I’m hoping to do a 2014 wrap-up/looking forward to 2015 post at some point in the near future, but I think 2015 is off to a good start. I’ve run at least a mile every day of the new year, for a 6 day streak to start the year. I have some concrete goals for the new year, and some challenges I’m looking forward to. Goals include continuing to get at least one mindful mile walking or running every day of 2015, and to run at least 365 total miles for the year. I’ve also set myself the challenge of training for and completing a half marathon in April. That’s 96 days away- a little over 13 weeks. I’m terrified, but ready to take it on.
I don’t have any particular food/nutrition related goals for the year, other than properly fueling to support my half marathon training. But as part of this, I’m hoping to continue the transformation of my relationship with food that began last year, especially through my experience doing Whole30.
Last night was a crackers to crackers & cheese to chocolate to mac&cheese to wine to ice cream with hot fudge sauce kind of night. One choice (to grab a couple “leftover” crackers while putting away the groceries) started a snowball of increasingly bad choices as the night progressed. It’s not that there is anything “bad” about any of these food, inherently- it’s how they affect me and my ability to make choices that is the issue. Once I start the spiral, it has a trajectory- and I have years of habitual giving in that lead me on the path as soon as take a bite and realize I’m on it.
I had excuses- first day back at work after the new year stresses, having a bad cold, PMS, “having” to get rid of leftovers… There are always excuses when I look for them to justify the choices I make.
Was it as bad as some other binges I’ve had? Not even a little. The portions were controlled, I stopped myself at ONE glass of wine, ONE bowl of ice cream, etc. I also ate yummy healthy foods- roasted chicken, sweet potato, sauteed kale. I also ran a mile on the treadmill. I also spent some time with my family. I wasn’t hiding any of it (though the crackers and cheese and chocolate that started the snowball were while I was alone, standing in the kitchen).
I choose to learn from these moments, when I have them. Being in the kitchen, around the food, is a trigger for me. I got home from work and immediately needed to start unpacking the groceries- which put me in proximity to the foods that started the binge. One of the counter strategies I’m considering includes a ritual of getting myself a big glass of water and sitting down at the table to drink it before I do ANYTHING else when I get home. I think that a pause like this would help me adjust to being home, stop the stress cycle that is the go go go from work/commute into home, and encourage a healthier habit than mindless snacking- hydration!
Not properly fueling is a also a trigger for me, and I ate breakfast too late and skipped lunch yesterday (only eating my apple, the sugar of which without the balance of protein I’m sure was a trigger). Working on eating more regularly will help keep me from reaching this hangry state where my decision making ability is impaired.
And I found myself today with a bacon milk chocolate bar gifted to me… and I ate it. I ate it, I enjoyed it, and I’m not going to beat myself up about it. But I do recognize that the pattern needs to stop, that I’m using food as a comfort and stress relief- as a drug- and I’m the only one who has the power to break the pattern and make better choices. I could have said thank you, but no thank you to the gifted chocolate. I could have had another cup of tea instead. There are a lot of other choices I could have made- but I made a choice, and now it’s done, and all I can do is reflect on it and learn, and be mindful the next time I come to a choice.
I’m starting a class tonight that I’m super excited about- the Pleasure Principles course with Kelly Coffey over at http://www.strongcoffey.com/. Kelly’s posts have been inspiring me for a while, and I’m excited to join others in thinking about wellness and ways to make a healthier me. It was one of my holiday gifts to myself, and I think right now is a perfect time for me to get started.
Today is day 250 of the year, and of my current journey to better health. As of today, I have mindfully moved 404 miles, with 80 run and 325 walked. Since January 1, I’ve lost 37.3 lbs at an average rate of 1.04 lbs/week. It’s been slow, not always steady, but when I step back and think that I’m 50 lbs lighter than my heaviest, and am losing at a rate that is helping me readjust as my body gets smaller, I’m ok with the progress. Of course I always want to see more instant feedback and gratification on the journey, but if there is anything I have learned, it’s that this is a slow, long term, in for the long haul sort of thing.
As of this afternoon I was 1.1 lbs away from my goal of reaching 189.9 lbs, a number that will bring me into a range I have not seen since college (I graduated in the low 200s, but got down to 190 a couple of years ago.) I have been flirting with reaching this goal since the end of July, but between work travel, vacation, and my own fear, I have yet to hit this mark. With only 1.1 lbs to go as of today, I am determined to reach that weight soon. In order to help myself do so, I’ve decided on my next weight target- 175. This time, it’s not a goal with anything attached, it’s just a target to hit as the next milestone to reassess. I’ve found that it’s best to focus on the milestones I have the most power over, like exercise goals, rather than things like my weight which I can’t always directly control. With hormones and medications and patterns of loss/plateau, my weight loss has been all over the place. Having goals that help me build consistency and good habits, like my 10,000 step challenge, are more where I want to focus.
Speaking of the 10,000 step challenge: I pledged to walk 10,00 steps a day or more for 30 days in a row, and I achieved my goal! It felt excellent to set a small, achievable goal and nail it despite quite a few tough days where I scrambled to get to where I wanted to get. I think I want to try to set more goals like this for myself, as I found it really motivating during a particularly stressful period. Also meeting my 365 miles for the year goal during this time was awesome. I still have my at least one mile a day for the year goal to achieve, as well.
I feel like I’m at a time of reevaluation right now. I have both my FitBit and a new vivofit I’m trying out right now. I would like to get back to food logging. I’m working on meditating more regularly, as well as writing (most private journals rather than blogging). I want to get back to doing DDP Yoga, and running more often. My life has been full of stress, and now it feels like some of it is abating, especially with the school year underswing and getting back to more regular patterns (and less travel!). Time to refocus and end the year on a high note!
“Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.” -Nadeem Aslam, The Wasted Vigil
Ok, so this round of Whole30 has not been as dedicated as our first round in May. While I would say that 90% of my choices have been “on plan,” an abundance of traveling, food out of the house, and general summer temptation has meant that the other 10% of my choices have not been Whole30 approved. Things like a glass of wine and few bites of ice cream at Tanglewood, BBQ ribs (I’m sure with sugar in their rub) and a whisky after Aimee and laurel completed their Warrior Dash, some cheese and a noncompliant dressing on an otherwise compliant salad while dining out… I’m ok with these choices. Having the experience of going “all the way” with Whole30 in May has definitely shown me that there are both benefits and drawbacks to my less than strict choices lately. On the negative side, I’m seeing the side effects of some of my choices (my weight loss is not as consistent, though still steady, and my joint pain sees some flareups after triggery choices such as dairy and alcohol). But these negatives are far outweighed by the general feeling of joy I have while enjoying- consciously, in small portions- the foods that I know I will not choose to live without together. The huge benefit of Whole30 is that has shown me that 1) I can deliberately make these choices (as opposed to being stuck in a victim mentality, oh i could never give up X) and 2) this is about how I want to live and feel the rest of my life.
It’s been wonderful to see the huge changes to my family, as well. Everyone is feeling better physically and has lost weight over the past couple of weeks- Micah has even seen a number he hasn’t since he left the service! We have all agreed that we want to continue eating this way indefinitely, as long as we can use 10% of our choices for the sugary, alcoholy, cheesy things we truly enjoy.
This week I reached a significant milestone- I hit 50 lbs down from my highest historical weight, which I hit a few years ago. I’m 35 lbs down since the beginning of January this year, and I’m on the verge of hitting one of my big goals (staying at 189.9 or lower 3 days in a row) as well as hitting a new range on the BMI chart. I am confident that with continued conscious eating and movement I will see these goals achieved in the near future.
I still have a long way to go- at least another 50 lbs, if not more- but it’s been good to breathe into and appreciate where I am and how far I have come. A friend at work who saw my 50 lbs lost post on Facebook invited me to come pick up a 50 lbs bag of rolled oats in our stockroom at work. He helped me pick it up, and I walked around with it a bit, and then I got all teary. It was heavy, and awkward, and made my back and knees hurt, and my breathing get more labored. I don’t want to go back there. It also made me think- how might I feel another 50 lbs from now? It’s a thrilling thought, if not a bit intimidating.
In terms of movement, I haven’t been hitting it as hard as I would like to be over the past couple of months, though I have been moving every single day at least that one mindful mile. Today is day 208 of the year, and I have run 57 miles, and walked 233. It feels awesome to know that “taking it slow/easy” now still is a LOT more movement than in my past.
One of the reasons that my exercise has taken a backseat lately is that I’ve been doing a lot of inner emotional work, and the energy and time that has taken has affected my drive for exercise. However, I feel like I’ve reached some resolutions with the things I was working through, or at least am seeing positive movement, and so I think it is a perfect time to recommit to stepping it up. I know that the nutrition is important and has a huge effect on my results, but exercise is also an essential component to keep me feeling well mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Starting tomorrow I will be getting up every morning to complete at least 20 minutes of movement in the morning, and at least 10 minutes of meditation. The meditation is key to keeping my impulse control in bounds. It increases my ability to choose my responses rather than just to react to things as they come (especially my emotions). The movement might be running or walking or yoga or biking, but it needs to happen. Right now, in addition to the mile, I am working on creating the time and space I need to focus on my needs, and I know that being in the habit of making sure some of that happens first thing in the morning is essential. I started working on it last week, and it led to some great movement time both by myself in nature, and connection time with family.
One other thing I’m going to focus on is continuing to write more- it may not always be blogging, but may be journaling or other writing outlets. I’ve also been talking to my trusted people more about how I am feeling, what I am going through, and in general getting my brain in conscious mode rather than autopilot. It can be exhuasting, yes, but I also know it is essential to my success and health. Until I have healthier autopilot habits, having that check and balance, and externalizing those processes, is really beneficial to me.
I’m working hard, and I’m seeing some of the rewards of that work. As I continue on this journey, I’m truly seeing the wisdom in Aslam’s quote: “Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.” All aspects of my world and journey are interconnected, and the more I figure out ways to shore up the positives of those connections, the better I will be.
First, for the most exciting bit of news: I met my goal for 2014 in my first 5k of the year! I ran the Red Dress Run for Women in 39:54, which is a 12:51 average mile. As it was very warm and I was definitely feeling the heat and humidity, I was super proud of myself. I had to book it to make it just under the wire… my Garmin shows me that I did the last tenth of a mile at a 9:24 pace, which is crazy for me. My splits were 12:11, 12:55, 13:24, so you can see my fatigue and dehydration setting in. I know that working on not pushing too hard at the beginning, preparing myself better for the race (hydrating more and actually eating something before!), and running in better weather conditions will be mean better, more even racing for me. I need to get back into longer runs on a weekly basis- even if I decide not to run any other races but 5k lengths, regularly getting in longer runs will make those better experiences.
This year, and my commitment to taking better care of myself, is going really well overall. I’m down 30 lbs since January. My BMI has gone from 43.1 (class III morbid obesity) to in the 37s (class II severe obesity), and I have no doubt I’ll reach class I obesity by the end of 2014. (I’ll throw a real party when I’m into mere overweight territory!). My fat percentage has gone from a high of 49.8% to 44%- and almost 6% difference. In terms of movement, over the past 194 days I’ve travelled 272 mindful miles, which is only 93 miles away from my goal for the entire year! 56 of those miles I have run, and 216 I have walked. Also, I got a notification from my Fitbit that I had crossed the 500 miles walked mark since I started using the device, and I’m also proud of the increase in daily non-exercise-time movement I’ve been making.
I think the numbers are fascinating, but they are only one measure. The difference in how I feel, especially physically, has been huge. I absolutely recognize I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be, and the pace is often agonizingly slow. But I also have taken some time where I’ve taken it easier (during anniversary celebrations, my birthday, business travel, etc.) which have been joyful and oddly not full of the guilt I’m usually awesome at putting myself through. My head is changing, along with my body.
And now, after a June full of fun, July is about building up that base again and buckling down. We’re on day 7 of Whole 30, and things are going really well. It’s definitely been a much easier transition back to the Whole9 way of eating this time around, since I didn’t really stray too far from it in June, especially on a daily basis (as opposed to the celebration fun times!). While everyone is having their ups and downs and oopses, I think overall everyone is feeling like this has been a worthwhile exercise in planning, willpower, habit formation and change, and in finding out what foods our bodies like (or don’t like, as the case may be!)
Today was my second day on Whole30, and my first day back at work. For those of you who don’t know, I work a grocery co-op that specialized in local and organic foods. So when I say that my days are full of temptation, I mean it! Today, I brought myself a couple of hard boiled eggs and an apple for a quick breakfast, because I knew Aimee was joining me for lunch. I’m lucky that while there is so much temptation at work, there are also a lot of Whole30 compliant foods, even on our hot bar! Today I had a tasty spicy chicken vegetable soup and a spinach salad with some kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar.
I did have a snack after my workout (30 mins of DDPYoga Fat Burner, plus a mile run/walk) and split a Larabar with Micah. Later on in the evening, when we realized that dinner would be late, I had a few cashews and a couple bites of leftover chicken from the fridge. We need to work on our meal prep and timing so that late eating happens less often, like the nights the kids have swimming lessons. Aimee and I talked about crockpot recipes we could try for next week.
Dinner was worth waiting for, in any case! We had local beef burgers on roasted cabbage wedges with roasted beet greens, roasted cauliflower, sautéed onions and mushrooms, topped with a drizzle of a homemade garlic mayo and horseradish mustard. It was delicious.
I’ve been under a lot of stress, and so not being able to resort to cheese or carby things or alcohol or sweets as stress relief at the end of the day can be difficult. I would love a piece of dark chocolate and some red wine right about now!
Today was Round 2 Day 1 of Whole30 for me. It wasn’t a typical day for me because rather than heading to to work I stayed home with the kiddos because Micah had a job interview (fingers crossed!), and Aimee and Ian needed to work. It was good t extend my long weekend so that I could get some rest- work has been stressful the past couple of months, and taking a mental break was really good for my head.
A tour through my day 1 food choices…
Breakfast was Connor’s leftover eggs (scrambled in Whole30 approved bacon fat) paired with leftover scrambled eggs with chard and ghee, topped with avocado, a few crushed cashews, and some Whole30 approved hot sauce. Most bacon and hot sauce contain sugar or other verboten ingredients, and it was nice to already have these in our arsenal.
Lunch was an apple with no sugar added almond butter and a salad with avocado, curried tuna salad, and a splash of vinegar on top. We had made some homemade curry mayo over the weekend, which made a yummy tuna salad!
Dinner was a mixed green salad topped with chicken thighs that had been slowcooking with salsa and green chili. After dinner Aimee and I shared a Chocolate Coconut Larabar, which is one of my favorite indulgences. Whole30 has this idea of not having Sex With Your Pants On (SWYPO), meaning not to “paleofy” allowed foods to replicate your bad habits. Larabars are one of those things that falls in a grey zone- they are allowed, but caution is suggested. My general rule for myself is, if it is something that we could (and would, and in some cases have!) make ourselves, then I allow it. We have made our own bars from nuts and fruit before, and so I don’t feel bad buying them. We’re four adults that work full time and we have two kids under the age of four… Making all our own food is just never going to happen.
Finally, in a fit of just having to get out of the house for a while, I investigated one of of local shops for compliant sausagey type things for Micah to have for lunches.
I also walked a brisk mile on the treadmill, and walk another mile with the family and while shopping, as well as completing my DDPYoga Energy workout. We’re doing a mini 30 days of DDPY challenge in addition to our Whole30 adventures, because why not?
Tomorrow it’s back to work for me, where there are a lot of things that will tempt me off course. Wish me luck!
Tomorrow, my family and I are embarking on a round of Whole30. For Aimee and I, it will be our second stint through this eating/behavioral modification plan, and Ian and Micah will be joining us for their first time through the program. For those not familiar with the basics of Whole30, they can be found here: http://whole30.com/. I won’t be explaining the whole program because they do such a fabulous job on their site of making it accessible- check out the “Welcome to Whole30” site here: http://whole30.com/new/
The focus of the plan is on eating whole, minimally processed foods including an abundance of vegetables supplemented with nuts, seeds, fruit, eggs, fish, meat, and fats such as olive oil, coconut, and ghee. For the 30 days of the program participants’ diets eliminate all grains, dairy (except ghee), sugar, legumes, alcohol, dairy, white potatoes, and food additives like carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites. Some of the other guidelines include not “paleofying” allowed foods (such as coconut and almond flour brownies), and eating 3 meals a day without snacking. Part of the goal is to break yourself of old habits that may not be serving your health, such as having dessert every evening or constant grazing.
When I did this program in May, I had quite a few interesting revelations. The first was that I was already eating pretty well. The majority (I’d say a good 75%) of my diet consisted of organic vegetables and fruits, raw nuts and seeds, healthy plant based fats, and sustainably sourced, mostly local eggs, fish, and meat. However, the other quarter of my diet consisted of processed gluten-free grain products, sugary treats like dark chocolate, alcohol (incl. a daily glass or two of red wine) and quite a lot of cheese and dairy (despite knowing my body really doesn’t like them). I had been tracking my food intake really closely since February, and had made huge strides toward healthier eating. I had lost 20 lbs between January and April due to the changes, and had started myself on some pretty healthy patterns of regular exercise, and I was happy with the progress I was making.
However, I knew there were definitely places I could improve my diet. I had tried a nutritarian diet for a while last year. https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/what-is-a-nutritarian-diet.aspx With it’s 100% plant based vegan focus, aligned with both my health goals and ethics, but found that my body absolutely did not like the focus on beans and the lack of fat and animal based protein. I then transitioned to a paleo/primal style of eating, but also jumped back into a lot of the processed gluten-free foods I had been avoiding. When I did the last round of Whole 30, I realized how much sugar and dairy and alcohol had crept back into focus in my diet, because those were the things I missed the most, and felt the biggest sense of withdrawal regarding.
Another thing that surprised me was how often my eating was mindless, a distraction, or an emotional tool, and how a focus on food as fuel and limited to mealtimes highlighted these habits. This led to quite a bit of discomfort during the Whole30 period, but it also led to a lot of areas for introspection and growth. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad to be doing it again. On top of the 10 lbs I lost in May (I’m now down 30 lbs from January of this year), I learned so much about how different foods work for my body and mind, and I’m looking forward to doing it with my entire family.
“A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping, we are becoming.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Emerson quote above, which was our unison reading at church this morning, really struck me as I am moving along on my journey to better health. This idea that “(t)hat which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character” is one that I’ve long held true, along the lines of Buddhist teachings about our thought creating the world (and no surprise Emerson would reflect an influence from Eastern thought!). I believe that what we pay attention to- both with thoughts and actions- is what we manifest, and yet I have long fought the battle to focus on the positive and hopeful rather than the negative and fearful.
Lately, I’ve felt a shift in my thinking as I have started on a path of increased physical activity, and the positive feeds itself. But focusing on how I can excel in the challenges I have set for myself, rather that all the ways I can (and will) fail, definitely leads to more positive action. And the positive action, in turn, feeds the positive thoughts, and so forth. I’m in a good place, and like all times when I am starting to glimpse this place I want to bottle it up so I can access it later. However, I’m definitely also taking time acknowledge the negative emotions that the changes I am making have brought up in me, and am starting to uncover the habitual thoughts that have created deeply seated beliefs about myself and the world. It’s hard work, and often no fun, and leads to things like crying at 1AM in a partner’s arms because I’m exhausted from keeping the demons at bay all day, and them want out. For many many years I have let negative beliefs about myself and my worth dominate my thoughts- and that worship, while slowly being replaced by a more positive focus, has done some damage that needs to be examined and healed.
In terms of the purely physical challenge I have set myself, I’ve been rocking it. As of today, I have used my feet to travel 15 mindful miles in 12 days, and I haven’t moved less than a mile a day yet. I haven’t missed a Monday, and I’ve run a mile at least once every 3 days. This past Thursday I set my fastest mile pace yet (14:03). Today I walked/ran 3.1 miles in 47 minutes 11 seconds. I hadn’t set out to do a 5k, but it happened, and now I have a place to challenge myself from. On days I thought I wouldn’t get in my movement (a 12+ hours day at work, a date planned for the evening, etc.) I’ve, amazingly, figured out ways to make it work. I find it rewarding to keep going, especially knowing that if I stop restarting will be more difficult than “just” getting in that mile at some day at night. It’s a shift in perspective.
And it certainly is catchy. I signed up for a half marathon in September, which feels wildly impractical and crazy on the one hand, and a given certainty on the other. I have found myself having wild thoughts that involve a positive potential for continuing my mindful movement habit. Last night, after reading an article in Mindful magazine about a tai chi practitioner who, as a couch potato, vowed to practice tai chi for 1000 days, I thought- cool! How awesome would it be to mindfully move 1000 miles in 1000 days? And then I thought, who am I, and where did I put Michelle? I woke up still thinking about it, and so I said, ok- it’s a thought I can revisit if I get through the first 365 days. Because, after all, it’s not THAT long until the end of September 2016, which is 1000 days from 1/1/14… There is also something satisfyingly poetic about the idea of mindfully moving a thousand miles (beginning with a single step).
In terms of the data I have been collecting, the numbers on the scale aren’t necessarily where I want them to be. Yesterday I weighed in at the same weight (226.1) that I did on 12/30. My fat% has shifted down a percentage point, even at the same weight, so there is some small progress. I have not shifted my dietary habits the way I need to yet, but I have had conversations with my family about how we can all make this happen. I figure that if I’m establishing one healthy habit right now (daily movement), that it will be easier to establish other healthy habits down the line. I have a lot of goals- for consistent meditation and journaling, healthier more mindful eating, gaining speed and distance with my running- but I know that it won’t all happen overnight. I am changing the focus of my worship- and that takes time, consistency, practice, as well as right thought. And right now, I feel pretty damn good, and confident, that I’m taking each step in the right direction.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been discussing my fitness goals and challenges with my friends and loved ones, and I came to a realization about my motivators. While lessening joint pain, wanting to be able to more easily carry my toddler, getting to a better BMI for potential conception, lowering my blood pressure, etc. etc. are all very worthy motivators for health improvement, they don’t actually work very well for me. When I let my mind wander, when I brainstorm, when I really think about it, what really motivates me the most often feels petty, small, and selfish. Vain, even. When it comes down to it, I’m most motivated by the promise of being able to wear heels for hours with less pain. With the prospect of being able to shop in “normal” clothing stores, and to feel cute in the clothes once they fit. It is the much more “fun” side of weight loss that makes me smile, that makes me want to hit the treadmill harder. While “having more energy for the kids” feels very abstract, fitting back into my red patent leather heels with the open toe is very concrete- and also wicked fun and compelling for me. I’m a femme- so much of my identity- my power- comes from my femininity and the fun of playing “dress-up”. I’ve gotten more and more out of touch with this side of myself in the past few years, and I think that getting back in touch might be key to my success in 2014. Because, in the end, results are results. If being motivated by the prospect of a cute dress motivates me to lose 10 lbs, and the side effect is my blood pressure decreases? Score.
And because I’ve never been a fan of delayed gratification, I’ve decided to allow myself a small treat for ever 5 lbs I lose at WW (like a magazine or new lipstick) and a bigger treat for every 10 lbs (a pair of earrings or an article of clothing). I’ll be sharing that progress here as well.
While I’m still struggling to accept the fact that my brain and heart get more excited about a wardrobe makeover than about a better doctor’s checkup, I’m going to embrace it with my first challenge for 2013, which I’m calling Operation Blonde. For Operation Blonde, my challenge is to reach a weight below 190 lbs (my lowest point last time I saddled up for this rodeo!). Once I weigh in below 190 consistently for 3 days, I get to make an appointment with my stylist to dye my hair blonde. It’s something I’ve never had done professionally (I’ve gone red multiple times) but I’ve always wanted to do. This challenge would mean losing 35+ lbs. I would like to achieve this in 2014 but, as I have no clue what my abilities will be to lose weight in the land of Hashimoto will be, I’m not setting a timed goal. It’s a when goal, not a by-this-time goal. When I came up with this idea, I actually giggled, which tells me it hits exactly the right button for me- fun, not needful (if I never dye my hair blonde, it won’t matter), and something that I’ve wanted for a while.
My other big challenge for 2014 is the “100 days of (s)miles in 2014” challenge put on by ilovetorun.org. (https://www.facebook.com/events/229147473930080/) The main challenge is to: 1.Run 100 miles in 2014. 2.Never go 3 days without running. 3.Run at least 3 days a week. and 4.Never miss a Monday. I think that this is a doable challenge for me- I can run a mile comfortably in 15-17 minutes currently, which is very doable 3 times a week. I especially like the “never miss a Monday” part of the challenge, as it helps set a good tone for the week.
I have 3 other running related challenges for 2014:
1. I’d like to meet a 365 miles in 365 days challenge. Unlike the 100 Days challenge, these miles can be run or walked, but they must be mindful movement, and it must be measured/logged in some way. Today when I was discussing this the idea of a photo shoot as a reward came up, and I had the same giddy response as I did to the dyeing my hair idea. For now, no set reward, just a general challenge.
2. I’m also going to track how many days in a row I can go walking/running at least a mile. Once I break that streak, I’ll set myself a challenge for the next streak.
3. I’d like to beat my previous 5K record time of 42:00 at the 2012 Red Dress Run in Hartford. I’d like to beat my time by 2 mins, 1 second or more to get to a 5K time under 40 minutes.
I have other plans for my health that I’m not setting specific goals for, which include:
*redeveloping a Meditation/Journaling/Stretching routine in the morning and before bed
*getting back into DDP Yoga and/or other yoga
*trying Weight Watchers Simply Filling technique
*developing methods to track my progress, including using photos, a measurement log, and data from the Fitbit Force I ordered for myself.
I also hope to document more of my journey here, because I find blogging to be helpful for accountability as well as documentation. I love reading about others journeys, and I hope that if you choose to follow along you find something useful in mine!
It’s been a difficult few months, adjusting to life with a new little one in the house. It’s been especially difficult to adjust to life with both a toddler and a newborn. Even with four parents and a grandma living with us, it’s difficult to work full-time jobs, take care of the kids and house, and have time to take care of ourselves too. Like all adjustments, it takes time to adjust to change. We had a good start with the DDP Yoga program in late Oct/early Nov, but we were overly ambitious in our abilities to adjust our family’s growth AND the holidays AND creating new healthy habits. I am happy to say that I have made some pretty great choices during the past couple of months, but I am definitely looking forward to the end of the holiday season this week and the start of 2014 so that our social/family calendar is a bit slower. Having had somewhat of an adjustment to having 2 kids, we’re all ready to get back on the path to better health together, and to make that a family priority in the new year.
2013 was a year of great change for our family, with the new baby, Grandma moving in, and Mike going from being our stay-at-home dad to working full time. Healthwise, things have been less than stellar. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s this year, went through another really tough bout of Lyme Disease in late spring, and have dealt with continued fertility issues as well as flareups of my recurring depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. I’m lucky to have a wonderful therapist to support me through all this, as well as a fantastic network of family, friends, and advisors. I can definitively say that having a much less negatively eventful year, healthwise, in 2014 would be a blessing!
The diagnosis of Hashimoto’s was a big a-ha for me. Knowing that the condition (which the endo could pinpoint I’ve had since at least 2008, and probably earlier) is a form of autoimmune hypothyroid that can have a big effect of weight and weight loss helps me better understand what I have been up against the past few years. I was in the low 190s in June 2012, down from a high in the mid 230s in the year prior when I was diagnosed with Lyme for the first time, but by the end of 2012 I was back up to 215 lbs, and over the course of 2013, with a few peaks and valleys, I have gained back another 10 lbs to put me squarely back in the territory of 225 lbs. I really don’t want to be back up to 235 in 2014. My body is incredibly uncomfortable to live in at this weight. When I was 35-40 lbs lighter I suffered a lot less joint pain and general discomfort.
It wasn’t just the decreased weight that helped me feel better- it was also cleaner eating, less stress, and regular mindful movement through running and yoga. It’s really easy to for me to use the busy of my life as an excuse not to take care of my self. In order to take care of those I love, I need to take care of myself. And so, in 2014, I am making it a point to remember that I am worth it. My friend Tara “tricked” me into saying a variation on this idea recently- that I am worth the effort- and it struck me as incredibly important. I am worthy of my time, my energy, my focus.
Combining this with my theme from a few years ago- excellence, not perfection- I ask myself, what excellent choices can I make in 2014? How should I focus my time, my energy, and my resources? Next comes the planning.
(Psst… YOU are worth it, too! What are YOU going to do to make 2014 an excellent year?)