Friday, December 30, 2016

Effort

So I'm a bit cliche because I always love when it's about to be New Years and you sit down and dream about what the next year holds, and think what you want to accomplish.  Our Lovely Ladies group has been having this great discussion around goals and what we want out of 2017, and we decided to go for the My One Word technique.  I honestly think it's a fantastic way to boil down a list of goals to one core concept, and it can be like a mantra throughout the year.

The word I chose is "effort", because ultimately I feel like effort is something I really need to work on in many areas in my life, and not just fitness.  There are times when I feel like I'm complacent and just coasting through and letting the winds of life just blow me around wherever, rather than really approaching things with intent and giving something my best.  There are so many times when I think "I should do XYZ, but screw it, I'll just do it later when I have time."  Or there's times when I'm thinking about a friend and something nice/bad they're going through in life and say something to myself like, "I should probably send a card to so and so when I have time."  Then I never do.  I have a wonderful pen pal in England who sends me the nicest letters, but I've been horrible about writing her back.  It truly is not a conscious or malicious thing, I am just that scatterbrained and forgetful.  Sometimes it's a depression thing, and I'm so wrapped up in my own dumb shit that things pass over me.  At the end of the day though, there are ways for me to change these bad habits, and it comes down to me actually making the effort to do it.  There are so many missed opportunities for me to be a better friend, wife, family member and yes, improve myself.  It's time to start actually making the effort to utilize these opportunities instead of squandering them.

I need to actually make an effort every single day with my health and fitness goals.  Effort at calorie counting, planning/cooking healthy meals, getting in my work outs...you get the drift.  None of that stuff is rocket science, it's just making the effort to get my shit together and prioritize it.  I've already started making changes and shifting back to the head space where I was a few months ago, because there's no sense in waiting until January 1.  It's paid off because I already feel better physically and mentally, and even my pants feel more comfortable!

These are just a few of the things that I have in mind when it comes to making more effort in my life.


Health Goals

Create Weekly Menus and Plan Ahead

This is probably the biggest area that I need to put some effort into.  I'm a good cook and love making healthy recipes, but I often get into a trap of not shopping adequately, then as a result eat something crappy or go out to eat and usually that involves queso and margaritas!  There's really no excuse to not sit down once a week, plan out a week of meals, then shop according to that menu!

Simplify Food and Reduce Meat Intake

Despite how drastically my diet has improved over the years, I'll likely never be one of those people who strictly "eats clean".  BUT, I really do need to make an effort to gravitate towards eating simple, nutritious food like salads, noodle bowls with tons of vegetables, fruits and veggies as snacks, smoothies, etc.  Honestly some of the best lunches I've made lately are throwing together whatever random vegetables and/or grains and making simple salads.  As far as the meat, it's not that I want to be vegetarian per say, but I find that as I get older meat is less appealing.  I do love a good chicken dish, and if there are cocktail shrimp at a party you best get out of my way, but really beyond that I'm just as happy not having meat.  I want to explore eating grains, legumes and increasing vegetables as opposed to always relying on meat as the main star of my meals.

Get to Goal

For God's sake, this needs to be the year.  I need to get off my ass and do the work to get in my goal weight range.  I need to lose about 50 pounds to get to my goal weight of 140, but I really just mentally need to put the active weight loss part of my life to rest once and for all and get to a new chapter of a happy woman in maintenance, just living her life.  It works out to about 4 pounds a month, which is doable.


Personal Goals

Focus on Finances

I thankfully don't have a ton of debt, but I want this to be the year that I get very close to paying off my credit card, and I also want to make more of an effort to budget, track expenses and save more.  

Get My Passport

This has been a goal for like two years that I put off because it's not SUPER vital, but it's at the totally ridiculous point now.  I swear I'm going to do it this year!!

Reach Out To People

I'm so bad about this!  I went over this at the beginning of the post, but basically I want to make more of an effort to stay in touch with friends and acknowledge events in their life since most of my friends live all over the country.  Birthday cards, sympathy cards, thank you cards, just because notes, I want to be a good friend and send those things!  I am so lucky and have a lot of wonderful people in my life, and I want to make sure everyone knows how much I love them!

Those are honestly just a handful of things that come to mind when it comes to making effort in my life.  "Effort" is going to apply to just about everything I set out to do.

Here's to a wonderful 2017 for all of us!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Catching Up: A 2016 Review and 2017 Forward Look (Part 2)

So this post is going to be more of a catch up on all the personal life stuff with me.  Before  I get into that, I wanted to update with weigh in results!  I should go run out and get a Powerball ticket because I estimated in my last post that I had gained about 10 pounds, and that's exactly what my gain was.  (I was 183 in September and am now 193). At the very least, I could go to some shady fair and guess the fat lady's weight or something.

So it's not great, but I guess less of a disaster than it could have been, and at least I had the sense to stop myself and say enough's enough before it gets any worse.  It is sobering to be close to the 200's again, but I really have no one to blame but myself for this and all I can do is just get back on the horse.  I did that starting Tuesday with both calorie counting and my workouts, and I'm already down to 191.  I've actually been surprised that my body hasn't thrown a shit fit over the fact that I'm eating 1500 calories per day as opposed to like 3000, but I haven't really been super hungry thankfully and actually feel really good.  It is very hard to break the nightly dessert habit though!  My sweet tooth is the worst basically.

The Good

Overall things have been pretty decent this year.  Job is still going well, Eric is doing great, Molly is still asleep most of the time and a demanding diva when she isn't asleep.  I am still volunteering weekly at the county animal shelter and got promoted to the next level there, so now I help walk the dogs!  That has definitely been an interesting journey, it's mostly pretty awesome but there have been some scary moments.  Thankfully those are few and far between.  I still have my tribute campaign for my music artist, and that is going very well too!

We had a really blessed year when it came to concerts.  I did somewhat keep my goal of limiting the concerts we saw to artists we really, really wanted to see, but the ones we did see were amazing.  I know I'm going to forget some, but we saw Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen (twice!), The Who, The Monkees, Brian Wilson, Leon Bridges, and The Beach Boys.  It feels so good to see some of these legendary people because as this year has shown us, we need to treasure them while we can.  I was especially emotional about Brian Wilson.  I feel very lucky to have seen him twice.

I didn't travel after our LA trip in July, but my mom did fly up to see me in October, and Eric flew out to see his family also in October.  I would have loved to have gone with him, but was out of vacation time!

I know this is a very vain thing to put in my "hey this is what I've been up to" recap, but one thing that's made me very happy is that I got my hair healthy enough to start growing out again.  I read up on the Curly Girl method, which is basically not using shampoo and only washing your hair with non-sulfate/non-silicone conditioner every few days.  I've been doing it for a couple of months now and am absolutely blown away at the difference.  My hair looked like straw once it got to a certain length and absolutely refused to curl.  I know this is silly, but it was so upsetting and baffling to me since I don't color or use heat on my hair!  I have no idea what caused the change after all these years, but at least after 3 years of having to keep my hair short I finally can start growing it out again.  It's so much healthier and actually curling again!  It's the little things right?

The Not So Good

The year definitely had some bumps.  It certainly wasn't as awful as last year on the active family drama front, but I am still dealing with a bit of emotional fallout.  I go through phases of being very depressed and anxious, feeling very alone, etc.  I know I should probably see a professional about it and that I am very ridiculously stubborn about doctor related stuff.  It's a bad habit I need to break.  It really has not exactly helped that basically any musician or celebrity I've really liked has dropped dead this year.  Like seriously.  I know I can't add anymore to the "What the fuck 2016" conversation than has already been said, but I think we can all agree that this year has been pretty brutal.  I feel like it's not even just the celebrity deaths, I just feel like everyone in general has had a bad year and terrible things happen to them.

The worst part of this year were the Louisiana floods, and I'm sorry to say that my family was heavily affected by them.  My mom lost her house (my beloved late grandmother's house) and my brother's house (childhood home I grew up in) was flooded and pretty damaged but thankfully able to be saved, so they are currently in the process of doing that.  The absolute worst part is that my mom, brother and niece almost drowned when trying to evacuate.  Long story short they drove through flood water and the vehicle started floating and filling with water.  My brother was trying to break the windows out but couldn't and thank God some random guy in a boat saw them and saw they were in trouble, and came with a crowbar to smash the windows and get them out.  At this point the water was up to everyone's chest.  My brother got a deep cut in his arm when being pulled out, then he and my SIL had to walk through waist deep flood water for a few miles until they could get to a dry point to get my brother to the hospital to get stitches.  So YEAH, that happened.  It was a very horrible traumatic thing for them, as is the whole rebuilding process.  This all happened in August and my family just got back into my brother's house at Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately there's still some work that needs to be done, but I am very thankful that they are all safe and have a roof over their heads.  We are very, very lucky on that front.  One of my dear friends was also affected by the floods and had to also heavily renovate her house.

Honestly to quote Spaceballs, that's the short, short version of this year.  Mostly smooth sailing but with some pretty big ass bumps now and again.  I wish it were more exciting and thrilling, but that's been about the gist!

I think on my next post, I'll focus on the whole goal thing.  I've definitely been reflecting and planning what's in store for me.  I'm very excited about 2017!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Catching Up: A 2016 Review and 2017 Forward Look (Part 1)

Hey everyone!  I know it's been a super long time, but I thought I'd pop in and say hi, talk about what I've been up to the last few months and also talk about my hopes/plans for 2017.  This post ended up getting a little long, so I've split it into two...the first being a review/look ahead on my health and fitness stuff.  Tomorrow will be my personal life stuff!

Health and Fitness

For the most part 2016 has been great because I found the "formula" that works for me when it comes to being healthy.  1500 to 1600 calories seems about right for me, and I really did fall in love with lifting weights and doing HIIT.  Running is really wonderful exercise, but I think I've made peace with the fact that it's maybe not the right fit for me at this stage of my life.  The FODMAP stuff was an interesting though depressing journey, though I do credit it to a bulk of my weight loss this year since it helped my bloating, plus there were basically like 5 things I could eat so, that helped!  In all seriousness though, I felt a lot of things click for me this year in the weight loss department.

Currently I'm not doing so hot in this area, and as always I will be real about it with you guys.  It's great when you find out what works for you, but you do have to actually follow it for it to keep working.  I did really great until October when my FB Booty program ended, and since then I've floundered a bit.  I won't make excuses, there was really nothing holding me back other than myself.  I've been dealing with personal issues and depression and it has kind of emotionally crippled me.  Again, that's a reason but not an excuse, you know what I mean?  I honestly don't know what I weigh right now since I've avoided the scale like the plague.  I'm still fitting into my "thin" clothes though they are definitely not as comfortable.  I can tell my face is bigger and my belly/legs are definitely gaining.  I suspect I've gained about 10 pounds probably, though again, I haven't really weighed.  I really need to do that tomorrow and slay the dragon.  I promise I will update for accountability purposes.

I've guess I've learned (for seemingly the thousandth time) that you can never really ever be "off duty" when it comes to your health.  You think you can, but you can't.  I mean sure you can be relaxed somewhat on vacations or special occasions and enjoy life, but you also must make every day a choice, be accountable and be aware.  I've failed in that department and have been very complacent.  Oddly, I rebel against structure (though that is changing in my old age) but also desperately need it.  My Fitness Pal and writing on the blog were both good structure and accountability tools for me and I took them for granted.  I just think it's clear at this point when I try to go rogue it works okay for a spell, but I always backslide.

I guess the good news is that I haven't tremendously gained and am at least mindful that this isn't okay on any level and I'm not satisfied.  I know that's not exactly gold medal worthy, but in the past I would have just ignored it and allowed myself to gain like 20 pounds, but I just honestly feel so gross and uncomfortable that I can't stand it any longer.  I REFUSE to buy bigger clothes.  I refuse to give into the excuses and whine about it.  All I can do is move forward again.  I spent last night filling out my Fitness Blender workout calendar and threw in the FB Booty program, which I honestly liked the best out of all the programs I did with them.  They are also releasing a new workout program in the new year that I will likely purchase, but it's an 8 week thing so I'm holding off until March.  We are going to Los Angeles again in February, so I'm just sticking with a 4 week plan for now.  Actually, the trip is a good inspiration for me to get back into it oddly enough.  I felt so good about myself when we were there in July and I want to get back to that place mentally, plus I want to be able to wear cute and comfortable clothes on the trip!

A huge part of this is that I need to get my nutrition together again.  My biggest downfall is not planning and that I have not been shopping efficiently.  Basically it just comes down to me needing to sit down and plan out menus and shop sensibly.  Oh, and eating a damn vegetable now and again would probably be awesome.  I am still having my digestive BS after fully going off FODMAP eating.  At this point, I've honestly given up on trying to figure out what the issue is.  I know that's terrible, but I'm honestly exhausted with the whole process.  I'm going to be mindful of a lot of the FODMAP principles and limit certain things that really trigger me like gluten, onions and lactose, but I'm not going to stress about having things like mushrooms or sweet potatoes in my diet.

Not tracking my calories in MFP has been a HUGE downfall, so I'm going to be doing that again.  Again, it's easy and there is no excuse for me to not do it, I've just got to get back into that habit.  I also decided to do no alcohol in January and get back to focusing on simple, whole foods.  Oatmeal with fruit, hefty salads with quinoa or rice and plenty of vegetables, hard boiled eggs, baked sweet potatoes with black beans, etc.  You know, the basics. Honestly, I'm kind of excited about it.  You guys know I love my sweets and booze but my God, I am so sick of feeling like crap.  It's time to dial it back and get back to sensible eating that actually nourishes my body!

And finally, I want to make the effort to write in the blog again.  I didn't realize how much it kept me in a more mindful state until I took this long hiatus from it.  Yeah I'm busy or whatever, but I'm going to make an effort to check in at least once a week on the blog to document my progress and have that accountability.  I also miss being able to look back on the year and see what I did from both a health and a personal standpoint!

In Summary:

2016 started off pretty good but I allowed myself to get complacent and lax during the last 3 months.  2017 is going to be filled with me getting back to basics and following the general principles that work for me.

  • Staying within the 1500 to 1600 calories a day range
  • Logging food in MFP
  • Exercising at least 5 days a week with lifting and HIIT
  • Eating whole, simple foods and limiting treats/booze
  • Blogging and regular weigh ins for accountability