Halfway Kids!!

Today is Day 19 and I’m (pretty much) halfway through my Whole40!!!

The goals that I had set for myself have been pretty much reached here at the halfway point so it’s time for some new ones on the back half.

To recap on what I’ve achieved in the last 20 days:

Goal #1A: Relief of my almost daily headaches.  This has been a bit of a hit and miss… the headaches that I was getting throughout the day have gone but have been unfortunately replaced with a pretty much ongoing stress headache.  I’m using my massage therapist to help with that but it’s not food related anymore.

Goal #2A: Less Itchy Skin.  I’m less itchy but I think it’s partially because my sister pointed out to my dismay that I may in fact be allergic to grapes, and having cut those out, I am indeed less itchy.  Overall my skin is pretty kick ass and I have almost no dermatitis on my hands, which I often get from eating crappy food.

Goal #3A: Kick my current obsession over ice cream.   Ya, I’d say this is pretty much kicked.  Would I eat ice cream if it miraculously ended up in my house right now?  Yes, probably but I’m not obsessed with the mental battle over whether or not I should go buy some (and then consume it in it’s entirety).

Goal #4A: Wake up feeling more rested.  Yes, this is (aside from yesterday being hit with the fatigue stick), I’m sleeping much better and for less time but more quality time.  I wake up at 5am without an alarm daily.  I’d say that’s a met goal!

Goal #5A: Log as many kilometers as possible. Well, as there is no actual number, it’s hard to say whether that was reached or not, but I did make a commitment to get home from work (8KM) under my own power 3x a week and I’ve done that. (today being the last day).  I’ve logged 76 kilometers (47 miles) in the last 19 days. The work based challenge that precipitated that is over as of today but my plan is to keep up the 3 days a week for at least the duration of my W40… then I go on holidays and I’ll figure out the next steps (punny) after I get back. If I manage it, that’s 7 more walks, which will be a total during my W40 of 132KM (82 miles).

Goal #6A: Eat more vegetables.  I was pretty uninspired by my meal plan this week but I ate a decent amount of veg at every meal (except last night). I’ll leave this on my goals for the back half of the W40.

Goal #7A: Fit my denim capris more comfortably.  Yes.  They fit perfectly now.  They will now start to get to big, which is okay for a little while… They’re cute and I get a ton of compliments on them but the rivets on the pockets gives me a rash spot.  I’ll try nail polishing the rivet and see if that helps.

 

Now, on to new goals.

Goal #1B: Come to a place where a pint of ice cream in the freezer wouldn’t mean needing to be restrained to the sofa to avoid diving into it face first.

Goal #2B: Go to bed by 10pm and when I wake up at 5am, get out of bed.

Goal #3B: Try and get to 132KM by the end of W40.

Goal #4B: Eat more vegetables.  Plan veg purchase and prep better.

Goal #5B: Wear the striped $8 dress to work.

Goal #6B: No side by side comparison shots until Friday, July 4th (day 40)

Okay, I think that’s it… unless I think of something else in the next few days.  Really, the biggest goal I will have for the next 21 days is going to be keeping on the walking/W40 path in the face of some stress (hopefully temporary) that is making me really yearn to crawl into bed with a tray of carrot cake. I will not do that because it will certainly not solve my situation and I KNOW it would make me feel TERRIBLE… but the temptation is certainly there!

Appreciate the Now

A lesson is repeated until it is learned.  I heard that from my mom about a million or so years ago and it’s always stuck with me.  Especially in times of frustration when I feel like the same things keep happening over and over again and I can’t figure out why, that little eight word sentence pops into my mind and I’m reminded that maybe the same thing is happening over and over again because I don’t ‘get it’ yet.

Back on December 30th, I decided to detox from my Christmas Binge Extravaganza and do a Whole 30.  The purpose of my involvement at that time was to try and detoxify all the chemicals and sugar and inflammatory foods out of my body that I had willingly (and joyfully, no shame!) jammed in there over a month.  At the time I was also running about 2.5miles every second day in an effort to get ready for a big run (5K) that my sister and wanted to do (and did).  I took a before picture as per usual and then took the after picture.  Now, here’s where the lesson returns with a vengeance.  That after picture… I was dressed in my yoga pants and my favorite hot pink tight fitting yoga top.  Looking back on that photo four months (and a considerable amount of stress later), I’m very proud of the girl that stood there. The problem is that that girl didn’t appreciate the results of the hard work and dedication that it took to get her there.  And that’s the lesson.  I’ve seen pictures from when I was much younger and I was told (and believed) that I was an overweight cow and should be on a perpetual diet.  To put that overweight cow in perspective, I was a size 8/10.  For 5’10 that’s a pretty healthy, in shape size.  In the photos from then and from January, all I could see at the time were the flaws.  A roll of belly fat here, an arm that ‘seemed’ too fluffy there… a poor angled photo that implied a double chin or some other ‘ghastly’ flaw.

What do I see when I look at those photos now?  Wasted opportunity.  I see wasted opportunity to be loving and compassionate to myself.  I see wasted opportunity to be proud of myself and confident that I am worthy of wearing shorts and tight fitting tanks.

The reason that this is coming up is because I’m frustrated with the body shape progress I’m making in my current Whole 40.  I’m looking at the pictures from January, where I was much slimmer than I am now (truth be told… it’s not MUCH… it’s some) and wishing I would have appreciated the place I was. I’m looking at those pictures KNOWING that I didn’t see the progress and didn’t see the victories.

I actually believe that my stalled progress (if it’s even stalled… it’s only been 15 days) is BECAUSE of my current obsession with photographing myself and then comparing it to January.  Stress like that can make you hold on to fat and adipose tissue.  It can keep you inflamed and puffy.  I’m sure there’s science behind that to back up the statement but I’m not about to go look it up.  I’ve read it before, I know it’s true.

So my next 15 days (the duration of a standard W30) will be dedicated to appreciating where I am exactly in the moments that I am there.  I really want to work on appreciating that the reason that I have puffed during Puffer Fish Week is because I am a health and presumably fertile woman. I want to appreciate that the size of my quads makes easier work of propelling myself home on foot 3 days a week.  (dudes, at the end of today, I’ll have logged 60KM in 15 days!)  I want to appreciate that my favorite hot pink tanktop fits, looks good and makes me feel powerful as I motor down the street.  It’s really hard in this day and age of exceptionally high beauty standards for women (even for those of us that know that health is first and foremost) to appreciate your current place. I always say that if someone is working toward making themselves healthier, then I will give them all the kudos in the world because they deserve it.  So why then, would I not give myself that same appreciation.

I don’t know what this next 15 days looks like in terms of actual measurable success, because it’s pretty hard to measure appreciation.  I do think that it’s reasonable to not take another body selfie to compare to January until at least the 30th day.  Right now I’m comparing a 30 day accomplishment to a 15 day accomplishment… how insane is that!!!

If anyone else out there is doing a Whole30, rock on with your bad self!  You’re (we are) doing something that presumably 99.9% of the regular everyday people around you (us) wouldn’t attempt.  That’s huge!

Learning how to Walk

Walking seems to be such an easy thing to do, doesn’t it?  What if you’re someone like me that thinks that if you CAN run, then it’s just wimping out to walk… that makes walking less easy.  I’ve long since battled with the kind of competition within my own mind and soul that tells me that nothing is worth doing if it’s not worth doing as fast and as hard as you can.  It can get to be a problem because there’s no middle ground.  I either do something full on, balls to the wall or I don’t do anything at all.  This type of thought pattern has infiltrated my entire life and while it’s not reasonable to repair that way of thinking in every aspect of my life in a day, it IS reasonable to work on changing it where I can.

This 3 week commuter challenge that I’m doing at work is a perfect time to work on ‘middle ground’.  I made a commitment (a rather loud, noisy, braggerty one) to commute home from work under my own power 3 days a week for three full weeks.  That’s a total of 24KM (15miles) per week and I quickly realized that if I didn’t find any middle ground in order to get this done, I would be doomed to failure.  It does the competition, the commitment and me in general no good whatsoever to push my body to excess the first week and then be completely unable to continue on to the next two weeks.

So on Monday I ran most of the way home, having not yet discovered this need for middle ground.  On Tuesday I forced myself to walk the entire way.  To be honest?  That sounded like torture to me.  I really believed that walking home was just a cop out and that it didn’t ‘count’, regardless of how hard I worked at it.  Well, as my sister so rightly pointed out, it’s not like I was strolling through the park with an ice cream in my hand… I push HARD all the way.  The mental battle to ‘just run a bit’ was strong in my mind for a good portion of the 8K… So about halfway through, I decided that I would try running and see if that felt good… if it felt like I was flying then I would run. Well it felt like running with lead shoes on…. And I realized that I liked the middle ground.  I was working hard, I was sweating and felt a good burn in my quads and the moments of drifting out of my own head into a meditative state.  I’ve never been very good at shutting off my mind, regardless of how hard I tried.  I’m easily distracted and I have a tendancy to have ‘thought trail diarrhea’ where I realize I don’t even know how I got from the original thought to the current one… I don’t particularly like that feeling of mindless thinking and every once in awhile it’s nice to not have your mind going a million miles an hour.

On Wednesday I walked home again… no thought of running entered my mind and I enjoyed the meditation and the free feeling that not being in constant competition with myself gave me.

Day 5 of my Whole40 is drawing to a close and I’m pleased to report that I am firmly on board for the full 40 days.  I’ve also discovered again that sugar, even from grapes, makes me incredibly itchy.  It’s interesting actually because sugar, when eaten with other crappy dietary choices, doesn’t seem to bother me as much.  When I am clean eating and consuming too much natural sugar from whole foods, I get ridiculously itchy.

In the first five days I’ve noticed some de-puffing, better sleep (I wake up at 5:27 on the dot every day… like WIDE AWAKE) and better… um… bathrooming… ahem.

This coming Wednesday marks 10 days on W30 and ¼ of the way through. It’s an interesting journey to take this time because I know what to expect as far as feeling lousy (I haven’t yet) and as far as potential non-scale victories (as mentioned above). I’m keeping an open mind to new things to learn about myself and my body and food and the way my mind and body interact with food.

No choice in life but to just keep going forward.  So forward I go!

Just Be Yourself

My mom always says that lessons are taught until they are learned.  This one keeps coming up so I guess I’m still learning it…

The way that I perceive myself and the way that others perceive me is not the same.  My friend always tells me to just be my authentic self and that every good thing and good person that is meant to be in my life will come along… drawn like a moth to a flame.  Just be yourself.  Yourself is amazing he says.  Sometimes, when I’m alone and thinking through things, I remember what he says about being my authentic self… and I over think it… I was saying to my counsellor yesterday that sometimes I wonder what ‘self’ that I’m supposed to be to get the best response from people.

Well this morning I was reminded again, that the ‘self’ that I am when I’m not overthinking it is the self that my friend is talking about.  

Be you.  Be silly.  Be friendly.  Be crazy and goofy and loving and happy and joyous.  Let your real, authentic personality come out and play and the people that don’t like it aren’t people that you want around you anyway… 

This morning I was taught (again) that being all those things above pay off.

I missed my regular bus by about 30 seconds… however, not being in the mood (or with the energy… damn this ridiculous fatigue) to run a block or so, I decided to just wait the ten minutes for the next one… So I stood outside in the cold, playing on my iphone… freezing my digits off.  And then a bus arrived.  ‘Not in Service’ said the flashing sign on the front of the bus. But then the door opened and the driver invited me aboard and said that he’d take me as far as he could down my route and try and catch up with the bus I missed.  He said that he remembered me from when he drove my route in the summer. 

Now… think that through… That’s someone who remembered me from six months ago… someone who has seen easily thousands of people in the last six months and he remembered me enough to know that he wanted to stop and do something kind for me.  We chatted and laughed all the way until we did catch up with the bus that I had missed earlier and my Not in Service Hero pulled in front of that bus so that it would have to stop and then wished me a happy day (in French I think… it was definitely not in English) and I got off his bus and walked back to the one I’d missed.  And then something else incredible happened.  The driver of the bus I missed saw me… 50 blocks from my usual stop and looked surprised and confused.  Opened the door and asked how I got ahead of him and all the way down here…. So I told him I’d missed him by seconds but that I didn’t have the energy to run and then my NIS Hero picked me up and brought me this far.  And you know what he said? ‘I looked for you when I went past your stop and I thought about waiting a second but I didn’t see you so I had to keep going.’.  I was so touched that he knew I should have been there and he actually looked for me… what a kind sentiment!

When I got to work I went to the coffee shop I always go to and saw my young barista friend… our faces mutually light up when we see eachother and we always share a chat and a smile before going about our days.  Today we laughed about taking over the world and then that’s when the events of the morning sort of hit me.  I’ve left a lasting impression on these people just by being me. 

Sometimes our self-perception gets in the way of being able to see how others perceive us… I can say for certain that I need to be reminded constantly that the ‘real me’… the ‘self’ that my friend encourages… she’s the key to my happiness.  At no time am I more joyous and friendly and silly and loving and happy as when I am being shown that being those things consistently start a perpetual circle.  Being joyous and happy and silly and loving makes me feel those… which make me want to be those… It takes practice to let ‘real me’ out of the dark because it hurts more when ‘real me’ is rejected or wounded, but oh my… the rewards when ‘real me’ is welcomed by the world with open arms and good deeds and smiles and the kind of human love that boosts my spirit! 

It’s difficult to not bring all of this back around to health and fitness.  When your body is quiet and content, it’s just enormously easier to hear the other things going on.  I remember my sister saying that when she switched her diet to the paleo/primal way of eating, she could hear her own thoughts easier… it was difficult to understand and I’m sure it was difficult for her to explain, but boy, she wasn’t wrong.  When Body is taken care of and not a massive urgent concern to Mind, then Mind gets to focus on other things. Mind gets to have epiphanies and process ideas and information in a pure uninterrupted way that is not feasible when Mind is too busy worrying that Body is a train wreck. 

So I’ll go through the rest of my day… week… month… trying to remember that being authentic is the key and I will be duly rewarded in my life by authentic people and experiences.  And the rest will just fall away like dust in the wind…

True Beauty and a Pair of Pants

I don’t have time to write this, but it’s necessary, because sometimes people need to know they’re on the right track and that they have people who understand.  So I’m writing this letter to my sister.
 
In my years as an adult, I have gone down the road of obsession with food and exercise… who of us hasn’t.  None of my memories of that time are particularily pleasant… I didn’t ever feel beautiful or sexy… I felt ‘never good enough’.  All.  The.  Time.  And yet before years of unpleasantness, I thought that was happiness.  Being strong enough to say no to any temptation… strong enough to battle at bootcamp or the gym… happy that when people looked at me, they saw ‘fit’.  All I saw was ‘getting there’ and yet that was my version of happiness…
 
When I went to the bad place for about 7 years and knew at the end of that time that I needed to make a change, I found it incredibly difficult… nay impossible to force myself to go back to the old place of obsession.  I’d felt TERRIBLE for years… emotionally and mentally brutalized… both from my ex and from myself for allowing it to happen.  When I was finally free of those chains, I couldn’t get behind putting new chains on myself just to be thin again. I didn’t want to go somewhere I’d already been… I wanted to go somewhere new.  I knew that where I’d been wasn’t going to work for me because in the face of trauma and difficulty, it didn’t back me up.
 
I tried and tried to explain it to you… I couldn’t seem to express it in a way that you understood.  I just wanted to be kind to myself… I wanted to eat good food because it was good for me and do some sort of exercise when I FELT like it because I WANTED to.  I knew all the ways I could make schedules and diets and rules in order to catapult myself to a place I used to live… and I didn’t want to live there… I couldn’t force myself to live there… much as I mentally tried to tell myself I’d be successful if I did.  I didn’t want to be obsessed with food or calories… I didn’t want to abuse myself for an entire day just because I was too tired or cozy to get out of bed at o’dark thirty to go to the gym.  I wanted to show myself love by being loving… and I knew that the changes would come slower because I wasn’t doing ‘everything I could’ or ‘had done’ in the past to get immediate results.
 
I think that we do things repeatedly because it gives us results that we like and we’re willing to put aside the negative impacts because the positive results wildly outweigh them.  I think we do things at certain times of our lives because it serves those times.  But we are dynamic human beings living in a dynamic world and to think that the same solution will fit every changing problem is to be in complete denial of our authentic selves…
 
When I started in February to really make an effort to love myself is when my whole world started to change.  When I ate good whole food because I wanted to, it made my body feel better, which made my mind feel better.  It was never about my size or a pair of pants… it was always about how I could best show love to myself.  And that didn’t include beating myself up about it… it definitely takes practice… as a well-established obsesser, it’s hard to let go of the need to punish yourself for not being ‘perfect’, but attempting to be perfect never works out.
 
The most amazing part of choosing to approach my health and fitness from a place of love, is that I truly do love myself.  I remarked to my friend the other day that altho I am much older now than I was the last time I fit into these pants, I am much more beautiful.  It wasn’t said to sound full of myself or to fish for compliments.  But I look in the mirror and look into my own eyes and see love and beauty.  I appreciate every day that the hell I went through actually polished me and made me shine.  I could have punished myself with the gym and a strict diet and obsession and gotten into these pants, but the beauty that I gained doing it out of love is worth more than the size of my pants. 
 
This is not to say that your years prior of being regimented and strict were misplaced.  They taught you how strong you can be and how hard you can push yourself… so you know that any task or situation in life you can take on.  But now it’s time to teach yourself how loving you can be… and how balanced… because ‘health and fitness’ doesn’t just refer to the health and fitness of your torso and extremities…  it refers to the health and fitness of your heart and soul… and maybe those are the areas that need the dedicated work now.
 
I’m overjoyed to see you making this journey into a new chapter of how you approach your overall health and fitness… of your body and your mind!

35 Things before I’m 35

My 35th birthday is coming up on December 18th.  That’s 71 days from now.  It would have been much better if it was 70 days because then that would have been 35 x 2, but I’m not that anal retentive about stuff like that… (or at least I pretend not to be).

This birthday will perhaps be the first birthday in many years which I approach from a good place in my life.  I am happy, I am healthy and I am calm.  It’s not a fluke that I am approaching my birthday with these feelings, it’s a product of a lot of hard work, both mentally and physically.  It’s a product of having people in my life that are supportive and loving and encouraging.  It’s a product of removing from my life people who are NOT supportive, loving or encouraging.

The last birthday that I remember being happy for was in 2005.  That’s 8 years ago.

To celebrate and to hopefully enhance the feelings of happiness and joy in my life, I’ve made a list of things I’d like to achieve in the next 71 days.  It’s kind of an offshoot of the Journey Plan I do every year, so some things will be the same… and then there are fun new things. I realize that usually people make these types of lists years before milestone-esqe birthdays, but I had other things on my mind in the last few years… So I’m making a modified, achievable version… altho not without some challenges! 

Mail 35 postcards/greeting cards/post it notes to friends and family

Get a ‘makeup makeover’ at MAC

Run 60 miles

Finish reading a book (any book will do!)

Be the subject of a photo shoot

Get a facial

Write another Future Me letter

Get two massages

Write a thank you letter to three people who helped me out of my dark time and into the light

Dial down the potty mouth (that’ll be hard to measure…how DO you measure that?)

Take out the compost weekly

Go on Snowshoeing adventure

Plan the continuation of my tattoo

Take a bubble bath once a week

Make two skirts

Reconnect with an old friend… I’ve got a few candidates in mind

Fill out daily postcards

Join ‘The World Needs More Love Letters’ and then write love letters

Shoot guns

Play in the studio

Knit a pair of mitts

Do one Whole30 (at minimum… keep going for as long as you can)

Get a haircut

Drink at least 30 oz of water at work and 30 oz of water at home.  Per day.

Wear jewellery every day

Get a manicure 

*UPDATED ITEM*  Do the ‘Plank Challenge’ and be able to plank for 8 min by Dec 18th

Okay… this is 26.  I have 9 more spaces, so if you have any suggestions, bring them on!

Early Fall 30 Day Tune Up

Sometimes September is the unofficial start of a ‘new year’.  This year I was quite enjoying September being a continuation of what was an excellent summer and much as I tried, I couldn’t muster the ‘fresh start’ feeling.  That said, last week, a six month chapter in my life came to an end and I’m feeling very ‘fresh startish’. 

October 7-November 5th will be my 3rd Whole 30.  It’s time to cleanse the summer madness out of my body and get back to being 100% tuned up.  I don’t regret much of what I did this summer and I still managed to continue to lose weight and tone up my body but now it’s time to get serious for a month and jump start my system again.

Along with the Whole 30, I am going to take this same 30 days and get some other things tuned up as well. I’m calling it the Early Fall 30 Day Tune Up.

      One of the things I plan to do on my W30, which is what I did the last time too, is limit the amount of sugar items.  Of course W30 is no added sugar or sugar substitutes of any kind and that goes without saying, but I know I even have a great sensitivity to sugar in its natural forms, so fruit, kombucha, coconut water will all be limited.  It’s not to say they’re completely off limits, but I will be very mindful of my consumption in order to make sure I feel the best I can at the end of this 30 days.

       I want to run 10 of the days of the W30… that works out to a little less than every M-W-F.  My regular run is 2.5 miles.  On two of the days, I’d like to run my 5 mile route, which would bring my miles logged for the 30 days to 30miles.  That almost seems to work out like fate, doesn’t it? 

       I want to take my Florasil supplements and liquid iron supplement every day for the 30 days.  I know I feel better when I take them… especially the iron, so it stands to reason that during my 30 day Tune Up, I’d include that. 

      I want to be in bed by 830pm and lights out by 10pm.  I spent all summer on a completely whacked out sleep schedule (totally of my own doing and totally enjoyable!) and now I need to get it all reigned back in. 

      I want to be on the bus on the way to work by 6:53am.  That means getting up at around 6:15… which, if I’m lights out by 10pm means I’m getting a full 8 hours of sleep and I won’t have to deal with school children on the bus in the morning, which will make my mental health much better!  I do not enjoy feeling like I take a school bus to work! 

       For the full 30 days, I want to consider everything that I do and measure it against whether it’s going to make me feel the best that I can feel.  If that is cleaning the house instead of watching some PVR, then I’ll clean the house.  If it’s PVR, then it’s PVR.  If it means laying on the floor in Savasana while the cat licks my cheek, then that’s what it will be.  I want to make ‘rules’ for my spiritual and mental health during these 30 days also but I honestly feel that just approaching every decision from whether or not it’s going to improve my life/health/wellbeing is a ‘rule’ enough. 

I weighed myself this am and will remove the batteries from my scale and bring them to work for the next 30 days so I can’t check in on myself but the weight doesn’t matter.  Much the same as why I started this journey, and why I continue down this path is because I want to FEEL better.  And FEELINGS can’t be weighed on a scale or measured with a tape. 

Anyone who wants to join in the Early Fall 30 Day Tune Up with me is more than welcome!  Leave a comment and let me know what you’ll as part of YOUR 30 Day Tune Up and if you want to blog about it and link up, tag your post with 30daytuneup.