goals, direction, and starting to see light.

Seeing the light arriving

Greetings, my friends! And Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a great and relaxing weekend. It has been raining off and on yesterday and today and honestly it’s been nice to chill for a hot minute. I did quite a bit of socializing this week and was oh-so-ready for a day to be a hermit and recharge.

I do apologize that my writing has been so sporadic lately. I certainly didn’t intend for this to blog to only be used when I’m feeling down in the dumps. Now that I’ve made great strides crawling out of the dark place, I guess I’m trying to decide which direction to take this thing now.

First things first, some updates. This week will be Week 6 of my elimination diet. As I said in my last post, I’ve been adding things in and taking them out for a few weeks now. Even though I do believe now that most of my health issues are being caused by something other than food, it has been very enlightening to find out what foods do cause a reaction of any kind in my body. I *think* I’ve found out this week that dairy actually increases my heartburn. This makes me very sad, as cheese is practically one of my love languages. Anyway, the experiment continues. After that first week I’ve managed to maintain my calories at my normal level. Cravings are gone. I sleep well (for the most part). I don’t have a headache everyday. All that to say, I’m going to keep this experiment going for a while.

Beginning September I started running again. I’ve also added in yoga (in addition to strength training.) I’m really, really enjoying it. I’m not sure what finally made the switch flip in my brain, but I’m looking forward to workouts again rather than seeing them as a chore. I’m also looking forward to setting some goals for each of those areas for October. I haven’t set any kind of athletic goal in AGES! This is great mental progress for me.

So, where do I go from here? Someone told me this morning, “Every time I see you you’re always smiling! It makes me smile.” I guarantee the gal who said it had no idea how much it effected me, and probably not even for the reason that you’d imagine. I think maybe after all these months I’m finally figuring out that it really is all up to me on my perspective of things. I’m not in control of anything and I need to stop trying to grapple for it like a lifeline. I can’t control what people think of me, I can rarely control what happens to me. The one thing I can control? My perspective. If I can do that then the lows won’t be so low. The highs are even higher. And every thing isn’t nearly so dark. Life is quite a lot sweeter when you let it happen.

I’m looking forward to this week. I’m going home this weekend for our fall festival. I haven’t been back to it in probably 15+ years. This would normally probably cause me anxiety…but it’s going to be ok. I’m going to choose to look at is as an opportunity to enjoy some folks I haven’t seen in quite some time. Plus the parade! Band nerds unite! What are you looking forward to this week?

TODAY I LOVE: dry shampoo (seriously gals, am I right?!)
SONG OF THE DAY: “Alice from Dallas” by Foy Vance

I am not skinny … but …

I have worked so hard these last couple of weeks in the gym. I’m pushing myself in my lifts and I’ve added “bonus” cardio everyday. And guess what? My weight hasn’t changed. I’ve gone up and down the same 3lbs for almost 3 weeks now. I’ve stayed within my macros and I’ve turned down cupcakes and donuts and Chick-fil-a. (WHOA.) I’ve vacillated between being depressed about it all and being ok.

This morning while I was in the gym I was thinking about it all. Today was a “heavy” lift day. And as I was standing there, continuing to add plates to the bar, and looking at myself in the mirror, I was content?

Here’s why: I might not be skinny and I might very well be considered overweight. BUT

I took this after the gym this morning. I added the flare to disguise the dirty mirror. ūüôā It’s not an awesome picture; it isn’t flattering. But this is the body I have today, and it is strong.
  • Today I leg-pressed 495lbs (11 plates) and probably could have kept going.
  • Last week I was able to squat 215 pounds for four reps on my sixth set! That’s been my heaviest on squats in months and months.
  • I held a plank for *almost* 2 minutes today. That’s huge for me!
  • This body has allowed me to conquer the stair machine over and over this week. Hundreds of floors climbed.
  • This body is well enough to tend my own yard (mowing and trimming) without any help.

This body might not be skinny, and it might very well be overweight, but it is strong. It is able. It is healthy. And I’m doing my best to love it. To love what it is now and not what I think it needs to be. To love what it can DO.

That’s where I am today. I might be sad again tomorrow that my skinny jeans are still tight, but I’m writing this post to remind me of how I feel TODAY. I need more todays.

TODAY I LOVE: Alo Yoga capris
SONG OF THE DAY: “Redesigning Women” by The HighWomen

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

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. ūüôā

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!

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 post I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to write.

It’s Monday morning on Labor Day. ¬†I’m sitting here on my sofa, having a cup of tea, planning my meals for the week, and gearing myself up to hit the gym. ¬† This last month, especially the last week has been one of the most stressful I’ve had in a while. ¬†Exactly four weeks ago I broke my ankle. ¬†Last week I had an allergic reaction to a dye in a new vitamin I started taking and that turned into some really nasty urticarial welts in spots (don’t google that – so gross) all the while working an 80 hour week to respond to Hurricane Harvey. ¬†I’m hopped up on so many steroids and antihistamines right now I should be resistant to just about everything. ¬†It’s just been a lot of things and little rest.

The broken ankle really messed me up mentally. ¬†I was having such great momentum and progress with my lifting and weightloss and I knew that was going to have to change. ¬†I’m so, so blessed (and I can’t say this enough) with my best friend, who also happens to be my coach and encourager and sister by choice. ¬†She’s brilliant and within hours already had me talked of the ledge and had alternative moves I could do for every single exercise. ¬†I didn’t have to stop. ¬†I’ve had to make lots of modifications. ¬†I cannot tell you how much I’m ready to do cardio other than the stationary bike and row machine.

Back in January I set a goal to lose 30 pounds. ¬†If I’m being entirely truthful, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. ¬†Why? ¬†Because I’ve said that same goal for the last 2 years. ¬†And I never happened. ¬†This morning I stepped on the scale, as I do every morning, and I’ve officially lost 31.2 pounds. ¬†It took me 7 and a half months but I did it. ¬†That was 7.5 months of working my ass off, fixing my metabolism, losing fat and gaining muscle, getting my dietary calories UP not DOWN, and not giving up. ¬† Looking back at my weight log, I lost 9lbs while with a broken ankle. ¬†Crazy!!

Last week Ash asked me what my new goal is now that I was nearly to my current goal. ¬†I’d already thought about it. ¬†Now I want to get to my goal HEALTHY weight. ¬†Which now, as of this morning, is about 9lbs away.

I’m really glad I got to write this post. ¬†The words I’ve wanted to say for over two years. ¬†Thank you to all of you who have been so encouraging. ¬†Most especially my Ash.

TODAY I LOVE: I get to go buy new clothes for a good reason