Monday, September 11, 2017

A Date of Any Other Date Would Be As Remembered

So today is 9/11.  Just about every person alive knows what you mean when you say 9.11.  Yes it's today's date, but it really references one particular September 11th.  It's a tough day.  There were so many innocent lives lost that day.  A person didn't need to be in New York to feel the tragedy.  It was an American tragedy. 

I remember where I was, what I was doing and how the day played out.  It was surreal.  I was going about my life and watching this terror on the news.  I got in my car and drove home and just didn't even know what to think.  What is happening?  Why?  I didn't understand. 

Four years ago today, 9/11 took on a new meaning for me.  I had a baby on 9/11.  It's an odd situation.  A baby is a wonderful, celebratory occasion.  What about if it's the same day as one of the greatest American tragedies?  It's different.  I would venture to guess that those women who had a baby on the actual 9.11.01 probably felt odd celebrating in the midst of it.  Twelve years later, it was still odd, but maybe less so.

Although, someone actually looked into my eyes and uttered the phrase "wouldn't it be just terrible to have a baby on 9.11"?  I wondered if they remembered it was my child's birthday that day.  I felt sorry for the women giving birth that day.  It's just odd. 

I remember.  I probably will never forget, just as those around when JFK was shot still remember.  They remember where they were and what was happening to them.  I'll remember.  I will also celebrate my child on 9/11.  I won't shy away from living a normal, healthy life on any particular day.  Sure, some are harder for the reminders they bring to us.  I choose to still celebrate what is now.  What is now for me is my precious D. 

Today we hung out and enjoyed the day.  I did wonder what it would be like when he is older.  Will he see all the video and pictures on Facebook?  How will he react?  Will it somehow make his day feel less special?  I think there is room in every one's memories for both the tragedy and the miracle.

Happy Birthday D.  I love you and I'm grateful you came to me regardless of the day and what may have happened in the past.  You are capable of so much greatness.  I feel confident you have the potential to give the world new memories on 9/11.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Lesson Learned

The six week challenge is over and I have some thoughts I want to write down so I can remember them.

The challenge was set up in four teams.  Each team member earned points for a variety of items.  Drinking water, exercise on your own, gym fitness, miles walked and more.  At the start of the challenge I had really high hopes of blasting off some weight and really taking myself to the next level.  The first week was a challenge because I didn't plan what I was going to do.  By not taking an active role and waiting for things to come to me I stayed stuck where I was.  After a day or two I realized some effort was going to need to be expended on planning.

So, I planed about a months worth of exercise.  I had REFIT, Bodies, 5ks and my PT to do.  I thought doing these things would be enough to push me to the next level.  I think it would have been fine if I had done them all regularly.  Bodies and REFIT are only once per week and the PT started falling by the wayside once painting picked up again.  So I was left with walking in the evening, which was difficult to arrange with the kids.  I did do pretty well with the non active challenge items like drinking water, wearing swag and posting pictures.  Those were well and good, but didn't really drop any weight.  I was working hard to earn points, but not working as hard to earn my health.

I tried very hard to make wise eating choices.  I was logging everything into the fitbit app to track calories, protein and carbs.  The problem was I had no idea what I should be eating.  I was trying to make better choices though.  Going out to breakfast I skipped the French toast and had an egg white omelet.  Turns out, the French toast probably would have been fine.  I was trying to balance the Carbs, Fats and Proteins, but lost sight of healthy eating and balance. 

About half way through the challenge I noticed I was puffy and felt swollen everywhere.  I attributed it to the heat and walking in the evening after being active most of the day.  I tried to drink more water, but still not loving water, that was hard.  My trainer at the gym suggested I lay off the sodium and drink even more water.  Punching her in the face wasn't an option so I got serious about visiting with a dietitian.  More on that later.  I was super frustrated as I live pretty low sodium and was drinking a massive amount of water for me.  I did a little reading on "water retention" and learned some of it is natural and some is not.  Some, is caused by stress.  What?  No one ever mentioned this.  The anxiety I had over what to eat and what not to eat was causing my body to cling to every bit of everything I put in my mouth.  I was swelling and retaining, but not because of salt, because of stress.

Also at this time other challengers were posting weight and inches lost.  So many were hitting their goals and while I was so proud of them, it made me feel down.  Why was it not working for me?  What was I doing wrong?  I was walking just  like they were so why was I not seeing results?  This was another stressor for me as I was then feeling left behind.  Everyone else seemed to be getting it together and I was falling apart.  Each week I was more and more frustrated at what my body was doing or not doing.  I thought for sure the scale and tape measure would be moving. 

I was trying to relax and have "me time" to not only gain points in the challenge, but to reduce the stress.  It wasn't enough.  It was a constant cycle of stress and anxiety over the stress and anxiety.  The last weekend I was able to let go.  My family was out of town and food choices were limited by a small town.  Because my choices were limited and we were in a car quite a bit I just could not get in the same exercise and food choices and it was OK.  My body relaxed.  I felt good on Monday.  I felt less swollen, less anxious.  As Elsa sings "Let It Go" and I did. 

Today is Wednesday and I just left the dietitian.  I'm really going to like her. She affirmed so much for me.  All my stats came back in great numbers and she was really pleased there are no immediate issues to get in check.  Cholesterol, blood sugar and even weight were all good.  We're going to focus on learning healthy choices in regards to food.  I don't have a scale number to work toward and there is no list of rules to try to obey.  I eat normally.  I read about which foods are in which categories and eventually I'll learn sort of a good, better, best system.  X is fine, Y is better and Z is the best choice you can make.  I'm super stoked. 

One thing she really helped me with today was the stress and anxiety.  For me, it absolutely is a killer.  I hold on to weight and inflammation like a boss under stress.  My face even broke out like a 16 year old and I was so down.  Today, I feel good.  The pants are loose, the tummy is not bloated and I feel able to handle the day to day issues that come up. 

So even though the challenge is over I want to keep going.  I want to keep walking/running.  I want to increase my daily exercise and keep the water flowing.  I also want to add in some solid nutrition as I learn in the next 10 weeks with J.D.  BUT!  I'm not going to stress about it.  I refuse to compare my walk of life to anyone else.  I refuse to see my friend drop 10 lbs and be jealous.  Motivation and determination will be my guide.  My plan is to go on MY journey.  I welcome any encouragement, but I will not succumb to comparison.  My goal is to be a better ME, not just rack up points. 

Friday, September 01, 2017

Sharks are Gangsta too.



Here I am wearing my 1DOS
Like a B.O.S.S.
Baby, posting my swag.
Girl, you got this in the bag.

Trying to make a change, learn how to exercise.
Cut out the junk -  just say no to the fries.

A shark doesn't worry about the future and the past is in the past.
A shark dominates the now, because they are bad-ass.

Want to run a 5 or a 10K, you should walk one at least.
Push out of your comfort zone and tackle a Spartan or "The Beast".

Mama battled on her own for far too long.
Now she's going for her goals and helping us along.
She made 1DOS to help others in need.
Now we are working hard so we can all succeed.

I get so down
In the tank.  I start to drown.
Don't go it on your own
The sharks will come around.

You get a little push, encouragement to get you through.
1DOS.  It's just what we do.
That one degree is all there is between you and me.
We all help each other be the best we can be.


Where do you go from here?
What is your point, what's your "why"?
Stay the course, keep going and as they say in the tank
Progress, not perfection. Sharkify!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Why?

I want to be healthy.  What does that even mean?  Who does NOT want to be healthy?  Don't we all want that?  Saying I want to be healthy is like saying I like blue.  While it is a lovely color, it doesn't really mean anything.  So what?  Go Deeper.

My kids like it when I participate.  They like when mom and/or dad takes a turn at bat and runs the bases.  They like when we play the outfield (you know, the yard).  My husband coaches both boys soccer teams.  He's out there showing drills and teaching them skills.  I usually sit on the sidelines with the other mothers.  Not anymore.  I'm still not on the field playing soccer, but I'm on the other side of the school, walking/jogging on the track.  I'm trying to get to a place where I have the stamina to play.  I want to be able to participate without feeling like I might pass out.

Seeing everyone post their workouts and their eating makes me feel like I'm not taking this seriously enough.  I've been doing some sort of workout pretty regularly and walking at least two miles each day.  I sort of naively thought the weight would just melt off.  My eating didn't seem that bad.  Well, it apparently is not that good either.  Perhaps I need to make some adjustments somewhere.  I promise to check in next week with a nutrition/dietician type of person.  School started this week and I was up to my eyeballs in lunches, snacks, instruments, teacher notes, sports, scouts, friends and laundry (always laundry).  Anyway, I will find someone next week.  It's on my list. 

Growing up we ate some sort of meat, some sort of potato or rice and some vegetable.  Always milk to drink.  It was fine, but no one ever taught me how to cook.  So now I struggle with knowing what to do.  I have to have a recipe.  I can't really wing it unless it's saying "we're going out".  I've been doing pretty good with the recipes, but I need to see if I can get them to be more veggie friendly and less starch and sugar.  I'm not even sure what I'm talking about.  I really want the kids to learn to eat a rainbow and I'm not talking Skittles here.  I want them to think eating salad is normal, not torture.  Maybe they could even enjoy cooking.  

I'm so jealous of the meals I see posted.  I wish I understood half of it.  Someone mentioned eating Macros and the only macro I knew of was related to Excel.

Will I never eat a donut again?  What about cake?  What about regular pizza?  Is it all over?  Is that OK?  Will I some day get to a point where eating clean and healthy is not a thing, it's just normal?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Brain Jumble

So.  I'm trying to come up with a post about my journey or wellness and I keep getting derailed by a wide range of pesky feelings.  Just when I feel pretty secure about something, the rug gets pulled and those feelings of inadequacy creep on in.  My journey is no easier or harder than anyone else, but dang it sure does feel like it some days. 

Perspective is a funny thing.  I was reminded by a friend of mine.  She realized she was taking all her many blessings for granted.  The Green Monster had crept in and set up camp.  She wanted more, more and even more.  Talking to another lady, she realized how foolish she sounded.  I get it.  I want things I don't really even want.  What?  Yeah, it makes no sense.  I want a giant house with a pool and 100 acres of land.  Not really though.  I don't want to have to mow or tend a pool.  It's like a sugar addiction.  You want it even though you really don't want it.  Starbucks has its claws in me something fierce.  I go several times a week.  BUT!  I don't even like coffee.  What???  Not plain coffee.  I like the milk and sugar with a splash of coffee.  The sugar addiction has me in its clutches.  It is a slow process to wean myself.  Logging what I eat helps see where I just don't need or frankly want the extra calories.

Anyway,  I'm trying to learn to be comfortable just being me.  After years of mostly not liking me, it's hard to let go and accept who I am.  There are times I'm on fire and feeling pretty good.  Then the alarm goes off the next morning and I have no idea where to even start. 

I want to have it all.  Wake up in the morning, eat the healthy stuff and feed it to the kids too.  No junk in the house.  They can eat what they want because it's all OK.  Sign the school papers, make the lunches and everyone is off.  Tidy up the house, toss in a load of laundry and go about my day.  Instead it's a scramble, throw bagels at the kids, make PBJ (every stinking day) and off they go.  Yes, there is always laundry.  Basically it's a scramble from one thing to the next, whatever is due the next day.  Always behind, never ahead, never relaxed and enjoying my day.  There is a constant rumble of "I need" and "I've got to" and "I have to".  The goal is to get to "I think I'll do x" and "I want to" type of activities.  I love my kids dearly, but I'm a busy fool.

Progress over perfection, right?  Every day I try.  Every day I get up out of bed and try.  I think that's pretty good.  Sure do or do not, there is no try and all that.  Do or do not.  OK.  I'm doing, not trying.  I'm doing.  Some days I do it better than other days, but I'm doing it. 




Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mind Games

It is mental, not crazy mental, but in your head mental.  Driving to soccer practice I am a little nervous.  Will the kids be OK?  Will it be hot?  Will I pass out?  Can I get through the whole thing?  Maybe not, maybe I should stay home and watch the kids there.  We can all sit around waiting for dad and the oldest to be done.  Wait.  What?  Giving up already?  Mental.

I haven't turned back yet, literally or figuratively.  So far, I have kept a forward pace.  Some days the pace is slow.  So. Slow.  But!  I am going forward.  For far too long I stood still waiting for something, never understanding the movement is what I was waiting for.  So now, I grab my phone, the ipod some water and we're ready to go.  Lace up my new running shoes and head to the track and playground.  Driving over my head starts to list all the reasons this is a bad idea.  Deep in my heart I know it's right.  Keep going.  Yes, life happens and sometimes we leave early to tend to one kid or another, but next soccer night we're right back at it.

While on the track there is a constant push pull of run, no walk, no go sit down, run free!!!  My thoughts are all over the place.  The only goal is to get one foot in front of the other.  Keep going.  Some days I aim for listening to a whole cd.  I tried the C25K program on night.  I've aimed for running every other lap.  Some nights I just walk until I really can't go any further.  Usually, two miles each time.  Each way is hard in its own right.  There is a mental war going on during each lap.  Somewhere in my brain thoughts pop up that it's all stupid anyway and what am I even doing.  In my heart I know.  Keep going.  Mental.

I also make deals each lap.  Run to that post.  Run to the next number.  Run until the chorus of the song.  Run for one lap.  I'm not sure my training methods are really advancing my running capabilities.  Still.  This method is better than the old method of sitting on the couch.  In my head I hear voices of 1DOS sharks too.  I hear Karl muttering choice phrases.  I hear Mary Beth encouraging me.  I hear Amy telling me sharks just get it done, they don't whine about it.  I hear Scott and Fred and a few others.  Most voices I've never even heard or met the person it belongs to.  I just know there is a tank of people ready to support me.  I picture them with me, cheering me on.  Some days there are visions of running an entire 5K and even though it's never happened before, I know just how good that will feel.  So mental.

There is a whole bag of worry I carry on these night too.  Will I be alone?  Will friends join me?  Will my family keep supporting me?  I started the idea of doing 5K's with a friend.  We agreed to walk and see where it led us.  I'm wanting more.  No.  I'm needing more.  I need to be pushed so there is an opportunity to rise.  For too many years I have gone with the flow and I can't get that time back.  Moving and pushing forward now makes me feel stronger.  Badass. 

You know what?  There is also a whole lot of joy.  I feel so lucky to be able to walk on a track.  I feel safe, I know the kids are OK.  Some nights I know a few folks walking.  One night I met someone new.  It's a whole new world.  The Sun shines on me and there is such peace.  The breeze blows and cools me off and I'm so thankful.  My heart is full.  I love my family for allowing me this time to work on me.  On top of it all I'm proud of myself for even trying, but more so for doing it even when the mental games kick in.

So this silly mental game goes on and on.  Some days are winners and others not so much.  Progress.  Move forward.  Lace up the shoes and go.  The mental game is hard, but the heart is fierce and beats on.  I found this quote.  "Listen to the promptings of the heart a little more, and listen to the complaints of the mind a little less." 



Friday, August 11, 2017

I Am Not A Frog

I have felt out of sorts for a while now.  Why do I live for so long in a place I am not happy in?  Cleaning out the basement I found countless journal entries from many years back lamenting my displeasure with life.  Why do I remain?  Why do I not jump up and change something?  Why do I stay?  I think there is a story about boiling frogs or something.  You put them in a pan of room temperature water and they are fine.  Then you slowly start to heat up the water until they are boiling.  They don't realize the danger and will boil.  I guess I have been in tepid water so long I just don't realize it is actually boiling now. 

It is the same with an injury.  You feel a little twinge one day and don't think much of it.  After a few days maybe you take some Advil.  After a few weeks you get used to compensating in some way.  Then you wake up the next day and you are in the worst pain you've ever been in.  How did I get here?  Why did you not do something the first day or even the first week?  Tepid water.

You know, it is hard.  Trying to change your life is so, freaking hard.  That wall that shows up the first few days or weeks of trying is so effective at putting us right back where we started.  Why do we not climb the wall?  Why do we not punch a hole in the wall?  Why do we go back to the start or worse?  It's hard.  It has to be.  I certainly don't want it to be.  I would love to just wake up and have it all figured out and a routine in place and my kids go merrily along.  That is not real life.  Real life is having three boys that are loud and they fight and they mess up and make big spills.  Real life is not sleeping well and being so tired you forget your own name for a minute.  Real life is you are out of milk and everyone wants cereal.  It's hard.  It is freaking hard.  It has to be. 

If it were easy?  It wouldn't be worth it.  I don't even have a good story.  It just is not worth it.  The hard, real life way is worth it.  You earn it.  You do it.  You succeed.  You put the effort in and it's rewarded.  You give a damn and you get back in spades. 

So what now?  I'm feeling the water heating up.  I'm trying to change.  I'm looking at the wall and thinking about how to be on the other side.  The best part of this is I have other people standing next to me willing to let me stand on their shoulders to get over the wall.  There are people on the other side waiting to catch me when I jump.  Open your eyes and see the people around you able and willing to help you get on the other side of the wall.  Reach out and feel the water.  It's heating up folks. 

Here's to finding the next journal entries that say "I hit a wall and went over it" and "I felt the water heating up, and I got out".

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

It Aint Magic

No Really.  It isn't. 

I joined a fitness challenge a few weeks ago and I was pumped.  I could not wait until the Monday it was going to start.  My head really built this up to be the be all, end all magic thing I needed to finally (FINALLY!) get moving and get in shape.  So as I waited for day one I pictured my new fit life.  I would be able to run a 5K, keep up with the kids, practice soccer with them, clean the house, sort through the junk, my marriage would improve, my friends would multiply, money problems would be resolved and (AND!) all this with a Mary Poppins attitude.

OK.  Stop laughing.  I really did feel like this challenge was going to change the world for me.  You know what happened on day one?  Nothing.  It was a Monday like all the rest of them.  Kids were grouchy, I was tired and my clothes still didn't fit.  Paying the fee and joining a challenge did not change any of the things I wanted to change.  Sure, it gets me on a team with other folks and there are points to earn and maybe even a prize of some sort, but it doesn't actually DO anything.  I spent that first day wondering how I was going to achieve all my dreams.  How were my clothes going to fit by joining a challenge? 

It was sort of like watching a magic show and the magician is really bad.  So bad, you see the bunny in the hat, you see the scarves in the pocket and nothing is a surprise.  Just disappointment.  Here we go again.  Nothing is going to change me.  Nothing is fixing all my problems.

But wait!  What about going to your high school reunion and seeing someone that has always struggled with weight suddenly is the hottest thing around?  We all ask "what did you do?"  We want an easy answer.  Like they took the green pill and suddenly life was different for them.  Where do you get the pill?  How many do I take?  We so want this new life they have and we want it NOW! 

So how does it happen?  Honestly, I think the 'how' varies a little from person to person, but overall here is the magic answer.  Me.  You.  Him.  Her.  Each of us has to change in some way in order to change.  I have to stop drinking soda and reach for water instead.  You have to put the chips away and grab some carrots.  He has to take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Get the idea?  There is no magic, there is no pill.  It is a person that decides to make changes in their life and then changes their life.  On day one nothing was going to happen because I did nothing.  Each day was going to be the same unless I changed something.  So I did.

While day one was kind of a bust, I did manage to get going on day two.  Now we are in week three and I am scheduling workouts and meal planning like it's my job.  Oh wait, it IS my job.  I run the MacFam and all the things that entails.  Meal planning, play dates, cleaning, paying bills, kid care and the list really does go on and on.  The change I made was to put me first as much as I can.  Sure, there are days I'm not first, but I'm never last anymore.  And that my friend, is magical.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

And So It Begins


So it all starts with a Toy Story themed birthday candle.  I realized today it starts with something innocent and small.  Just an average everyday item.  Somehow it snowballs from there to a disease.  What?  Remember those fake news blips on SNL that would say something like "this common household item is killing you, more at eleven."  It played on that fear that normal everyday products could be so harmful for you.  They aren't, or at least at the time I think they were all OK.

Anyway, innocent candles to disease.  Here we go.  You might want to sit down.  I am pretty sure at some point you will recognize this in your own life.  So you throw a party for your child.  They wanted Toy Story, but not the alien candles you bought, they want the Buzz Lightyear flying candle.  So you plan to return the aliens.  But, you don't.  It's a special trip to a store you don't really go to that often.  You have kids so it's twenty times harder to walk into a store and return something.  By the time you are ready to go to the store, you forget to take the aliens.  Oh well.  What were they like $3.00.  No big deal you think.  I'll keep them.  I have other kids.  Surely we'll use them.  So they take up a tiny bit of cabinet space.  Next thing you know, Despicable Me sprinkles sit next to them.  Then a box of white cake mix.  You meant to use it, but the chocolate cake you did make was plenty.  Next time.  At some point your cabinet is full of these items.  Never used, but you don't want to waste them.

So Mutt, how are we leaping to disease here?  Empty your cabinet already.  Donate to the neighbor or Goodwill or heck, just throw it all away.  Well.  Those are all good suggestions.  Here is the honest truth.  I can't.  What a waste?  Someday I'll use it (no, I won't).  The disease starts when the stuff spreads to another cabinet.  Soon the kitchen is over taken by these items.  Then something comes along that is not a kitchen item.  Say all the special dinosaur figures you bought for a dinosaur themed party.  Where do those go?  Well, the children will surely play with them.  We'll make a dinosaur land.  It will be glorious.  No.  They play with them a few days and then you have 15 dinosaurs scattered throughout the house.  Get rid of them?  I certainly cannot return them.  I find a nice container to keep them in.  They find a few other dinofriends we already had.  Soon we have a giant Tupperware type container keeping all mankind safe from the Jurassic Era.  It's Jurassic Park all over again and we all know how that turned out.  Bad idea. 

Dinosaurs, birthday candles and supplies, toys, clothes, decorations and more.  They start small and multiply before you know what's happened.  It's impossible to get rid of any of it because "I may one day use this."  Soon you think burning your house down is the best way to get rid of all of it.  I don't personally suggest this, but I see the pros.

The irony is, my husband will want to keep the nails out of an old board or the screws from a door we're replacing and I will tell him to his face "we do not need this, do NOT keep it!"  I have uttered those words and he can sweat by it.  Saying it to me?  It does nothing. 

So what disease are we diagnosing today?  Hoarding maybe?  I'm not sure I would classify myself as a hoarder, but I do have a hard time getting rid of the "stuff".  Some of it is sentimental, some I really do feel like we would use.  Some I think the kids would be heartbroken.  Like they would even notice if we only had 10 Hot Wheels instead of 1,000.  They don't play with them at all.  Most of it could be taken out in the dead of night and the kids and I would never miss it.