really real reality

Shootout.jpg.e2ceda5e6854df2c8893abada78336abIf you’ve followed me for very long at all, I write a lot about my weight, exercise, diet, etc.  I like these things.  I like seeing progress and I hate admitting failure.  However, like two sides to any coin you’re always going to have them both.  Last year it was success upon success in my weight-loss and fitness journey.  This year is a different story.

Life has happened to me in a big way this year.  I was depressed for quite a long time and stressed even longer.  Even so, I did the very best I could with my macro guidelines and I exercised way more than not.  Still…no change.  We’ve lowered calories, changed macros, changed again, added and added and added cardio…no change.  I haven’t gained it all back, but I’ve gained this year.  Many of my wins last year have been overturned.  It’s hard not to say, “Sarah, if you just cut your calories more, you have to lost weight.”  Um, yeah, no.  I’ve done that.  I can’t really cut anymore or my body will definitely freak out.

To say that it is defeating is the most gigantic understatement you can utter.  I’m leaving for vacation in a few short weeks and this is NOT the shape I wanted to be in for it.  My poor roommate has had to deal with my meltdowns this week especially as I’m trying to buy a dress for a wedding and purchase clothes for the beach.

WHY JUST WHY.

And sadly, the long and the short of it is this…we don’t know.  Maybe my body is tired of dieting.  Maybe my body has some weird hormone things (hello STRESS) that are hijacking all the good things I’m doing.  Maybe I just need a reset and a change.  Maybe I need rest.  Who the hell knows.

So.  Really real reality.  I’m staring at my beach vacation straight in the eye.  I’m many pounds heavier than I planned.  In my mind it is kind of like one of those old outside-the-OK-corral standoffs.  Wyatt Earp staring down his opponent (before he went crazy – important fact.)  Am I going to let my perception of how I needed to be ruin my vacation?    As much as it is a struggle to say – no.  I’m not going to let it win.

I’m me.  Despite the outside package and wrappings, I’m quite awesome.   I can lift very heavy things and put them back down.  I have great hair.  My skincare routine is longer than some people’s showers and I love it.   I can spout random music facts on a whim.  I have a really awesome cat.  The older I get I’m finding joy in being myself and surprising people who expect something different.  I smile a lot and I like to make other people smile too.  My fella loves me.  I’m going to PARADISE.

When I wrap my head around all those great things, how can I let a stubborn body beat me?  It is all in my PERCEPTION of me.  And the great thing is…I can work on changing that.  It might not change how my clothes fit or the number on the scale, but if I can find happiness in my happies until the tide turns, the coin flips, or my body decides to listen, well, that’s a big win.  I’ll dip back into my college days, and all those psychology/counseling classes:  I’m taking a mental picture and I’m reframing it so I see it differently.

If you’re in the same spot I am…take stock and reframe the shot.  It is a by-the-minute battle, but if I can do it then you can too.

TODAY I LOVE: Peach & Lily.  I should just sign my paycheck over.

 

self-portraits & sushi

I’ve been putting this post off.  To be honest, based on my mood right now I probably shouldn’t be writing it either, but oh well.  You’re getting a very honest and real Sarah today, folks.  Hold onto your butts.

A little over a month ago I wrote a blog post about my goals for the next 30-days.  I’m afraid to tell you I was unsuccessful with almost all of them.  I was 100% on my macros and I followed my lifting program.  But everything else?  Nada.  My weight didn’t move even an inch.  After a year of success, followed by 30 days of diet and exercise compliance that resulted in NOTHING…yeah, kinda depressing.

Now, we’re changing up some things and the next two weeks in particular will be a very, very hard reset.  Everything about me is out of whack and I’m not really sure why.  So yes, there is a plan in place and we’ll figure this out.  I will not feel this way forever.  That is the only positive thing coming out of this blog post.

I’ve been taking this photography class in my free time.  I’ve got several road trips on the docket for this year and I want to be on the top of my game remembering the gorgeous things I’m going to get to see and experience.  One of the exercises I’m asked to complete in this class is daily self-portraits.  No, I’m not talking about selfies.  Ok, I guess they are sort of selfies but a lot more difficult to grab.  I took my self-portraits today and decided to get a lot more of my body and not just my face.  Let me give you a word of advice.  When you’re already feeling REALLY down about your appearance, DON’T DO A SELF-PORTRAIT.

Despite how I’m sure this entire post is coming across, this is not a pity or a woe is me post.  I’m just…down.  I’ve had lots of ups.  I’ve had so many ups that it’s hard to talk to you from the valley of the down.

Professionally I was brilliant this week.  I turned my introvert switch off; I sparkled and shined and glowed in my role.  It was very, very…up.  And now I am not.

So tonight I’m watching old Grey’s Anatomy and eating sushi I bought at the grocery store earlier today.   Earlier today I updated apps on my computer and I cleaned out the cabinet in my office.  Maybe I’ll start a new book before bed.  These are all happy things.  So maybe I’m ending this post better than how it started.  🙂

TODAY I LOVE: the smell of grapefruit essential oils being diffused

the next 30 days

I wish I could tell you that I started this year just killing my workouts and nailing my diet and never being lazy or tired or sick or inconsistent.  But that would be a lie.  With the exception of a couple of good weeks, 2018 has been a roiling boil of excuses and exceptions.  It is embarrassing.  Also infuriating.  I woke up this morning just straight up mad.

I don’t like that all my new smaller clothes are a tinge uncomfortable.  I don’t like that I have no energy because I haven’t been eating correctly.  I don’t like being scared to step on the scale.  And I REALLY don’t like feeling like a failure.  This is a really real confession that I hate to admit, but hey, it is what it is.  I hate that in my mind it feels like I’m giving all the doubters what they wanted to see all along.  “I knew she wouldn’t/couldn’t keep it up.”  *WOMP*  That statement is way too much to unpack in this post, but it’s definitely something I’m journaling about privately.  Homegirl has some issues.  I really hate that my mood and thoughts of myself tend to hinge on how comfortable I feel in my skin.

ANYWAY.  I had every intention of being 100% everything this week.  However due to a variety of reason that were out of my control, that didn’t happen.  So here’s what I’m telling you – I’ve made a pact with myself.  All this mess stops here.  I mean, I was perfect with diet and exercise for 8 WEEKS WITH A BROKEN ANKLE.  I can do this.

I love my Apple Watch.  I’m tied to it like I married the thing.  I love that it gives you little challenges to complete every now and again.  I am a sucker for pretty rewards.  (Yes, I was the girl in school who wanted alllllllll the gold stars by her name.  I like shiny things.)  So I’m creating a Sarah Challenge.

In just over 30 days I go to Dallas for a work convention.  There is a pretty good possibility I’m going to have to be fabulous in front of a whole lot of people.  I don’t want to feel like this when I need to be the epitome of self-confidence.  For the next 30 days I’m committing to myself to do the following:

  • Close all my 3 of my apple watch rings every day.
  • Lift/strength training 6 days a week (already do this when I’m consistent.)
  • Auxiliary Class (barre, TRX, yoga, etc.) 2 days a week
  • 100% on my macro levels.  No exceptions. No cheats.
  • Drop at least 5lbs of the fluff I gained over the holidays.  I didn’t handle the holidays and vacation appropriately.  I’ve learned my lesson.  Now I need to fix it.
  • Everyday identify something within me to feel confident about.

I can do this.  I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.  I just need that line in the sand and the deadline to make it happen.  Once I can get in the groove I’ll be just fine.  No more excuses.  I just can’t do it anymore.

TODAY I LOVE: the entire Drunk Elephant skincare line.  GAME CHANGER.

Climbing again

It is Friday night and I’m sitting here on my sofa, having a cup of sleepy tea, and watching Grace & Frankie (again) on the TV. (Side note: I’m SO excited for Season 4 which comes out next week.) ANYWAY. I got off work this afternoon and came home and deep cleaned my living room. I tore down the Christmas tree and all the decorations. I moved all the furniture and vacuumed. I bought a lamp (also random.) All that to say, I’m super content in this spot, right this second. Which puts me in a good place to talk about something that I’m not happy about: my fitness.

A week before Christmas I messed up my back. It was AWFUL. I’m too embarrassed to say what I did, but it was a dumb thing and I’ve LEARNED MY LESSON. ANYWAY. I couldn’t bend my spine at all. I couldn’t even sit. I could only lay flat or be in terrible pain. So needless to say my workouts were not fabulous. And then I went home to my family for Christmas. And then I went to California for 2 weeks to be with my fella. My butt has not been in a gym for 3 WEEKS. It’s embarrassing. And I didn’t follow my macros over the holidays either. I wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t perfect.

Confession: I’m absolutely terrified to step on the scale. (I’m not stepping on the scale until Monday morning, but still.).

I feel bloated and chunky and lumpy and likely 10 pounds heavier.

So that’s the bad news.

The good news? I can fix it. I can fix all of it. You know why? Because last year I learned how. I can’t tell you how much that reassures me that this is all going to be fine. This year when I’m looking at my fitness and health journey it is totally different than last year. It’s kind of like carving an ice sculpture. When you get started you have to take off a whole bunch of the bulk before you can even start to shape what you’re really trying to carve. 2017 was getting rid of the excess for me. In 2018 I get to sculpt something fantastic. Isn’t that wonderful!?

I admit, I don’t like that it feels I’m starting this year behind. But you know what? I had a great Christmas and New Years and California dreams. The rest let my back heal. I just…lived for a while. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Even if it does feel like I’m starting in a deficit. Whatever I’ve gained will come back off. I’ve proven I can do it.

So with that said…tomorrow I go back to the gym with my best girl. Good things to come.

TODAY I LOVE: my Filimin lantern

the great depression

138 day move streak.  4 perfect months.  21 pounds and 23 inches lost.  I’ve had quite the string of accomplishments lately.  I’m not trying to brag; I’m just proud of myself.  That’s a lot.  I had (have) a long way to go.  I started this year wanting to be healthier not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.  And until the last week or so, I’ve totally killed it.  And then I didn’t.

My boyfriend flew home.  My best friend flew away.  I went back to work where a new season of stressors awaited.  My mom had surgery.  My brother got hurt.  I got food poisoning or a stomach bug or something.  It felt like my life was full of all my favorite things and people and then a big vacuum sucked it all away.  And it left me empty.

In that emptiness I let go of all the things I worked so hard for.   I didn’t count my macros.  I didn’t go to the gym.  I went to work and I came home.  I watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy.  I did everything to fill the void but actually deal with it.  It was truly like I had a mild case of a kind of depression.  Nothing really made me happy.

Thankfully, I knew to get myself out of it I’d have to look ahead.  It would all pass.  I made goals for July.  I visited my family.  I watched the clouds and reprioritized.  I think I’m ready to start over.

I won’t lie; even writing this is as cathartic as it is embarrassing.  It’s humbling to admit that mentally I went from wonder woman to fragile vase in a matter of hours.  But the reality is I’m human.  And these days/weeks are going to happen.  I won’t be perfect all the time.  I’ve got to learn to cope better.  This was a cold reality check that I really don’t have it all together yet.  My old mechanisms are still there, under the surface, and will attack if I don’t deal.  I didn’t deal.

So I’m starting over.  I don’t know how much strength I’ve lost from my week off, but I was at least pleased(?) to note that my scale hadn’t went up any.  I hadn’t lost (despite the stomach bug) but at least hadn’t truly gained.  It’s going to take me a bit longer to gain my mental strength back.

I wrote this post for me.  It’s a checkpoint; a reminder for the future.  Thanks for hanging with me.

TODAY I LOVE:  Aussie brand deep conditioner (it smells so good!)

you count what?

I’m going to preface this entire post with I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST.  Honestly, if it weren’t for the instruction from some very smart individuals I’d be flying by the seat of my pants.  I do what I’m told.  So any of what I say you attempt to make your own, I’d encourage you to research a great coach/trainer/source to figure out what is right for YOUR body.   Deal?  Deal.

Several of you have asked me via various social platforms what I’ve been up to lately as far as my new health and fitness lifestyle.  I’ll talk about the diet part of it today.  Last year I dabbled here and there with switching to counting macronutrients rather than calories.  At the beginning of this year I made the hard shift to doing so all the time.  After years and years and years of low calorie diets, where ALL I did was calculate calories, this was quite an adjustment.  When I used to think the calorie was all that mattered, to now realizing it doesn’t matter as much as the CONTENT of the calories ..well, mental struggle.

For those of you that do not know, macronutrients are the parts and pieces that make up our food.  Carbohydrates, protein, fat, potassium, magnesium, etc….all these things are macronutrients (or commonly called macros for short.) I track the big 3: carbs, protein, and fat.

I had kinda destroyed my metabolism over time from all the low calorie diets, which is fairly common when doing that type of thing long term.  Yes, you temporarily lose weight but your body will adjust, you might be eating calories that really don’t work for the structure of your body, and it’s just not maintainable.

Going into this whole endeavor for me was quite honestly just to lose body fat.  I’ve enough body fat to float a barge and it needs to go away.  I was at my heaviest in my life.  And yes, I realize now more than ever that the number on the scale is really just a number, but even that being said I had/have quite a significant amount of body fat to drop.  Your coach/trainer/source will look at your weight/measurements/body fat and determine a starting point for your macros.  As I said, I’m not a nutritionist so I can’t explain this fully, but making some levels higher than others will help you gain muscle, while lowering some and raising others increases fat loss, etc.  It’s a bit of a puzzle at first because everyone is different and all of our bodies respond differently.  My coach understood that I not only wanted to lose fat, but also needed to repair my junky metabolism.  So she set my macros and off I went.

I weigh every day.  I thought I would obsess over this, but really it isn’t that big of a thing.  It’s not really the number that matters.  It’s simply a gauge to judge, pretty readily, how my body is responding to adjustments.

Tracking my macros is pretty simple thanks to all the apps these days.  I use My Net Diary, which has a website and apps for both iPhone and iPad.   I set my current macro targets, and then daily just input my food.  Instead of calories, I’m watching my carbs/protein/fat totals.  Just like calorie counting you do have to plan a bit.  All in all, thanks to the apps, I’m not finding it difficult at all.  It only gets tricky when you’re near the end of your day and you have x-number grams of carbs to stuff in.  When you have to get just ONE macronutrient, without affecting the others, it can be tricky.  You quickly learn some go-to foods to fill the gaps.

I’m in my fourth month of macro tracking, and I’ve had my macros adjusted 3 times.  The most recent was just this week.  We ADDED more food.  We added more food the last time as well.   Yes, I’m eating more food, with less exercise, and still losing pounds and inches.  No pills, no supplements, no voodoo.  Just science.  It’s quite fascinating.

If you have any questions that I can legitimately answer, let me know!

We’ll talk about the exercise portion of things another day.  🙂

TODAY I LOVE: really soft t-shirts.  It’s like wearing a hug.

 

you know what? not everyday is great.

It’s really easy to only write about happy things.  I like writing about accomplishments.  I get downright giddy sharing a life hack that helped me.  It is not fun, however, exposing the underbelly of emotion.  The emotions that bubble up and catch you unawares.  The emotions that make you crawl into yourself and hide until it’s all better.  Sadly, I’m not being a very authentic person if you only get the good side.

Yesterday was just rough.  For the first time in 3 diligent months I just did NOT care about my macros.  I did fine all day but by the time dinner rolled around I was in such a mood that pretty much said, “Screw it” and ate whatever I wanted.  (Thankfully I don’t really keep much in my apartment.)  I had cleaned my office earlier in the day and in doing so it brought up a lot of emotions and memories.  Other than a few items, I hadn’t changed anything since the divorce.  All in all, I was lonely and sad.  And apparently ate my feelings (they taste like macaroni and cheese among other things.)

Afterwards I felt like such a failure.  That is not a great place to be, nor is it at all healthy mentally.  It was one day; one meal.  Lucky for me, my best girl called me out on these unhealthy thoughts and brought me around.  These days are going to happen.  I’ve got to manage my emotions, anticipate how I need to handle things, and not revert to my old way of stress/emotion management.  Life isn’t going to be easy and these moments are going to happen again.  And that’s ok.

Today, my friend, is a new day.  And that’s ok too.

TODAY I LOVE: opening a new tube of toothpaste (it’s evenly distributed!)