A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Managing your energy

Last night, I went to bed at 8:15 pm. I was probably asleep before Oliver. I blame the state of politics in the US as I stayed up far too late on Tuesday night watching CNN. When I was younger (and pre-lupus), I could have a night with 6 hours of sleep and do just fine the next day. Those days are long gone. These days, if I get too little sleep or push too hard, I feel it in whole new ways. One of the more annoying quirks I’ve developed since the lupus started is dizziness on days I’ve done too much. Yesterday, I was having dizziness enough that I had to close my eyes to stop the spinning when I did something as simple as turning my head to look at Oliver at dinner. I definitely get much more profound “You’re DONE” reminders than I used to.

Managing your energy levels is important for all of us, not just those of with autoimmune stuff. We all have times of day when our energy is good and times it isn’t. Learning your own patterns so you can take advantage of them can be hugely helpful in making lifestyle changes. I think of energy like money: we’ve only got so much, so spend it on things that matter most. Side note: Would that make coffee like a credit card since it lets me stretch a little farther than I should? Hmm . . . . .

 

For me, I know that my energy is best in the morning and particularly on weekend mornings. Makes sense, right? I get myself into trouble when I forget that though.

– If I don’t get my workout done in the morning, odds are good I’m going to come up with some excuse to skip or force myself through a miserable workout.

There are other perks to working out in the morning too - gorgeous sunrises!

There are other perks to working out in the morning too – gorgeous sunrises!

– I do my meal planning and grocery shopping on Saturday morning, because that’s when I feel the freshest and most optimistic. Optimism is key for me in making good choices, it turns out. 🙂 If I can take advantage of that weekend morning energy to fill my house with healthy foods, it makes it easier to avoid the kind of things I buy for dinner if I’m stuck doing it on Monday evening after work. Ugh. Let’s just say that after an after-work trip to Costco this week, frozen burritos and frozen buffalo chicken egg rolls may have made their way into my basket . . . .

– I do my meal prep on Sunday mornings, when it is quiet and peaceful and I’m in a good spot mentally to prepare for the week. The later I wait in the day, the more likely I am to skip the prep and let those healthy foods go to waste in the fridge.

Big wins any time I can prep lunches ahead of time for the week!

Big wins any time I can prep lunches ahead of time for the week!

When we try to do the “good stuff” when we’re tired (physically or mentally), it makes what is already a sort-of-difficult choice that much harder. If you can’t take advantage of your naturally high energy times because of job or parenting or other needs (because diet and exercise aren’t the only things worthy of our energy, I know), it’s worth thinking of ways you can work around that. I know that nowadays I’m a lot more wiped out by big efforts in the mornings. I may have a great long run at 6 am Saturday, but by 1 pm I’m a zombie. That never used to happen – thanks lupus – but now that I’m aware of it, I try to take naps in the afternoon at the same time Oliver does so that I’m in better shape for my family and other important tasks later in the day.

Like everything else with lifestyle changes, everyone is different, so it’s worth looking into what will work best for you.While I went to sleep at 8:15, I was up at 5:30 am and out to run this morning feeling springy and smiley. Mornings are clearly my time. Learning your own patterns and when you’ve got the most energy can definitely make it easier to make good choices.

Do you notice it’s easier to get certain healthy tasks done at certain times of the day? Weirdly for work stuff, I get a surge of productivity at 4 pm. I have to set an alarm for 5:30 so I can be sure I leave in time to get O before daycare closes!
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Making the next good choice . . .

You know the world sometimes likes to laugh at you? Like when you write a blog post about how your diet is generally pretty good and here’s my food diary if you want to see it and blah blah like I did yesterday? And then you proceed to have a day of DEFINITELY not optimal food choices. The universe likes to laugh at us. Or me at least. I’m good with that. 😉

I’m in Memphis for work this week. My flight from Omaha yesterday was at 5:13 am, which means I left my house at 3:30 am and woke up even earlier than that. Of course, because I was worried I’d oversleep and miss my flight, I slept horribly. I headed into the world of travel and temptation on a few hours of fractured sleep and hoped for the best. In the old days, I’d use that as an excuse to eat thousands upon thousands of calories. I’d get a frou frou coffee drink before the first flight because I’d earned it by getting up early, and a pastry of course. I’d get breakfast again between the two flights in Chicago because I was tired and needed the energy and hey, expense report! I’d buy candy bars and other snacks for the plane and end up eating a couple of days of calories all before noon.

Do you ever have the experience that you feel like you’ve seen your old self? I had that experience as I walked past some generic restaurant in O’Hare yesterday and realized that a few years ago, I’d be sitting in there in the midst of the food I described above. It’s good to be reminded how far we’ve come.

I didn’t go the food fest route entirely. Yes, I had a cookie on my first flight, but then I restocked with healthy snacks so I was better prepared for the rest of my flight. I know being sleepy makes me hungry, so having good choices to feed that hunger is definitely the better. I thought I was doing okay.

Then I got to Memphis, exhausted and with no hotel room yet because it was too early. That meant who knew if I’d be able to get to my workout gear to do my 8 mile run that afternoon like I’d planned and thus, I made the mistake of asking the lovely lady at the check in desk what she’d recommend for lunch. She suggested a place with the charming name of the Blues City Cafe and the fried catfish. I traipsed off to that cafe and proceeded to get gumbo (yummy but not as spicy as they proclaimed), fried catfish and fries. Don’t get me wrong – it was good, but emotionally I regretted it halfway through eating (yes I kept eating after the bad feeling started), with tinges of that binge-colored shame. Gastrointestinally, I seriously regretted it for the rest of the day.
Blues city cafe
How could I have handled this better? I would have been perfectly satisfied with the indulgence of the little cup of gumbo and then made a healthier choice thereafter. Making good choices doesn’t mean that you have to say NO to everything – just make the things you indulge on worth it.

I’ll confess that at this point I was tempted to toss the whole healthy eating thing out the window and just spend the weekend in Memphis indulging (this was before my stomach tried to kill me – ugh!). I was already worried about how I was going to stick to my plan to avoid night shade plants since almost everything here has some kind of paprika or peppers in it. Might as well just not worry about it and start over on Monday? We always love Monday.

You don’t have to wait until Monday. You don’t have to wait until the right moment or the easier moment because frankly, it may never come. Pick the NEXT moment and make the best choice you can when it gets there. For me, that meant taking a nap for an hour and a half when my room was ready, because my fatigue was feeding my bad choices. I woke up and hit the treadmill for my run. It was lovely weather, but I was still tired and it is so important that you’re alert and paying attention when you run alone in a new city. I couldn’t pay enough attention to be safe outside in Memphis, so treadmill it was. I set up Captain America: The Winter Soldier and took it a quarter mile at a time until I was done with all 8 miles (around 13:30 pace). So glad I had Cap and the people watching down below me to keep me entertained!
View of the Gibson factory

That nap and that run were definitely the next best choices. Not only did the run get me out of my calorie hole (a minor perk, but a perk), it set my brain back on a path to make the best choices I can for the rest of the trip. Best choices will be relative, because I have to contend with conference food and lots of sitting, but now I feel like I can do it.

You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to let a bad choice or even a string of bad choices derail you completely. You don’t have to wait until Monday or any other magical time to stop, pick yourself up and do better. Any time is the right time. It doesn’t have to be a perfect choice, just make the next best choice.

 

 

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Prioritizing

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m re-evaluating a lot of things on my to do list as I prepare to take on this new opportunity at work. There is really nothing hasn’t been on the table as I’ve considered my priorities in my life.

Running? Keep. Running helps my mental well being and really seems to help my lupus. It’s also the most satisfying form of exercise I do and exercise is important for my overall health. Unfortunately, I know myself well enough to know that I won’t really get out to run if I don’t have a race to train for, so I’ll also keep races on the to do list. That’s not really a burden. I enjoy races. It does mean, however, that at least until I get my new work load into balance, I won’t be stressing about time goals or anything like that. I’m just in it for the fun of it and to keep moving.

New shoes to start 2016 off right!

New shoes to start 2016 off right!

Tracking food? Keep. I surprised myself by how much time I had to give to deciding whether or not this stays or goes from my life list. I call this “tracking food” to make a concise heading, but what I’m really talking about is the mental energy that goes towards thinking about good food choices and my relationship with food. The tracking piece actually makes those choices a little easier, weirdly. I could free up some space in my brain if I just stopped worrying about how I was eating and maintaining my weight for a while. I’d probably regain another 10 pounds or so, but that really isn’t the end of the world. However, my career trajectory is such that there is never going to be a time that is “easier” or less busy or when I don’t have things I’d rather think about that making a good food choice or what the scale will say today. If there’s never a good time, it might as well be any time and all the time, right? It’ll keep getting easier and requiring less mental energy the longer I practice (I hope). We’ve all heard the saying that if you wait for the perfect time, you’ll never do anything and that definitely applies here. I also know that stress contributed to my weight gain in the first place, so I certainly don’t want to end up there again. I’m better in terms of my relationship with food, my use of running as a stress reliever rather than pizza and less binge eating, but the urges are still there and better is not the same as good. Thus, I’ll keep my food and maintenance on my radar, although I will try not to worry so actively about it other than maintaining where I am now.

Taking time for me? Keep. It’s easy to let the little moments of self care slide but they are even more important now. I’m currently working on reading a book for 5 minutes day. It’s a small but mighty thing I’m enjoying greatly.

Blogging? Keep, but tweak a bit. One thing I’ve taken a long look at is how I use this space. I don’t have a social media empire. I don’t seek out ads or review opportunities or anything to promote this blog because that’s not why I started it. Way back in summer 2013 (wow!), I started this as a place to keep myself accountable and to talk about all that I was learning about running and weight maintenance so I stopped bugging my husband with all of those thoughts. It still serves as a wonderful place for my introverted brain to process thoughts (like these today!) on keeping balance in my life, working a training plan, other running adventures and my relationship with food and my weight. I’ve found wonderful support from all of you in my little invisible army and made lovely friends that have enriched my life immeasurably. I’m also grateful of the chance to help other people by sharing my story and know how helpful these stories were when I was looking for other people “like me.” Overall, writing here is good for my spirit. I am going to drop my Friday posting though. While I like sharing the articles I find interesting through the week, I can do that more easily through the blog’s Facebook page rather than taking the time to write that Friday post. Follow along over there for all of that kind of stuff throughout the week. Otherwise, I’ll keep up my Monday – Thursday rambling here.

I’m looking at the things I say yes to at work very closely too, as that’s where my biggest prioritization is going to be needed to get more out of my work day without bringing too many things home. It goes without saying that Darrell and Oliver are my number one priority and I don’t want anything I do at work to impinge on my family life any more than it already does. I tend to say yes to everything at work in an effort to be nice and I’ve got to be more discriminating. I’ve outlined my work priorities on the big white board in my office and promised myself (and my mentor) that I’d look at that list when I’m fielding new requests. If it doesn’t fit that priority list, I need to let that opportunity go to someone else. Fortunately, #4 on that list is fostering trainees and junior faculty in their career development, so by saying no to some things I’m offered, I can pass that opportunity on to them so that they get the experience to build their own careers. Win-win!

On a lighter note, sorry to Darrell’s office, but I’ll be cutting back on the delivery of baked goods. Because my work schedule is more erratic than Darrell’s, in terms of call and travel and 7 am meetings, he does a lot of adjusting to accommodate my job. It still boggles the minds of his very Southern traditional family (and I suspect mine too, no matter how proud they may be of me) that my career is the primary driver in our family schedules and even in where we live. Somehow, I got it into my head that I needed to do traditionally “wifely” things to make up for this (I know – stupid and sexist) and so I was sending a homemade baked good to Darrell’s office most weeks. I’m a good baker and I enjoy it, but it has turned into something on the to do list that hangs over me instead of something I do for fun. This week someone asked Darrell if our marriage was okay since they hadn’t gotten a baked good in several weeks! Clearly I’ve spoiled these guys. I enjoy baking and am happy to do when I feel like it, but sorry guys – this is going off of the “to do” list every weekend!

image

They love getting to taste the fruits of my baking labor at Darrell’s job.

How do you decide what your priorities are in life? How do you say no to the things that don’t fit that list? In the next year, I’m going to have to practice my “no” muscle quite a bit I suspect.

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Friday Favorites: Looking up a bit . . .

It is Friday (finally!) and I’m breathing a little easier today. Thanks for your kind comments yesterday. Having a plan, having that exam behind me (fingers crossed I passed it!) and having a weekend ahead of me without anything huge looming all have me feeling a little brighter today. I got through last night’s snackfest meeting with only one regrettable choice, which makes me feel a lot better about heading into tonight’s Christmas party. I’m also planning on treating myself to a nice hour of running tomorrow, which I am definitely looking forward to. When did I become that person? With my cough, I may not go far or fast but I’m gifting that time to myself anyway.

Speaking of gifting, today I am re-gifting some of Oliver’s old toys to a neighborhood in home daycare. While O is theoretically on board with this plan, he’s four and there may be drama if someone came to our house to take his toys, so I decided to load them up to deliver them today. One of the toys we’re donating is a plush Superman that says appropriately comic-book-y things when you touch him, like “Time for a superhero team up!” and “I’ll use my heat vision” and boom, pow, etc. That thing has talked the ENTIRE time I’ve been in the car today because it’s very sensitive to vibration apparently. I’m ready to throw it out on the side of the road. Thank goodness I’m not a litterer.

I've definitely got to get this car full of toys delivered before I go meet O for a cookie decorating party at 3!

I’ve definitely got to get this car full of toys delivered before I go meet O for a cookie decorating party at 3!

This week, I saw a great post on Avoiding food guilt during the holidays that included a lot of tips from the Sweat Pink community that I’d highly recommend checking out. I love the quote at the top of the post “Because guilt is stupid and food is delicious.” Absolutely! I also liked the tip about only eating homemade treats – because those are the most unique and “worth it” – and adjusting your focus toward counting your blessings instead of your calories.  I confess, I also ADORE Christine’s approach to the season here. 🙂

I get emails with articles from my gym, Lifetime Fitness, and almost never share them because some of their advice tends toward the not-evidence-supported end of the spectrum and my scientist brain HATES that stuff when it is presented as fact. However, this week I got an article about reasons we regain weight and it included refreshingly little wack-a-doo with some good things to think about. I did a good job addressing a long term plan for healthy eating and setting new non-weight loss goals while I lost weight, but I definitely fall short in the stress management part of the equation. I also like the advice about re-evaluating your why, because that definitely changes over time. My “whys” for losing weight weren’t necessarily the same as my “whys” for maintaining and that’s definitely something I’ll be re-evaluating again as I head into the new year.

Speaking of the new year, I think I’ve found one of my goals for the 2016. I very strongly identify as a reader and most people who know me would say the same. However, I’ve gotta confess that since having a kid (yes, this is totally his fault – for once something that isn’t my job’s fault!) my time to read has gone out the window. I read blogs and articles on my phone scattered through my day but the time to actually sit and absorb a book – that rarely happens now. I saw this post of 21 books from the last 5 years that every woman should read and realized I’ve only finished 2 of those. Can you guess which ones? I’ve started several others, but they are amidst the giant stack of books on my bedside table and cluttering my Kindle that I’ve never gotten around to reading. In my need to be kind to myself, giving myself more time to read would be a great gift. We’ll be realistic and say that I’ll finish at least 10 of these (not counting the two I’ve already read!) in 2016 and that audiobooks while I run totally count!

 

I promise myself I'll get to this stack over the break!

I promise myself I’ll get to this stack over the break!

PS Speaking of reading, check out this free downloadable collection of stories “You can do hard things.”

This afternoon we’re going to attempt a Santa visit. Cross your fingers for me! At 4, O is still wary of Santa. His stranger anxiety has always beaten out any joy of Christmas when it comes to meeting Santa and we’ve never had a particularly pleasant encounter. Maybe this is the year? O has asked to go today so fingers crossed it will go well! The window of Santa magic is small and seems to be getting smaller, so I want to soak it up. Confession time: While I acknowledge that for me, my parents were Santa and that for Oliver, I’m Santa, a part of me still believes or maybe just hopes that Santa is real for those who need him. Does that make me nuts? Maybe don’t answer that . . .

Have a great weekend! Be careful maneuvering parking lots and streets – things always get nuts this close to Christmas!
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An update after the rheumatologist . . .

Thanks to all of your for your kind words and thoughts yesterday. Things went fairly well at the rheumatologist’s office. I got to laugh at myself answering the question “Have you fallen in the last year?” on the intake form – Of course! But that has everything to do with me being a klutz and not the arthritis. 🙂

Thankfully, they didn't make me wear a gown.

Thankfully, they didn’t make me wear a gown.

I also got to laugh myself when I got rescued by the nurses before I accidentally walked into the wrong room returning from a restroom break. I didn’t faint when I saw the number on the scale (although that scale stinks – there’s no way that number was right). All good things.

Most importantly, I got some information. They think I’m on the lupus spectrum (and spent a while talking about how we don’t really have a good test for lupus so it is hard to ever say anything more definitive than that unless you have biopsy proven kidney disease – gotta love academic types! Totally speaking my language!) but I’m on the milder end. As he put it, this will be annoying but I’ll probably die from something else. Good, right?

I got major kudos from the fellow (a doctor training to be a rheumatologist) for being a very good historian and she laughed a little as she asked me what other symptoms I’d blamed on the stress of my job and being a mom. It turns out, a lot of little things that have been going on this year like fatigue, hair loss and mouth sores are actually lupus symptoms, not just getting old and stressed. My husband was especially excited because my super cold hands are likely part of this too. They seriously radiate cold lately – we just assumed it was the weight loss.

The part I found most intriguing is that they think my lymph node back in November that got me admitted was actually the first big flare of this, a rare phenomena called Kikuchi syndrome. Gotta love being rare and special right? That episode has always bothered me because it was so odd. I’m sort of relieved to know that there’s an explanation for it.

So what are we doing about all of this? First and most importantly, I feel a lot of relief just KNOWING. Knowing I’m not nuts and knowing that there’s a name for what has been going on. That means we can treat it and who knows how I’m going to feel once we start that? I’ve assumed that being tired and achy was just getting old. I’m only 37 – that’s not old, it turns out. Maybe I’ll get to feel a little younger again. That would be lovely. At this point, I’d settle for the arthritis settling down. Everything else I can handle.

They’ve put me on medication, which I will likely take for the rest of my life. That’s okay. It’ll take a couple of months to see if it works or we need to try something else, so this will be a definite test of my patience. In the meantime, I’ll keep taking the arthritis medication I’ve been on. I need to work a lot harder at drinking water while I’m on the arthritis meds as they can have kidney side effects, especially if I get dehydrated running.

I filled my 32 oz water bottle as soon as I got to work and promise to refill it at least twice more today!

I filled my 32 oz water bottle as soon as I got to work and promise to refill it at least twice more today!

I get to keep running! Even more importantly, they WANT me to keep running because it will help. I’ll confess that when I first thought this was rheumatoid arthritis, a HUGE worry was that I wouldn’t be able to run as much if at all because that can be much more joint destructive. I’ll also keep my focus on healthy foods. I need to work on getting more sleep and managing stress better. Looks like the yoga and meditation that are always on the back burner of things I need to work on incorporating in my life need to come to the forefront. Today I read this article on SparkPeople about “8 ways to put yourself on your priority list” that I definitely need to start actively working on.

 

Sunscreen is also going to be key. Not only can I get weird lesions from sun exposure (already have some of those this summer unfortunately), but the sun exposure can trigger my other disease symptoms.

All in all, I’ll be okay. I have a plan and can move forward. I’m fortunate in that some of the most well-respected rheumatologists in the country are here in Omaha at the University. I’m in very good hands. For my whole little family, this has made us pause and both appreciate what we have and re-evaluate how well we’re doing in taking care of what we have. I’m so blessed and have to remember that.

This also means I’m not going to set any time goals for my remaining races this year. I don’t want to stress myself out and beat myself over failing to meet time goals in my races (well, really the Des Moines half marathon – the only race I had a real time goal for in the remainder of this year) when my body is clearly doing other things these days. I still want to stick with my training plan – although in full disclosure I was NOT in the mental space to speed work Tuesday evening because I was stressed about the doctor’s visit and didn’t do my tempo run today because Oliver asked me to stay in to talk with him instead of running in the storm. I think getting through this training plan with its increased mileage is going to be good for my sanity and its own kind of achievement this year, as this is a lot more running than I’ve ever done in a training cycle. However, I’m going to treat my race as a victory lap to celebrate getting through a rough summer and the fact that I’m hopefully feeling better if the meds have kicked in by then.

I apparently make stellar scrambled eggs :) He was right about staying in instead of running - the hail started a few minutes after I took this photo!

I apparently make stellar scrambled eggs 🙂 He was right about staying in instead of running – the hail started a few minutes after I took this photo!

Thanks to all of you for your support and your kindness! Having this community has been really helpful as I’ve struggled with these symptoms and the binge-temptations brought on by the stress I’ve had this summer. You guys rock!

PS This is all just my experience, not medical advice. Definitely seek out medical care if you having any concerning symptoms of your own!

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Friday Favorites: A motley crew

Anybody else have hair band rock now in their heads?

I have a really motley assortment of favorite reads this week and apparently a lot to say about them all! A little behind the scenes of this particular regularly-scheduled post: I keep the draft open all week and link the articles I like, along with my thoughts on them, as I go through the week and am frequently surprised by either a totally unintentional theme that emerges or how absolutely unrelated they are! In addition to trying to come up with something to tie all of these random thoughts together, I also have to go edit and take out all of the “I like this . . . ” because that gets boring to read over and over. 🙂 My favorite part is looking through the random photos on my phone from the week to stick in as well.

Gorgeous clouds after our morning thunderstorm!

Gorgeous clouds after our morning thunderstorm!

Jennifer, over at Running on Lentils, has been doing a great series on the Hanson’s Method over the last month or so that you should definitely check out. While I’m incorporating a lot of the principles from that book into my training plan, I wasn’t brave enough to tackle it in its entirety but she is. She’s a rock star! I love the overview she’s giving of the different types of runs in the plan, from Easy to Tempo to Speed Work, which are a great introduction to the concepts of those types of runs in general and to the Hanson’s twist on them in particular. This week’s post on speed work includes links to her prior posts on tempo and easy runs. Definitely check it out! I’d also recommend checking out her recent post on her approach to vegan eating. While I’m not vegan, I am working on less meat in our family’s diet for many of the reasons she cites here in terms of health, environmental impact and industrial practices in raising animals for food. It’s a really rational, interesting discussion of a complicated issue and I highly recommend checking it out.

Another random photo from my week: My non-crafty mom attempt at a dinosaur outfit for dress up day at preschool this week. Not to bad for something we had to work around swim day clothes as well! I promise O colored the eyes.

Another random photo from my week: My non-crafty mom attempt at a dinosaur outfit for dress up day at preschool this week. Not to bad for something we had to work around swim day clothes as well! I promise O colored the eyes.

I really liked this post from Livestrong this week, with Gabby Reece’s 8 Tips for Living a Balanced Life. I was particularly intrigued by the mindset of addressing your worst habit. Tackling one problem at a time is so much less overwhelming and helps avoid the mindset of “I’m not doing anything right.” I may try that on days where I feel like I’m struggling. I also absolutely agree that there’s no way to have it all. We have to think about our priorities and choose what gets our focus in any given moment. That may change from moment to moment and we have to forgive ourselves for the fact that we have to make tough choices some days.

I mentioned yesterday that I have a friend who is starting to run (Yay Kallie!) and one of the things she and I have discussed is how running goes from being fun to not fun within any given run (SO true) and how you feel after you’ve finished the run. I run for a lot of reasons, but I don’t often think of “fun” as one of them – certainly not at 5 am when the alarm clock goes off. Talking to Kallie reminding me of the euphoria of those first run intervals, in that “holy cow I’m really doing this!” sense. I definitely feel that some days and I almost always derive a huge sense of satisfaction from finishing a run and tackling a big training plan. I’m doing this weekend’s 6 mile as a local 10K, knowing I’ll likely have my first last-in-age group finish based on prior year’s times for this run, just because races are fun. With that in mind this week, I found Jessica’s post about Was It Ever Fun? really thought provoking. It’s important to evaluate our fitness of choice periodically to see if we’re still getting what we need out of it, not just in physical fitness or calorie burning (because you can get those lots of ways), but in terms of joy and satisfaction and sanity. There are lots of ways to move and be active and if you can find one that truly brings you joy, you’re much more likely to stick with it. As I’m slogging through summer runs, with slow paces and huge efforts thanks to the heat and humidity, I was especially struck by her last comment: “I need to let go of the part of me that is attached to outcomes.” Keeping the joy in mind, regardless of the “grade” we get on a particular workout, is such an important goal.

Did you guys see the news that the NFL now has a female coach? As a football lover (I am Southern after all), I think this is very exciting news. As someone who works in a field without many women in the upper echelons of power, I also really appreciate the fact that now she can serve as a role model for other women considering that career path. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping other younger women find a way to be successful. I also like the part about the cheerleaders helping with her hair. We hear so much about women being catty and evil to each other, so that kind of support is cool.

For our usual dose of smiles and cuteness, check out this post “If Disney Princesses Were Moms“. I’m a little gratified to see that Ariel grew up to see the error of her ways. 🙂

This weekend, I’ll be running a local 10K since I had a 6 mile run on the schedule for Sunday anyway – when did I become someone who signs up for last minute races “just because?” I also have a girl’s night tonight to see the movie Trainwreck. Wish my socially awkward / introverted self luck with that since this is a new thing and newish bunch of girls for me! Stepping outside of my comfort zone is good for me, right?

Have a great weekend!

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I’m trying . . .

Today is a crazy busy day. I have a huge grant due at work on Monday. Ideally, it would have been finished on my end today. Instead, my week got derailed by a sick kid (who is thankfully getting better) and extra days at home.

Introducing him to the wonders of Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers so I could do some work - gotta do what you gotta do.

Introducing him to the wonders of Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers so I could do some work – gotta do what you gotta do.

Today, I had to take him up to the hospital for labs (he was such a tough guy!), back to preschool and then I took myself to work to frantically work for a few hours and try to incorporate a colleague’s last minute edits of the grant into my most recent draft. At 2:15, when my alarm went off to remind to leave so I could get to O’s fourth of July parade at school, I was struggling with getting the grant within the page limits thanks to the new edits. I ended up leaving late, still not done, but struggling to keep my promise to my kid.

Naturally, despite speeding across town in the rain, I showed up after the parade was over. 😦

Wasn't he a cute Captain America though?

Wasn’t he a cute Captain America though?

O seems happy that I just made the effort and not scarred by the fact that I didn’t actually watch him walk around the parking lot, but I feel like the gum on the underside of the table. This afternoon I failed both the work (because I didn’t get everything finished before I left) and the mom part of working mom.

I’m reminding myself right now that I’m trying. With all of this, every day, I’m trying. That trying at the moment looks like resisting my free birthday pastry at Panera (where I stopped to try to work for a few minutes before next appointment – thanks WiFi! – and finish up the grant) and instead, choosing hazelnut coffee and yogurt.

I only used a fraction of the granola that comes with the yogurt parfait too - bonus points for will power, right?

I only used a fraction of the granola that comes with the yogurt parfait too – bonus points for will power, right?

I’m trying and that’s good enough. Whew. I just need to say that to myself about a million more times and I’ll believe it, right?

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these blogger awards and it seems like the perfect little bit of fun to distract us from the onset of the hot days of summer, right? Thanks to the lovely Deborah at TalkingtoMyWeightLossCounselor for nominating me!

Sisterhood of the world blogger awardWith this award comes an assignment: answer the questions,  and pass this award on to others, so let’s get started.

1. In one word, how would you like your readers to describe your blog? Honest

2. Which is your most favorite among your blog posts? Why?

My favorite is still my recap of the Princess Half Marathon (here and here) because every time I re-read them, I am struck again by how happy I look in those pictures and the memories of the enormity of that experience, with proving to myself that I was capable of this huge thing. I re-read it any time I’m feeling discouraged with my running.

3. What, who inspires most of your blog posts?

Oliver inspires a lot of my writing, in that I constantly have him in the back of my mind (and sometimes the front of my mind) as a motivation in maintaining my health and fitness, both so I can be there for him and so that I can be a good role model for him. In writing things here, I find myself working through mentally that I want to explain to him and teach to him so that he grows up with a healthier relationship with food and himself than I did (although I know I can’t completely control that).

I cannot believe how tall my baby is getting.

I cannot believe how tall my baby is getting.

4. What do you aspire to accomplish this year?

If I end each week, each month or even just the year feeling like I did my best to live my life in alignment with my priorities (I envision little “islands of personality” like they had in Inside Out for my marriage, my mothering, my career, my health), I will have accomplished all I need this year.

InsideOut was fantastic! O thought it was funny and I cried - Pixar is good at striking that balance.

InsideOut was fantastic! O thought it was funny and I cried – Pixar is good at striking that balance.

5. What do you aspire to learn this year?

I want to learn to make homemade pasta. I’ve had the attachment for my stand mixer for a couple of years now and never used it.

6.What is your most favorite book? Why?

That’s like asking someone who their favorite child is! Instead, I’ll say that the books I re-read the most are the Anne of Green Gables series and the David Eddings Sparhawk books (The Elenium, The Tamuli). They are definite comfort reading. 🙂 I love so many different books it’s hard to pick a favorite because they’re all my favorite in different ways.

7. What’s the most courageous thing you  have ever done?

I struggled a lot with this one because I don’t feel like I’m a person who is called on to be courageous in my life. On deeper reflection, though, I realized being courageous isn’t just facing down literal lions. My most courageous acts were A) stepping out of the car on the first date I went on when I signed up for eHarmony years ago. I’d let my social life and really all of my personal needs fall to the wayside during graduate school and had to make the commitment to myself (difficult with my combo of social anxiety and self-doubt associated with my weight) to make the effort to meet people. Getting out of the car was terrifying! That date wasn’t Darrell, but the next one was so it was totally worth it. 🙂 And B) admitting to Darrell on July 4, 2012 that it was time to do something about my weight. Opening up to him, making him throw away that birthday cake and walking in to Weight Watchers the next day to get help was its own kind of courage.

8. If you could be a superhero, what would be your superpower?

Twenty years ago (at least!) I read a fantasy novel called Spellfire and the heroine could shoot this magical fire out of her hands (and eyes and anywhere she wanted when motivated) that could burn through anything but could also be used to heal things. It was not a particularly well written book nor is Shandril a particularly strong heroine but that is the superpower that has stuck with me and frequently features in dreams I have in which I have a superpower. 🙂

Have I outed myself as enough of a geek in this post?

Have I outed myself as enough of a geek in this post?

9. Who is your female role model?

This one is tough because I have several. Right now, my biggest role models are some of my fellow professional working moms because they offer a lot the skills I need to emulate to make this particular phase of my life work, but honestly, I find role models in so many women because we all have so much to offer and to learn from each other. Except maybe the poor women in Jurassic World. We’re watching it this weekend (yay for date night!) and I’m braced for what I’ve heard are really disappointing depictions of women.

Rules of the award:

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you and post a link to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your site.
  • Answer the same questions above.
  • Nominate seven blogs.

I’m going to highlight some of the fantastic blogs from the members of my Lovely Ladies Losing It Facebook group, who I’ve raved about here before. They are a seriously wonderful, fun, supportive, wise group of women and if you don’t already read their blogs, you should!

1. Desiree Finding the Skinny Geek Within

2. Tiina One Crazy Penguin

3. Meg Running Just As Fast As She Can

4. Christina Love Yourself Healthy

5. Anna Losing My Puppy

6. Winter Ain’t No Drama Mama

7. Mary Runs to Get Waisted

What would your super power be if you could pick one? It does entertain me that spellfire has stuck with me for so long since I first read that book in high school (yikes – 20 years ago!) and haven’t read it in at least 7-8 years.

 

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Friday Favorites: Crazy week!

This week has been all discombobulated thanks to our travel delays! Having a stressful start to the week just got us all out of our routine. We forgot Oliver’s backpack on Wednesday, meaning Darrell was late to work, and then we nearly forgot water day yesterday and had to rush back to get him dressed appropriately for that. I forgot the power cord for my laptop today and am debating heading home to get it or making due with the desktop today (I think I’ll be okay). Needless to say, I haven’t gotten much done on the workout front this week or in housekeeping or anything else. I’m sort of glad it’s already Friday and we have a weekend to reset.

Can I say how much it warmed my heart to have O pick "Pretty" and "Healthy" as the characters he wanted on my bookmark at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis?

Can I say how much it warmed my heart to have O pick “Pretty” and “Healthy” as the characters he wanted on my bookmark at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis?

I’ve recently discovered a new-to-me blog, Love Yourself Healthy, written by the lovely Christina. Christina is a fellow recovering binge eater in addition to being an all-around fabulous person and her post “On Mindfulness” last week was EXACTLY what I needed to read. I’m in one of those up-swings of professional stress (those come more often the more I “succeed” – Grrr) and finding it hard to stay centered, especially with the travel crazies this week. I’ve re-read this post over and over. If you need a reminder of how to get grounded and how powerful it can be, I highly encourage you to check this out.

If what you need today is a race recap with an awesome swag bag (bottle of wine!), an adorable Mountie and gorgeous scenery, check out Katie’s recap of her Niagara Half Marathon. 🙂 I’m kind of tickled that she didn’t know what a Mountie was – growing up watching Dudley Do-Right, including the horrible Brendan Fraser live action version, definitely shaped my education about Canada. For another smile, absolutely check out the story over on NPR about the lost stuffed tiger. As someone who still LOVES Calvin and Hobbes, this just warmed my heart in all kinds of ways.

The last smile I’ll share with you on this lovely Friday is this essay from the lovely Adrienne Martini: What Morning Runs Are Really Like for Moms.  Not only does it ring hilariously true for any mom or busy woman (or man maybe?), it includes the perfect shout out to Harry Potter, which makes me love Adrienne even more than I already did thanks to her regular column at Another Mother Runner. She’s absolutely right! Running can be just like a pensieve, which is why I love running alone. This essay is from the fabulous Tales from Another Mother Runner, which I reviewed here last month. Definitely check out the whole collection of essays!

I hope everyone has a glorious weekend and that all of you currently soaked thanks to the flooding and rain pummeling parts of the country get the chance to dry out a bit. We’ll be celebrating Father’s Day by making some of Darrell’s favorite foods (chili mac tonight – my first time tackling this, steak tomorrow and jambalaya Sunday) plus letting him sleep in a bit both days if we can. We’re also going to see Inside Out, which Darrell & I are possibly more excited about than Oliver.  Happy Friday everyone!

 

 

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Friday Favorites: Happy Memorial Day weekend!

This week has just flown by! I can’t believe it is already Friday. This is our first week with Oliver completely back to normal, running and playing walker-free, and naturally he’s already grounded. 🙂 The end of school  year crazies hit pre-school just like a big kid school apparently. Part of his penance this weekend is going to be helping me in the garden to get things weeded and cleaned up now that we have a three day weekend. It’s supposed to rain here Sunday and Monday, so we’ll have to get busy Saturday.

It's been a crazy week with a lot of little stressors, so I decided that I'd definitely earned a glass of wine instead of my usual Diet Coke during my hair appointment yesterday.

It’s been a crazy week with a lot of little stressors, so I decided that I’d definitely earned a glass of wine instead of my usual Diet Coke during my hair appointment yesterday.

While I’ve never really used Spark People to track my food, I do love the site as a source for workout videos when I travel and for sane, rational advice on making healthy changes to your life. There’s so much trendy pseudoscience out there, it can be hard to sort out the real wisdom from the junk. A while back, I saw this round up of advice from people who’d lost 50 pounds or more with Spark People and was impressed yet again at how attainable and sustainable these ideas are. You guys know my approach – don’t do anything you can’t maintain forever and don’t discount the importance of little victories – and I was pleased to see those concepts reflected here as well. Along those same lines, Shelley is a role model for me in so ways of finally reaching that place where you can be sane and healthy about fitness and maintaining a big weight loss. Definitely go over to her page to celebrate her seven year anniversary this week! Happy anniversary Shelley and truly, truly, truly thanks so much for sharing!

In follow up to this month’s book club pick, Tales from Another Mother Runner, Wendy has a really fantastic interview with one of the authors, Dimity McDowell Davis, up this week. Dimity’s essay in the book, about her struggles with depression and how running fit into that, was one of the most gut-wrenching reads in TAMR. Reading this interview and her thoughts on the mother runner tribe that she and Sarah helped to build, her love and support for all of us comes through so strongly. I have to say, having met Sarah at an Expo in Walt Disney World, this really is genuinely who they seem to be and I love that. I love their sincere encouragement of any mother runner (or any runner at all) who wants to get out there and find a way to make a little time for themselves amidst everything else we do so that we can pound the pavement for a while. I don’t know that I would have stuck with running in those hard early days if I hadn’t known this tribe was out there.

My last “favorite read” this week is not really fitness or running related, but I did enjoy it from a “learn to love yourself” perspective (and really, if we can’t learn to love ourselves first, we’ll be miserable and unlikely to succeed with the rest of this anyway). This list of 15 things to pack on the trip to loving yourself might have a super cheesy title but I really enjoyed some of the points it raised (and loved the phrasing of:  You are not an avocado; only enjoyable when fully ready. Start loving yourself now. When I saw that line item – say no to avocados – I wondered when avocados had gone on the “bad” list). I still need to work on having the confidence to struggle, to know that bad races or days with weight gain aren’t signs of failure and rather just midpoints in a larger journey. It’s okay that hard things seem hard sometimes, right? Definitely check it out if you need a dose of cheesy inspiration to think through this weekend!

This weekend we have the Boys Town kids race and 5 mile race. If it’s raining, O won’t head out but I still will. What’s a little rain, after all?Do you have any big plans? Stay safe, especially if  you’re traveling or out on the water!

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