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!

Day 2, KM’s 8-16

Today marks Day 2 of my Whole40 and the second day I will motor home under my own power.

Nothing is really different from 24 hours ago except that I made a decision… a commitment to myself to do something good for myself.  Something I know is successful.  Something that I know is not necessarily a cake walk but something I know I can do.  I am giddy with excitement knowing how amazing I’m going to feel in 40 days and how proud of myself I will be when I’m done!  I know I will feel that I earned that good feeling and there is a sense of euphoria that can only come from choosing to do something outside your own ‘norm’.

Ran/walked home from work yesterday.  7.75KM in 1 hour and 26 SECONDS… dang… My goal in the next three weeks is to take that 26 seconds off.  Not a huge goal I know, but this is a ‘marathon’ not a ‘sprint’ and it’s about DOING it, not doing it faster than anyone ever has.  It’s about doing it, not talking about it.  It’s about just DOING IT!!  So today I will go DO it again and get kilometers 8 through 16 under my belt.

Actions speak louder than words.  I’m off to go action my future now!

 

 

 

Trauma and a Date

I’ve been lucky in the last year that I’ve been living under some sort of a lucky star… the intensity of my ‘rehab’ if you will was not derailed (or even potentially derailed) by anything.  I was gifted with almost a year of stability to strengthen the parts inside me that needed strengthening.  To make habits that I had hoped would last a lifetime.  To define priorities and then work toward living based on those priorities.

One of the things that I have been very worried about in my own health and fitness journey has been what will happen when something tragic or traumatic happens.  Of course one traumatic event can not be compared to living in a steadily worsening abusive relationship but that time ruined me and I didn’t know if I trusted myself to be able to handle the sort of shit that life throws at you that you have to deal with while you keep moving forward.  What if this ‘new me’ was but a temporary sham I was living and the second that something bad happened, I fell apart again?

This is the very same reason that I have been uncomfortable up to this point in dating…What if I just gave myself away the second someone came along and asked… or worse… didn’t ask but just took.  What if I didn’t learn a single thing and I was just going to fall back into the same trap… That ‘what if’ has kept me from even considering dating…

Last week was emotional and difficult and that culminated in an incredibly complicated and traumatic weekend.  People at work keep asking how my weekend was and I’m certainly not going to share my personal life with them, but every time the question is posed, I am taken off guard and I become speechless as I look back on the train wreck of the last few days.

The good thing that came out of this… the one bit of silver lining I could find was that it didn’t level me.  It could have.  The sheer level of exhaustion I am dealing with could take my knees out from underneath me in an instant.  I will not allow it.  I will not allow something temporarily sad and traumatic to harm me. To derail me.  Did I cry?  Sure.  A LOT!  Did I take a nap?  Yes, of course.  Did I also eat all my Whole30 meals and grocery shop and do my food prep?  Yep.  Did I talk to my friends and my sister instead of going into hiding? Yes!

At the same time as this emotional trauma was happening, I just so happened to be starting to date for the first time in years.  (of course when it rains it pours!)  I am having a very nice time and I’ve met someone who is definitely considered a keeper and we have agreed to not see other people for now just to see where this goes… if it goes no where then fine but it deserves a chance to see if it goes somewhere and that means proper dedication to it.  Plus, there’s no way I could be a serial dater anyway…

I’m trying very hard to feel the fear and do it anyway… not that I’m planning on ignoring any signs that things may be off, but I have some serious hangups about dating, given my past and I will not allow them to derail me anymore than I allowed the trauma this weekend to derail me.  I will take quiet time to sit with my thoughts and feelings and work out if they are just errant self preservation and remnants of old me, or if they are genuine cause for concern.  I will allow my friends and family to meet this person sooner rather than later and I will be open minded about the entire situation, whichever way it goes… Because I owe that to myself. 

I think I’m starting to realize that I have learned my lessons… and I am strong enough to engage in even the tough parts of life and still make it out the other side in tact.

Journey Plan 2014

Every year I write a Journey Plan.  It’s a categorized list of things I want to strive for in the coming year and it is by no means written in stone.  It has things as simple as ‘wash face before bed daily’ (which incidentally, I did every single day of 2013 except for 3) and things more complex like re-uniting with old friends, making a plan for relationships and finding a hobby.  Everything is up for editing, erasing and expounding on throughout the year, because while no place in time is static, an entire year is certainly not and I don’t do this to determine success or failure to sticking to a list.

The other thing I did last year that I’m adopting again this year is a Mission Statement.  Last year my mission statement was ‘Do your best.  Every day’.  I like to think that it was a good beacon for weighing decisions against altho to be honest, there were many periods of time in the last year that I don’t think I was doing my best.  I came up with my 2014 Mission Statement about three months ago and I’ve been keeping it under my hat for just this post.  The funny thing is that there is a great connection between my Mission Statement and the 90SecondsofReal Project that I am a part of.  Why such a great connection?  Because my 2014 Mission Statement is…. Drumroll please…..

Be.  Real.

Funny how coincidences sometimes align themselves so perfectly as to not actually appear as coincidences.  I liked the simplicity of the statement Be Real.  That’s what we should be striving for right?  It’s incredible just how difficult it actually is to be consistently real.  The whole world is set up for sabotage.  The media wants you to wear false eyelashes, dye your hair, whiten your teeth… Social Media only gives you 140 characters to tell a polished version of what your life is actually like and it even provides filters to add an extra layer of ‘unreal’ to your photos.  Self help books suggest you fake it till you make it (which in itself is not such a terrible thing sometimes) and most people who as ‘how are you’ aren’t even listening for your answer… double not listening if your answer happens to be anything other than ‘I’m good thanks, you?’.

A friend of mine sent me a text about three or four months ago and said that he was proud of me for being able to stand up for myself and do the impossible * against all odds and against a world that doesn’t understand and would prefer to see me fail.  It was a little seed that sat in my brain until I realized that all I was doing was being real.  Genuine.  Authentic.   And I wasn’t even doing it ‘on purpose’.  So I wondered… what would happen should I make a concerted effort to be these things with purpose…well, as Dr. Seuss says… oh, the places you will go.

So this year, I plan to practice being real.  It might not always be the popular choice… honestly, that doesn’t bother me.  Because I’m not looking for popularity.  I’m looking for the best me I can be.

For more on ‘real’, check out our new project 90 Seconds of Real and hit the subscribe button.  You’ll get a short video from the five contributors daily to help keep you inspired, moving forward and knowing that we’re all in this journey together!

Two Birthday Letters

On a separate blog I share with my sister, we both wrote a Birthday Post… and I’ve copied them here for you!

From Shanny

On this, the eve of our 35th birthday, while I sit here sipping a peppermint & white chocolate tea, I wanted to remind our future selves of some of the lessons we’ve learned in the past 34 years.

Things will always work themselves out, whether you can visualize it at the moment or not.  Just take a step back, breathe, do nothing and wait.  Wait and watch for direction.  It’ll come.

You’ll never be given more than you can handle and you can always handle more than you think you can.

The greatest pleasures in life are simple.  Quiet.  Spontaneous.  Brief.  They are there in the everyday; in a cup of tea or a walk in the sun, in a good book or a soft kiss.  Notice them, they are what make your life special.

The more you focus on the negative, the more the negative will focus on you.  Be wary of getting sucked into gossip or venting.  If the world is handing you rusty nails every day, ask yourself who the common denominator is and then change your attitude.  You’ll be amazed how much better it can get when nothing actually changes.

Ask for help when you need it.  Don’t try to save the world just so you can say you did it all by yourself.  No one is impressed by that, people actually want to help you.

Remember that everything changes. Don’t get complacent and don’t take anything for granted.  Tragedy or joy can strike at a moment’s notice.

Get some exercise.  Take your vitamins.  Eat real food.  Enjoy the occasional treat.

Be skeptical of things that sound too good to be true, chances are, someone is preying on you.  Nothing is free and nobody gives anything away for nothing.

Save money.  You will need it down the road.

Get your hair cut, do your nails, wax your whatevers.  It feels good to look good and you work hard and enjoy a little pampering.  A bit of the money you save above can sometimes buy you a little relaxation if you find yourself overly put upon!

Sometimes you don’t need to cook a full meal, you won’t die.  If you’re maxed or stressed or tired or pressed for time, eat an apple and a hard-boiled egg and move along.

If you’re tired, go to bed.  But remember that bed is for rest and sleep and recharging.  It is not a place to hide from life or coddle your sorrows.  Get up.  Get dressed.  Get outside.

Life happens outside.  Flocks of birds overhead, spring flowers, fresh air, softly falling snow.  Fallen leaves and cut grass and growing trees.  We were meant to live outside so get out there and experience the joy of being a living, breathing part of what God created.

Speak kindly to yourself because if you don’t, others won’t.  The way you treat yourself is how others will learn to treat you.  Stand up for yourself and your values and beliefs. 

Never sacrifice your own happiness or comfort for someone else’s.  In a good relationship, romantic or friend, your needs are just as important as theirs.

I’m sure there are many other lessons we’ve learned over the years, these are the ones that I think are some of the most valuable for living a healthy, balanced life.  Feel free to share any of your life lessons in the comments.

Here’s to another 35 years of learning, growing, failing and trying again!  I love you, Sister!

And here’s mine:

Here on the eve of my 35th birthday, I can’t help but think back to the years that came before to get me to where I am. I won’t go into the details of all that went on prior… but I will tell you what my reminiscing has made me thankful for and just how happy I am! 

I’ve said for months now that this is the first birthday in as long as I can remember (or choose to remember) that I am genuinely happy.  I feel good about my mind and my soul and my body took the hint that we are in a good place and I’m happy with where it is too!

I am happy that I can declare in my outside voice that tomorrow is my birthday and that I am 35! I have no hangup about telling people my real age, because I earned every damn year! 

And I know that I wouldn’t be half as happy as I am without knowing that my sister… the other half of my soul is also in a great place! 

We have never really been on converging paths of light and happiness in our adulthood.  We’ve gone so far as to wonder separately if it’s even possible for the two of us to be happy and healthy at the same time, or if that would be some sort of affront to the universe.  We can both say without a shadow of a doubt that it is not only possible but it is reality for us this year and for both of our futures going forward. 

I am thankful for the true blessing that only another twin can understand.  I never have to go through anything in my life alone and while that means that the hard times are less difficult, it also means that the times for celebration are twice as wonderful and twice as filled with joy.  And that means that turning 35 is twice as sweet as it would normally be.  Because I get to celebrate for me and the added joy of celebrating for her! 

Happy birthday Sister!  I love you!

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!