Friday, September 9, 2011

Rembering what's important

“When we understand how precious each moment is, we can treat each breath, each moment, as a newborn baby.”
Michelle McDonald

10 years. Has it really been that long? I can’t believe that much time has passed, but here we are, 2011.

It’s interesting... my 40-something brain (wow... sometimes it’s really weird to see that number in relation to MY years) is like a steel sieve... eh, who am I kidding, it’s been like that for years. Drives my mom buggy - she can remember people from my kindergarten class, and I can barely remember who I went to High School with (one of the nice things about Teh Ebil Facebooks... my HS peeps find ME! :) let alone who I talked to last week.

But That Day... 10 years later it’s still burned in my memory. I could practically give you a detailed account of the mad panic feeling I had waking up a little late, the annoyance of my phone ringing off the hook, the kicked-in-the-stomach feeling when I turned on the TV, the helpless feeling I had at work when I got the call from the woman who trained me to take her job so she could move to New York with her husband... her tearful account of watching people perish as she ran for her life to get away from Ground Zero, finding out another friend had two close friends on one of the planes (love ya A! My heart goes out to you even more this year!! Wish I could be there to give you a great big, never ending hug... tell M he has to fill in till I can deliver it myself. ;) my own breakdown when I got home, wondering why? How? Now what?

“The first sign of a nervous breakdown is when you start thinking your work is terribly important.” - Milo Bloom

So many times That Day has been referred to as America’s Wake Up call. And here we are, 10 years later. A “big” “anniversary”. ::throws confetti:: A mile marker to take some time to stop, reflect, take in the distance to see how far we’ve come, and where we’re going.

The questions is, how far /have/ we as a people, as a country, as a culture come since That Day? Have we learned the lesson or are we still needing some edjumacating? (sound it out... it’s fun. :)

I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for me... and That Day was a wake up call. I know that I have come a long way, but I’m still learning some lessons, and the biggest one is being reminded of what’s really important

“When I did get home this last time, we had all these plans to go out. And then we hardly stepped outside because the time together seemed too precious.”
—EMILY WATSON

Precious.

Ok, I admit, I want to say that all creepy/Lord of the Rings/Gollum like, but really, that word has found it’s way to the forefront of my life lately. Learning what’s really precious - not the stuff, the things that are tangible but forgettable, but the people and the moments because those are fleeting and temporary, but stick to your heart forever.

That Day’s anniversary approaching reminds me that, in a few months, it’ll mark the 10-year “anniversary” that my Memaw was called home (thinking I’ll have to learn to make a proper fried pie to mark that occasion, I’ll leave the coconut cake making to someone else. Bleh. LOL!), and that family - the one your born into and the one you choose for yourself with the friends that surround you - is so much more important and precious than getting in a few more hours at work.

It reminds me that I’m 10 years older... I’ve got a few more miles under my belt, and hopefully I’m a little wiser for the journey.

It reminds me that 5 years ago, I was amazingly lucky to have found a man who puts up with me and my weird quirkiness... and despite all that, is proud to call me his wife.

It reminds me that, even though I don’t have a “perfect” body, I’m alive, and despite self-induced set backs, I still have better health now than I did then.

It reminds me that, even though That Day turned the world upside down, not just emotionally, but economically, and those ripples are still being felt to this day, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. No, I don’t like that so many people are struggling financially, that unemployment is still high and it’s difficult to find a job. But maybe, in the turning-upside-down-ness of things, it helped us all dump out the cr@p that really doesn’t matter, and discover the precious treasure that was buried underneath: Hope. Faith. Love. Time.

I had to this post about some amazing life lessons: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2011/09/carrot-ginger-coconut-soup-and-kale-chips/Lesson’s 5-8 are awesome... and the recipe sounds nummy... food for the mind and soul.

Even though the approach of That Day stirs up so many different emotions, I am grateful for the time to remember... the people I never met, the people I have in my life now, the people who have passed, the ones that I have yet to meet.

You all are precious.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Under Pressure

You know I’m a total 80’s girl, right? Love Queen... love Bowie... bring the two together and you have a little ditty that totally sticks in your head for days...

Mm ba ba de
Um bum ba de
Um bu bu bum da de

Then Vanilla Ice had to go and rip it off..

Meh...

Whoo... apparently digression hits early this time of year! LOL!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the amazing effect that pressure has on people in general. Ya ever notice that, when the sh... er... stuff hits the fan, you have this ability to buckle down, focus and get the job done with an efficiency you never thought possible?

Lets say you have a hugemongous project that’s been looming for weeks... and it’s due in 3 days... oh yeah, and you could possibly get a promotion out of the deal... and tada it’s done and you’ve do your best work!

Or you can’t be bothered to pick up the house for months, but company is coming in a week and suddenly even the baseboards are gleaming.

Then there’s the time that payday is still 8 days away, the credit cards are maxed out and there’s a serious echo in your Gringotts vault... somehow that last $15 in your wallet manages to last you 7.

Oooh, then there’s the closet full of clothes that all seems to have shrunk overnight... but with a bit of dilligence a month later seems to fit just fine.

Oof! And that illness that totally lays you out flat and doesn't give you any choice but to rest and recover.

Not that *any* of the above applies to me or is in any way reflective of the events that have gotten me to where I am in my life.

Yeah, can’t type that with a straight face. :P

What’s more surprising about the above scenarios is how /effortless/ it seems to be when you’re going through it. Yeah, it’s uncomfortable, but you have a darn good reason for that effort and there’s no question in your mind that you need to do what you need to do. The path in front of you is narrow, but all the doubt, the indecision, the what ifs and buts are gone. Just get from Point A to Point B.

Maybe, just maybe, at some point along the way, there was a stray thought of, “Hmm... I don’t know why I took so long to do this... it wasn’t that bad, and it shouldn’t be that hard to keep up.”

Yeah. I know. Its silly, but if it does happen to you, just lie down, the feeling will pass. :)

Then you start to get a little breathing room. The pressure lets up - you have a little extra money left over, you start feeling better, the company leaves, the clothes start to fit a little loose - and you know what happens next?

You start to let up, too.

What is up with that?! Why do we ease up on taking care of what needs to be done /anyway/ as soon as the pressure is off a little?!

I mean, how many times have I (er, I mean you, cuz we’re totally not talking about you!) been so deathly sick that I can’t even roll out of bed and crawl to the bathroom... and then as soon as I (YOU! totally not me!) start to feel better, I’m (Ok fine... we’re talking about me... but if you notice /any/ similarities, I invite you to roll with it) up hauling the laundry basket down stairs and planning a dinner party for friends in a couple of days... or when I have a few extra bucks in the account and suddenly the cats /need/ new sparkly collars that match their eyes... or stepping on the scale to see it drop significantly and celebrate with a trip to Claim Jumper and get Le Bombe* all. for. my. self.

You know the drill: You feel the pressure, you buckle down till it passes and then go back to doing what you were doing before... and starting the cycle all over again.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

So why have I been dwelling on this?

Because I feel the pressure being released in several areas of my life. I mentioned my overtraining/burnout fiasco that I’ve been dealing with... well, I’m starting to feel better, things are stabilizing, my latest self assessment** came back about 10 points lower than when I took it a month ago. And the credit cards are getting paid down, there’s still money left at the end of the month, and while I’m getting frustrated with the squshiness (hello, no exercise/strength training for 6+ weeks at this point), weight is stable and nutrition is doing fine... not great, but not bad either.

This is when the real work starts.

You (ok, *I*) /think/ that the work is what’s done when the _external_ pressure kicks in, cuz that’s when the scrambling and action takes place.

No, that’s just me doing what /should/ have been doing all along, and I finally ran out of options to avoid it.

NOW is when the real work begins because *I* have to decide to either stick with it by keeping myself well, keep being diligent/responsible with money, food, my body, stuff, etc and see it through to the end... you know, being a good steward of what’s been loaned to me and all that jazz...

Or I can choose to say fer-git-it, and do my own thing through like I’m owed something... And start the cycle all. over. again.

Just in case you’re sitting on the edge of your seat wondering, I’m picking Door #1 - Pressing on and pressing through. Doing what I need to do to stay the course, to get it done, regardless if the pressure is external or internal.

You know the saying, well, there’s lots of them, but I liked this one: “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” Peter Marshall (Again... child of the 80’s and total TV culture. :)

So when you find yourself with a bit of breathing room, what do YOU do?

You still have that Queen song stuck in your head, don’t you?

*Total obscure Simpson’s reference, but I was really thinking of the I Declair which I’ve never tried but would like to one of these days... so if you and 20 of your closest friends want to join me one day (or 10, since I see they have a mini version available).**It’s not scientific, but I like this quick assessment tool. Yeah, it’s a site for women and women’s health issues, but men can benefit from the assessment as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It never fails...





(word of warning... a blog that starts out with a silly picture just may be trying to soften you up for something... just sayin. ;)

I get myself all worked into a perfectly good tizzy about some little mole hill of an injustice or some little trial that I’m going through that shines light on the untruths we’re told by the Governmental Powers That Be (PTB) that lead to our decline in health, wealth and overall well being... and let me tell you that when we’re wound up, Veruca, Stevie and I can get into a /serious/ whirlwind of justifiable anger and launch on one heck of a good tirade...

Yeah, as happens when I’m about ready to pour out my squirrely wrath unto the unsuspecting blogger population, I get the smack down from the /real/ PTB that take my eyes off the little molehill that I’m so fixated on and point to the mountain that’s the real issue.

Sadly I had that happen this month.

See, I’ve done it to myself... again... seems like its an annual thing... I do really well nutrition-wise, get myself in a good routine, pushing the exercise envelope *just* enough to make progress, pull back *just* enough to recover and not trigger all the chronic fatigue and thyroid party that’s always laying just under the surface... yeah, I get myself in a good place then go and do something silly and sign up for an endurance event... a 5K here, a Warrior Dash there... then ::wham:: I hit that brick wall that lays me up for a couple of months.

It’s not the event itself that’s the issue, its the “training”... and even though I did train smarter for the Dash, I still pushed past my normal, acceptable limits for too long... and then the adrenal party got into full swing. It is a good thing to push... a little bit at a time... but not for 2 months straight, 3-4 days a week.

Basically, I burned myself out.

Again.

Big crash this time.

And I was pi$$ed... heck, I _am_ pi$$ed... at myself, at giving in to the general world view that more is better and that you’re worthless if you don’t just pushpushpush...

*ahem*

But I digress... (whooo did you see that little frenzy getting whipped up there? That’s what I get to deal with in my head every day. So much fun. ;)

Anyway, that’s not the point... that’s not what it, the big IT - life, the universe and everything - is about.

Sadly, I had to learn the lesson of what IT’s about from 2 friends - one that I shall never be able to thank for the lesson he taught because a couple of weeks ago he left this world and is hopefully in a better place. Another dear friend is in the hospital in the midst of a health crisis so severe that I fear I shall lose her as well.

The problem is, both of these folks have had serious health issues that they ignored for too long. Things that were probably treatable with some effort on their part, but for whatever reason, they chose not to face it.

I can’t change that, but I can learn from it. I’m learning that IT is about 1) Letting go, and 2) Being a good steward.

Here’s the thing, both of those are super simple concepts to grasp... but certainly not easy ones to implement.

Letting go is hard. Really hard. I mean I have a house full of physical stuff that I haven’t been able to let go of yet, but when you talk about the mental and emotional stuff... that’s even worse! In order to let go of that, it means you have to actually acknowledge it’s there in the first place... and I know for one that *I* am perfect and don’t have any (more) deep down buried issues, it’s everyone else that has problems!

ROFL! I crack myself up. *wipes tear from eye*

Thing is, it means letting go of what the world thinks, what your own issues are, your hang ups and, really, let go of the willfulness that’s keeping you stuck in the same place/patterns

But once you let go, you can start to become a better steward of what you’ve been given... You’ve been given a great gift of a body to dwell in, money to provide for needs, a home to shelter you, friends and family to support you... you are the warden, the keeper, the guardian of these gifts that can thrive when nurtured.

We get sooo hung up on what the world thinks of us, our actions, our motives and it’s really hard to move away from that path and set ourselves on our own narrower path. We feel pressures from all around us - media, co-workers, family, friends, and worse, our own minds - to more, to work more, to schedule more, to entertain more... and then there’s the spending more to eat more to drink more so we can sleep less and start the cycle all over.

*flop*

The result: over extended schedules, stressed out systems, clutter all over the house that you don’t have time to deal with, clutter all over your body from all the stress, the mindless/random/grab and go/who cares what’s in it as long as it’s food eating... the clutter all over our credit cards because if you don’t spend time doing something (like cooking and cleaning) you’re spending money.

We lose touch with people - we lose touch with *ourselves* - because we’re so busy taking care of everything else... because cutting back on taking care of everything else and shifting the focus back on taking care of US is inconvenient and time consuming.

Yeah, well... as Robb Wolf put it so eloquently in his book Paleo Solution (yes, I just made a total book plug - it’s worth reading)... taking care of your health may cut into your social life and be time consuming, but so will cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and, sadly, death.

Whoo doggie, I’m just a ray of sunshine, aren’t I?

Well, lets shift it all back to me, shall we? Cuz it’s really all about me... ;)

I threw a MAJOR hissy fit (you can ask my friend J... she can attest to it.. and she had one about a year ago) to the smack down she gave me about taking time to REST and RECOVER from my SELF IMPOSED burnout and the stress that was hitting me from all directions.

If ya don’t heed the small, subtle warnings the PTB send your way, they’ll resort to extreme measures to get their point across. Just sayin’.

And oooh it wasn’t easy. Letting go of doing /everything/ that everyone else wanted me to do... super tough. Saying no to going places in order to get rest... really not easy. Leaving the very rare gathering of friends early when I was having a great time - ouch. Sleeping in instead of getting up early for the sweat therapy - ok, that one was only a wimper... Not gonna lie to ya, I enjoy the sweat, but sleeping in is such a joy! :)

The hardest part of all, though, is letting go of the ideas *I* had for myself, what I *should* be doing, and *gasp* what /other people/ would think of me... and shifting to taking care of myself because that seems soooo selfish!

Yep, it is.

If I’m to be a good steward, I have to be.

I didn’t want to have to go through this, but I’m grateful for the time, the experience, and the insight it’s given me.

I know. Deep stuff, huh?

Here, maybe this will help:



So whatcha thinkin’? Any stuff that you’ve been ignoring for too long? Are you holding on to stuff that you know it’s time to let go of? Have you been through this and have any advice on how to become more Zen and less Overachiever? Did the cute critter pictures help at all?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The best thing about today...


Is that 5 years and 1 month ago today... this guy and I decided to give life together a shot...
(wow... who are those two!?)

Then three years ago today, he made the happiest lady in the world...




(I mean really... who are these people that keep popping up in my photos?!)

And today, he's still the most amazing thing that has happened to my life...


(AHH... Now *these* people are starting to look familiar! :)


(Yep... that's us... goofy as ever. :)

It hasn't always been the smoothest roads, but then again, that's what keeps life interesting, and keeps us growing and evolving, right? Besides, that which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger and leaves us with awsome stories to tell our friends!

In the time that we've been together the Awesome Husband has supported me in so many ways. He helped prompt me to get my health issues more in order and didn't even complain (much) about the gradual change in my eating habits and even (mostly) adopted them for himself! He loved me the way I was, has helped me become the person I am today, and makes me always strive to become the person he sees in me. For that, I am always grateful!





(Cheers, love!)

It is amazing to look back on the last 3 short years and see how far we've come, and to look ahead in wonder at what life has in store for us. I'm sure there will be our share of beautiful, mountain top experiences, and tumbles into the valley until we eventually start climbing back to the next peak, but I can't imagine anyone else I'd rather go through it with.





I could keep on writing something sappy, but will leave it up to someone who's been at this much longer than I and comes with a great reference... (Give our thanks to your bossman, dad!)
http://blog.thedaysman.com/2011/05/23/what-god-has-joined/
http://blog.thedaysman.com/2011/06/08/thats-our-song/



We, too, have different tastes in music, but we have our song, thanks to his countryman Stan Rogers, that sums up how I felt 3 years ago and still do today...

"I want to see your smiling face forty-five years from now!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It’s all about the pain. . . the quotable version




This morning at the gym I was reminded of a shirt my Awesome Hubby wears on occasion.


The first time I saw it, I chuckled because of the truth of it. He usually manages to wear it at a time when I’m in the throws of serious muscle soreness (which, if anyone’s done CrossFit style workouts for any amount of time, realizes that it’s more normal than not) and I have to remind myself that my inability to walk up stairs or lift my arms to brush my teeth (the person who invented the electric toothbrush? A saint!) is just my body’s way of dealing with the resistance and motions I put it through, and the muscles are just repairing themselves to they can be stronger and better able to deal with the same thing next time.

This morning at the gym, again dealing with sore muscles, again lifting heavy things and doing all sorts of other silliness (burpees – I have no love in my heart for you) that will make me more sore tomorrow, I was struck by the even deeper truth of the saying because it's something that's been on my mind lately. Not so much for me, though I'm at the point of getting frustrated that I still have the squishy middle, and my physique isn't where *I* think it should be. I mean really, I’ve been at this for /how/ long!?

I digress. I was reminded of what a beautiful, talented friend of mine has voiced to me several times recently: that's she's SO afraid that all the weight she's lost will come back. I’ve come across the same fear and frustration a lot lately, the continual struggle, the weariness, the frustration, the fear.

My first thought: Then you did it wrong the first time. I mean, if you put in the time to develop new habits and make the changes to your lifestyle that support the lower weight and activity level, and you didn't do any sort of extreme effort that's impossible to sustain long term, there's not really any reason for you to re-gain... right?

But that's only part of it, isn't it?

Yes, there’s the fear part - and having a little bit of that can be good to keep you focused on the actions you need to take - but really, it all begins and ends with pain.

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
Jim Rohn

Oooh, that “D” word… That’s /really/ it, isn’t it? We don’t want the pain of discipline, or change. We like things the way they are. Even if we /don’t/ like things the way they are, when we decide that there’s need for change, the first thing we do is… rebel.

Wait, what? The first thing we do should be act, right? I mean we want to change so we act!

Not so. Remember my Inner Princesses, Veruca & Stevie? Yeah, this is when I really became aware of them – when I decided to take action to change, do develop some _discipline_ in my life.

Whoooaaaaa Nelly did they act up because, after all, discipline means punishment and restriction and the inner kiddos do NOT like that!
dis·ci·pline [dis-uh-plin]
–noun
1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.

Wait... discipline doesn’t /automatically/ mean punishment? Go fig!

But that’s what we think, right? I mean, the only reason to change is because we are bad and need to be punished, to implement super restrictive (Eat only celery! Live on $5 a week! Do marathon cleaning sessions!) and deprivation (No shopping! No chocolate! No fun!) behaviours that only set us up for failure so we can continue to beat ourselves up and realize that we were meant to stay the way we so there. *flop* We take on the role of both the bratty, rebellious child and overbearing, condemning parent.

So… How’s that been workin’ for ya?

I think it’s time to embrace the training/activity/improving skill part of the definition rather than the punishment portion.

It’d mean that instead of being condemning, we need to start being compassionate. Instead of being rebellious, we have to be open.

But that’s hard, isn’t it? It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves, it’s SO easy to find fault and lay the blame for our woes outside of ourselves rather than looking in the mirror. Unless, of course, you’re me, then you take the blame for all the worlds’ (including your own) problems and put them squarely on your shoulders. Yeah, that’s fun.

Here’s the thing that most people don’t want to hear: It’s painful to change. That’s why so many people stay in bad situations, get further in debt, health continues to deteriorate.

But it can be equally painful to stay the same.

You have to make a choice

You can choose to stay the same, or you can choose to change. There is going to be emotional wear and tear no matter what, because below the surface we all have emotional stuff that needs to be dealt with. Holding the door closed on the closet that hold our skeletons - THAT is tiring. Trust me. Been there, have the therapy bills to prove it. It’s painful to face it, but if you do, it feels like a huge physical weight has been lifted from you. When you don’t, that weight keeps bearing down on you, threatening to crush you.

"The secret of joy is the mastery of pain." - Anaïs Nin

It’s uncomfortable, it’s not fun, but in the end, it’s worth it… so you can move on to the next /thing/.

“If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.” John Maxwell


I know! Such the cheery ray of sunshine today, aren’t I?

But there’s a reason for it. It goes back to the fear of gaining it back, of going deeper into debt, and why I’m not so worried. It also goes back to the question I’ve been asked several times that I’ve struggle to answer: What was the turning point for me? How did I stop spinning my wheels and finally find traction?

It was the day that I realized that it’s not about the weight, it’s not about the food, and it’s not about the exercise. It’s about the thing was keeping me stuck where I was – and that thing was me.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin

The day that I realized that I had to be accountable to myself, to embrace the pain of discipline today rather than live with the pain of regret forever, to look myself in the eye in the mirror and clear out the bad so I could get to the good stuff, /that/ was the turning point. I realized that every struggle had a purpose and the faster I figured that out; the faster I could get through it and reap the benefits. I learned that every time I encountered resistance, not matter if I was pushed back or pushed through, it made me stronger the next time.

“Being fat (or in debt, or surrounded by clutter, or being in a difficult situation) is hard. Losing weight (getting out of debt, clearing out the emotional and physical clutter, making a change in your life) is hard. Chose Your HARD!” - Unkown

"I choose to know the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is." - UNKNOWN

I made my choice… how about you?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Am a Warrior! (Race recap :)

Now that the dust has settled, and the mud has (mostly) been washed off, time to sit back and reflect on yet another goal that I put a lot of hard work into and achieved.

And all in all... I kinda kicked butt. :)

I know it was my big 'secret' that I sprang on folks shortly before the event, mainly because I had serious doubts that I'd actually carry through with it. Yeah, I'd paid the hefty race fee and had been 'training' for it, but between some stress and health issues and a bit of wavering on other folks part, I hated to make a big deal of something that fell through at the end.

Eh, live and learn... I can worry all I want, but if it's meant to happen, it'll happen... and happen it did... and of course there was learning to be done along the way.

My friend R & I drove up the night before and got a hotel room so we wouldn't have to do the mad scramble drive up at gawd awful early on Saturday morning. Since we were in the 9:30 am wave, we'd have to leave Tucson at 6, but just didn't want to deal with the potential variables that come along with having to travel 90 minutes to the site. The down side is neither of us slept well at all that night. It happens, you're in a strange place, different noises, a wee bit of excitement/anxiety all make it difficult to get a really restful sleep. Still, we're glad we stayed there.

As a bonus it was a Holiday Inn Express and they have breakfast! Normally I wouldn't eat much before hand, but considering the tummy actually grumbled at me, I gave in... There was 2.5 hours before the race so wasn't too worried, and if I'd wanted, I could have fed any sort of carb craving I'd wanted with the spread they had at the hotel - pancakes, cereal, cinnamon rolls, toast, muffins, etc... I opted for some toast with PB, bacon and some less than mediocre eggs.
(I really didn't think it was possible to mess up eggs... but yeah, they did... sooo happy they had lots of salsa, salt & pepper handy!) and got my caffiene fix as well, which was a good carrier for my protein drink.

We got on site, got our packets with the schwag (Cuz really, the only reason to do silly things like this is to get the schwag!






(Redhead Warrior Brigade :)

I have to say that packet pick up was super duper easy - I've only done a few events but this was really well organized. Kudos to them on that!

We checked our stuff in at the "Gear Check" and then... waited... did some people watching and totally loved all the folks that dressed up - it's something that I think is so cool and would love to do, but never come up with an idea in time. *sigh*... anywho, we watched the 9:00 wave take off, cheered them on... then we waited... and waited.

The morning seemed to fly by but the half hour wait between the first wave and ours seemed to take. for. e.v.e.r.!!!

Plus it was super sunny and starting to get a little toasty.

Finally it was time for us to queue up and... wait. Luckily they were committed to starting each wave on time and they were good to their word. At 9:30 on the dot, the horns blared, the flames shot up and we were off! All 500-ish of us.

As happens, there's a slow start, then bottle neck, then the pack starts to break up and give some breathing room.

Now, remember how I'd mentioned I'd been doing lots of training runs and workouts for this? Well, I'd done a bit more work than my friend, and while I had a personal goal to finish the course in under an hour (truth be told I was shooting for less than 45 min.) I was more committed to sticking with R through the whole thing.

We started strong, and R was a good sport at trying to keep up a good jogging pace with some walk breaks thrown in, we just couldn't sustain it past the first mile. It was hot, dry and dusty. After the first obstacle (Jump over a 5' wall, duck under barbed wire fence, repeat 4 times) we ended up walking the rest of the route and found our 'pack' of about 4-6 different folks that were all going the same pace, and we were all cheering each other on - it was awesome.

The 2nd obstacle was big dirt mounds that you sprint up then realize almost too late that it's straight down the other side... almost bit it there but didn't. *whew* Then we were climbing on cars and going through tires. Then 'climbing' down into the ravine... then we hit the couple that I was most leary of - the tall stuff... I have an issue with heights, but here I was faced with at least a 20' pyramid of hay bales to climb up and down - fine and dandy because it's solid, then, *gulp* the cargo net. That gave me some serious nervousness but there wasn't any rush and not a ton of folks around me so I just took my time, took some deep breaths and just did it.

And I DID IT! *WHOO HOO!!*

After that, lots of the obstacles are a blur - was getting really hot and extra dry, and was getting to the point of just getting through it. We hit the water station which was fabu, then plowed on through the rest of the course where I met the 2 obstacles that I just didn't do - one was walking on beams that were set about 8' off the ground... I got part way up the first plank and had a vertigo moment... so I walked around it. The next was a 10-15' wall that you had to do a rope climb up then had foot holds/ladders on the other side. Arms weren't cooperating for that one either, so I walked around it. The awesome thing is that the event worker gave me a high five for trying.

The last two obstacles were the most fun - You jump over 2 fire pits (actual fire! I totally jumped 'em and didn't singe anything important. ::chest bump:: ;) and then you hit the mud pit right before crossing the finish line.

I thought I was home free! I figured it wouldn’t' be so bad... first step, in up to my knees... second step where'sthebottom*bloosh*. I think I got a big applause for embracing the
muddiness, others got harassed if they didn’t get in too deep... I had no choice so I went with it. :)

I had mud in places I'd rather not talk about... for. days! (Arizona has tons of clay, so that mud just doesn't want to let go...)

The bestest part, despite walking it and taking our time with the course, we finished in just under 1 hour according to my watch. I have no idea what my official chip time is yet... hasn't been posted, but I'm proud of our efforts and the fact that I don't feel totally wiped out after doing it.

After getting photos taken (will see about posting the muddiness when those are available) we squished over to get hosed down then collect our Warrior spoils.

Cuz it's about the bling, free beer, and food (ok, had to pay for the food but still).
(notice the super muddy socks that got tossed in the trash shortly afterwards.)

We sat around for a bit to listen to the band before deciding to pack it in and head home.

Luckily we had a change of clothes in the car and did my best beach towel quick change to not get dirt and mud everywhere and stashed the offending garments in the plastic bag. Everything got stashed outside to dry and to deal with later...

And this is the 2nd rinse!


Finally things came clean after a couple more rinses in the tub then the washer. YAY!




But some things just need to stay dirty. :)

All in all a good day was had, and I get to sport a spiffy hat any time I want to remember my accomplishments.





Not to mention some spiffy banged up shins to show off. :)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So you may be sitting there thinking *I* could /never/ do that! But I'm here to tell you that you CAN!! I have to say I was a little surprised that the course in general wasn't as hard as I expected it to be - everything was completely do-able and, as with other events I've done, everyone that participates is very encouraging and helpful.

If you think this is something you might want to do, or you're already signed up, here's a couple of things that will make life easier for you:

1) bring your own water. I brought a camelback type thing and it saved me! There was only 1 water station for the entire course. While it was well run, it was 3.5 miles and hot! My camelback went through the wash just fine and even if it hadn't, it was better than being super dehydrated along the way.

2) bring your extra shoes & socks at a minimum with you and check them at the gear check. You will be sooo happy you did. Our site was doing a collection of shoes for donation after the event, so you can ditch your old, mud caked shoes and feel good about it. Stash some extra water in your bag as well.

3) bring a BIG thing of water for washing off at the car. Yes they have a hose down area, but it can't get everything... and

4) bring a towel. Any good hitchhiking warrior has their own towel. :)

There you have it... now I'm glad that I'm feeling up to pursuing the next latest and greatest goal I have set before me.

To steal a quote: What have you done that makes YOU feel proud?!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday:The Next Big Thing

You know what’s interesting? Reading someones blog who is insightful, and open, and transparent about the things going on in their life... and apparently very modest (and by “someone”, I’m referring to the “royal” me, but I digress ;) and think, “Wow! She’s an over-sharer!”

Yeah, well... I am, and I looove to share way more than is appropriate at times, except for the times that I don’t.

Like right now.

I’ve been keeping something from you - my loyal blog readin’ peeps. And I feel (mostly) bad about it.

But it’s confession time...

*deep, cleansing breath*

I... I don’t know how to say it, but... here goes....

I signed up for an endurance type race.

::crickets chirp::

Yes... really... that’s it. That’s huge!

Don’t believe me? Go back to this time last year and look at the many (I’m too lazy to look ‘em all up) moanings and groanings of ‘training’ for the Race for the Cure 5K... I’m a lifter not a runner demmit!

And swore that it would (probably) be my last (that year) for. eber. (till later anyway)

Then I totally rocked the race... but burnt myself out (thank you thyroid and stressed adrenals!) and totally swore off doing events. They’re not for me thankyouverymuch.

Except for this one... http://www.warriordash.com/register2011_arizona.php

That was the first one in a long time that made me sit up and do a ::head tilt:: of interest.

I get to run, jump, swing, play, swim, climb AND drink beer then they give me a silly hat?! Serious?! It’s like a CrossFit playground for bada$$ wannabes to test their stuff!

So I hemmed. And I hawed. Then a friend said she’d do it with me... then another one said she’d do it... so I sent in my moolah and omg it’s. on. Saturday!

Here’s the amazing thing (aside from keeping it mostly to myself for 4+ months): I haven’t *trained* for it. Not in the sense that I felt like I /had/ to /train/. Instead, I modified my workout schedule - started with focusing on building more strength, then slowly incorporated more cardio type workouts in the form of intervals to slowly increase my running endurance - doing any where from 4-8 minutes running, and 2 minutes recovery. It did get to the point of feeling like I /had/ to do the run workouts, and it also felt like that was taking over, but if you’re “training” for a sport, you have to *do* that sport.

I’ll be durned if I didn’t do pretty darn well with it as a whole. I can run on average an 11 minute mile now! And can lift a decent amount (but still no full-on pull ups, yet... grrr...)

The only thing I didn’t build into the schedule: Periodization. Ooops... Had some rest days, but didn’t build in low volume time to offset the higher volume. As a result, I’m doing serious rest this week to make sure I *can* do the event on Saturday...This is me living, and learning...

And looking forward to the next thing on the agenda.

Which, right now, is NOT another endurance race (though the hubby planted an idea of a 1/2 M-word in my brain... and it’s for the Marines... dang it... at least it’d be over a year away to rationalize or worm out of. ;)

Again with the tangent, sorry. :)

Anywho, one thing that I’ve realized that is so very important as part of this journey to not only fit into a smaller jean size, but also to really achieve optimal health, is that “motivation” is tricky, and temporary. It’s great for getting you going, but doesn’t /keep/ you going... it’s those habits you build along the way that sustain the healthy life you’re creating that propel you forward.

It’s also looking at achieving a milestone/goal as a launch pad, not a stop sign. Cool, you just did X! Take some time to soak it in and bask in the beautiful glow of that moment... then figure out what to do next.

It took me a while to figure that out. For instance, I was _so_ focused on getting into my wedding dress that after the awesome day, I was stuck, unmotivated, and floundering, and dind’t know why. Ok, partly it was because I was so bloody tired from all the work that went into it, I was pooped! But beside that, I had nothing to look forward to accomplishing afterwards. So, after many naps, I found something else to work towards...

Then I found something else... then something else… and kept up that cycle.

Ya always have to have something to look forward to/fill the void with because if you don’t, someone else will.

At this point I’m really looking forward to: 1) a week off to recover from the Warrior Dash (and some other life stuff that’s happened along the way), 2) taking a vacation with my hubby that will involved hiking, hot springs, celebrating with family and spending time with friends for a couple of weeks, then 3) getting back to work to really start building some serious strength. I know that some of the obstacles on the Dash course will expose some areas that I really need to work on, namely upper body strength. And even though I did a pretty good job of balancing cardio with heavy lifting, the latter is what I miss the most when I feel a little too cardio heavy. Not to mention it’s starting to get flippin’ hot here in southern AZ... perfect excuse to stay in air conditioned comfort. ;) Oh, and there’s the matter of getting to work on my CEU’s for my Personal Trainer cert, and figure out what the heck I want to do with that in the first place...

So how about you? Any big, deep dark secrets you’re keeping from folks? How do you keep yourself moving forward? Any big event you’re working towards right now? Any words of wisdom for my event? Or do you just jealous I’m doing it and you’re not (cuz you know you want the hat. ;)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fly By: Universal Truths


Sometimes life goes along all nice and relatively easy... lessons may come my way but they barely make a blip on my general radar screen.


Other times it’s one. thing. after. another.


I mean, I was gonna do an April Fools post about deciding to ditch this eating right and exercising stuff in favor of the oh so awesome “CURE” for excess weight... the fabulous amazing HCG stuffs... Yeah, that was before the roof blew off our house. And my car died. And took the dishwasher with it.


Seriously - what’s up with that?!


So no April Fools jokes for me, thanks... Feeling like the Powers That Be are making /me/ their joke... since They have seem to have a really good sense of humor. But as much as the PTB enjoy having fun at my expense, (and apparently taking their sweet time on my request to be Queen of the Universe... ) I’ve learned a few things along the way - 1) I don’t get more than I can handle (though I question /their/ faith in /my/ ability to not have a complete meltdown at the drop of a hat), and 2) If I don’t get the lesson They’re trying to teach, I get to go through it all. over. again.


So having accomplished #1 - roof all fixed in time for the massive wind and rain storm that hits this time of year, car was an easy and relatively inexpensive fix, and got a ganga deal on a new dishwasher that the hubby made me do all the heavy lifting for, not to mention finding someone to repair our wall and install our gate as a bonus - I had some time to move on to #2... I had some ‘crockpot’ time to simmer and stew... and instead of risking the lather-rinse-repeat of missing the lessons, I’ll do what I do best: Share.


Cuz sometimes my life is an example of what /to/ do... Other time my purpose is to serve as an warning of what /not/ to do. LOL!!!


Anywho, as I’m always fond of saying, the process for change is always the same. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you’re going to be making some changes, big or small, in any area of your life, it’s the same process, and there’s some Universal Truths that go along with it... And the last few weeks have been not so subtle reminders of those...


#1 - If you’re going to get stronger, you have to encounter resistance


I know this one is easy if you’ve ever done strength training: The heavier the resistance, the stronger the muscle. Well... works the same in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to making changes. Sooo many times we want the process of change to be easy, but when something comes easy, you come to take it for granted. When you really have to work for it, you treasure the results.


Lets look at it terms of losing weight. Say you’ve got a significant amount to lose, and you’ve got a pretty messed up diet. You make a few changes and *bam* 10 pounds is gone effortlessly. Whoo hoo! You found the “Easy Button”! This is no problem! I’m gonna do this and happy dance and ... hey, ::poke:: ummm scale... why you not move for a few weeks? And what the... _2_ birthday parties this week?! And a major foodie holiday?!


Resistance. Which leads to …


#2 - It’s not what happens to you, but how you react that matters.


I know, I know, you’ve heard that one before. It’s all a mind set, think positive, blah blah blah...


Whatevs.


No you don’t need to be the bluebird of happiness all the time, but you can make up your mind of how you’re going to react.


So many times when we make The Big Decision - you know the one. The Big Decision to STOP {insert less than healthy behavior/activity here} and START {insert replacement behavior/activity here}.


Then an amazing thing happens - we turn into a 5 year old with no impulse control and want everything. right. now.


What?! Don’t give me that look - I’m including myself in that “we”. Have ya not met Veruca and Stevie? When do you think they showed their bright and shiny, precious little bratty... er... princess faces to me?! After my Big Decision to stop feeling like poo and gaining weight and finally start eating better and exercising.


Whooo doggie was that an eye opener! Nothing like a Big Decision to reduce a seemingly grounded (heh, interesting choice of words) adult into a fit pitching, cranky, entitled 5 year old (and a super emo, distant 13 year old that showed up later on) to test the boundaries and stability of said Big Decision.


Eventually I learned to recognize their ploys, I mean work with them for our greater good... but it took a lot of work when encountering the resistance, learning from it, making better decisions, keeping calm, learning to react differently... and slowly, but surely, results of the changes on the inside started to show on the outside. It wasn’t overnight... it wasn’t in a month... in fact think it took a whole lot longer, but the point is: It took.


Trust me, the cycle of stress to meltdown to near shutdown to resolution to reaction to action that I go through is still there... it’s just shortened significantly, and I spend a lot less time in the first part, and more time in the last bits, by making choices and looking ahead - even the tiniest bit - instead of where I am right now.


Which makes me realize...


#3 - What you do (or don’t do) today will effect you tomorrow.


What you eat, what you spend, what you pick up and put away, what activity you do or don’t do today, will have an impact on my mood, my energy, my environment, my bank account tomorrow.


Don’t believe me? K... lets play a little game.


Think abut where you want to be weight/health/financially in 6 months from now.


Got that picture in your mind? Good.


Now think about your habits _right now_.


Do they match where you want to be?


Moving on...


#4 - Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good


Helloooo perfection! Yeah, this is where my Inner Princesses really shine. Wanna make a change? Ok, we have to do research! Look up all the different ways to do this or that, then pick the way that seems best, then look into how to do it perfectly because anything worth doing is worth doing right, and only right, right? And we aren’t going to do it unless we do it right, right?!


Know where all that got me?! About another couple of inches of spread on my posterior and firmly stuck in the overwhelmed/stressed/meltdown/shutdown part of the cycle. Who can move to action when you’re frozen by fear and indecision?!


Finally I’d had enough and made a deal with the princesses - we’d pick ONE thing... just one, and do /something/ every day towards it. It wasn’t a lot, but it got the mediocre, imperfect, slow but steady ball rolling. And you know what? The world didn’t end. Nothing blew up. The perfection police didn’t show up at my doorstep to ridicule me (though I’m sure I contributed some to the cause... it’s how I roll. Old habits die slow, painful deaths. ;)


Doing something is ALWAYS better than doing nothing. And doing something consistently is MUCH better than starting, then stopping for a looong time, then starting again for a day... then stopping.


Except...


#5






Yeah... think that’s pretty self explanatory. ;)


But it’s a good reminder that …


#6 - There’s always time for teh cute



What?! That was some serious stuffs I just went through - light and fluffy makes me happy. So there. :)


Whatcha think? Do you have any Universal Truths to add to the list? Any life lessons that you’ve learned over and over and over again you want to share? Any life warnings that you want to be an example of? Seen any cute puppies or kittens lately? Play an April Fool’s Prank this year? Anyone else amused that my 'fly bys' are longer than regular blogs? Discuss...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This is the end.

Sort of.

But not really.

I’ve been having the thought/realization that I should put together a ‘wrap up’ blog about the Whole30... experience... thing. I mean, it’s been almost a couple of weeks, it’s about time, right? But have been struggling with it, mainly because I really don’t like the whole ‘this is what I eat’ thing... I mean, I loooove food - eating it, cooking it, baking it, talking about it... think that’s been established many times over. But this seems... different, mainly because it’s about more than the food.

It really goes back to that ‘lifestyle’ change that so many people talk about.

Besides, PrimalToad did a much better summary of his experience (which I didn’t realize was taking place at the same time as mine. Great MI minds think alike! :) and he came to a much similar conclusion as I did about the experience and going forward.

So the multiple choice question of the day: When you find yourself at the final days of a change your eating/elimination... thingy, how do you transition back to “normal” eating?

a) very, very carefully
b) by enjoying a meal at a Mexican place with your parents
c) question why you want to transition back to whatever “normal” was before
d) all of the above

For me, I picked D. I went in knowing it wouldn’t be a full 30 days, but I still got a lot out of it... the biggest conclusion I arrived at is that, left to my own devices, I could continue to eat this with no issues, and will continue to eat this way, with no complaints (except for butter... that’s the 1 thing that has to give. I can live without the honey in the coffee - actually helped me cut down on drinking coffee which I needed anyway, but gimme mah buttah! *ahem* But I digress. ;) When the choice isn’t up to me, it makes things more difficult.

Hence the whole 80/20 rule, which is what I did for the last week+... and it’s a really good contrast to how the last 4-ish weeks went, because even though I know that nutrition is at the very least 80% of the equation to great health, it’s amazing to me the difference I felt when I departed from my usual grazing path. And it’s even more amazing to me what I would consider my ‘big indulgences’ now - In comparison to what it used to be, my ‘off the wagon’ meal is what I would have considered ‘super healthy’ a few years ago! LOL!

So the question that’s probably whirring around peoples minds is what were my results?! I mean, yeah, it’s great, I learned this or that, but seriously, how much weight did I lose??? Inquiring minds want to know! I mean, people don’t do this sort of thing unless they’re going to lose weight, right?!

You’re right! People don’t usually choose to make some sort of big change in their way of eating unless a drop in the scale is part of the package... unless you’re me because this was about so much more than weight.

Sure, I would take a smaller number on the scale at the end of this time frame, but that wasn’t what I was going for... what I really wanted was to feel _good_! (cue James Brown :) And to tell ya the truth, I didn’t weigh myself at the end so I honestly don’t know how it impacted me in that way... but I do know the body composition changed... cuz I’m sittin here rockin my size 6 pants. (Rockstar pose!)

Ok, so weight /was/ a teeny part of it... Hellooo... human and occasionally have superficial motivations. Sue me. ;)

BUT the biggest things I noticed was after the low carb silliness was corrected, that I not only was able to get all 4 workouts in during the last 2 weeks of this experience (my consistency before this was seriously lacking), but my energy level, endurance and strength were starting show serious signs of improvement. Recovery was still taking it’s sweet time, but I wasn’t as OMG-filled-with-hot-lead sore as I’d been. It was replaced with “why do you hate me” messages from my muscles...Not to mention that it helped bring the PMS stuff down to a dull roar - I know, TMI, but factor all those things together? Oh so worth it! :)

I also learned a lot about me. It’s interesting, I had someone who was struggling with self confidence issues - so very much been there, done that, have the t-shirt and selling the movie rights to the highest bidder - ask me how I over came it... My first reaction “I over came it?! Thought I was still living in Insecurity-ville. Huh.” Be that as it may, I realized that I’m moving closer to the ‘burbs rather than the crowded downtown area, and I got there by just doing it. Confidence comes with just trying something that you don’t think you can do... and doing it. It started with something seemingly small like getting up 20 minutes earlier so I could go for a 10 minute walk... and is at a place where I can not want to hide when I’m wearing a bathing suit in public cuz heck, I can leg press a couple hundred pounds and back squat over 100.

Transferring that to food, I’ve gone from near panic if I went more than 2 hours without a food source to knowing I can not only go extended periods of time without grain/dairy/sugar/legumes/etc., I also am at the point (like today) where I almost forgot about breakfast. I can leave the house without a full compliment of just-in-case snacks without breaking into a cold sweat. That wasn’t a result of this particular ‘challenge’ but it did help me pay attention to my body and dial in my nutrition a little more to make things work even better.

What’s next?! Sticking with the “Paleo” path or ditching it entirely to move forward to the iron age?! Eh… a bit of both – Similar to PrimalToad, I don’t see the ‘end’ of this challenge as an end at all, but more of a point that I’ve realized the benefit of sticking pretty close to that plan, but allowing for life to happen. Not stressing when I can’t be 100%, and enjoying the benefits of the time that I am eating and moving as optimally for my body as possible.

I figure, if I’ve got another 60 years in me, I’ve gotta commit to taking care of things best I can now!

Will I start sporting a Barbara Bach style cheetah bikini & Pebbles hair-do? (I know – totally dating myself!) Maybe, but only at Halloween, and only for the hubby… and _only_ if I get my abs more defined. LOL!

How about you?! Ready for a change or at least mix things up? What’s one thing you can change today to improve your health in the long term?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Joyeux Mardi Gras




Whoo hoo! It's Mardi Gras, or also (not so nicely) known as "Fat Tuesday"... It's the last day of indulgence, last day to whoop it up and party yer pants off before strictness/structure/self- or faith-imposed restrictions of the 40 days Lent.



It's that time whe you have one last fling with your favorite foods, your favorite beverages, stay out late being all wild and wooly with your friends (Ok, maybe not, I mean who puts a holiday like this on a school night?! Seriously! ;). We indulge today because tomorrow we 'diet'.



Hmmm... sounds like the whole December 31st/January 1st cycle all over again, doesn't it?

Why do we do that? We set our minds to start something that's beneficial for us mentally, physically, spiritually, yet riiight before embarking on that wonderful journey, we load up on cr@p that can potentially set back the starting mark several feet?

We bemoan that (insert super dramatic, hand flung to forhead voice here) "As God is my witness, I'll never be able to eat chip's/cookies/cake again!" ::flop:: So we seek out (usually in excess) that which we're removing from our path. Or if it's a money/budget thing, how do we prepare ourselves? By going on a spending spree...

Here's a wacky, wild, harebrained thought which is probably a foreign concept to some, but here goes: Why not do the opposite and UN-load the cr@p today, before getting started tomorrow. Feeling like spending? Go through the stuff you have and see if there's any excess you can get rid of. Feeling like diving into the 'soon-to-be-forbidden-food'? Clean out the pantry and/or do some menu planning and see how much you're hanging on to.

You get the idea- do something today to set up your tomorrow for success.

So whatcha think? Too out there or right on target?

Or is it just a day to say scr*w it and pass the paczki's? (and you get double bonus points in my book if you know what that is. ;)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Musings: MIA

Doncha love it when people do blog posts about big, huge, drastic, sweeping changes they're doing in some aspect of their lives... then you don't hear from them for 2 weeks?

::blush::

Yeah, leaves ya wondering if they did a horrible miserable fail and dove head first back into their old ways so deep that it'll take them years to dig out so they're back where they started...

Or (if you're more a more positive thinker than I am ;) you figure they're doing so well with things they are in happy lala land and have no need to be validated or report to others.

Yeah... those are usually the two I come up with as well.

To catch folks up to speed, I decided to embark on the 'Whole 30' plan which follows the paleo model of no grains, no sugar, no dairy, and no legumes, and also removes alcohol from the equation for 30 days... As with most 'elimination' type eating plans, it's designed to remove the major inflammation offenders from the diet to give the body a chance to rest, heal, and get back to healthy. The caveat is to commit completely 100%, no cheating, no 'sliding', nothin...

For me, I went in not planning to do the "whole" 30 days, but closer to 25 days to line up with the parental units visit... but decided to do it to see how it'd make me feel to commit 100% to something. I'm sittin here at day 15 and (because I do need validation and feel the need to report/be accountable to others) I'm happy to report I'm actually closer than the 2nd option than the first.

Here's a little touch base/update on things so far:

What I did:

- Met the change in eating with a good attitude. I looked at it for what it could bring to my life and my health... the fact that people were having great results (hitting personal records, sleeping better, living happier) all were compelling reasons to get to it.

- Looked at what I could have food wise, which is a great variety.

- Was willing to experiment with food. I looooove me my butter, but was willing to find out if I really needed it on some stuff, or if I could find a better alternative to make do during this time.

- Listened to my body. If it was hungry, I ate... if it was full, I stopped. If it was screaming at me to give it sugar, I had a chat with it to figure out what was really going on, and offered something else (usually food in general helped). When it was tired, I put it to bed.

- Ate more fruit! (I'll get to the significance in a bit)

What I didn't do:

- Stress... at least not too much. I will be 100% honest - I followed the plan 100%... for 10 days. Then I went away for the weekend and while I planned well (I packed a cooler with some salads, meat & snacks), there were still opportunities that I encountered when I CHOSE convenience over consistency. Did you get that? I made a choice to go off the eating plan. I didn't slip, no one made me, and I'm living with it. Cheese on the egg, dinner out with family that included a bit of pasta/bread, a piece of toast rather than waiting another hour to get breakfast, a glass of limited ed. beer with my hubby that I hadn't seen in almost a month rather than saying no. There was some GI issues with a couple of the choices, but for the most part no major blips, and went back to the plan at the next opportunity.

- Bemoan/focus on what I couldn't have... yeah, I miss the smidge of honey in my coffee in the morning, or butter on my broccoli, but I'm dealing. (Though out of all the stuff that I thought I'd "miss"... those are the only 2 things that I actually do miss.)

- Count down the days when I'd be done. One of the things I was bouncing around in my brain was if this was something I could live with long term. So instead of waiting till The End, I was counting UP the days that I did stick to the plan... and since I'm a total geek, my inner princesses & I had a lot of fun putting gold stars on my calendar for the days I did 100%. (seriously, you HAVE to make it fun! :)

- Eat enough. Yeah, this was fun... I couldn't figure out why I had no energy, but when I recorded the food for a couple of days it was glaringly obvious, my calories were way too low to support any sort of intense activity... like waking up, or showering, let alone sitting at a desk all day at work.

- Eat enough carbs. This part was extra fun... again, I couldn't figure out why I was feeling like total poo... and we all know I'm all about avoiding the poo. Well, I was already eating at the lower end of the carb range, but take away the morning toast, and add in more fiberously dense, but calorically light veggies, you've got yourself a pretty low carb eating plan. Here's the thing, cutting your carbs in half like that (for me it was going from about 100g to 50 grams) will encourage your body to expel a lot of water, and with it, essential nutrients - sodium, potassium, magnesium to name a few. Those nutrients are electrolytes and if they're low, you're not doing much of anything for long. So hence, more fruit... and bananas (and parsnips, which will made my dad smile. :)! Oooh and the happy, nutrient rich salt (not the regular bleached white stuff, we're talking Pink, Grey and nearly Black stuff... NUM!) Once I got those back in line, all was right and happy with the world again.

What I didn't expect:

- Creativity! This whole experience, short as it's been so far, really got the mental juices flowing. It got me thinking a lot more about the role/relationship with food in my life... and looking at a few other areas that haven't quite gelled yet, but are still niggling around the brain.

- Feeling like cr@p. Seriously, was annoying that I felt like poo so early on when so many people report feeling AH-mazing when they get going... glad I figured out what it was early on.

- The sugar monster that apparently was lurking deep within me. I had blocked out the daily chocolate fix (a hershey kiss here, a mini reeses there, etc...) so when I chose to stop it, I discovered how many times I did reach for the sugar. I could act all better-than-you and say that fruit is all you need, but I won't. Because when the brain is telling you that only processed white stuff will do, belive it. That's what it's been programmed to run on for the last however many years, and it does not like changing to lower octane fuel without a fight. Be prepared. And have dried fruit & nuts handy at all times.

- NOT having as much of an issue with the all-or-nothing thinking. I was really expecting this to be a battle of wills between the Princesses & I, but there really hasn't been much of an issue, much to my happy surprise. When I made once choice early on in the day to not stick to the plan, it didn't open the flood gates to keep on 'messing up'... in fact I think Stevie & Veruca did more to help keep that in check than I did for myself. The inner kiddo's did more parenting than the 'parent' by serving to remind me that it's just meaning that I won't get the full health benefits from sticking to it 100%, but I'm still getting a lot out of it.

So my summation:

The last 15 days has been a serious learning experience, but a positive one, and one I'm looking foward to seeing how the next several days go.

Is it sustainable? Absolutely... and will most likely continue with it to a good degree, but I love butter too much to keep it this restrictive. :)

So how about any of you? Have you committed yourself 100% to any changes? Share your experience!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Musing: And so it begins...



You ever notice how you make a decision to make a change in your life, you make the plan, you feel the love and excitement for what's to come...

Then you then start to feel the bulls eye shaped tattoo appear on your forhead and/or back. It's like every where you turn something pops up that blocks your road, that threatens to derail you, or pull you off course before you even get started.

What is up with that?!

Well, there's 2 reasons:

1) Once you made the decision, you start to become hyperaware of that area of your life.

Things you didn't pay any attention to before - the box of doughnuts on your co-workers desk every. single. friday.; the daily use of you debit/credit card for little things that you didn't need in the first place; the small piles that magically appear around the house that you're trying to clean up - all those things are "suddenly" in sharp focus because that's where your attention is.

2) You really do have a bulls eye shaped tattoo on your forhead/back.

Ok, it's a figurative one, not a literal one, but it's there... It's said that, when you're really committed to something, when you're on the right path to your dreams and goals, the Universe will conspire on your behalf to achieve success.

Sometimes, though, that conspiracy comes in the form of a pop quiz. Those things that come out of nowhere to throw you off course - The surprise lunch for a friend who has great news to share the first week of your "induction phase" eating plan? A test. The chance to go on a once in a life time trip the month you're dedicated to not using your credit cards any more? Sure enough - it's a test. Starting a new ::coughWhole30cough:: eating plan on Valentines day, only to face fancy cupcakes and dark chocolate goodness first thing in the morning? You betcha it's a test.

You can side step the majority of potential tests that can come your way by simply being prepared: Look at the calendar to see if there's any events coming up that could cause you to act in opposition to your goals; practice in your mind how you will act in different situations; most importantly, continually remind yourself of your long term goals, and why it's more important to reach them than it is to have the momentary experience.

Because that's part of the test - planning and preparing for your success.

When life throws something at you that you're not prepared for, you still have a choice in the matter: Decide what IS worth the momentary experience, the temporary detour, and what's not, and if you're ok with the decision you make.

That's also part of the test - learning to live with the concequences of your actions.

Sometimes you'll sail through the tests with flying colors without missing a beat.

Sometimes you'll fall flat on your face. But sailing through doesn't mean you passed, and falling down doesn't mean you failed.

You sometimes can fail by skating through because you didn't really see what was going on.

You pass by picking yourself up one more time.

The only time you really and truly fail is if you missed the lesson of how to do better next time, or you let it stop you completely.

This morning, with working through at least 3 tests before the sun came up, I was rewarded with this gem from Greg Laurie:

The Devil says, "Play and enjoy now... pay later."

God says, "Pay now, and enjoy forever."

Whatcha gonna choose?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Same Stuff, Different Day

Same Stuff, Different Day

There's times when I am amazed at how far I've come in my journey. I see habits that have developed to establish a lifestyle that supports a leaner, healthier, happier, active mind and body. I've learned so much along the way and grown in ways I couldn't have ever imagined.

Then there's times when I'm dumbfounded by how far I still have to go... almost like I haven't moved from the starting gate at all.

Case in point... earlier this week I was re-re-reintroduced to a web site/blog that, every time I visit it, I think, "They've so got it going on!" I don't agree 100% with all their views, but they've done enough background work and research, that I can respect them, agreeing to disagree.

Part of their site is a challenge to jump in with both feet to change, not only the way you eat for 30 days, and in their hopes, you'll change the way you live your life for the better. They've updated it a few times, honing, expanding, and expounding on some of the finer points, but it's remained the same at the core.

Where I diverge from them is 1) I'm really starting to detest the whole "Paleo" label because, like too many 'named Diets', people get wrapped up in the details (and a lot of times get wrapped up in the Better-Than-You-ness of those details) while missing the spirit of things, which is to figure out what's best for YOUR body and makes YOU healthy, and 2) I don't agree with Cordain who deems dairy & saturated fat of the debil. Whatevs...

After re-re-relooking at the site, the plan, the philosophy, and talking with a friend of mine about it, we decided... we're in! I've stepped up to the line but never completely crossed over.

Anywho, why I'm sharing this is for a couple of reasons, and none of them really have to do with food - I'm always hesitant to share information about what *I* eat because not only are food choices SO personal, and as I reference back to my "H" word post, what's good and happy for me (the meatetarian ;), isn't so good or happy for others.

No... the reason for sharing is purely mental: As in *I* feel mental about it! LOL! I'd just read an article recently about how people never really know the effectiveness of a program - any program, be it fitness, nutrition, financial, business, whatever - if you don't completely comply with it 100%. So many times people read the "rules" and say, "Ok... that's all well and good BUT I don't like/won't do X, and Y," then wonder why they're not getting the results they want. Or someone makes a valid suggestion and it's dismissed completely out of turn without even being considered.

Or worse, you decide you're all in, you're excited, and ready to take on the 'challenge'... then after a few days the compromises/negotiations happen... which is where I'm at.

Seems like my inner braaaa...er... princesses, Stevie & Veruca, were on vacation until a couple days after I decided to jump in to this challenge.

Me: "Tralala... no grain, sugar, dairy for the next few weeks... that's ok. Need to give the body a break anyway and will be interesting to see how I feel afterwards."

Them (dropping their bags at the door): "WHAT?! What do you mean no sugar or dairy!??!"

Me: "Welcome back! Missed you girls!"

Stevie: "Whatev! Start talking about this craziness about taking away my cheese!"

Veruca: "And my chocolate!"

Stevie: "Yeah! And the honey and cocoa in our coffee!"

Me: "OK! Calm down, let's talk..."

Them taking turns ganging up on me: "I mean it's not like we have /thaaat/ much of any of those things! Oooh, but we can still have butter, right!?! Cuz that's butter, not dairy. And since we're starting on Monday we better get all the goodies we can right now and and and... "

Me: "Enough! No Mardi Gras talk!!!"

Them: ...

Me: "Thank you! Here's the thing - this is an experiment! It's short term to see how we feel and weren't you just saying we'd like the size 6 jeans to fit a little less snug?"

Stevie (quietly): "yeah."

Me: "And weren't you saying you wish we'd just pick something and stick with it?"

Veruca (pouting): "yes"

Me: "So, this is a way to see if it really does make us feel a lot better... and we'll figure ways around..."

Veruca: "But there's cookies in the freezer!!! what about those?!"

Me: "they'll still be there at the end... and hopefully we'll be in a smaller jean size and feel tons better!"

So the negotiations continued for a while till a truce was achieved. All parties agreed to give 100% to this change... because the potential pay off is pretty cool.

And that's really the crux of it - why we resist, why we negotiate, why we only do half hearted efforts: change.

It's all about change, or rather resisting change. Change is uncomfortable. And change usually means we have to say "no" to something. Change means we have to let go of something.

But here's the other side of that coin: When you let go of something (usually a bad habit), or say "No" (to something that's not good for you in the first place) it opens up the door for something bigger and better. Saying "no" to the fancy-schamancy latte can add up to a down payment for a new car. Giving up a few minutes sleep to go to the gym could mean a better doctor visit and maybe a smaller pair of pants. One small change builds on another and another until you suddenly realize you're not the same person who started, that you're actually achieving those goals instead of bemoaning another unresolved resolution.

So instead of grieving the potential loss, why not get excited about the potential gain? If you're like me, you'll get even more than you bargained for in bigger and better ways than imagined... though you'll still have your Inner Princesses/Princes to remind you of how things "used to be".

So what are you still holding on to? (I'll give you a hint... it's that thing that you respond, "I would /never/ do that!" ;) What are you ready to let go of for something better?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The "H" Word

Dear Powers That Be,

Hello and good day to you. I hope this missive finds You well and happy.

I am writing you today in hopes that you will consider my petition to become Queen of the Universe... I see many things going awry in this world, and many misguided people and feel that my experience and knowledge base will help me help others so they too can live a peaceful, enlightened, fulfilled lives.

If my petition is granted, I shall make it my first priority in office to banish the use of The "H" Word... Healthy.

Yes, PTB, you read that right... I wish to banish the word "healthy" from the vocabulary of the modern age.

I did not reach that decision lightly, and there were several words, especially in the weight loss world, that were considered. Words like "diet" and "clean", not to mention the range of "named" eating plans... then there were words like "Only" which diminish the positive actions of the person stating it (I /only/ did 15 minutes of X activity... which is a HECK of a lot better than _NO_ minutes.) And there's the whole concept of resolutions that, honestly, I wouldn't know where to begin.

So I decided on tackling what seems to be at the heart of the matter and cause for much confusion: "Healthy" ...

Just as the Eskimo's have elebenty billion words for snow, Healthy has elebenty billion and one different uses, implications, and concepts... it has gotten to the point where, to quote the great philosopher Indigo Montoya, "You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means.

Let me 'esplain:

Plain and simple, the definition of Healthy is this:

adj.
1. possessing or enjoying good health or a sound and vigorous mentality: a healthy body; a healthy mind.
2. pertaining to or characteristic of good health, or a sound and vigorous mind: a healthy appearance; healthy attitudes.
3. conducive to good health; healthful: healthy recreations.

So, one could conclude, that possessing or pursing these things, one would be considered "healthy." Rightly so! Possessing a sound and vigorous body and mind /should/ be something to celebrate and chase after with pride and passion.

Sadly, that's where the masses diverge from the path and have taken the word "healthy" and turned it into a judgment, a standard, and almost a 4-letter word, _especially_ in reference to food.

My take: Healthy is in the eye of the beholder, and what promotes vibrant health of the mind and body in one, can destroy it in another.

The word itself is tied to many things that, on the surface, do seem to good for the masses - less processed food, more foods that are closer to their natural state. Move more, sit less. All good ideas in general, but it's the specifics where folks get bogged down.

For example: Some say that a way of eating that is rich in whole grains is the way to go... but to a celiac or someone with serious gluten/grain intolerance issues, that's a one way trip to Loo-ville, or worse, the hospital.

A way of eating higher in carbohydrates is great if you're an endurance athlete, but for a Type 1 Diabetic, or someone with insulin resistance it's a roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows that can lead to bad, bad places.

For some, building a foundation of eating based on just plant based items may be the key to vitality, but put that salad or veggie dish in front of someone with Crohn's Disease, might as well offer them a plate full of nails.

A plateful of critter protein and minimal carbohydrate accompaniments may do wonders for energy and focus for one, but make another sluggish and want to curl up for a nap.

A recipe could be labeled "healthy" because it swaps out whole wheat flour for all purpose, but still contains over processed grain that's been bleached beyond recognition. Or it could gain that illustrious title because it's reduced the amount of fat, which also reduced the capacity for some of the vitamins contained within to be absorbed.

Sitting in any lunchroom is like putting yourself in a judgmental war zone where you are praised or ridiculed by the amount of vegetable matter on plate.

You see from these few examples, dear PTB, that the rampant misuse and abuse of a positive word needs to be stopped?! I didn't even touch on the confusion that occurs when one tries to identify what is or isn't considered healthy (Milk, for example, the wonderful, vitamin rich elixir which apparently is also of teh debil and must be avoided and consumed at the same time.)

You now see the reason for my petition to become Queen of the Universe so that my Reign of Terror era of help and kindness can begin as soon as possible. So the focus can be taken off of imposing on the masses what is perceived as "healthy", and put back in the hands of the individual to determine what brings about good health _to them_ and empower them to continue on that path.

In closing, I hope that you consider my plea as I am only looking out for myself the mental and physical well being of those around the globe.

I look forward to your quick and positive response, granting my request.

Your most humble servant,

S

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Fly-by... Plan B

Yesterday, like every day, I had a Plan A. Some days my Plan A is vague and general, but lately the Plan A has been a bit more specific. The day to day Plan A falls in line with the goals I have for the week, and the month, and the quarter, etc. You get the idea.

So yesterday... my Plan A was destined to be a low carb/no grain day. No big, same as the day before, food was pre-planned accordingly. Then, before the sun even though of peeking over the horizion, Plan A was pushed out my 2nd floor bedroom window... rather uncerimoniously and thoughtlessly, I may add.

And I was happy to do it.

Why am I not gripped with guilt and shame?

Because Plan A turned to Plan B because of one lovely moment that would have been missed otherwise...

You see, my Awesome Hubby (henceforth referred to as AH... Cute, no? ;) is working in town this week. When he's working here, it's not the best of situations since I'm asleep when he gets home from work, he's asleep when I get up and he's gone before I get home.

Sorta stinks, actually... but I digress.

Yesterday, though, he woke up with a coughing fit - love the dry AZ winters! He went downstairs so he didn't wake me and while he was calming his cough, the coffee pot started brewing it's happy dark elixr.

::romantic lightbulb moment::

He prepared a tray with coffee, coffee cake and some other snacks to wake me up with so we could sit and spend some quiet time that we hadn't been able to have in a few weeks.

My first reaction: OMG someone's breaking in or something's very wrong! (what?! I was sound asleep when I heard much rustling around me! What was I supposed to think?)

Second reaction: My AH is up, why is my AH up?!

Third reaction: YAY Coffee and... cake?! But... is low carb day! Eh, I've got the rest of the day to have Plan B be pretty darn close to Plan A, this is special me & AH time.

I /could/ have pitched a fit... I mean, didn't he /know/ what my Plan A was?! Seriously! How did he not pick up on my thoughts and unspoken/unwritten plans?!

Yeah, what does that accomplish aside from hurt feelings, guilt, and a reactionary bad mood? Not to mention it greatly reduces the chances for such a rare, but sweet gesture to ever happen again.

I /could/ have figured that, if I couldn't do Plan A, I wouldn't do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g so there. ::arms crossed, tongue stuck up and flop on the floor with a *neyh*::

Again, doesn't really accomplish much (see above).

No... The transition from Plan A to Plan B went super smooth, with hardly a bump felt in the greater scheme of things.

Thing is, the food and the Plan... just things. Things that can be modified, things that can make life easy or difficult if you choose, but things just the same.

The moment and the experience with the AH... that's precious, and fleeting, and meant to be savored.

Times like this that make me gaze in wonder at myself: Who the heck am I? LOL!!

No, I'm not 'perfect'. No, I'm not better-than-you. I'm just working on continually being better-than-me-yesterday.

"If you must compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to yourself yesterday." ~ Unknown

Sometimes you can recover Plan A with a Plan B... sometimes ya have to go all the way to Plan ZZ. And that's ok... maybe next time you'll stop at Plan ZY, and eventually you'll work your way up just Plan A.

How about you? Is it Plan A or nothing? Do you have Plans A - ZZZZZ? Ever gotten a happy breakfast in bed surprise?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fear and Gratitude

Hi there. I need to take a departure from focusing on health, wellness, and other physical weighty things, and turn to something a little more emotionally weighty.

My name is Stephanie and I live in Tucson, Arizona. I moved here from a smallish community in Michigan in 1992 because I fell in love with the beautiful mountains, the amazing desert, oh yeah, and because I wanted to get the heck out of snow filled winters. ;) But, most importantly, I fell in love with the people. It had that small town feel of a community where you talked to one person and chances where they knew someone you knew.

Since I’ve been here, Tucson’s population has grown to over 1 million people, but it’s kept that small town vibe which is fantastic.

Why is all this important to be sharing? Because on Saturday, January 8, 2011, my town became the epicenter of national news. My congresswoman and 19 other peoples lives were forever impacted because of one person. My town has been effected in ways that I can’t even begin to imagine, because the literal and figurative wounds are still too fresh to even begin to think of healing.

If event itself weren’t bad enough, my town, the innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, a 9 year old girl for cripes sake, is the becoming the target of a hate group/cult that is descending on Tucson to proclaim to all that we deserved this. That SHE deserved this.

And I am glad, they’re coming, in an odd way, I am glad that this happened... Before you start throwing things at me, hear me out. I am not in any way, shape or form, happy people are dead or injured. It saddens me immensely! I have been carrying around sorrow and anger and fear since Saturday morning. Any time an emergency vehicle rushes by, my heart races. I find myself wondering the what ifs and whys that can’t be resolved. I’ve had a knot in my stomach for days that isn’t showing signs of lessening any time soon.

But because of this horrible tragedy; despite a surge of finger pointing, questioning, and blaming; in the midst of being attacked by a contingent from Kansas, my town, my community, is pulling together like never before. In an instant all labels were evaporated. Young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, man, woman, geek and freak... all gone when the first literal shot was fired, and only people were left. Strangers have found a small piece of common ground, and I hope and pray that it grows and builds, so we start seeing each other and so we know that we are not alone in this journey and are there for each other.

My neighbors - all million plus of them - are taking the act of one person, or a small group, and using it to motivate them to action, as a chance to say “We’re still here.” In the way that the horrible acts of a few people roused a nation September 11, 2001, the tragedy of January 8, 2011, is bringing a group of individuals together again as a community to protect itself.

To heal.

To grow.

To prove that one person may be capable of unspeakable horrors. But another IS capable of amazing acts that will motivate and strengthen the bonds of this world.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011: New Year, New Theme, Same Plan

Nothing like a fresh blank page on a brand new calendar to bring out the musing and reflective mind. Thinking about the past, where I've been, what I had planned, what I accomplished, what I didn't. Looking ahead at the wide open space of possibilities. Looking at the past few weeks of oh so much celebrating and welcoming the normalcy of routine that comes with the passing of the holiday 'season'.


Last year, I was all about the basics - basic exercise, basic food, basic plans. I had some lofty goals and sorta kinda hit some of them, and had set backs in other areas. In general I just wanted to continue to create a better, stronger, faster version of myself. And I did... and didn't.

The theme was basic, the lesson learned was humbling. ::Cute Mick Jagger:: You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need. Aawww yeeeeaaah...
::ahem::

What I wanted was a super buff body, to be able to run, jump, swing, and lift whatever and whenever I wanted.

What I got was a body that had less fat on it than when I started the year, and was able to do some of those things better than I started, but there were setbacks.

What I wanted was to be focused and never waiver from achieving my goals, no matter what.

What I got were lessons that kept me focused on more important things: fun, function, flexibility, family, friends.


So I don't have the super buff, super strong body that I set out to attain in 2010. I'm healthy, happy and haven't been sick since not sure when. ::knocks on wood::

Does that mean that I ditched my goals from last year or gave up when I got sidelined?
Far from it!

What I wanted was to get it done and be done with it.

What I got was a greater understanding of living a healthy LIFE, and the meaning of the word tenatious.

I did ditch some things - the obsession, the all or nothing, all about the weight "Diet" mentality.

I gained perserverence, and creativity.

I worked my 'push through' muscles along with my 'push up' muscles.

I learned that any goal worth achieving is worth continually reaching towards it. You may not get it on the first, second, or elebenty-billionth try... but you'll keep geting closer.

My theme for this year picked itself... or rather, was picked for me. The messages all around me said the same thing: Press On

And this passage that was read at church yesterday drove it home: "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." Philippians 3:12

So this is me, pressing on... anything that I achived, keep at it. Anything that I missed the mark, keep trying. Anything that needs improvment, game on!

What's your theme for 2011?

Any lessons learned?