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

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

random friday stuff: vol 4

Hiyo! Things have been way to depressing lately.  All around.  Let’s talk about all the things that are making me happy these days.

  1. Downton Abbey.  When it was on originally I never got past the finale of Season 3.  No spoilers but it was DEVASTATING to me.  So I stopped.  I decided to pick it up again and get past that fateful episode.  I want to start calling it luncheon instead of lunch.  And I really want to wear their gowns.
  2. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For my birthday last year my super awesome fella got me a Nintendo Switch and this game!  First off, having never really owned a major gaming system, this thing is amazing.  I love it.  That should also tell you I’M TERRIBLE.  But you guys it is so fun.  This game is gorgeous.  You can wander around as you please and explore.  And if you are me, you die quite a lot.  I’m glad I’ve been able to get into the game and even though I’m terrible I’m slowly learning.
  3. Nayyirah Waheed.  Her poetry is LIFE.  I’m a bit obsessed with her lately and have wanted her book Salt but it is super hard to find.
  4. New music from Leon Bridges and Ray LaMontagne.  Oh, and I still can’t stop playing new music from Brandi Carlile and The Secret Sisters (both of whom are playing TOGETHER in Kansas City in June and I want to go so bad it hurts.)
  5. Sea Otters.  While I was in California with my guy a few weeks ago we went to Monterey, CA for a day.  We had dinner at an awesome restaurant right on the bay.  There was a sea otter swimming and hunting right there in the water next to us!!  It was one of the most magical settings and lovely moments.  I still think of it often.
  6. Skin Care.  To say that I’ve become obsessed with skin care and anti-aging would be the understatement of the year.  I’m not sure when I turned the corner of not caring to completely obsessed, but I’m here.  I’ve been using Drunk Elephant products exclusively for the last year now and they are FANTASTIC.  However now I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of K-Beauty and I’m going to add (what feels like) 20 more steps to my process.  As I find things I love I’ll keep you posted.  The constant quest to not look my age is a real thing.
  7. Lastly…for a funny.  My grandma celebrated her 80th birthday a few weeks ago.  We had a little dinner party for her.  This was me trying to drive all the balloons I purchased home (an hour and a half drive.)  I really overshot what would fit in my car.  IMG_2117

TODAY I LOVE: peanut butter (I really need to not buy it.  It’s too good.)

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

gasp! we are all broken in some way.

Don’t let anyone fool you, especially those pretty put-together instagram folks, no one is perfect.  It’s so very simple to take photos or share the one tiny corner of your life that is clean, tidy, skinny, modern, detailed, polished, or beautified while ignoring the other 98% that is “normal.”  (I cannot tell you how long we discussed “what is normal and who decides it?” in my abnormal psych class in college.)  Anyway, today’s post is a raw one.  A real one.

So, if you’ve been keeping up with me at all over the last several months, you know I’m working hard on my fitness journey to lose weight, gain confidence, and be fit.  I’ve made so many great strides.  When I’m having a good mental day, I feel really good about myself.  But then I have those days where I don’t.  Those days where all I see are lumps and bumps, stretch marks, bruises, and just how much further I have to go in my journey.

Those days it’s hard to remember how far I’ve come.  It’s hard to remember that I’m not the only person out there who isn’t perfect.  I posted a “progress” photo the other day on instagram and while most people have been simply wonderful it’s hard to deal with some of the things others have said.  Things I’ve heard:

  • Um, whoa.  I had no idea you looked like that.
  • It’s taken you 7 months?
  • I mean…look at your arm!
  • Still losing that weight?  Lookin’ better.

First of all, yes, I was a lot larger and unhappy with myself when I started.  That’s a known fact to me.  Why do you think I wanted to change?  But some people, when they say these things, it’s not in the “nice criticism” way.  It’s more of the “wow, I had no idea you were so gross and why did it take you so long to get to now.” (Before you yell at me for getting upset over criticism over a photo I willingly put out into the world – don’t.  I opened myself up to it.)  I’m certainly strong enough to smile away the negativity if it were to give someone else out there hope.

Anyway, it is just one of those days where I’m focusing on remembering why I do this.  That not everything I see is perfect for everyone else either.  I could tidy up one corner of my apartment and make it look magazine amazing, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the place looks like a tornado went through it.  Those beautiful people on instagram likely aren’t so polished and lump-free all the time either.

Unbroken people are a rare find.  And I’m ok.  I’m perfectly normal and perfectly me.

TODAY I LOVE:  garden fresh tomatoes

Choosing joy.

 I’m gonna be candid.  It’s been a hell of a few days.  I know I go into a lot of things here but all the details that sent me off the deep end are going to remain in my secret journal not my public one.  When there are other people involved it gets tricky and I don’t want to cause more drama.  

At any rate,  I got the news at the end of last week that my ex-husband was engaged.  You wouldn’t think something like that would send me off the rails as we have been divorced for over a year now.  But it did.  It just made me so sad.  And, like I said, I’m going to leave a bunch of my thoughts and reasonings private, but hello sadness and depression.  And ugly thoughts of myself and self worth.  

I wallowed in it for a day and then out of the blue my mom called me and asked me if I wanted to go to the lake with her and my brother.  And completely out of character for me, I said yes.  I got up off the couch, put on my bikini, and hit the road.  An hour and 15 minutes later, I was on the water and soaking up the sun.  It was 95 degrees outside, the water temp was 86 degrees and PERFECT.   

My brother was his typical silly, fun-loving, people-person self.  He played “photographer” and held his own photoshoot with my phone (the picture above.). It was so stinking funny.  And you know what, I kind of value all those stupid pictures on my phone.  Because that is a genuine, free, and willing smile.  I was laughing so hard at that moment.  And I’m so thankful I have record of it to go back on. Even looking at it now it makes me smile.  I wasn’t thinking about my past life.   I wasn’t thinking about my current life.  I wasn’t thinking about all the things I have OR don’t have.  I wasn’t thinking about who loves me and who doesn’t.  I had JOY.  

So I’m going to keep staring at this photo and remembering to choose joy.  Because the rest of the crap that is lingering in my psyche is just literally just crap.  It’s jaded thoughts, it’s distorted memories, and it’s the past.  Choose.  Joy.  This is my reminder that I CAN set it all aside and be happy.  Happiness can creep up and overtake the crap.  This picture is evidence.  I’m so, so thankful for it.  So thankful.  

I’m not normally spontaneous, but this one little trip gave me a hard-shift to my perspective and thoughts. 

TODAY I LOVE:  pool floaties 

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!)