• Running Again*

    So, I’ve been running a little bit again.

    I’ve been running as often as I can early in the morning before M leaves for work. It’s always dependent oh how much sleep I’ve had the night before (that’s code for: how much sleep P has given me). The last two weeks haven’t been great as P’s been up late and waking in the night, but putting him in with the big kids seems to be helping a bit. Last night he was asleep before 9 and slept straight through. For the first time in two weeks, I didn’t immediately shut off my running alarm and roll over, desperate for another hour of sleep. I grabbed the pile of running clothes I set out for myself and slipped out the door.

    I’m at the point in my C25K where my running intervals are really starting to lengthen. If you’re unfamiliar with how a C25K program (Couch to 5k) works, it’s designed to help a total non-runner be able to run 5km in 8 weeks. It takes you through a series of running and walking intervals that gradually get longer and longer until you are no longer walking but running the whole thing. I was so skeptical the first time I did the program after Hank was born four years ago because I was SO out of shape, but I had such success with it. I worked my way through again last summer, but eventually had to stop because my hip issues were really affecting my mobility and I knew I had to deal with that first.

    So, when I finally felt ready to run again at the beginning of July, I knew I would need to start from scratch. Again. The first week of intervals start you at running for 60 seconds at a time and it slowly builds you up week by week.

    Except for week five.

    There is one run in week five that I am always afraid of when I get to it. At the beginning of week 5 you jump from running 5 minute intervals to 8 minute intervals. Those extra three minute feel long, but doable.

    Then the next day tells you to run for 20 minutes, with no break. When you’ve just huffed through 8 minutes, 20 feels almost impossible. Every time I’ve come to this run, I balk at it and put it off.

    Today I finally ran it.

    I not only ran it, I crushed it. I turned on my music, hit the pavement and just kept going. When I heard the voice beep in to tell me I had one minute left in my run, I couldn’t believe it.

    So I just kept running. Today I ran 4km for the first time since starting again… and I did it without stopping to walk. I ran for 30 minutes non-stop, and I feel amazing. I’m still pretty slow, but I’m so close to 5km now that I can taste it. My body is slowly shaking off the rust and remembering that we like to do this.

    So, rather than be ashamed or embarrassed that I’ve had to start at the beginning and go through this program again, I’m trying to celebrate the small victories and be proud of the fact that rather than giving up, I’m trying again. On to week 6!

  • Addicted to my Phone*

    I think I’m addicted to my phone.

    I’ve noticed since Prince Will’s birth that I spend a ridiculous amount of time on it. Part of that is because I’ve been home, and the other (big) part is because that’s what I do to “escape” for a few minutes.

    You know how it goes… the first thing you do in the morning is check your phone–Facebook, Instagram, email, messenger, Timehop, etc… and there goes 20 minutes. Then it’s off and on throughout the day whenever I need a “break” or I get a notification, and it’s always for longer than I say I will. And then we finally get the kids into bed, and what do I do? Play on my phone. Finally it’s bedtime, and what’s the last thing I do before getting into bed? Check my phone that one. last. time.

    I’m horrible.

    I think it really started when Will was a baby. The only way he would be calm was if I had him in my arms walking laps around my house. To keep myself sane, I would hold him over my shoulder while we paced and I would play on my phone. I spent hours on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Candy Crush, just trying to distract myself from a bad day.

    Well, I’m no longer pacing my house with Will, but I am still spending WAY more time on my phone than I’d like. I sometimes think back to when I was a teenager and didn’t yet have one, and I am pretty sure that I was totally fine without it.

    So, today is day one of the great phone cut back. I deleted the Facebook app off my phone a while ago, and today I disabled notifications from all the apps I usually get sucked into. I don’t want to delete them completely because I still want to share photos occasionally, but I want to stop trolling the newsfeeds so often. The only sounds that will now alert me from my phone are calls and text messages, and I am determined not to pick up my phone unless it’s to have a conversation with someone (in person or by text).

    I feel like I’ve finally gotten a grip on my bad eating habits, and now I want to clean up my other bad habits as well. My word for the year is Strengthen, and one of my goals within that is to strengthen my good habits, and let go of the bad.  I’ve really been trying to write a little more often, and my piano has seen more action in the past two weeks than it has in years. I like it.

    So. I’m kind of excited to see how this goes. I’ve tried sort of halfheartedly in the past, and then as soon as I’m worn out with the kids I regress and wind up on my couch playing Candy Crush. I feel like if I admit it to you now, I’ll do better at staying on track… so hopefully I can kick this bad habit.

    I’m ready to disconnect a little. :)

  • My Word for 2018*

    I have made New Years Resolutions since before I could remember. I’m the best at thinking hard about  them, writing them all out, and going full-out to achieve them… for about three weeks. Then they tend to be pushed aside or forgotten until it’s time to make new resolutions the following year and I resolve to be even better at the resolutions I failed at.

    (vicious, vicious cycle.)

    Last year I went a different route and tried something new. Instead of making a list of resolutions, I chose one word that would be my goal for the year… and I tried to incorporate it into my daily life.

    My word for 2017 was Brave.

    For the first time, I really feel like I achieved most of the things I wanted to accomplish surrounding this word. In the last year, I:

    –stepped out of my comfort zone and met new people by joining a new book club
    –joined a community choir
    –completed my History Specialist course
    –opened up and shared my experiences with Post Partum Anxiety
    –intervened in a dispute outside my home and helped a young girl get to safety
    –sang a solo at church
    –stopped eating (most) sugar
    –started my own Lipsense business
    –spoke at Stake Conference in front of a large audience

    …and a bunch of other things I’m sure I’m not remembering. Having one word as my goal for the year made me feel so much more focused… it was always there at the back of my mind, and that helped me try a few things I might not have otherwise been “brave” enough to do.

    I’ve been thinking hard about my word for 2018… and after much deliberation (seriously), this word popped into my mind and just felt right.

    My word for 2018 is Strengthen.

    For me, this encompasses some of the things I would really like to work on in the next year. I want to strengthen…

    my body. I’ve struggled with back / hip issues for the last 18 months, and I am finally, finally seeing some progress. Now that the constant discomfort is gone, I want to strengthen my body and not feel so broken anymore. I feel ready to run again!
    my talents. More than anything, I miss writing and the piano.
    my confidence.
    my health. I just passed the one month mark of no sugar, and I’ve already lost 7.5lbs. I want to keep eating better and get this body back on track!
    my friendships.
    my skills as a teacher. (My English Specialist starts on January 22nd!)
    my faith.
    my relationships with my siblings.
    my family and marriage. <3

    I think I’m going to keep Brave as a second word, as there is still one or two things I want to do that I keep chickening out of. I’m going to make myself do them before my next birthday!

    Have you thought about what your word for 2018 will be? I would love to hear it!

  • Weight Loss Patience*

    Losing weight has never been easy for me.

    I’m not saying it’s a walk in the park for everyone else, but I know there is a group of people who seem to be able to stay focused and determined once they decide to lose weight. They buckle down, do what they need to and keep their eye on the prize. I know a few of them, and I’m always so impressed that they look SO GOOD just a few weeks after having a baby.

    I’m in the other camp watching in frustrated awe… eating a McCain Deep and Delicious cake, wondering why I’m not losing weight.

    My problem is this: I have no patience. In my recesses of my brain, I know that losing weight takes time. I know this. And yet, this is still how my brain works:

    My brain: “I ate a super healthy breakfast AND I didn’t eat six cookies this morning. I am soooo skinny.” Steps on scale before lunch.

    Scale: No change.

    My brain: “What? That can’t be possible. I ate healthy for like 6 hours!  Where’s the results?! What’s the point?!” Steps on scale again.

    Scale: One pound gain.

    My brain: “I hate life.” Eats six cookies.

    The struggle is real, friends.

    In the early days of this cycle to get healthy, I always get really frustrated. I’ll start making the changes, do things properly, but nothing changes. My silly, silly brain wants results now, and doesn’t like it when those results take a little longer to show.

    But a couple of times, I’ve been able to silence my brain and work through that early frustration and achieve some real results. And I’m not just talking about lower numbers on the scale (although seeing that is so, so lovely), I’m talking about having clothes that fit and feeling awesome when I look in the mirror.

    I’m about 10 days into my weight loss challenge, and I’ve been working non-stop at trying to change this unhealthy and unrealistic way of thinking. I’m digging deep and reminding myself that real change takes time, and the results I want will not happen over night. They just won’t.

    My sister recommended a Netflix documentary to me, and I carved out some time to watch it the other afternoon while Prince Will slept on my lap. It’s called Fed Up, and something about it really spoke to me. Now I know that many of these documentaries are biased and have an agenda and blah blah blah, but of all the good that I found in this film, one phrase hit home and has been ringing in my brain ever since:

    A calorie is not a calorie.

    Not all calories are equal. Wait, what? Again, I think this is something that I’ve always known deep down, but the way the film lays it out was very eye opening. What my body does with 1000 calories of junk food is not the same as what it does with 1000 calories of fruits and vegetables. BOOM. Exercising and watching how many calories I intake each day is only part of the battle. What I really need to change is the kinds of calories I’m ingesting. I can exercise until the cows come home, but until I change what I’m fueling my body with, I won’t lose weight.

    So I’ve really been trying to focus on removing excess sugar, refined flours and processed foods from my diet… and I’m doing it in small steps. I want the changes I’m making to be sustainable. I want to silence my silly, silly brain and show off some real, lasting results. SO. Let’s talk change.

    First, I’ve stopped eating at night. Let’s be honest… what kind of food do you usually reach for after dinner? Junk. I can count the number of times I reached into my fridge for a head of raw broccoli to munch on at night on no hands. 7pm is usually my cut off, and I’ll go up and brush my teeth to make it official.

    Second, I’m trying to clean up what I eat for breakfast, and I don’t eat any sweets in the morning. I’m eating eggs, smoothies, Greek yogurt, granola and other healthy alternatives for breakfast, and I am trying to only snack on fruit right now. (It helps with the sugar cravings.)

    Third, I’m planning healthy dinners. I’m really trying to simplify what I’m making to a protein with some veggies. That’s it. I’m cutting way, way back on pastas and starches to make room for more brightly colored veggies. Eat the rainbow, friends! (and I’m not talking about Skittles.)

    Fourth, I’m really trying to cut back on my baking. This is a hard one for me. I love baking. It’s very therapeutic for me. There’s something very calming about following a set of directions and having something turn out beautifully. If I bake now, I’m trying to make sure it’s a healthier version–black bean brownies or chick pea blondies, with honey as a sweetener instead of sugar.

    I’m really trying to reduce the processed foods we eat by making things from scratch. Yes, it’s more time consuming but I’m already seeing results. Yesterday I noticed that the shirt I put on looked a little better than usual. I stepped on the scale today and since the beginning of this challenge last week, I’ve lost 4.5lbs.

    My silly, silly brain did a happy dance and it was just the push I needed to stay determined through this long weekend.

    A calorie is not a calorie. Who knew?!

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  • Paleo(ish) Trial – Week One Review*

    {via: https://cfmpaleochallenge.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/paleo.jpg}

    I did it!! I made it to the end of my Paleo(ish) trial week.

    And you know what? It was SO much easier than I expected, and I enjoyed it so much more than I ever thought I would. I’ll be honest, there were a few things I was worried about before I began–the time it would take to prepare the meals, whether or not the food would be gross, what the sugar & carb cravings / withdrawal would be like, and more than anything, whether or not I would get bored of it after two days.

    Well, I can happily say that all my fears were completely unfounded. It was a fantastic week! Having all my meals planned out made a huge difference. I have always been notoriously bad at eating well throughout the day and I think that’s where my issues were. I have always been able to prepare healthy dinners when we eat as a family, but I tend to graze on crap or eat whatever is fast during the day, and often it wasn’t very healthy.

    Starting each day out with a big, healthy breakfast made a huge difference. I ate eggs, or Greek yogurt with granola and berries almost every day, and even just on that first day, I felt like I had more energy. By Wednesday that constant slugglishness I’ve been feeling was gone, and I no longer had my usual 3pm crash where I felt like I needed to nap or I’d die.

    I tried to keep my meal choices simple and easy, and it really paid off. I never felt like I was struggling to find the time to make separate meals for myself and the family–for the most part The Hubster and Ruby ate what I did and they didn’t even know they were being subjected to my Paleo(ish) trial too.

    (I’m so sneaky.)

    I want to begin by explaining why I’ve been calling this my Paleo(ish) Trial. I want to be upfront and tell you that the meals I planned were not purely Paleo. I did quite a bit of reading about the Paleo diet, and while I loved so much about it, I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to a hardcore Paleo meal plan right off the bat. I’m also not sure I completely support essentially eliminating two food groups from my diet, so I decided to follow a “Paleo-inspired” meal plan instead. I occasionally ate a bit of dairy, and I still included granola and some quinoa as well. I also allowed myself two “treats” if I felt like I needed something a little more exciting. I occasionally had a small bowl of Boulder chips (my fav), or some homemade air popped popcorn. Other than that, I didn’t cheat!

    The secret to success for me was first: planning. Plan, plan, plan those meals. Until it becomes second nature to reach for healthy food instead of garbage, having all my meals planned out made such a difference. I never found myself standing in my kitchen wondering what I should make or eat–each morning I woke up I knew what I would be making that day and that made a big difference.

    Second, I tried to plan meals I knew I would like, and that weren’t all that different from what I usually eat. I didn’t want to spend my first week forcing myself to try a bunch of new recipes that may or may not turn out, as I knew if I failed I might just give up and go with what’s easy… and I really wanted to make it through my week! So I looked around online at sample meal plans, I put one together that worked for me. I’m hoping to get a little more adventurous this week now that I’ve seen what a Paleo(ish) diet is like–cauliflower crust pizza is on the menu for tomorrow. :)

    Third, I took photos of all my meals and put them online. I’m sorry if I drove you crazy with all my food pictures, but I felt like it really held me accountable for what I was eating knowing that people were watching.

    So. What were my thoughts about my Paleo(ish) week? In short, I loved it. I had more energy, and I just felt so… good. It was like my body sighed and said, “ahh. Finally”. I didn’t find that I missed any foods I had cut out, and the biggest shock to me was that I had next to no cravings.

    Seriously.

    I used to crave sugar and carbs so badly. It got to the point where  I’d have a craving so intense that I would have to stop what I was doing to go find something sweet to satisfy it. It was what I was most worried about when I started this trial, but for some reason I never went through the withdrawal symptoms I had read about or expected. I think it helped that I started to ease up on sweets the week before–I cut out chocolate again a week before I started the diet so the worst was behind me. But I had virtually no cravings all week. I felt so full most of the time that my body just didn’t need it! If anything, I occasionally craved different textures that I was missing–crunchy, crispy things. But I’m working on that.

    Those intense cravings were part of what motivated me to try this. I’m turning 30 this year, and one of my goals before I get there is to take better care of myself and to simply feel healthy. Now that I’m running again, I knew it was time to clean up my diet. I didn’t want to try another “fad” or restrictive diet that I couldn’t maintain long-term; I wanted to find something sustainable that I could adapt to my daily life, and this seemed like a good fit. Of course the possibility of losing weight was an attractive incentive to help motivate me, but it was not the only reason I started this trial.

    That being said, I have been weighing myself throughout the week, and I can honestly say that I am shocked at the results.

    (I actually made the Hubster weigh himself to make sure that my scale wasn’t broken. Seriously.)

    In my seven day Paleo(ish) trial I ended up losing… 5.5lbs. (!!!) I noticed the biggest drop in the first two days I started the trial, but the number has continually moved down each day. I am beyond amazed and thrilled, and I promise I’m eating properly. The meals you saw me post were what I ate, and I was SO FULL all the time. I pretty much cut out any snacking between my meals, and I rarely felt the need to eat after dinner… and that’s where I think I dropped most of the weight.

    So, in short–I’m so glad I tried this. I feel amazing, and the weight loss was such an added bonus. I can honestly say that I don’t miss the sugar or processed foods I cut out, and I’m in no rush to reintroduce them. I’m definitely ready for week two! If you are at all interested in experimenting with this, let me know! I can pass along recipes and tips that are working for me, and I am happy to test out new recipes to let you know what’s a win (and what’s gross).

    Let’s do this.

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