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. 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, I was even going to take some roids: bodybuilding supplements. 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 also recommend to check this low carb keto diet explained guide which is something that I;m also doing. 

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.

BeforeAftercollage
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!)

Change is good

Change is good

It’s time for a change—to my blog, that is.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
Photo credit: freeimages.com

I miss writing on a more regular basis and particularly miss writing for me. I’ve been in a bit of a funk and realized that changing up my blog was something that could help. But what should I write about? Does anyone care what I have to say? Do I need a theme?

I first began blogging in 2011 when I was returning to college full-time. Sharing my fears, successes, struggles and head scratching moments became an outlet for me in the midst of exams, papers, juggling the kids’ activities and juggling housework. Then I joined the world of working moms and not only did I feel like I didn’t “have time” to blog, I felt like I didn’t have anything new to add. I was just another mom trying to figure it all out. Most nights, the last thing I wanted to do was get on a computer after being at one all day.

Over the last year, though, I have felt a pull to figure out how to fit in writing more for me. I’ve also felt like my outlook on life is changing as I get older and I’ve realized that being in my forties isn’t this depressing time filled with failing vision and sprouting chin hair follicles. Well, my vision has changed and I do check my chin regularly just in case, but my forties have been pretty damn fabulous so far. I’m making changes to make my forties good, though. I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t care what people think and don’t care if I’m just another blogger out there. I have thoughts to share and I hope people read them. I hope people want to read about how I’m making these changes and why I feel so good these days.

I plan to post more and figure out a fresh new design for this site. I’ll be focusing on the fabulous, so I will kind of have a theme. There’s too much negativity out there and I’d rather focus on the positive. A Facebook page for the blog might eventually be coming and I’ll be using #focusingonthefabulous on Instagram and Twitter—join me in sharing the fab and share with your friends!

I can’t believe I take boxing classes

I can’t believe I take boxing classes

Boxing graphicIf you had told me six months ago that I’d join a boxing club, I would have told you that you were nuts. But that’s exactly what’s happened. Let me start from the beginning.

Back in May, I noticed that a vacant space in a local strip mall had a Title Boxing Club sign on it. I looked it up on Facebook to discover that it had not opened yet but would soon. I posted on their page in late May asking when the opening would be and I learned that it wouldn’t be until late June or early July, but they were offering “pre-opening specials.” I messaged them and explained that I’d never done anything like that before and they offered me the opportunity to try a class at a club in a nearby town.

The night before the class, I was wondering what the heck I’d agreed to and I was scared. I had a back injury two years ago, so I was praying that my back didn’t hurt after this workout.

I went to the 6:30 a.m. class the next day and, long story short, I loved it. I joined and I’ve been going three or four times a week for the last month and it’s been a game changer for me. I’ve lost eight pounds since I joined and all of my clothes are getting too big for me (I’m down 20 since Christmas — go me!). The local club isn’t opening for two more weeks and it’s tough to drive 15 minutes to get to a 5 a.m. class, but I’m doing it anyway. I cannot wait, though, until the new club is open because it’s five minutes away. More sleep for the win, specially since I got some wonderful pills available here that will help me sleep even more!

Boxing makes me feel like a bad ass and really helps my stress levels. I have a new spring in my step each day each day with a bit more confidence and I feel like I can tackle anything the day throws at me. My back feels great, which is huge because certain activities aggravated it and that always made me feel defeated. I look forward to going to these early morning classes and the boys have even started coming with me. I really think they can develop more confidence with boxing classes and a few classes a week can supplement their cross country training for the fall season.

My biggest lesson learned from this? Challenge yourself. Do something outside of your comfort zone that scares the crap out of you. Push your body in a way that you didn’t think you could. You just might like it.

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, she was actually the person who helped me realize the early signs that you are pregnant, we were so excited we found out.
  • 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!

Goals graphic

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. 

Looking ahead…..

Looking ahead…..

Instead of looking back on 2016, a year that was busy for our family and definitely had its ups and downs, I want to look ahead to how I can make my 2017 better. Sure, some things are out of my control. Life happens and we can’t control it all, as much as we’d like to.

I’ve been inspired by a Facebook friend who chooses a word each year instead of making resolutions. She’s shared her words for a few years and I decided it’s a more positive way to go. I struggled to pick a word because there are so many things I want to accomplish this year. After much thought, I decided on DISCOVER. I was also inspired by a recent TED talk I saw on how to gain control of your free time. The point that stuck out the most to me is that sometimes there is a difference between “I don’t have time” and “It’s not a priority.”

So this year, I want to make certain things a priority in my life. I want to DISCOVER new places. I want to DISCOVER new books. I want to DISCOVER new things. I want to DISCOVER new ways to take care of me.

discover

Last week, while contemplating the new year, I made a quick list on my phone of things I want to do in 2017:

  • More yoga, meditation and exercise
  • Watch less TV. Seriously, it’s a time suck and hindering me doing other things.
  • More reading. I’ll have time for this if I watch less TV. Duh.
  • More fun times with friends
  • 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.
  • Visit more new places, both local and further away.
  • Teach my kids to cook.
  • Spend more time outdoors (in nicer weather—this New Englander hates the cold, even though I’ve dealt with it all my life).
  • Blog more.

These were the first things that came to mind. I want to make some changes, prioritize my time differently and DISCOVER things I haven’t prioritized before. Maybe it’s the fact that 2016 brought my 40th birthday with it, but it’s time to start thinking differently. And writing more, even if no one else ever reads this blog. 🙂

Happy 2017! What changes are you planning to make?

 

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.