Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eight Month Check In!

The fall semester has started back and FryDaddy has gone back up-and-over the mountain for his final year of work in his graduate program. So eight months in to this journey, where do things stand?

It seems that good habits have (mostly) taken root.  I'm continuing with my workouts and, while my weight doesn't seem inclined to change, I feel much, much better.  I have more energy and I'm at peace with the dread machine known as the bathroom scale.  It's normal for me now to get up and do a half-hour workout before getting ready to leave the house, so it's definitely a habit.  I vary the workouts between sweat-inducing cardio (there's a cardio ballet one that I really like, although I'm pretty sure I disturbed the ghost of Pavlova with my interpretations of classical ballet), some light weight training (mostly using my own body weight, sometimes supplemented with canned goods), and stretching for flexibility.

I have housekeeping routines in place that have helped me feel more in control - there's always room for improvement in that area, but the house is "15 minutes from company ready" most days, with the major areas picked up, clean dishes, laundry caught up, etc.  It's rare that I don't have my work things ready the night beforehand and most days, I manage to carve out time for myself, whether it's through a cup of tea sipped instead of slurped standing over the sink or a few minutes a reading non-work stuff before bed.  By the way, FryDaddy is very onboard with this and is more than willing to pitch in.  A less-stressed Mockingbird makes for a happier Nest and who doesn't like that?


Areas for improvement?  Well, I still need to rein in my rampant sweet tooth.  While I eat properly and well about two-thirds of the time, I want to increase that percentage.  And I want to up my workouts to a consistent six times a week.  They don't all have to be in the morning, but I feel better when I do them, so it makes sense to do them often.  For both, I know what I need to do and, just as I Got Serious in other areas of my life, I need to apply the principles to that area as well.

Also, last month FryDaddy worked to tape out the front room and Barefoot and I spent two days in all manner of awkward positions transforming that room from a pale green that I loved seven years ago to a changeable warm off-white that is bright and gorgeous!  FryDaddy and I deep-cleaned the carpet and re-arranged furniture.  We also had some light fixtures swapped around and ventilation fans installed in the two bathrooms.  After starting a "family wall" of photos in the hall, we stood back and marveled and the works we (with some help) had wrought.  Nice.  Very nice.  It's so important that this house be "our" house and to do that, we needed to change some things - it may have taken us the better part of three years, but we're getting there, inside and out.

It's good to work hard and then be content.  That hasn't happened often with me.

Goals for this month?  Keep up the good work, and (aside from a Labor Day cookout), curb the junk food.  I've used the movie show I co-host (now with 50% more FryDaddy   If you're local, check out TV19!) as an excuse to indulge in too much buttered popcorn and movie candy for too long.  Time to sneak in baby carrots and grapes.  It's not a hardship - I like baby carrots and grapes and the movie food has gotten to the point that it's not a treat anymore.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Seven Month Check In!

I very nearly called this post "Retreat!  Retreat!" but it sounded too urgent and a wee bit militaristic, which is pretty much the polar opposite of what this post is about, so I kept with the established "monthly check in" theme.

At the start of July, I added regular daily workouts to my (still developing) routines.  I've de-cluttered most of the house, so it was high time I began to take a look at the clutter I carry around with me body-wise.  As I said before, I know what I ought to eat, and I've made some healthy changes in those directions, but my sweet tooth leads me to despair sometimes.  But what really bugged me was that I just didn't feel strong - and I wanted to.  So I had started experimenting in June with workouts and quickly figured out a few things:

  • I had to be realistic - why was I doing this?  My goal isn't to become a runner (no offense to my friends who go that way) or bench-press my body weight - I want to get fit, lose that same fifteen pounds that insists on sticking close to me, and have energy throughout my day.
  • I needed to pick something that I could do in my house - past history has shown me that gym workouts don't work well for me with my schedule.
  • I needed something that didn't require equipment.
  • I needed something that made me break a sweat, yet was short enough that I could do it often.

So I settled on three days of half-hour interval training (short bursts of intense activity, followed by shorter periods of less intense movement) and three days of strength training (starting at one set and adding another set every two weeks - I'm up to three and am aiming for four).  I'm experimenting with substituting one day of yoga for one of the strength training sessions and my regular half-hour walk is still part of my daily round.  How to do this?  Welcome to YouTube!  I have a regular set of videos I use (there's a boxing one and [hangs head] one that's designed around 70s pop music) and I might expand those after I've done this routine for eight weeks (I'm just about to start Week Six) - we'll see.

Not much change in either weight or inches, but I have to say - I feel better.  More energy and I'm beginning to feel stronger.  I'm going to keep with it - I'll report back in another month.  And I've heard that no matter how slowly I go, I'm still lapping the me that sat on the couch, so there's that.

This past weekend, my routines were disrupted a bit as I kept a promise to a friend and went on a women's retreat in the mountains.  I've never done such a thing before and I wasn't at all sure.  (Seriously.)  I have to say, it was magnificent.  We stayed at a Catholic retreat center that was basic (not rustic - all the modern amenities were there) and far enough removed from the world that you actually had time and space to listen to the clamor in your own head and work to still it - I thought of it as dealing head-on with my mental clutter.  The center had extremely limited Wi-Fi, which turned out to be a godsend for me.  I've become a touch tech-dependent and I believe it did me a world of good to unplug for 40 hours.  I left the iPad plugged in and used it as an alarm clock and noted the amount of water I drank, but that was it.  No logging my food (yummy summer camp style food, by the way), no checking Facebook or e-mail or news.  (OK, I did call to check in with FryDaddy, but this was massive unplugging for me!)  Obviously, I'm plugged back in, but I think that's going to change some this next month - unplugging meant I paid more attention to the people around me, instead of being that Jimmy Buffett lyric about "taking Polaroid pictures that are never in focus/Just to look at when they finally slow down."

This weekend was marvelous.  And these women are inspiring - tough, funny, honest, and quick to see the best in you.  Really, I want to be these women when I grow up.  Thanks to their example, maybe I'm a little further along that path today than I was last Thursday.

It's going to be a good month!