So what clicked this time?

At the beginning of 2017, I realized I needed to become healthier. My 41st birthday was approaching in February, the holiday season was over and my clothes were tight. Typical after the holidays, but I was really annoyed with myself. It was time to make a change and lose some weight. How many times have I said that after the holidays? Ugh.

Mid-way through January, I started cutting back on the junk and a few pounds came off. Then in February after my birthday, I started to eat clean. I also decided to give up chocolate through Lent. <Gulp> That meant no chocolate until April. Could I do it? I had no idea, but I was going to give it a try. A few more pounds came off. Then in March, I got the flu, influenza A to be exact. While it completely sucked to be so sick, I had no appetite and promptly lost five pounds. I thought for sure they’d come back once my appetite came back, but they didn’t. I continued to eat clean, exercised sporadically and kept that weight off. At that point, I think I was down about 10 pounds. In April, we went on vacation and I enjoyed myself within reason. I was slowly starting to realize that I didn’t need to eat myself silly, even if I was in NYC and enjoying amazing meals. I returned from our trip only about a pound heavier than when we left. Slowly, these small changes were sticking.

In May, I started to count calories on My Fitness Pal. I also discovered that there was a new Title Boxing Club being built in my area and joined. You can read more about my boxing obsession love here

I’ve now lost almost 30 pounds since the beginning of the year. My cholesterol is down significantly. My stomach feels so much better. Eating poorly means my GI system is a mess. Eating well means it’s not. My doctor is thrilled with my weight this year after getting a little weight lecture at my 2016 physical.  A lot of people have said, “Oh, you’ve always looked good” or “Well, you’re little anyways”, but here’s the thing, people–I’m not even 5’2”. When I’m heavier, all my numbers get out of whack. My back hurts. I feel like crap. So while I’ve never been in the obese category, I’ve definitely been in the overweight category and for me, that means unhealthy.

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Before and two afters. Goofy picture-taking at 4:45 a.m. while waiting for our boxing instructor one morning.

What has clicked this time? I started to feel good once I started doing what I needed to do. And then I decided to stick with it. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not one of those people who can eat whatever she wants. If I want to be healthy and be happier with my appearance, I need to put in the work. Losing this weight has meant that I feel a lot better about myself. The challenge going forward is maintaining and working on toning muscle. Getting to my weight goal does not mean that the work has ended, but it means that a new chapter is just beginning. And that’s ok. (And by the way, I did give up chocolate through Lent!)

Mid-Year Bad Blogger Check-in

Ok, my last blog post was like six months ago and I said I wanted to blog more in my last one. I kinda suck. I’ve started a few potential posts that I never finished, which, for me, is progress, but…..I know, I know.

Anyway, I had some 2017 goals that I put out there in January and I’ve been mentally evaluating how I’m doing.

  • More yoga, meditation and exercise Yup, yep, and yep. More on that.
  • Watch less TV. Seriously, it’s a time suck and hindering me doing other things Getting there. I have a few core shows that I won’t give up, but I love the DVR, so I can watch them when I want AND fast forward.
  • More reading. I’ll have time for this if I watch less TV. Duh Getting there. I discovered that the library near my office is on the same network as my city’s library and I can get books there. I’ve also downloaded the library’s e-book app, too.
  • More fun times with friends Yup. Realizing how lucky I am that my best friend of 23 years and I ended up living so close to each other and that our kids are close.
  • More date nights with my husband. We do get out—it’s great having older kids who can stay home for a few hours so we can spontaneously grab dinner together—but we don’t make it a priority and don’t plan to do different things We’ve done a few different things lately and went to the movies a few weeks ago. We realized we hadn’t gone to see a movie just us since we were dating.
  • Visit more new places, both local and further away We went to NYC over the boys’ spring break from school. I’d never been before and absolutely loved it. I want to go back.
  • Teach my kids to cook I think my husband has been working on this one with them. I’m a lousy cook. I should probably join in on the lessons! 🙂
  • Spend more time outdoors Yup! More walking in the beautiful areas near our home.
  • Blog more We all know the answer to this one.

So, bullet point one: I do yoga a few nights a week. I use an app and do it at home and keep it simple. I love restorative yoga and it helps with my flexibility, relaxes me and helps me sleeps on the nights I need some help there. I was better about the meditation at the beginning of the year and have kind of slacked off on this one, but I’m trying to get better about it again. I was also doing various exercise DVDs earlier in the year and while they provide me with great workouts, they aren’t ideal for me. I’m not as motivated to do them regularly and it’s easier to skip a day. I recently DISCOVERed boxing, however, and that has kind of been a game-changer for me. That actually deserves its own post, which means….I might actually have a new topic to write about soon!

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Life isn’t perfect and it’s not always easy to stick to the goals one sets, but I’m definitely trying to be more mindful of the ones I set. I think that’s a success in and of itself. 

What I’ve Learned During My Blogging Hiatus

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve published a blog post. I miss writing for me and really hope I can get back to blogging, but let’s back up a bit and you’ll see why I haven’t written.

2016 has been a busy  year.

I changed jobs last December, my husband’s role at his company changed in January and he started to travel much more, one of our dogs hurt his knee and later had surgery, our other dog wasn’t doing well in the spring and we had to put him down in July (one of the hardest things I’ve ever done), we’ve been doing home improvements to the house…..and I’ve barely felt that I’ve been able to take a deep breath all year.

Most of the time, this doesn’t feel interesting enough to write about. It’s life, right? It’s what families with two working parents and two middle school and high schoolers deal with on a regular basis. (Side note: how the heck is it that I have a child who’s in high school?) It’s carpooling and figuring out how get the kids where they need to be, fitting in all the errands and grocery trips and being thankful that there’s this wonderful thing called Amazon Prime to make at least some things easier.

In the midst of all of this craziness, I’ve had a hard time feeling like I’ve got it all together. I live by my calendar and have felt like I’ve been going a million miles an hour all year. It’s not a way I want to live. I like having downtime and over the last few weeks I’ve started to find ways to try to get some into every day.

Enter yoga and meditation. 

I’ve been meditating with one of Andrew Johnson’s apps on my phone for more than a year. It helps me fall asleep. I was trying to go to yoga last spring at a local studio, but it got really hard to get there regularly. Between my kids’ schedules, the fact that the classes are across town and the fact that I don’t want to get home from yoga at almost 9 p.m., I stopped going. But I loved it and knew I wanted to find a way to incorporate a regular practice into my life. I discovered the Down Dog Yoga app after a Google search and I can do a 15-minute restorative practice before bed. It’s helped. I got an email about a sale so I could unlock all the member-only features, and the pricing was so good that I purchased the membership. I think I’ll like having it and will really be able to do more with it.

mindfulness-isnt-difficult-we-just-need-to-remember-to-do-it-sharon-salzbergI’ve also tried to practice mindfulness in hopes to be more focused and calmer. The Calm app has been on my phone for a while, but I’d only used it once. They offered a free trial of one of their most popular features last week and I had ten minutes at the end of a particularly busy day to try it and figured I had nothing to lose. I felt wonderful after I did it, so I’ve been trying to use the app after dinner if I can fit it in.

What I’ve learned through all of this is that I need strategies for me to ground me a bit and help me slow down. My favorite past time of going to get my nails done isn’t cutting it anymore, especially when I’m cramming an appointment into my lunch break. I need regular exercise, I need to breathe. I need to try to slow down when I can and mindfulness, whether through meditation or yoga, seems to help. And writing for me, something I haven’t taken the time to do in a long time, also feels good, so if you’ve made it this far in my attempted return to blogging, I thank you.

 

Taking Time for Mom

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I love having my nails done—I loved nail polish when I was a little girl and was always giving myself manicures, complete with base coat and top coat, even when I was 10 or 11. I generally find going to a salon for a mani/pedi to be a relaxing experience. I used to joke with my husband that when I got a full-time job after gradutation, I needed to make enough money to be able to pay my student loans back and get more regular manis and pedis.

Well, eventually that has kind of happened. I found an amazing salon that is relatively close to our house and is near my office and I’m there about every two weeks. I love it and I love that time for me.

Between my work schedule, commitments for the boys’ schools, sports schedules and my husband’s schedule, my time is limited, but making time for me is important for me. As mothers, our natural tendency is to “go, go, go” and take care of everyone else but ourselves, but I become a very cranky mom if I don’t do something for myself. In addition to regular manis and pedis, I find that it’s important for me to get enough sleep and I’m generally in bed between 9:30 and 10 p.m. I know a lot of people seem shocked that I go to bed that early, but I also get up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning to do the next thing I need to do for myself—exercise! While I’m more naturally a morning person rather than a night owl, getting up at 4:30 is hard some mornings. It’s become a habit, however, and it’s the only way I’m going to get some necessary exercise in. I had slacked on exercise around Christmas last year and then had an injury from a fall in January and realized through the course of physical therapy that exercise is a must and not just to keep my weight down.

I’m a happier person when I do small things for myself. I’m a firm believer that women need to take time for themselves and that there’s truth to the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, then no one’s happy!” It’s not always easy—finding a yoga class that fits my schedule right now is hard, so I get it—but it’s important to do something that works for YOU, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in. I couldn’t go for regular manicures when my kids were younger. Life was too hectic with small children and money was tight, so I did try to paint my nails weekly after they went to bed and with the fast-dry polishes, they looked okay and it made me feel like I was doing a little something for me. When I went back to school, I treated myself to a coffee out or a lunch out at Panera once in a while when my schedule allowed for it to do something little for me. I found it refreshing. What do you do for YOU?

Happy New (School) Year!

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Photo courtesy of freeimages.com

The start of September is almost like New Year’s Day for me. Just as I wonder on January 1 how the previous year went by so quickly, I often wonder in early September how the summer flew by. Wasn’t it just early June and my boys couldn’t wait to get out of school?

The back-to-school season brings a sense of hope for the upcoming school year. Each school year produces new challenges and I often hope that our family gets through it with minimal stress and meltdowns. As the boys get older, the homework increases, the after-school activities add up and the bedtimes get later. Meanwhile, I’m getting older and love going to bed earlier and earlier.

This year presents a new challenge for us. My oldest son will be in eighth grade and remaining at our public middle school, a decision that makes the most sense for us due to his special education needs. However, my youngest son, who will be going into the sixth grade, will be moving to a parochial middle school/high school in a neighboring city. A new school, new people to get to know, new policies and protocols, a different academic calendar….and new expenses. We are excited about this new adventure for him and this seems to be the best school after researching our options, but it’s not without its challenges for two working parents. There are no bussing options and we are still researching carpool options. It’s a lot to figure out and fortunately we have some flexibility for the first few weeks. By November we’ll be in a groove and then something will change—an activity will be added to the mix or our carpool will change. We know we’ll figure it all out, as we always do, but September is always a new beginning for many families. I look forward to it with excitement, hope and a little bit of parental trepidation. It isn’t just the kids who get nervous about back to school!