Beginnings, emotions, health, mental health

Soft.

It’s been a week since I admitted to you all that I’m struggling with stress and anxiety. Truth be told, I’ve been struggling for a while but it’s just gotten to the point that I didn’t feel I could handle it without help. So I’ve made changes.

I’ve tried several changes in lifestyle this week. Here’s what I’ve done that has worked (so far):

  • Taken a break a work; at lunch. The weather has been super crummy, so I haven’t been able to leave the building, but I’ve intentionally locked my computer, silenced all notifications, and read. I’ve been able to lose myself in a book for at least 30 minutes everyday. It has been so nice!
  • Started having a glass of Nuun Rest before bed. I’ve had 4 nights in a row of great sleep. Only one night have I woken up at my trademark 1:30am and started thinking about work, and I consciously changed my thoughts, focused on some old meditation/relaxation tricks from therapy, and I went back to sleep.
  • Started taking Super You vitamins from Moon Juice. I didn’t get them until Thursday, so it’s only been a few days. It might be all in my head, but I do think they are helping me focus and not overreact at things. I’ll be keeping those up for sure.
  • I intentionally do not talk about my faith here. After my divorce I was very ashamed and I kinda left church or a bit. Looking back I don’t think it was a conscious decision, but it happened. I’ve been to a new church these last two weeks and I can’t explain the joy it brings me. I’m already looking into a life group; to bring more people into my circle. We aren’t meant to do life in solitude.
  • I’ve forcefully (and sometimes audibly) stopped all thoughts of negativity about my weight and body image. I’ve stayed within my macro limits this week and I’ve gotten over every ugly thought (again, sometimes forcefully). Eventually, if I keep training my thoughts, the ugly thoughts won’t come so much.

What hasn’t worked:

  • I answered a few emails the weekend and I said I wasn’t going to. Grrr.
  • I’ve continued to be negative and a bit closed off at work.

Three times this week I’ve been talking to people and I’ve said something that I want to remember for later. I’ve openly admitted my struggles, and I’ve said that I’m trying to become soft. After I said it the second time I caught myself and then packed it away to examine later. I had become a very hard woman. I’d become jaded and abrupt. I didn’t want to listen to anyone about anything. And I need to become soft. I need to be a sponge. If I’m letting people and words and love wash off me like water off a rock, I’m never going to be better. I need to soak it in. What if what I’m repelling is what I need? What if it’s the cure? While I understand in our culture today it is seen as….wrong…for a woman to be soft. Man or woman…are we sure that’s a good thing? Being hard all the time?

My goal this week, and for the next several weeks, is to continue to be open to change. To be soft. To expand.

Do you need to be soft too?

TODAY I LOVE: the color green…it’s everywhere right now
SONG OF THE DAY: “Love Me Anyway” by P!nk

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emotions, goals, health, mental health

not today

Did everyone watch Game of Thrones on Sunday? One thing I love/hate about social media is that you either love something so much you talk incessantly about it (like me and GoT) or you hate it and you rail on everyone who DOES like it (and you tell everyone about it.) Anyway, I digress, GAME OF THRONES! Man, what an episode. I’m not going to give anything away or really even talk about it. There is one quote/saying that has been around since season 1, and it plays a heavy part in this most recent episode. The quote is this:

“There is only one god, and his name is Death, and there is only one thing we say to Death. Not today.”

Syrio Forel, Game of Thrones

There are about 8 million memes going around with some version of “Not today.” I stole the idea of taping the message to my computer from my twitter friend Amanda (@adocmartin). I’m putting this in front of my face everyday to say “not today” to extra anxiety and stress. It’s my reminder of change and what HAS to change.

I’m trying hard to focus this week on changing my work habits to get a better work/life balance and leave as much of my stress/anxiety in the office as I can. Here are some ideas I’m trying this week:

  • Leaving my desk for lunch. I can’t honestly remember the last time I actually took a lunch. I usually just work right through it. I’m going to attempt to force that break in my day.
  • Ignoring non-important email after I leave and on the weekends. Despite how I’ve trained myself, some things are not essential and can wait. I don’t need to be tied 100% of the time to my email.
  • Planning my agenda for the day first thing when I arrive; the tasks that I desire to accomplish. Even though things change and events happen, I’ll still get things done. This is a change in thinking of just one day chunks of time rather than weeks.

What things do you do to alleviate stress at work?

What do we say to the fire-breathing dragon of stress and anxiety? Not today.

TODAY I LOVE: palomino blackwing pencils
SONG OF THE DAY: “Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves

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emotions, health

we aren’t promised happiness

I listened to a podcast the other day. It was very interesting and to be honest I’ll probably need to listen to it again as it has me struggling on a few points. The one thing that stuck with me, that I just can’t let go because of the truth of it, is the statement that there is nothing anywhere written that we deserve or are promised happiness. That sounds like a really bleak statement but we say the reverse all the time: you deserve to be happy. But why?

Confession time. Its taken me a long time to want to admit this, or to even admit it to myself. I’m fairly certain I’m fighting a nasty battle of anxiety and depression. It just might be at the point that I can’t manage it by myself. I don’t sleep well. I wake up tired. I’m tired all the time. I fight headaches every day. I get deep-tissue massages every two weeks and we still can’t get the stress knots out of my back/neck. I emotional eat and can’t lose weight. I worry over everything and nothing all at the same time. I’ve isolated myself to a very small group of people. I’m not finding joy in any of my hobbies.

Something has to change.

After reading that paragraph you’d think that the podcast I mentioned would have pushed me further down in the valley. Right? Instead it had the opposite effect. It made me stop. It made me pray. And it made me keep listening to the rest of the message. While we aren’t promised a happy life, it can be made better if you live for what matters. You can’t just keep throwing things at yourself to fill a void. No amount of money or things or travel or people are going to fill a hole. I need to work on finding what matters to me and the rest will sort itself out. Where am I investing…me?

For starters, I ordered some new supplements this weekend that are a more homeopathic route to relieving stress and anxiety. I’m going to try this first. See if it helps me take the edge off as I start climbing out.

Second, I went to a new church this week. I haven’t had a true church home since my divorce and I miss that in my life. I cried my way through the songs this morning. It was what I needed.

Third, I’m going to intentionally take the pressure off myself to lose weight. That is a stress I can choose to leave behind. It will happen when it happens. And deep down I know that if I get healthy, it will all fall into place. I have no time-table and I need to stop acting like it.

Fourth, I’m going to try harder to leave work at work. I don’t let things go and I bring it all home with me. That has to stop. I’m still trying to figure out how to implement this one. If you have any pointers I’m very open to it.

Lastly, I’m going to write more. Here. Not just privately. It’s not that I have anything monumental to say, I just know for me that sometimes getting it out there and being held accountable for it, well, it helps.

Thanks for listening and for hanging with me on this journey. 🙂

TODAY I LOVE: freshly mowed grass
SONG OF THE DAY: “Say Something” by Jasmine Thompson

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Fitness, health

Black coffee and honesty

acs_0254-1One of my compromises with myself when I started this blog (in deference to my last one) was to be completely honest. You get the good and the bad, the ups and downs, the wins and the losses. Why be fake? Why try to trick everyone into believing that life is rosy all the time and every single goal I set, I reach?

Somewhere out there (if you don’t have this song in your head right now I don’t know you at all)…anyway, somewhere out there I’ve lost my focus and drive. For some reason the journey seems a lot more difficult this time around. And yes, I’m talking about weight loss. I think I’m always talking about weight loss. When you’re uncomfortable in your own skin (and your own jeans) it is always what you’re thinking about.

I keep finding excuses!

  • I’ve had a rough week, I deserve this treat.
  • PMS…give me all the things I’m craving.
  • Whew…I’ve got meetings all week. They’ll feed me. I don’t need to count.
  • I’m cold and I don’t feel that great. I should just eat what will make me happy.
  • I’m going home and nobody cooks like my mom and grandma. I don’t get home that much, I should enjoy it.

Anyone ever say some variation of those? I usually have really great discipline and can bypass all that stuff. Not this last month. Frankly, I’m scared to get on the scale for what it is going to tell me. I know I haven’t lost but I’m terrified to see if or how much I’ve gained. I’m failing at all my self-talk. I’m failing at saying NO.

I’m failing. And I want to leave it at that. Throw a fit. Say that I just can’t do it; the plan doesn’t work for me. I want to tell everyone how hard it is to be me. But guess what? That doesn’t help me either, it just makes me fail…more.

So I’m not going to do that. Because deep down I know these things:

  • I’m not failing at everything. Those are just lies that we tell ourselves.
  • If I fix my self-talk and start thinking about things on a decision-by-decision basis, I can choose to say no and make better choices. I can make choices that aren’t based on hormones, emotions, and circumstances.
  • I’m not failing at workouts (for the most part – I’ve had to miss a few.) I’m pushing myself and not giving in. I like getting stronger and seeing what new things my body can do.
  • It is going to be hard. It just is. I’m not in my 20’s anymore and things are just HARD. Recognize the challenge, say “game on”, and do it. Just do it.
  • Again – don’t look at weeks at a time. One decision, one good choice, one moment.
  • Plan better.

This post was for me. It was public self-talk and public accountability. We don’t always win. It’s so easy to fall down the social media rabbit hole of how all things are perfect. They aren’t. There is no quick fix. It isn’t easy. I haven’t won; I’ve lost this round. I let myself lose this round.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t win the next one.

New moment. New day. New week. New month. As the character President Jed Bartlet says in one of my favorite shows, “What’s next?”

TODAY I LOVE: finally finishing the “Downton Abby” series on BBC

SONG OF THE DAY: “Forever” by Mumford & Sons

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health

food sensitivity and me

There are all these companies out there these days that want to examine your blood/DNA/saliva and let it tell you all about you. I’ve always been curious about what my blood might tell me. So at the end of the year I purchased a Food Sensitivity and Metabolism test from Everlywell.

The Metabolism test needed my blood and a whole lot of saliva. It tested my cortisol level, thyroid, and free testosterone. The cortisol level is a bit of a stab in the dark, as it was only tested at one point in the day instead of 4. I had to take it with a BIG grain of salt. But overall, that test gave me results I expected. My thyroid and cortisol were fine, and my free testosterone was in the tank. If you take any kind of hormonal birth control (which I do for some woman issues), it zaps that testosterone level. It’s not good to have super low free testosterone, but sometimes it can’t be helped (like my situation.)

The Food Sensitivity test surprised the crap out of me. First off, let me explain. This isn’t an allergy to certain foods, it’s an immune response. Kinda. I’m going to copy this directly from the Everlywell site so that I don’t mess it up:

A food reactivity is different than an immediately life- threatening food allergy. Food reactivity is a delayed immune response by the Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody, the most abundant circulating antibody in our immune system. Studies suggest that an IgG immune response may contribute to headaches, joint pain, eczema, gut malabsorption, and other chronic conditions. Identifying your sensitivity to certain foods can be difficult since you probably eat many different types of food every single day. While reactivity does not always correlate with symptoms, it serves as a tool to help you assess your food intake, guide an elimination diet, and hopefully get you to feeling your best!

So yeah, I really wanted to know what foods might cause me some kind of internal reaction. Who knows if that is what might cause me all my headaches or bloating or whatever. I just received my results and I am SHOOK. A lot of the foods that I have some kind of sensitivity to, I eat EVERY DAY.

My highest reaction was to crab, which I don’t eat everyday and don’t really even care for for the most part. It did say I could have a cross-reaction with other crustaceans like shrimp and lobster which would make me really sad. I love shrimp. Sigh.

The biggest surprises were egg yolk, egg whites (um, eat these EVERY DAY), cow’s milk, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and BANANAS (again, every day). Other things that caused a response were things like peanuts, coconuts, gluten, wheat, barley, tuna, and oats. There were more, but you get the drift. There were spices too but it is too much to list. They checked 96 different foods/groups.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this information yet, but it’s so fascinating!! The test encourages you to try elimination diets to see if you remove certain items that cause the response if they make any change in your body/life. I will probably do this.

It might be a bunch of garbage, but information is power and I’m willing to see what this might change in my life. If something that has shown sensitivity in my blood might reduce my headaches or bloating or inflammation…I’m so game.

Everlywell did not pay me for this nor provide free testing. I did it all on my own. It was very easy and they give you all the tools for at-home collection of blood, etc. They have lots of different tests out there and I’d totally recommend it if you’re interested.

Giddy up! Good thing meat didn’t cause much of a reaction…I use egg whites as a big source of protein. I might need to rethink some things.

SONG OF THE DAY: “Two Doors Down” by Dolly Parton

TODAY I LOVE: maraschino cherries

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divorce, emotions, Fitness, goals, health

the calm and the storm

Flying over a thunderstorm outside of Dallas this past October

I think I’ve stared at the “Add title” part of this post for a good 20 minutes. I just finished writing a very mopey post about memories and pain. It’s still in my drafts but I’ll probably never post it. I’m sure everyone is tired of me mulling over my divorce and the never-ending tentacles of it’s reach in my life. It still just amazes me how I can go from moments of pure joy and happiness to watching one video of a concert we attended and I’m zapped back into sadness. It has to stop hurting at some point, right?

Anyway, I really just wanted to update you on my goals and such. I’m entering week 3. I can say without hesitation…it’s been hard. I’ve pushed myself in workouts (which is a good thing) and it’s made me so sore. Week 1 of my “diet” was hard but I was 100% perfect. Well…I fell off the wagon hard this weekend. I had cravings that I haven’t been able get rid of so I indulged them. The scale scolded me HARD this morning, but it was necessary. I’m in a much better place today. Overall I have lost and not gained any weight. I wish it was more, but this is for the long-haul, not in the day-to-day ups and downs.

Little wins and little falls…it is life and going to happen. It’s how I even out and recover that matters. It is not letting my “little fall” take me all the way to “I don’t care anymore.” And guess what? I still care. A lot. All of this matters.

So if you’ve had a weekend like I have, where you’ve celebrated birthdays and you’ve enjoyed some things outside of your norm…find your way back. And remember your “why.”

Now. I’m going to go watch something that makes me happy and not sad home videos on my phone.

TODAY I LOVE: Milk Makeup Kush Lip Balm

SONG OF THE DAY: “Girl” by Maren Morris

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Fitness, goals

tired and hungry and sore

Well, I think my title says it all. It fully encapsulates this week.

I started Phase II of my new year journey on Monday. I jumped in with both feet. Phase II included new programming at the gym (both strength and HIIT), calorie and macro guidelines based on my reading of Fat Loss Forever, and getting up early to do said gym workouts. After two weeks of the head and stomach flu, that 4:30am alarm is BRUTAL. So yeah, this week has been me on the struggle bus. BUT I HAVE DONE IT.

No cheats. I’ve stayed perfectly within my macros and calories. I haven’t missed a day of workouts. I just need to keep this up until it’s a habit and then it won’t be such a struggle. I’ve done it before and I know I can do it again.

Here are some things that are helping me this week:

  • I accidentally changed the setting on my bathroom scale to kilograms. I weigh every morning and then take an average for the week so see gain/loss. I didn’t mean to change it to kilograms but it’s been so much better for me emotionally! I’m much too lazy to remember the conversion to pounds that early in the morning so it’s awesome to weigh without all the guilt and shame of the pounds number. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Sure, I still weigh a ton but in my mind it’s just a number when it is kilograms.
  • I’m a nerd. You know this. I created a lovely excel workbook that has all my BMR, TDEE, and macro calculations (based on the book mentioned above.) I also have calculations for all my weights and measurements so that it calculates my averages for me. I am also able to see trends.
  • You can eat a LOT of veggies for little calories.
  • I’m not always going to improve my lifts at the gym. But I’ve been complacent for far too long. I haven’t stopped working out in all this time but if I’m honest I’ve been “mailing it in.” Every day this week I’ve given myself a pep talk to challenge myself. Don’t just do it to do it; make those calories and muscles work. And it has paid off in soreness. 🙂

I hope all of you are achieving your goals as well! One day at a time, friends. One moment at a time.

SONG OF THE DAY: “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle

TODAY I LOVE: my new pillow…makes a huge difference!

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