Category Archives: challenges

taking care of me

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August has already been quite the eventful month. I decided to look into a part time job. If you are counting, this makes 3 outside of the house jobs.

  • teaching
  • cleaning, tourist changeovers
  • server, Applebee’s

And don’t forget:

  • mom to human child
  • mom to furbabies
  • wife
  • band booster secretary
  • band mom
  • and I am sure I am missing some…

I have set out to start taking better care of Jen, (no, I will not be speaking any further in the 3rd person….it s just plain weird)

I have walked every day since July 7th. This is a HUGE accomplishment for me. I did not set out to walk every day for 30+ days. But once I hit day 16 or so, I felt like I could do anything!! And, I figured I could set a goal of continuing the streak until I started back in school September 2nd. At first I kept this goal a secret. I didn’t want to jinx myself. I kept going. Adding one day at a time.

To make this goal a reality, I am having to change the way I speak to myself and out loud. I talk about wanting to get my walk in and not how I “need” to walk. I want to continue my walking streak and as long as I think about it as something I want to do then I will keep on keepin’ on. Some days are hard, not gonna lie. I tell myself to just start moving. I can walk one mile no matter what!!

Two weeks ago, my Q and I started the PiYo program. We set out with the intentions to follow the program exactly the way it is written out on the calendar which was provided. Week one we rocked. Week two took a few twists. Taking on a new job where I am on my feet the whole time changed my thoughts on working out just a bit. I want to do every piyo workout. More importantly, I want to do every piyo workout without injury. That means I must listen to my body and not that tiny voice of guilt from not doing it. Last week, I took one rest day and then doubled up the next day and that was great!! The day I doubled up, I felt strong and ready to tackle it all. The day before when I chose a rest, I was tired and my legs felt tired and heavy.

And then there was Sunday. On Sundays I clean in the mornings but this Sunday, I also was scheduled for a training shift at AppleBee’s (AB) from 5-10pm. Did I mention this was all the night before Q started band camp?!? In between cleaning and showering for AB, I walked one mile in my bedroom. I took that walk low and slow…I use my Leslie Sansone videos but to keep it low, I don’t use the normal intensity. I keep the kicks and knees lower. I wanted to walk to keep my streak alive but I knew I would be on my feet for 5 hours. Keeping it low allowed me to walk and to stretch my legs a bit.

I am learning I can walk every day. I can do the PiYo workouts. I can work a physical job. I can do it all. I think walking every day has been good for me. I am successful in  this goal and I am starting to feel my legs responding. PiYo is hard for me but I modify and I do my best and I cannot wait to see what 8 weeks of this looks and feels like. I am looking forward to the physical changes, I am already noticing the mental benefits of both of my fitness endeavors.

I have walked late at night to get it in. I walked last night at 9:30. It is a wonderful benefit of walk at home workouts….I don’t have to worry about heat, humidity, rain, bugs, dark, etc. Even on the days I have walked late, I have felt like such a rockstar for getting in my walk. I feel like I am doing this great thing for my body. I am now realizing, it is not just my body that is happy for my daily walks!!

My new fitness endeavors are new ways to take care of me!

WOW!

 

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I like pi….yo

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I splurged a bit and bought myself a new workout program.

PiYo.  (click on the word for more information) Pilates, Yoga intensified but still low impact. Watch this video for a quick visual on what is PiYo.

My facebook feed is filled with BeachBody coaches and I have been seeing PiYo craziness for a couple of months. I watched videos, and read status updates of wow. I finally jumped on the bandwagon. One of my bloggy/twitter/facebook friends is a beachbody coach and since I have known her the longest, I asked her like a million questions. Nanci made me feel very comfortable about giving this program a try.

I ordered the program and tried to put it out my head until it arrived.

And then it arrived. And I saw the calendar. There are 3 DVDs with (I think) 8 different workouts. They provide you with an 8-week schedule. Six days a week. I must admit, I was a bit intimidated looking at 8 weeks all scheduled out on a calendar.

I showed my Q the trailer video on youtube and the calendar. She decided to workout and do this program with me. For real, she even cleaned her room to make enough space for us to PiYo. AND, we finished week 1, started week 2 and her room is still clean-ish.

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Do you have any idea what an absolute humbling experience it is to workout with a fifteen year old?!?

My Q is a typical teenager. She spends way too much time on her bed watching, facebooking, or reading. More often than not, she is reading and this mama who also happens to be an English teacher almost never interrupts her family when they are reading. Q, however, takes after her mama and devours books. She hates to put the book (or iPad) down until she is done.

I am out of shape and getting back to my groove. I struggle through the workouts. And yes, they are around 20-40 minutes and I die. I sweat. I huff, I puff. I curse Chalene Johnson with her perkiness and perfect blond hair. Q just rolls through and she hardly sweats. The day after our workouts, I am tired and Q not so much.

Humbling!

I made a hashtag #meandmyQ – even when she frustrates me with her lack of sweat, I absolutely love working out with her. I am so brutally honest when we workout. “This sucks” “ooh, I like this one” “B***ch” “This lady is crazy” “She wants me to do what” “My belly gets in the way, I have to adjust this pose”  I have worked out without a shirt on, just in a sports bra. I fall over because my balance sort of totally sucks.

Yet, I keep pushing on. I have given up and walked away from too many “hard” things but I have also pushed through serious “hard” things. PiYo is hard but fun. Every time I do a workout, I am surprised when we get to the last five minutes. It sneaks up on me. So far, that last five minutes has caught me off guard every single time.

Working out with Q is pretty awesome. We have a calendar to know what to do on what day, but more than that we have to be accountable to each other. I can’t bluff her with excuses. And even when I am so not in the mood for working out or my joints are achy and I just want to be lazy, I don’t want to give my Q any of those excuses.

Who knew this was all going to happen when I decided to try something new?!?

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!!

GF update

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remember when I posted last week and I said I was experimenting with a gluten free diet?!?

Well, I have survived 7 whole days with almost no gluten.  I think the only time I had some sneaky gluten was the other night when my husband made burgers. He added some breadcrumbs to the meat mixture before he remembered my experiment. I didn’t freak out. This is a huge change for my little family and while I tried to be prepare us, it is a change and it will take some getting used to.

Thoughts on the first seven days:

  • This is harder than I thought – I have to be prepared. I often take leftovers for lunch but when there aren’t any in the fridge, I can’t just make a sandwich.
  • This is not as hard as I thought – as long as I plan and prep, I think this will be ok. I need to give myself the time for both of those things.
  • I was eating a lot of bread and I was in denial about just how much.
  • My sweet tooth is connected to my wheat tooth. Case in point – I cannot walk past brownies and not eat one. Or two. Or six. I wish I was kidding. However, I can easily say no to candy.  So, for me, not eating wheat/gluten has been helped keep my sweet tooth calm. Just one sweet wheat treat and I need/want MORE.
  • I have been tracking on MFP and it is not driving me crazy. I have tried many times to stay consistent with my tracking but I don’t think my head was not in the right place. So, I stopped. This time, it feels different. I have taken a lot of the stress out of the equation. I am simply using this tool to see what I am eating. No judgement.
  • It is very easy to undereat while eating gluten free. At least, it is easy for me during this transition. Last night, I wasn’t feeling too hot -nothing I could really explain, I just felt off – when I looked at my MFP daily totals I was only at 12oo cals. 1200 cals is not nearly enough calories for me, for a whole day. No wonder I didn’t feel right. I ate 2 eggs, some tortilla chips and homemade salsa and I felt so much better.
  • Turkey Kill Original Vanilla Ice Cream, Klondike Bars (the original and the double chocolate), LaraBars and dried cherries are ALL gluten free. This is good to know! I still need some sweet in my life and I like dessert, so it is nice to have a few options.
  • I am feeling some improvement. I am not crazy-lady itching to the point where I feel out of control and I haven’t had any serious pangs of pain in my gremlin for a few days. Tiny improvement is enough for now because I really wasn’t expecting to see any improvement. Especially, so soon.

It has been an interesting week. I feel good about choosing to experiment with gluten free. I was procrastinated for quite a while before finally diving in. I did it my way and I think that made this week’s transition “easy” for me and my family. This weekend coming up I am going to meal prep enough to ensure I don’t undereat. I will make snacks/mini-meals that will be easy to grab and eat with minimal work.

Do you have any go-to gluten free snacks or mini meals you can recommend? Link me, please, I love recipes!!

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,

Crying at yin

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Last night I went back to yin yoga. I took a two week break after my car accident. The first week after the car accident, I wasn’t up for class and the second week it was just very difficult juggling my doctors appointments, Q’s physical therapy, work and school with one vehicle. And to be honest, after my accident I was not comfortable driving the truck. I drive a little Hyundai that could probably fit in the bed of my husband’s pickup truck.
Back to last night…
I was late leaving school. It happens sometimes but yesterday, it made me a bit edgy. Feeling jumpy, I thought maybe a hot shower would release some stress and it did its job. For a short period of time. As the clock drew closer to 5pm or the time I should be ready to walk out of my house, I could feel nerves starting to jump again.
I didn’t really want to go to yoga. I didn’t want to drive back over to Ventnor. More, I didn’t want to drive home from Ventnor where three weeks prior I had my car accident.
I got in the car and drove to class more white knuckled than I’d like to admit. I drove slow and I left my house late so I arrived at class 5 minutes late. I forced myself out of my car, into the building, up the stair and into the classroom. I found a nice spot in the back corner and I quickly set up my mat. I almost did not go into class. I almost chickened out.

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One of the first poses of the evening was cow face pose. I tried to get into this pose and realized it was not gonna happen. I tried to fond a comfortable modification but I could not. I felt defeated and broken and fat. My body was not comfortable, my head was not comfortable, and my soul was not comfortable. Sometime during this pose, I felt tears burning my eyes. We switched sides, then added the arms, and by the second side arms, I was full blown crying and trying to not blubber and snot all over myself. We moved on to different poses but I never found my happy place. That place where my brain turns off and I feel the release of the pose. If you have never tried yin yoga, you melt into and stay in the poses for 3-5 minutes.
Letting go is big part of yin. I was so uptight throughout my yin class. At one point I actually checked my watch to see how much time was left in class. and blissfully, as if the teacher read my mind, we moved into heart lung bench pose. This is one of my favorite yin poses. And it was a precursor to corpse or svasana aka the end.
I’ve loved yin from the very first class over a year ago. Last night’s class was difficult and emotional. My body didn’t want to move into or stay in the poses. My neck, shoulders and lower back  have not been happy happy nice my car accident but I didn’t know just how much that bothered me until last night. Driving home, I kept thinking I should just quit yoga. My body is not designed for yoga. I can’t do it, I can’t do it right so why bother.
I’m no good at yoga.
My body is no good.
My mind swirled with these thoughts. I thought I would think about it all night long. But I walked into my house to the smell of dinner and my husband and daughter sitting at the table waiting for me. They make it easy to forget the touch stuff.
But only for so long.
Not long after dinner, I was feeling very emotional. Then came the headache and neck pain. I took some advil and iced my neck but the pressure never really released. This upset me because it was just one more sign if my body hating me. Yep, that’s where my head was last night.
Today, I’m feeling a bit more rational but not a whole lot less emotional. I hoped journaling this out would make me feel better. It did but I’m still not sure what to do. I’m going to sit with the emotions for a while.

 

February walking with Jost

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This post should have been written and posted last week but I was in a car accident last week and that threw a big monkey wrench into my plans.  {This post is NOT about my car accident or anything that happened after …that is its own blog post} This post is about my monthly walking goals and my JostRunning commitment.

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I started out February with the goal of walking the equivalent of all four races for a total of 48.6 miles. February’s weather was crazy and we wound up with a lot more snow here than we have had for a bunch of years. The smallest bit of snow shuts down everything around here. Added to that, February brought a few opportunities to earn some extra money by teaching a student at his house a few days a week. I jumped on the chance to make extra money.

I did not budget my time very wisely and I realized I was not getting enough miles in each day/week. By the middle of the second week in February I realized I was not going to meet my mileage goal. In the past, this would have caused a complete shutdown and I wouldn’t even try to get more miles. This time I did it differently. When I realized I wasn’t going to hit my goal, I stepped back and evaluated what I could do. I decided I could walk the equivalent of one 5K, one 10K, and one half marathon.

22.4 miles
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I walked inside and outside. Yep, I managed to get two lovely walks outside in February.

JostRunning has given me an incredible opportunity. Blogging for JR has helped me get back into a rhythm with exercise. This experience with Jost has revived my love for walking as exercise, walking as meditation and walking as therapy. I am looking forward to warmer months so I can take my walks outside more often, not that I don’t love my indoor walking.

The last 3 months with Jost have been AMAZING!! I am back to walking with more regularity than I have in the past year. I have a few kinks to work out since I was in a car accident but at least I found my walking mojo before that happened!

It’s March and I think I am blogging one final month for Jost. They have a new website…go check it out at JostRunning. Anywho, I will use this month to focus on making sure my mind and body are right after the accident. I will keep you posted!!

 

 

 

 

disclaimer: JostRunning has  waived registration fees and provided me with free medals in exchange for a blog of my experiences. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are all mine.