spreadsheet to prove (to myself? to you?) that I don’t have enough time.

Then I deleted it. Because guess what? I don’t have enough time. Neither do you. Neither does everyone I know who gets their workouts in, or makes healthy food a priority. None of us have enough time. We MAKE the time.

If I want this to happen, I have to MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

I know. Rocket science, right?

But here’s the thing. I’m on the precipice. I’m steps away from letting go, eating crap all the time, gaining back all the weight, and constantly feeling exhausted and awful. I’m barely treading water.

But then a comment from a lovely friend on the last post reminded me… I AM STILL TREADING WATER. Even if it’s barely. Even if I’m hardly holding on… I AM STILL HOLDING ON. And so, I’m not beaten. I’m still trying. Every day may be a restart lately, but at least I’m bothering to restart.

The job is very busy, and still new. I’m anxious to make a good impression. That being said, I’m allowed a lunch and so it’s my responsibility to myself to take it. Let me not set up the expectation so early on that every moment of my time is theirs for the taking. I will be focused, dedicated, and hard at work for every OTHER second of the day, but for one hour of the thirteen I spend away from home every day now, I will make my health (and sanity) a priority. It’s going to take some shuffle to figure out how to make that happen, but it WILL happen. I owe it to myself.

I thought about the family reunion we’ll likely be attending this summer, and how much I’d like to be healthy and comfortable in my own skin when we get there. And then something ever bigger happened. Evi asked to go to DisneyWorld for her 4th birthday.

Now, it’s not going to happen FOR her birthday, since we wouldn’t have any prayer of saving up the money for airfare and the park by then, but we all agree that she’s ready to go sooner rather than later. And I need to be up for it. I need to have the energy to GO!GO!GO! with her at her first Disney visit. I need to be able to walk with her, run with her, carry her all over that place. I need to have the strength and energy to keep up with every second she’s willing to spend in such an awesome place.

Princess TinkerBox

And so, I’m doing this. I’m taking control again. I’m ignoring the Pizza Hut binge I literally just finished. I’m going to do this right again. I owe it to me, to you, to HER. You can’t let down a princess. (Especially not one who’s recently developed an obsession with TinkerBox and, as such, will shortly take over the planet.

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By the wayside..

Guys. I am so tired.

I really, really love my job. I’m excited because I’m busy and challenged but not crazy. I’m supported, the environment couldn’t be a better fit for my personality, and I think it’s the perfect fit for me. I’m still nervous about doing well in the job, but it’s just because it means so much to me that I want to do the Best. Job. Ever.

I’ll have more to say about my job sometime soon, although it’s starting to look like blogging might become a weekends-only thing. I hope anyone still reads.

So. This week has pretty much been chock full of trainings and meetings and a ton of work to do. I’ve done ZERO exercise. I’ve been taking the stairs in and out of the subway stations, which is significant… I’m managing 15-20 flights of stairs a day. I’m taking laps around the office in between meetings. Next week we’re out at a planning conference (which will include yoga, running, and a kick clinic!) and then I’ll start up with lunchtime gym sessions since we get a cheap Golds membership and it’s right across the street.

But then there’s food. Oh man. The food has gotten SO BAD. So bad. I’ve had McDonalds twice this week. I’ve eaten at least ten donuts. I ate an entire calzone at lunch on Friday, and then a piece of cake. I’ve had tons of candy. Some of it is that there is ALWAYS food at an office, any office. Some of it is logistics too. I’m getting home super late and sometimes it’s just too much to think about cooking at all. Most of it, though, is that it’s back to my old routine in terms of coping. I’m overwhelmed. I’m scared I won’t rock my job. I’m tired and still adjusting to the schedule. I’m feeling guilty about seeing Evi for about 20 minutes every day. So I’m eating, and I’m doing it intentionally. Today, for the first time in a long time, I ate until it hurt.

I am making an effort again. I worked out a little bit today. My food was a train wreck, but at least I got moving. I bought some “easy” dinners for this week that won’t win any awards for health but will at least keep us away from the fast food dinners. I just… I don’t know what to do. Every day I commit to it being the day that I change. I remind myself of all the progress I’ve made, of how much better I feel when I’m eating well, of how happy it makes me to treat my body well, and then I get off the train, walk into the store, and buy donuts. I eat them fast, sitting at my desk, hoping no one notices.

It’s not good, man. Not good.

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Logistics

Today was my first day at the new job.

Short story? I love it. I love the people, the atmosphere, the attitude, the mission. It’s awesome, and I think it’s going to be the perfect job for me.

However… the commute is long. LONG LONG. We leave the house at 6:30. I’m commuting until 9. I work from 9-5, and while I technically get a lunch it doesn’t seem like the sort of environment where people generally TAKE the lunch. I commute home again from 5-7:30. I come home, make dinner, put the kid to bed, (blog) and pass out.

I don’t want to get behind on my workouts, but I don’t know how to fit it in. I’m giving myself this week to adust to the new schedule, and then we’ll see how things go from there. It’s tough. I’m exhausted.

Night, y’all.

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Joy

No limitsToday is about joy. It’s a fight for me to keep it today, but I WILL, even if I have to hold on a little too tight. And the Universe, literally in this case, seems aligned to help me out.

Do you know why I’m so fond of the time-space continuum, Heather?

Besides that I thought it up…

Besides you being in it…

Besides puppies and kittens…

It’s because it can all seem so logical… so predictable… so real, when you want it to. Or, in the twinkling of an eye, you can choose to remember it’s not.

Keep it up, love –
The Universe

Get your Notes from the Universe, or check out what Brave Girls Club had for me today:Frankly, this couldn’t be a better day for my coaching session with Mara, or to start up my Acceptance Whispering with Karen, or to work on my Unravelling Workbook. I’m poised for big changes, bright and shiny new things, and I’m ready to take them on. I’m ready to put my authentic self out into the world and see what it gives me in return.

It’s scary. If I’m authentically me and someone doesn’t like it, I can’t blame it on my body or my hair or my attitude. It’s ME, the real and true ME, that they don’t like. I CAN, however, recognize that it’s simpler than all of that. Not everyone will like me. It means nothing. Maybe it’s a personality clash. Maybe it’s unmanifested insecurities from one party or the other. In the end, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t take anything away from ME. In fact, it throws into sharp contrast the absolute beauty of the people who DO like me, who share their lives and smiles and struggles with me in the same authentic spirit I offer to them. It gives me the opportunity to be that much more grateful for the people who care for me, and for whom I so deeply care in return.

So no more of what I “should” be or what I think I need. This year is all about LOVE for myself, right? So really loving me the way I deserve? It’s going to mean brutal honesty. It’s going to mean taking risks, putting myself out there in bold new ways, and finally having the courage to ask for what I really want from the Universe.

So if you’re reading this? I’d really like you to check in. Just say hi. Know that I’m so pleased to share my journey with you, and I hope that you share yours too.

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Sugar & Salt

SWEETS!I am focusing, as I wanted to this month, on more of my balance and mental health aims. By being more focused and at peace in all of the places of my life that I CAN control, I find it easier to deal with the things outside of my control. I’ve also made a return to early (EARLY!) morning gym sessions. It’s painfully early, and I absolutely despise being so cold and so in the dark on my way in, but at the end of the day I am SO glad that I’ve done it. This morning I nearly didn’t make it, but Aaron’s serious snoring spell pushed me up and out of bed, and now I couldn’t be happier that it did. I feel so much better and so much more prepared for life when I am exercising in the mornings.

I’m definitely struggling with the dessert thing. I’ve slipped twice already, but I’m still pushing for the full month. In the end I am much more concerned with the overall outcomes and the mental change than I am absolute perfection. This is about the intention, about breaking the habits, about being more mindful about my intake. It’s an interesting, worthwhile, often difficult process. I think about sugar all the time right now, but I know it’s just further proof that stepping away from it is what I really need right now. Next month I will likely attempt to tackle my serious sodium issues, which I know is going to mean cutting way back on processed foods. It’s an issue, for sure, but I won’t be successful if I fracture my attention too much so I’m really trying to focus only on the desserts issue right now.
I’m also really working to not beat myself up about the dessert thing, either about the two I’ve eaten this month, or about the fact that I’ve gotten to a point where I do mindlessly eat sweets. In either case, it is what it is, and changing it will not depend on beating myself up. I’m an emotional eater anyway, so if I let this be about shame and guilt and what I’ve done “wrong,” I’ll be setting myself up for absolute failure.

And therein lies the value of all this soul searching and working on me. I’m so much more aware of myself and my thought processes when I’m working on the inside bits. I am so much more in touch with the WHY of my issues, and it makes it so much easier to handle them all.

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Centering

Seasons Tree
For November, I’m setting some personal goals that may help me keep everything else under control.
1. I want to do 750 words every day.
2. I want to do affirmations every day. It’s just ten minutes and it needs doing.
3. I want to do the Grow Soul Beautiful #yogaaday for November.
4. Healthy posts every day!

Doing all of that seems like a lot to me, but the truth is that all of those things are the sorts of things that will help me to keep everything else in check. If I’m MAKING time for myself in those small ways (be honest, all of this put together will probably take about twenty minutes) it will put me in a better head space so that I can manage my training plan, my work load, my family responsibilities. Centering myself will go a long way toward making things easier, even though it seems counterproductive to add more to my to-do list.

I’ll be interested to see how it works. I’m torn between doubt that I’ll follow through with it, and excitement at the possibility that this could really work. I could turn this into a MUCH NEEDED interior sea change that will change the tone of everything else that I do. I spend too much time living small, worrying about the minor stuff. It’s time that I turn some attention inside, set a new routine for myself that includes focused time just… being. I don’t do that now. I’m always multi-tasking. I’m always doing twelve things and thinking about twelve more, which means that I’m never really giving my best to any one thing. Even with the kidlet, I’m now as focused on HER sometimes as I ought to be. I need to work on that, because she is the MOST important thing. And again, if I focus on ME for a while, it will mean being a better mother for her too. It’s not just ME that benefits from these self-focused habits.

Write more, move more, eat cleaner… all of these things are truly small, achievable things, but only if I’m centered, focused, and taking the time out of my day to give myself some ME time, both in movement and in mental focus. It will take pressure off of me, and once I’ve developed the habits, I believe it will actually make my schedule feel lighter instead of busier.

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Food Rx

InsecurityAs I sit here in my post lunch food coma, belly full of my recent lunch, I reflect on my morning trip to Starbucks. I went in for coffee (we’re out) and left with a large iced (skinny) caramel macchiato, a slice of lemon pound cake, and an everything cheese bagel with butter.

And I ask myself… what the f***, self? Why, exactly, are you filling yourself chock full of nutritionally void, heavy foods that make you feel slothful?

And so, as I am learning to do, I tried to sit with it for a bit to suss out the feelings behind the now abnormal actions. Right or wrong, I decided to give myself permission to eat those foods, heavy and slow as they made me, in the attempt to placate the feelings and, perhaps, identify their source.

Finally, and honestly after two champagne cocktails at lunch, I pegged the source.

See… there’s a thing. It’s something I can’t talk about in detail right now, but there’s a thing that I want very much. (It’s not another kid.) But…. I don’t honestly believe I deserve it. I can’t come up with a legitimate reason why I don’t. There are no facts to support my feelings. But still, I don’t believe I deserve to have this thing, this thing that I want SO much.

And so yes, I ate too much today. I mistreated by body a bit. It isn’t ideal, but I’m only just getting to the point where I can recognize these feelings for what they are, hunt  them down and identify them as the culprits.

I’ve got a ways to go in figuring out how to solve the self-esteem problems I suppose, but it’s oddly comforting and goes a way toward more confidence when I realize I’m closer to knowing myself better, to being able to act on my feelings. I don’t know how to come to terms with not feeling like “enough” to deserve this opportunity I’ve come across…

I’m open to your thoughts and suggestions, but please be gentle. I feel fragile right now.

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