Itty bits

I am not gonna lie, I have struggled this winter. A lot. Probably the most in a long time – it is my lack of activity, stunted by my lack of motivation. 

Poor me. NOPE! I’m disappointed, but whatever – I’m a work in progress. One of the things I am extremely good at is research. I’ve really researched the hell out of macros. I’ve adjusted my calorie goals and percentages of macros multiple times in My Fitness Pal, and I have done a fairly decent job tracking. BUT…I have accomplished nothing.

Sure this is sounding “poor me” again – BUT WAIT! There’s more…the thing is – I haven’t actually done anything. I have done a lot of shifting, researching checking and thinking, but very little application. I realized that I haven’t started really applying anything I have learned, and it is a poorly constructed safety net. It is in all this chaos that I have found my purpose. 

One thing at a time. Itty bitty steps and research regarding these steps. 

The background noise will essentially be tracking, pre-planning my meals as best as possible and attempting to work some small goals on the exercise front. 

Here’s how it is going down. I’m picking one small goal, and I am going to put that in the forefront of my day and focus. I will do a little bit of research on the subject and share it with you. I’m going to really attempt to put all of my effort into those small goals and write about the goal, ups, downs, challenges and victories. I will not move onto the next goal until I feel as though I have a good grasp on the current goal. 

I’m going to step outside my comfort zone – it would be nice to make my first goal “increase water consumption” BUT I drink approximately a gallon per day – I think I have that one down. 

Instead, my very first small goal is waking up. I have set my alarms staggered because that is what works best for me. one nudge, one wake up and check Facebook, and one “get your butt Downstairs”

I care about waking up because I don’t want to. I would like to sleep late and stay in bed. I have little motivation for work, and the thought of exercising is not helping. 

Enjoy itty bitty goal #1! Wake up when you’re supposed to!

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Digging through the rubble

So a lot has changed since my last post.

Winter has officially hit Chicago

Christmas

New Year’s

Resolutions? Nah. I don’t do that. But, for the first time in my life I have seriously considered doing things to better myself this year.

I have decided that my job is relatively dead-end pay wise, and that my little girl deserves a real vacation. So I’m doing something about it. 

I decided that roller derby is something worth pursuing – I am focusing my activity towards promoting getting better. My long term goal is to join a competitive league – I set a time frame of one year from now and decided that if it doesn’t happen in one year (due to strengthening and plain old attempting to get better) than who cares? I still spent a year doing something I love and I can keep doing that regardless.

I decided to quit Weight Watchers. This one is very tricky. WW has been my go to plan since I was 19 years old. Good god, I just did the math – apparently it’s been 20 years. In the beginning I was a mess, I ate poorly, had stomach aches all the time – blech I was just no good. I quit for a while-packing on tons of weight only to discover I had an under active thyroid. I lost a significant amount of weight on the meds alone, returned to WW off and on, made it to goal, got pregnant, lost my job  (at the time when the whole world was losing their jobs) and gained all but 6 pounds from my height at weight. 

I haven’t gone back to that weight. I have spent four years putzing around and struggling to maintain the membership to WW financially. I have developed some pretty intense anxiety about money, and with help from a lot of people I can say we are just about broken even with the bills we got behind on. It only took 3 1/2 years to get there. I have put a lot of thought into it, and have decided to focus in a different way.

I am spinning my wheels:

Plan food – take my kid to school – fight traffic – track my food – workout – do the dishes – hang out with friends – walk the dogs – play with my kid – Make dinner – random obligations – stress over paying bills – stress over the grocery budget – get sick about the things I can’t control.

Then there’s all the WW things on top of that. And it’s costing me money, and it’s not working. I can’t blame the plan – I lost 65 lbs on WW before. I can blame the situations o have encountered since then, and how they factor into my daily struggles, and how I end up sabotaging my efforts in order to feel like I have control – cramming 4 crackers and pepper jack cheese into my house when I walk in the door from work is not giving me control. 

So, here’s what I’m doing. Baby steps. Forget food – I mean it’s there, but I should have tenure at WW by now – I got that. I am going to focus on planning my food, eating the things I enjoy and would like to eat, with a focus on unprocessed foods, or foods I make from scratch. I am going to track these foods.

Since I strive for control in my life, I am going to start changing the way I look at things and start acknowledging the fact that I am making choices I am in control. 

Once I feel like I am in control, I’ll figure out the next baby step. But that is it for now. I am tired, I’m tired of spinning my wheels and feeling unsuccessful because I feel out of control. 

I’ve never said this before…but this is MY year 🙂

Up and down and all around

I feel like I have weight loss ADD. I think of all these great ideas, one after another, and then I don’t apply them. I think I’m all honesty, and it is very simple – I never learned to eat properly. 

We didn’t have tons of money growing up, but we never went hungry. My Great Uncle was in the Peace Corps and Army, he returned with recipes from different countries that he learned how to make from the locals. Most of these recipes were my childhood. I am pretty sure we were the only white family I knew that had a rice cooker and used curry to cook. 

Our meals that were non-American were delicious and always accompanied with rice. Our American meals were processed and only purchased with a coupon and a sale. Hamburger Helper was exotic to me. Many of our “American” meals contained a “cream of…” Soup. Our fruits and vegetables were generally canned. Occasionally we had fresh carrots and mealy red delicious apples.

We had dessert always, and plenty of chips when someone had a taste for them. I had my choice of sugary cereal. 

I was super active and lived sports and being outside. I honsetly believe my activity is what kept me thin and combatted the not always healthy options I ate. 

In 1991 Nutrition information started to appear on food labels. I was interested. I was a freshman in high school, still on the thin side, but watched all the female figures in my life diet off and on throughout my life. It was great that we had these labels, but other than reading about calories in Cathie comic strips, I didn’t have a clue. 

Then hit the fat free craze. I started to feel fat, and think i was fat. I was 9 lbs overweight when I joined weight watchers the first time. I was also 19 years old. I think that a large part of my problems have to do with psychological issues that I have developed as a result of dieting at a young age. Someone was always on a diet at my house growing up. Diets were normal and frequent. When I had that 9 pounds to lose my mom offered to pay for weight watchers. I went, and the restrictive plan sent me in the opposite direction. 

I didn’t want to suffer I wanted what I wanted. I don’t even think we tracked back then, and there was no Points or Points Plus. 

I still didn’t learn what I was supposed to eat. I am 39 years old, I have gained and lost and gained and lost and gained and I can honsetly say, allthough I eat good quality foods, I cannot say with confidence exactly what I need nutritionally each day. 

This is going to change

Distance and Difficulties

I’m having a hard time. I feel somewhat disconnected, unmotivated and even sorry for myself. Things are not going as planned YET they aren’t going horribly wrong either. My reactions to everything would lead you to believe my world is falling apart in terrible, terrible ways. 

When I am faced with obstacles that seem so massive and insurmountable, yet if I step back and see that they are everyday stumbles that most people I run into on the street have – I realize that I am lacking the one thing that makes me feel better than anything else:

Yoga.

Yoga has always been part of my life – which is kind of funny since I am an urban white girl born in the 70’s. We didn’t have yoga studios, and in 1997 when I bought my very first yoga mat, I had to call around first to see if anyone had one. 

I remember being very young, maybe three or four, and my Gramma that we lived with would pull her “exercise mat” out from under her bed. It was dark brown vinyl on one side with white drawings of different exercises and words I could not read yet. The other side was tan. Her ritual was to have quiet. I could be in the room with her and do my own yoga, but I had to be quiet. There was no tv and no music. Only the light from the front windows coming through the white lace curtains. She moved the coffee table up against the plastic covered couch. She flipped open the mat and laid it on the floor. She then placed her towel over the mat. It was a dingy white, thin and soft like a blanket. 

She moves through her practice, her focus was smaller poses, her handicap left it difficult for her to do poses of a more advanced level. She always finished with a meditation which was an especially quiet time. Her breathing was regular – you could count how long it took her to inhale vs exhale and the count would match. I knew from a young age that this was a very important and powerful ritual to her day. I grew older and started school, missing my Gramma’s daily yoga practice – but she kept on, always comtinuing with her “exercises”. 

It was when I decided to do a paper on yoga for a college class that I understood the power of yoga, and it intrigued me in such a way that I immediately signed up for a yoga class at school the next semester.

My Gramma learned about yoga from a family member who visited, it was kind of a hip and cool thing to try out, and my Gramma got into it. She practiced regularly and meditated often for quite a few years before her accident. 

On her way home from the grocery store, not far from our house, she was hit head on by a police office who was drunk driving. It was a very bad accident. At the hospital, they needed to keep her conscious to keep her from slipping into a coma, yet they needed to remove her left eye. My Grandmother had her left eye removed, while conscious and her only help was her yoga breathing and a local a anaesthetic. She told me that she focused on her breath through the entire procedure and remained calm and peaceful enough that she could pull through it. I don’t remember what else she said about yoga the day I interviewed her, but that one story really changed my life in so many ways. I saw her stronger than ever – I saw the power that yoga gave her. I wrote that paper and the following semester immersed myself into my yoga class. 

Since then, yoga on the daily is something I strive for-it really makes me feel balanced, but as chaos introduces itself into my life I freak out and abandon it. I also fall into the camp of “I need to lose weight, yoga doesn’t have enough calorie burning”. In reality it doesn’t matter how many calories I burn if my mind is at peace and my body is strong. I think it is time to focus on a regular practice again. 

I know I am all over the place, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that…but seriously, I’ve had so much pressure and anger and frustration and confusion and feeling of being overwhelmed that I stopped and realize that the space and calm that yoga brings is exactly what I am missing. Much like a casual walk on a perfect spring day, yoga provides me with that feeling. The feeling of now. 

I have done yoga off and on for years and could put together my own practice, but I like the idea of feeling slightly challenged. I’ve done a few of Adriene’s practices, and the times range from short to lengthy – which let’s face it with my schedule – I need some on the short side. I also want to be challenged and to not end up bored.

Tomorrow starts a new chapter in my weight loss journey – my return to yoga. I would love to pop into a studio twice a week and take a real yoga class, but I can’t financially pull it off right now. instead I will use different videos to bring me back to where I feel grounded and safe. Where the chaos approaches, but it doesn’t win. 

Tomorrow’s practice be:

Street Yoga with Adriene
This is funny I went to my blog post this morning to easily find the video I posted – however I copied the link to the hot pocket commercial that ran before the video…lesson learned. It’s fixed now

It was a dark and stormy night…

Ok, at least it is here. It’s loud like a spring thunderstorm, but it’s nearly thanksgiving…

I cut it close between paychecks and I noticed that allthough I am not “worrying” as much, I am eating mindlessly. The mindless eating is a problem, because for me I lose the ability to think rationally about the situation at hand. 

When my subconscious is dwelling on something (it’s always money) it makes the sharp part of my brain inactive – the part that catches babies from falling, or has a good comeback in an argument – it’s also the part of my brain that asks myself questions like:

Are you really hungry right now?

Is this the best choice you can make right now?

Are you just eating because you are worried?

That guy disappears, and I’m nose first into a box of mediocre free snacks at work. It all boils down to control and my lack of it – well that could be interpreted on two levels, but by control, I specifically mean my desire to make everything turn out okay – it’s because I’m scared.

I had a job when I was pregnant with my daughter. Shortly after I let my boss know I was pregnant – he “let me go”. He had expressed an opinion in the past that “women should be home with their babies” the reality is this woman made a lot more than her husband, and he was staying home. It was none of my boss’ business, and quite frankly it was a desk job – I could perform it till my water broke. The aftermath is what has forced me into the realm of control freak. 

One day I just didn’t have a paycheck. I couldn’t pay any bills because I had no savings. I was pregnant. Things were so bad that I was a couple days from having to go to a food pantry. I am deathly afraid of ever feeling that way again. I am so scared that my calm and albeit not affluent, but acceptable world could be turned upside down at any moment. This is why I eat. I don’t know how to undo it. I don’t know how to erase the hate for the man that fired me for being pregnant. I cannot forgive him – I am not that good of a person and if I said I forgave him I would be lying. This little short tight pay period is an example of things going okay. There is food on the table, and a check coming around the corner. But the uneasiness of my past leaves me tense and on guard. 

This doesn’t mean I should allow a person who is not in my life control my life. 

Tomorrow I will work on being mindful about food choices. The more mindful I am the easier my choices will be.

Thursday thumpin or another

I got nothing. Even my title for today’s post is weak. I want to say that this time around flexibility has been my biggest asset. I am a studious person. My Mom and I lived with my Gramma growing up and I learned from her how valuable it was to be timely. She also instilled this amazing value where I came home from school and did my homework. After I was done, I had the evening to play. I think this helped me to form my habits, but it also set a routine that rarely varied, and I find it difficult as an adult to be flexible. I’m not saying it’s entirely her fault, but I take comfort in order and continuity. It is less effort to do things similarly at the same time under the same conditions. 

I dare you to live like this for 35 years and then have a child. Your cute orderly ways go by the wayside, and you either go with the flow (hindsight recommends this path) or you force and force and fight for your order – only to end up frazzled, in tears or with full-on panic attacks – over somethig as stupid as catching a freight train.

I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself and held myself to workout expectations and goals that I was able to meet when I was at goal weight and childless. I spent four years setting myself up to fail, and then feeling worse when I did. 

There are plenty of parents that can pick right up where they left off, but we are all different, and the financial crisis my husband and I encountered while I was pregnant and that lasted until my daughter was nearly two years old left me more on edge with little or no focus or clarity. I could barely function. I developed a lot of fears at this point in my life, and really the only joy came from my amazing baby girl. She is the glue that helped my husband and I weather yet another ridiculous storm. 

So, when I plan to wake up and work out for 30 minutes, but my kid turns over and wakes up needing a glass of water and freaking out that she doesn’t want me to go to work, I sit with her, I snuggle with her and I make her feel at ease – the way she did for me on so many occasions. There will always be time to fit in another workout. In fact, she asked if we could do one together tomorrow morning before school. Life has presented me with a valuable lesson. Be late, forget to turn something in, don’t make it a habit, but make happiness, love and family the highest priority. I don’t know if she will remember my interrupted mornings as I rush out to work, where she caused me to pause, nosey nosey and tuck her in – but the feeling will always be with her because it is always with me.

11/5/15

I went for a short walk this morning, I also went grocery shopping and picked up a couple things that I needed even (usually I put myself last).

Tomorrow morning I will do a fitness blender workout with my little girl – I think I’ll pick a fun one that she can really get into like a kickboxing one.

Since the blood pressure meds, I have felt much better, but my attitude about how well I’m doing weight-loss wise is kind of poopy. I’m hoping some Friday power will help boost me through the weekend and lift my mopey spirits.

Mid-week check in

Yesterday was an odd day, I wasn’t feeling up to posting. I went to the doctor for my sinus drama – I left with high blood pressure and a prescription for it too. Like, I have the real-deal high blood pressure. He told me not to worry, same thing happened to my mom when she reached 40. My Gramma has had it and been on meds on and off for years too, so it’s most likely genetic, however this is the first time I have something that feels dangerously wrong with me. 

The weird thing about being slightly scared of high blood pressure, is I have spent my entire life surrounded by people taking this medication, and I always looked at it as no big deal. In recent years, the last 12 or so since my uncle had his first heart attack, my mom has become more and more obsessed with her blood pressure, her pulse, how drinking coffee affects her blood pressure, about how she I healthy enough to be off the meds, etc. this has numbed me, her routine moments of panic have made me roll my eyes, and here I am, feeling the same way. 

I’m scared. I honestly have become so used to hearing about it, that I didn’t even know what high blood pressure really meant. I had to google it. I know what you’re thinking…”oh boy she googles medical information” don’t worry, it’s not like that. I simply wanted to know what it is, and how the meds work. 

Basically it’s blood pumping through your system faster and harder than it should. The medicine slows it down. That’s it. Yes, I glanced at the illnesses that can occur due to high blood pressure, but I’m not afraid of those. I’m more afraid of having this thing wrong with me that is symptom-less, and then having medicine that I could potentially not need – how do I manage this? I guess, I stop freaking out is what I do. 

I took the medicine for the first time last night, and felt a little more relaxed. My heart didn’t seem to be beating as fast and I had an easier time catching my breath (I had always assumed these were side effects from my poor management of my anxiety issues. It never occurred to me that it could be something else. So I’m thinking this is probably a good thing. All that extra work on my body…I wonder if it was physically draining. If that’s even possible. I simply don’t know.

The things I know are that I have to chill out about this, and other aspects of stress. I cannot control or fix everything. I can’t help everyone. I can control how I fuel and take care of my body. I can do better and choose better, and quite honestly if this medicine makes me less panicked feeling in general, this could be a good thing. 

I need to not take things so personally. When my boss gives me changes to do at work, I assume he is giving me a hard time. I really need the perspective that he noticed something was incorrect and wanted it corrected, and that is it. I should assume that people feel I am a valuable employee despite past experiences where I was treated otherwise (at other companies). It’s not helping me at all.

I need to focus on my goals instead of being nervous. I need to not frantically look at the pulse rate in my Fitbit because I don’t really know what it means anyway. 

Tomorrow is a new day – I’m going to roll over, fall Asleep, and keep on trackin’ ha – sorry cheesy weight loss Grateful Dead pun. 

Clearly I should go to bed…