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!

Lost Little Bird

I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets this weekend. Tossed a bunch of expired stuff that wasn’t expired last year when I started my W30 journey… I didn’t know when I started if I was going to completely give up food that required ingredients like corn starch and baking powder. I threw out 2 garbage bags of expired grocery store tea, baking ingredients and other miscellanea that I didn’t need anymore. There’s a ton of room in my cabinets now. Everything is nicely organized and I have lots of space to add new spices or new ingredients in. I don’t know what it is that I’m going to put in there but time will tell.

Okay, now. In the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time cleaning out my emotional cabinets… tossing expired stuff that wasn’t serving me anymore. I’ve tossed ingredients for a life that I am no longer living. I’ve cleaned up all the shelves, made a lot of room for new ingredients, new experiences… new things and ingredients to serve my current life.

And now, with all that clean, shiny, organized space, I feel more lost than I did when it was cluttered up with crap. What do I put on these new clean shelves? What ingredients are missing? There’s a lot of room and I don’t have a lot of direction for what to stock myself with.

My friend says that 35 is typically a time of awakening and of getting a lot of personal work done and sometimes a time of intense personal crisis. Maybe ‘mid life crisis’ is actually not when you’re halfway through your life… maybe it’s now… at a turning point of trying to determine what the 2nd third of your life is going to look like.

All I know is that I am a lost little bird. I don’t know what the next chapter of my life is going to look like. The last ten years haven’t been awesome (to say the least).

The ‘advice’ that I’ve gotten so far is to ‘keep living’ and ‘do things that make you happy’ and ‘eat right and exercise’ and other really non helpful things. This is not about food. This is not about how many times I run a week. It’s not about the everyday mundane things like washing my face before bed or putting my laundry away as soon as it’s done. It’s a huge, universal question mark about where my life is going. Maybe some people are blessed by being able to go through this ‘mid’ life transition with little thought or effort… maybe some people don’t even notice it happening. I know that for me, my life up to now has been waves of extreme and I feel like the answer to this journey is going to be something extreme too. It has to be. It is not possible or acceptable for me to just drift through the rest of my life in its current status quo. There is nothing passionate or inspiring or ground breaking about my life now and that is not okay. I am a dynamic and passionate individual and that deserves to shine through.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not depressed. Or sad. In fact, I’m most of the time, reasonably happy. But I am happy tempered with confusion. Happy, tempered with an unsettling sense of drift that I don’t know how to resolve. In moments it makes me INCREDIBLY crabby… almost irrationally so. In moments, I can’t speak a word without tears running down my face. In moments I forget all about it and am just my silly, loving, fun self. Sometimes my silly, loving, fun self takes over for days at a time… and then, like I forgot that something is going to happen, my heart races and I remember… like when you have a sudden panic that you’re going to be late for something.

It is very difficult for someone such as myself to not be able to control this outcome. Sure, I can control a lot of stuff, and I do… I can control my diet and exercise and social activities. I can control how much rest I get and what nice things I do for myself in order to keep a good attitude and outlook. I think everyone needs to control those things in the course of living their lives, regardless of whether they’re going through a state of transition or not. I’ve learned that treating myself the best I can is actually a service I’m doing for myself and while it may not solve every little thing in my life, it certainly doesn’t harm or make any situation worse.

I typed a sentence here saying that if anyone has gone through this type of change before, to please weigh in… and you certainly can. But I don’t know that it’s going to help. Each journey is personal and unique to the person journeying it.

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…

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.

A Lesson I didn’t know I had to learn

You are not supposed to weigh yourself on Whole30.  It’s right there in the rules and if anyone knows me, they know I like rules… especially as it pertains to food.  The idea is that if you don’t weigh yourself during the 30 days, you’re more likely to be aware and appreciative of the other things that are improving from the experience.  Well, I generally live my life to the W30 code.. I know all the amazing results that are beyond weight… it’s why I keep to it for the most part even when I’m not officially on Whole30.

My skin is better, my sleep is better, my mood and tolerance is better.  My tummy is happy, I’m more energetic, more alert, less likely to cry.  I don’t think about food obsessively, I have no problem turning down treats because I am not sugar/simple carb addicted.  I’m less puffy and waxy looking which is something that I loathe…

One new thing I learned about the W30 and myself so far this time is that when I’m on it, I crave being outside.  There must be something about all the fresh food that makes me crave the fresh air.  I want to walk for miles, climb a mountain, run around the block all at the same time just to get outside and breathe as much fresh air as possible.

These are all things that a number on a scale can’t give you.

So all that said, it’s a very good idea to weigh yourself at the beginning of your W30 journey and then at the end and no where in between.  You need to learn these things and being obsessed by a number isn’t a good learning environment.

I was going to say that I broke that rule because as a person who generally lives on the Whole30, I didn’t need 30 days of no weighing to understand all the other benefits… only if I found this new ‘fresh air’ benefit in the last 9 days… what could I find in the next 21 days that might also be eye opening or interesting or worth learning… Such a silly goose am I that I actually thought that there was nothing left for me to learn.

Well, I have broken the rule.  I was going to tell you about the numbers in the last 9 days and pat myself on the back, but I think instead, I’ll just keep that little tidbit to myself and use it as a learning experience.  I learned that when you do the right things… what your body wants… you are successful.  And for the next 21 days I will remove the batteries from the scale and try and learn whatever else this program has to teach me this time.  I’m not going to start my W30 over just because I weighed myself… My intention was to extend it anyway so it’s likely I’ll make up those 9 days…

So I guess the lesson I learned is one I didn’t know I was supposed to learn… which is that there is always something new to discover and we (I) should never be so arrogant as to think that I know it all.

That’s not the way I thought this blog post was going to go but the writing of it has been eye opening and cathartic.  Win win I guess right?

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!