Category Archives: #Back2Basics

trues & toots, late-summer edition

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Holy Moly Holy Wow.

It has been three-or so  weeks since I have blogged. I have so much going on and it is mostly all good. I have been working all my jobs and taking care of me. It has been a crazy few weeks, I need to blurt out all the random true confessions and horn toots to see it all.

  • I have walked 58 days in a row.
  • Just this morning, I woke up at 5:45am to get in my mile and keep my streak alive.
  • I have set the goal to keep my streak going for as long as I can but also to walk one mile every day before school.
  • most of my walks are #walkathome with videos from my girl Leslie Sansone.
  • In June I joined a 90-day challenge – I just kept challenging myself, one day at a time.
  • Without counting calories or restricting like crazy (or really at all) I lost 17 pounds.
  • I joined the next 90-day challenge, this started Monday. I took pictures, and measurements weighed in. And, I will not do any of this again until day 45 and again on day 90.
  • I feel like I am actually working on lifestyle changes, healthy habits for healthy living.
  • I am learning more and more about myself.
  • More than that, I am retaining and applying what I am learning.
  • I am taking care of myself on many levels – I am taking lots of epsom salt baths, resting every chance I get, saying no to some challenges because I know they are not going to work with my schedule, asking for help more often, planning ahead, etc
  • I am worried that all the progress I have made will come to a standstill because school is starting or because the weather will change and it will get darker earlier.
  • I have to plan and prep because I have not been eating enough. My schedule can be crazy and when I am at the restaurant I don’t eat.
  • I spent two days getting ready for school to start today. I cleaned the house and washed many loads of laundry, all of which has been neglected due to my crazy schedule. I cooked and chopped and assembled food to be at the ready in the fridge.
  • I am not drinking enough water either. Between the not enough food and the not enough water, I am having headache issues.
  • In August, I walked every day and my step count for the month totaled 522,166 – this is my highest number ever.
  • I took my measurements last night and I am most impressed with my right calf. At the moment, my right calf is only 1/2 inch smaller than my left….this means my calf muscle is working properly and is growing. (for reference, prior to my surgery almost 3 years ago, my right calf was more than an inch smaller. it was a very visible difference in size.)
  • I have not piyo-ed in weeks. I miss it. I really like that workout. I am going to get back to it this weekend. I have decided I will complete this program but I will have to do it my way. I wrote out every workout in order of the calendar provided, minus the rest days. I will simply work thru that order but when I get a chance. I will not piyo on days I teach and wait tables. I am aiming for 2-3 piyo workouts each week. It might take me 4 months to finish but I will finish.
  • I am sure I could keep going, but it is getting late and I need to get ready for school and get my butt in bed. 545 is gonna come early!

Mad love and big hugs,

Jen

XO

happy, healthy, then weight loss maybe

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  • I lose my breath going up stairs. This so totally sucks at work.
  • A 3 mile #walkathome feels harder to do now than many moons ago when I was regularly walking with Leslie. I am not kicking or knee-lifting as high. And what leslie calls hamstring curls absolutely kill my left hip/upper thigh region.
  • My joints are achy and tight. My ankle (yes, the surgeried one) is super tight. I feel like I am 100 years old when I get out of bed or when I walk around after sitting for any period of time.
  • my lower back aches when I do just about anything.
  • I am tired a lot of the time. I definitely do best with 8+ hours of sleep but even then I am still tired.
  • my gremlin acts up often and is dull and achy almost every day.
  • I am still itchy. Not as intense and not all the time, but I definitely am still itchy. When I stay wheat free I am less itchy but I have yet to achieve no itchy. I may need to try dairy free or maybe a round of whole30.
  • I miss my flexibility. It has been a very long time since I have been able to do a full split but I want to get that back. More than the splits, I want to move my body more fluidly and comfortably.
  • I miss feeling strong.  My chiroractor made me stop heavy lifting squats because of neck issues. I stopped almost all lifting, gave up my gym membership, blahblahbla and it has been a very long time since I have pushed my muscles to lift something heavy. I miss it.

So here’s the deal.

I need to lose some weight. I have gained back everything and then some and none of my clothes fit. All the healthy numbers we worry about as we get older (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) are great. I will not kid myself. I know I am lucky to be 36 years old and almost a hundred pounds overweight with excellent cholesterol and blood pressure and no problems with diabetes. That being said, I still need to lose weight. It is what it is.

But here’s the thing. I don’t want losing weight to consume me. I did that before. I was super Weight Watcher. I know there are people who can follow WW and not be a freak about it, but not me. I turned into one of those freaky dieters and I didn’t like it. I don’t want to go back to that place. I don’t want to restrict and deprive. 1200, 14, or even 1600 calories may be what “they” would quote me but believe you me, you don’t want to see  me on so few calories. Hangry Jen, ideed.

I want to eat healthy. I want to eat delicious. Food is not the enemy. I have come to love preparing and cooking food. I have come a long way in my cooking and I am sure I make and eat way too much of the sweet, rich, heavy foods  that are meant to be treats not every day consumption. I love the time I spend in the kitchen. I do not want food to be the enemy.

I don’t want to actually focus on weight loss. I don’t want to will NOT be a slave to the scale.

Weight loss will be the happy accident of the changes I am working towards.

A couple of six months ago, I changed my handles from @mendingjen to @jengoeszen. I was starting to focus more on yoga and finding some sort of peace. I think it was sort of me faking it until I make it. But I never got around to the making it part. I sort of let my funk and health issue seep into my head…my self & body image have been pretty much in  the toilet. All leading to less and less yoga.

Go figure, I try to adjust myself to lean on yoga more and I lean on yoga LESS.

I NEED more yoga and meditation in my life. I feel better when I sneak in some yoga each day. And there is no denying when I add in a few minutes of meditation every day, I find it easier to deal with stressful situations. I can find my breath easier. I rely on my breathing to work out the kinks of stress. When I use my yoga and meditation I feel good.

I also feel good when I squeeze in some walking. When I feel good, I walk more often and just in general accumulate more steps each day.

When I walk I feel good. When I feel good, I want to walk more. When I yoga, I feel good. When I feel good, I yoga more. When I walk and yoga more, I want to walk and yoga more. When I walk and yoga more, I feel better. My body feels good to move and my head feels good. I want to move more. I want to eat better.

When I am not active, it is so much easier to eat junk food. Or wheat. When I am moving and grooving regularly, I want to eat better. It just happens naturally.

I will work on small, daily habits that will keep me active and feeling good about myself. I think that is the key for any sort of lasting weight loss healthy habits. Healthy habits will go a long way to keeping me happy. At least, its a start.

My life is not perfect but it is good.

Happy is not hard for me….but happy AND healthy, that is going to be the KEY.

 

 

Healthy habits I want to work on this week: 10K steps each and every day AND 64 oz of water each and every day.

What healthy habits are you working on this week?

 

Hugs & Much Love,

Jennifer Lynn

I have lost my way

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OR maybe, just maybe, I have no idea what the fuck I am doing….

I started thinking about this blog and this space and what I want, what I am doing, why I am doing it and I almost decided to completely stop blogging.

I have not blogged with any regularity….for the better part of the last year. Honestly, I am not sure how many times I have stared at a blank post with my brain swirling with half-ideas only to find my fingers paralyzed on the keyboard. There are no less than six just-started blogs in draft. It is a serious case of too much to say/nothing to say inner conflict along with the who cares what I have to say inner self-doubt. I don’t know what I want to say, how I want to say it and why anyone want to read what I say.

 It’s time to come clean.

I have struggled through the last few years. I haven’t had a purpose, a reason, for doing what I am doing. I have struggled in so many facets of life and living: growing up, a teenage daughter, financial stress, work stress, health issues, to blog or not to blog.

This blog (or the blogs that led me to this blog) were supposed to be my place to journal and share my journey. I wanted a place to clear my head and document what was going on with me. I was once a weight loss blogger and I was once a running blogger and now I am an I-don’t-know-what-kind-of blogger.

Do I want to be a blogger?!? 

I wasn’t sure. I don’t want to just be more noise out there on the internet. After a bit of chatting it up with a few friends and really searching myself, I have decided I do want to blog. My way. I want to use this space to live my headline: listen, learn, love, mend. I am not broken but I am not in the best of places….if I can use my own words as a way of seeing and working through things, I stand a chance. I am going back to my old ways, when my blog was my place, my space to work through whatever goes through my head when it goes through my head.

I am not going to reinvent my blog. I am not going to change my url or my name (I have done a lot of that along the way) but I am going to take all the pressure off. I am going to use my space much like a journal. I may use random writing prompts just to keep the creative flow moving or I may just work through thoughts or problems, or I just might journal what is going on in my world. I don’t need to reinvent myself, I just have to listen, learn, love and mend my way to true happiness.

Let’s talk Weight Loss Gain

I have gained back every pound I lost 5 years ago.  I started gaining three years ago when my injury kept me out of what would have been my second half marathon. That injury lead to surgery which meant 9 weeks on crutches and a full year worth of recovery. Then two years ago, I developed this weird belly thing which has still not been diagnosed, but I call it my gremlin. Then one year ago, I developed this wonderful itching and rashes. Yep, this one is still undiagnosed as well. Not for lack of trying. I have been to doctors, had tests and procedures and still nothing.

I am miserable in so many ways. I feel like my body hates me. My ankle and knee are so much better post-surgery but I have dealt with so many other health issues since. I was concerned my weight gain would cause more health issues so I went to my regular doctor for a physical. According to my bloodwork, I have excellent numbers (awesome cholesterol and even awesomer blood pressure) despite the creeping upwards number on the scale.

I talked to Doc about this for awhile and he wants to me to work on losing 10% of my current weight. But get this, he wants me to lose that weight over a 6-12 month period. He wants moderation and movement and slow, reasonable weight loss. Whoa.

Weight loss. Body Image. Healthy at Any Size. Fat Acceptance. Love yourself. SelfLove. Self Care. Ditch the scale. Eat the food. Up your calories. Low calorie. High Fat. Low Carb. High Protein. Gluten Free. Paleo.

It is so overwhelming. How do I want to go about weight loss?!? I have been pretty adamant about not wanting weight loss to be my focus. I still don’t want weight loss to be my main focus. I need to heal my gut-gremlin and itchy skin. It is really hard to worry about the number on the scale when I want to itch my skin off or when my belly is in pain. But regardless, I need to take some pounds off my body.

I need a plan of action for losing weight and I am working on it. I need to think some more and figure out what I want and what I am willing to do to get what I want.

But I need to lose some of  the weight. My body is screaming at me regularly and it is not happy with the extra weight. My joints are hurty and stiff, I get out of breath doing nothing, my body feels weak and my clothes don’t fit. I think I need to make more of a list if what is going on with my body and what I hope to accomplish by losing weight.

I want to feel strong again and right now I feel fat.

I am ready to feel happy.

I want to feel happy.

I may have lost my way but I will find my way back to happy,

First step is admitting where I have been, the next step is determining what I want and then working up an action plan.

Stay tuned…..

menus & prepping & success

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Last week I was terribly and completely unprepared. Mother’s Day was lovely but I did not complete any of my prep work. So today, I am made lists and menus. I cooked and prepped. I gotta say, it is a good feeling to know I have go-to snacks and lunches ready.

#foodprepsunday included:

Dinner Menu:

Sunday: Steak & Citrus Shrimp, fancy potatoes and a salad

Monday: Cuban Shredded Beef, rice & black beans

Tuesday: Man Pleasing Chicken, brussels & potato hash

Wednesday: Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole (two batches – one with elbow noodles for AJ & Q, one with cauliflower for me)

Thursday: Steaks or Breakfast (Band practice for Q, walking club for mom, Big Man is in charge of dinner)

Friday: Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken, rice, green beans or snap peas

Saturday: Ribs, potato salad, slaw & salads

And this is a great start.

I have some basics to get me started. I have lots of fruit in the fridge and I have bananas ripening to be made into pumpkin vanilla muffins in a few days.

I will also plan out my exact lunches and breakfast each night so work mornings are smoother. Lunches and breakfasts will include: eggs, paleo bread, smoothies, burgers, soups and cucumber salads. Snacks of fruit, nuts, soup, hardboiled eggs, cucumbers with salsa, and other veggies will be on hand so I can just grab & go.  I have lots of options.

Options and preparation will be key  to success….right now success means sticking to the gluten free thing (it works, as much as I hate that it works, it works…more on this later) and I very much want to focus on eating enough vegetables. Fruit is easy but vegetables take some work to get enough servings each day. To start,  I am going to aim for 6 veggie servings, with a serving being one cup, each day.

I am setting myself up for success.

 

 

not enough planning

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Friday was my anniversary. Saturday I was a zombie….okay, I wasn’t eating brains but I couldn’t get off my ass and out of my chair. I am pretty sure the stress and anxiety of the work week finally lifting for the weekend left me depleted. I needed the rest. Then Sunday was Mother’s Day and my daughter worked and needed to be dropped off early…so we had breakfast where she works and then went grocery shopping.

Ain’t life exciting?!?

At least my view for breakfast was fabulous!! 😉

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After grocery shopping and produce shopping, the rest of the day was pretty mellow. But, I did not complete any food prep. Let me tell you, I need food prep. I did create an incredibly basic dinner menu but it needs work.

Monday: Grilled Chicken

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Cajun Chicken and Shrimp, rice & beans

Thursday: Breakfast

Friday: Kielbasa, homemade kraut, potatoes

 

I told you…basic. But it’s a start.

 

Tonight I am going to work with it and see what I can do to help myself. I need some pre-made, grab & go snacks. I need to find a substitute for a piece of toast.

 

#foodprepsunday is going to happen …but it’s Monday and I will only be doing a small version!!

gremlins, itchies & glutenfree

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Gremlins

Actually, only one gremlin. I have been dealing with stomach issues for almost two years. I get this pain in my left side, up near my ribs. At first, I thought it was an ulcer because spicy food caused me immediate pain. It wasn’t an ulcer. After a year of dealing with this pain, I finally went to a GI doc. My GP put me on an acid controller but that didn’t really do anything.

The GI put me through every test he had: colonoscopy, endocscopy, CT scans, ultrasounds, stomach emptying scans, blood tests and maybe more. The results: nothing, nada. No physical reason for these pains I continue to experience.  Yes, this is great news! I don’t have any craziness going on internally – no cancer or tumors or damage. For this I am thankful. However, one year (of doctors and tests) later and I still have no answers.

Since I don’t have a name for what is going on in my stomach, I call it my gremlin. When I get pangs of pain I say, “my gremlin is pissed off” or something similar.  My gremlin has been a thorn in my side for well over two years. Sometimes, the gremlin is accompanied with bloating and gas and cramps but there is almost always a bruise-like feeling in my upper left stomach quadrant.

Its not the cute fuzzy gremlin, its the gremlin after a midnight feeding.

Itchies

Because having my very own gremlin isn’t enough, I decided to get itchy. All over itchy. At first I just thought I had a bad case of dry skin, of season changed dry skin. I have used the same laundry soap, shampoo & conditioner, and body wash for years so I know its not that causing itching. I don’t use a lot of lotions or perfumes and the ones I use are very mellow.  I’ve seen my doctor and now I am seeing an allergist.

Guess what?!?

Once again, all the tests come back negative. However, I react as soon as I am touched with the allergy test pin. My skin is so irritated. I will spare you the pictures because it is just icky. My lower leg/ankles are tore up like I walked through a field of chiggers except I didn’t. I will spare you any more details but let’s just say I itch everywhere. All the time.

And it is so not sexy to itch all the time. Itching so much has definitely messed with my head and I often feel like I am going crazy. It is hard to be on your game when you itch all the time. I have gained a lot of weight back in the last three years (ankle/knee injury, surgery, recovery, gremlins & itchies).

Gluten Free

As a last ditch effort to hopefully heal my gremlin and itchies, I have decided to try a gluten free experiment.  I have already tried eliminating nightshades and other major allergens, all to no relief. I have held off on gluten free because it just seems so trendy. I did complete a round of Whole30 but I just could not sustain that for longer than 30 days. I did that for weightloss and not health reasons.

I am hoping, this is GF experiment is different. I am only focused on feeling better and I am not going to be restricting anything other than gluten.

I am seeking health.  I don’t want stomach issues or itchies anymore. Please let this help.

I will be using myfitnesspal.com to track my food but weight loss is not my focus. I set my calories pretty high after research pointed me in that direction. To heal a gut, the body needs plenty of calories not to be restricted. I am only focusing on gluten free. I am not going to go crazy and buy all sorts of GF flours but rather, I am going to keep food as simple as possible. Produce and meats, rice and the occasional sweet. My coffee will remain GF as its been all along (who knew?!?) with creamer & splenda.

I figure this is an experiment so I will ease into it. For right now, I am keeping it simple but as the weeks progress I may need a bread alternative. Or I may cut back on sugar or sweets or potatoes or beans…whatever. I am not planning that far ahead. I have created a board on Pinterest and since I love cooking, I am going to make this experiment as fun  and sustainable as possible.

So this is where I have been. I hid a lot of this from the world. I didn’t want to admit to myself what problem this actually been. I’m out now. I’m ready to find a happy place,

I will walk 500 miles

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Go ahead and sing it with me. But I will walk 500 miles And I will walk 500 more… Ha. Now try getting that out of your head. image I have never set a mileage goal. Even when I was training for half marathons. Even when I jumped the gun and foolishly said I was ready to train for a marathon. I began consistently walking again after I answered the call for bloggers by JostRunning. What a push they gave me!! In December I began walking on any day I felt well enough to walk. Most of walks were in my living room following along with Leslie Sansone and her Walk at Home videos. December can be cold and I’ve been sick, staying inside has been smart. It was during this time, I rediscovered my love of walking and Walk at Home videos. Way back when my Q was a wee little babe, I discovered a Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds VHS tape at a yard sale. YEP, a VHS tape and I needed to use a VCR. When I first saw the Leslie videos, I thought it was going to be hokey.  I mean come on, walking inside, how is that even possible?!? I was instantly surprised! It was kinda hokey but it was fun and I worked up a sweat! I had a nasty break up with my ex and I forgot all about Leslie Sansone until a few years later when I started back in college. I went back to my videos but never found the time, energy or combination of the two, during my college years. I guess having a baby, a full time job and a full load of classes, left little time for exercise. Fast forward to now. My Q is 14, no longer a baby. I am the teacher, no longer the student. But I am back to walking and following along with Leslie. My “Leslie walks” as I like to call them. This year I am making walking a priority. I like walking, inside and outside, and walking has so many physical and mental benefits. My mind and body will thank me for making walking a priority. My goal for the year is challenging and doable. I will walk 500 miles this year! I am already off to a great start. After a rocky start (still was fighting that funky sickness), I have managed to log 33.3 miles so far this month. I am aiming for 18 more to round at the month. I committed to walking the equivalent of a 5K and a 10K and a half marathon and a full marathon or 48.6 miles. This number gives me a great experience with/for JostRunning and puts a great dent into my yearly goal! I may not have set huge new year’s resolutions but I certainly have a great goal for my physical and mental well-being! Anyone else walking lots of  miles this year!