It’s Fall, Y’all!

Like most people, I always get excited as a season transitions into the next one. Then, of course, I get tired of the cold/heat/humidity/rain/darkness/sunniness/etc, and start looking forward to the end of that season. That said, this has been a long, hot, stressful, not-much-fun summer, and fall is for sure my favorite time of the year, so this transition feels extra-special to me. This weekend there is a chance that the temps will be as low as 50°, so that pretty much demands we be outside. Here’s hoping we actually make it to the mountains for some hiking, since every time we plan something like that, Jack ends up with a work emergency and we cancel our plans. The only bad news is we have all our cooler weather clothes in storage, still being homeless and all, so we might need to hit up Old Navy for some warmer clothes. Oh, the humanity 😉

The seasonal transition also helps me with motivation for making good changes. I’ve been reading a lot of posts about people still getting that back-to-school urge to get organized/get focused/get new outfits. After more than a decade and a half out of this routine (grad school was year-round, lucky me!), I can finally say I don’t get this feeling anymore, at least not just with fall. Each time the weather changes, I feel like totally overhauling my home and my routine. In general, I just love a clean slate 🙂

I was excited to see this post from the Crunchy Radish (who you should definitely be following!) yesterday. She helped me to really organize my thoughts on the changes I’m making as we roll into this lovely weather. My goals, based on her recommendations:

  1. Try a new workout: I’m excited to incorporate weight training back into my schedule. I’ve been doing a lot of running this summer, to take advantage of the early morning light and the good sweat. Being in this hotel with a gym right downstairs, I’ve been getting back into my weight lifting routine. I’ll also be doing my best to fit in some hiking on the weekends, and I’ve already started going back to hot yoga once a week. It’s the best in the colder months.
  2. Unplug: This is a tough one! Now that I mostly work remotely, I’m online more than ever, with less actual human interaction. I also have to be available for more hours of the day, which means I can’t really cut the cord with my laptop until after 8pm. All my reading is done online. I must make it a priority to hit up the good ol’ library for some actual books. I’m going to head there this weekend; it’s a good time to make a date with my mom 🙂
  3. Be a veghead: So, I usually eat a plant-heavy diet, but this summer, with the stress of moving, living out of boxes, and the carbs I’ve scarfed down before my runs, my diet has gotten horrible. Let’s not forget the stress eating I’ve done as a result of my new job, plus all the life-is-really-hard-right-now -I-should-reward-myself thinking that has lead to waaay too many desserts. I’m up 8 pounds since the early spring. I tried to motivate myself to lose weight by posting about it here, but it was a total failure. Jack and I started a low-carb diet on Tuesday. It’s the best way we’ve found to keep ourselves on track. The bad part about it is that it can easily become very meat-centric, so I’m trying to find ways to keep it healthier and more veggie-focused. Sure, it’s harder, with this tiny hotel kitchen and no oven, but we’re eating lots of eggs and salads and stir-fry, with some shrimp and turkey for leaner protein. I’m hoping to spend some time this weekend at my parents’ house, so I can take advantage of their full-sized kitchen to prep a bunch of food for next week.
  4. Sleep deep: This is something I’m always mindful of, and I really get 8 hours of sleep most nights. It’s not always the most restful (hello three dogs and a snoring husband!), but at least I’m in bed. I’ve gotten off-schedule a bit in the hotel, but I’m still a pretty dedicated sleeper 🙂 (Edit: Check out these wonderful tips from Deliciously Ella. I think it’s time for me to start a new ritual of reading an actual book in bed before I fall asleep.)
  5. Focus on you: Again, I think I’m already mindful of this. As I’ve gotten older, I think I compare myself less to what others have/don’t have. I do try to focus on self-improvement, and I’m lucky that I am happy with the work I’ve put in to getting my life to where it is at this point. I get really down on myself, however, about gaining weight and not having enough willpower. I know there is room for more structure and less laziness in my days, and I know I have to set restrictions in my routine to keep myself healthy. If I am on-track with the other items in this list, that will help to keep my head clear and my self-confidence up.
  6. Baby goals: Love this! I know it’s important to have stretch goals, to work towards doing something crazy, but it’s also necessary to have lots of smaller, very realistic goals along the way to feel like I’m accomplishing something. As an example, with our low-carb diet, we cut waaay back on the drinking. But rather than say, no drinks til we lose 10 pounds, we said, no drinks til Friday night this week. For our finances, instead of saying we can’t go out at all, we’re limiting ourselves to $50 a week, so we can make it more meaningful and have a night out to look forward to.

What are your goals for this fall? Do you find yourself more motivated with a new season?

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Back on Track

I’m happy to say I’ve started off the month strong! After my recent pity party and six weeks of being off my game, I’m feeling much better in the motivation and discipline department.

I know that taking care of myself is directly linked to being disciplined. They are inseparable. I have to be disciplined enough to take care of myself, and taking care of myself makes me much more motivated to maintain that discipline. It’s challenging to start back up when I’ve gotten off track, but once I do, it’s not too hard to keep on rollin’.

It’s my birthday month, and I want to turn 40 feeling strong, both physically and mentally. I want to be one of those obnoxious people who’s like, “I’ve never felt better!!!” So far, so good. I’m back in my workout schedule of alternating days at the gym and running. I have a 10k race on the 4th of July that I’d looove to finish in under an hour, so I’m pushing myself to run faster rather than farther. Here’s hoping that will help with the running burnout I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks.

I’m really working on my diet. I used to eat super healthfully – tons of fruits and veggies, no meat, lots of salads and stirfry and oatmeal. When we did low-carb last fall, that opened my diet back up to eating meat and a lot of fat (butter and cheese, hello!). And then when we were training for the half-marathon and doing a lot of 8+ mile runs, I was eating all the carbs I could, including ice cream, candy bars, and pastries. I’ve basically been out of control and nothing has been off-limits. I also all but stopped working out with weights. So while I haven’t really gained any weight, my body has definitely changed in the past few months. I’ve lost some of the muscle I built up last fall and winter and have traded it for soft fluffiness 😦

I would definitely like to drop about five pounds by the end of the month, so my clothes will fit better and I won’t be completely mortified to be in a bikini. I’m going with the all-things-in-moderation route. No tricks or gimmicks or anything. Just self-control, and not too many drinks. Here’s to a good month!

Write 31: March 4th

Y’all. I did this yesterday and it kicked my butt. It’s been awhile since I’ve done any HIIT training, as I’ve been focusing on increasing my running miles and doing weight training. I forgot what an amazing workout it is! I felt so energized afterwards, I cleaned the kitchen and walked to the grocery store in the rain, all before 7:30am. Boom.

Food wise, I had a giant bowl of oatmeal (we’ve been cooking it with chopped up banana – so good!) with fruit and nuts and a green juice for breakfast. Lunch was sushi. I was super healthy with my roll – just fish and veggies and brown rice. But then everyone ordered dessert to share, so I kind of had to eat some bread pudding and banana waffles. Plus a little bit of calamari for the appetizer. Wouldn’t want to be rude, right? The benefit of eating a giant lunch was that I didn’t snack in the afternoon, which is unheard of for me. For dinner, we had leftovers again: chicken, kale, potatoes, with two cookies for dessert. Thank goodness Samoas are only around for a month or so each year! I had a cup of tea before bed, and resisted even a glass of wine. I think writing here that yesterday would be booze-free totally held me accountable. ❤

Today I’m looking forward to a four mile run this morning (and it’s not freezing, woo hoo!) and another free lunch. Tonight we’ll be watching the Louisville vs Notre Dame game, so I imagine it will not be a booze-free evening. I’m thinking a lot about budgeting, and trying to get my husband and me on the same page. I’m also thinking about creating good habits, and how much one can really change themselves. I always get fatigued when I’m trying to change too much at once, aka, trying to increase my self-discipline/self-control across more areas of my life. I know to think of willpower as a muscle, and to continue to work on it and to also allow it to “rest” now and then. I’m beginning to think, however, that my willpower is not necessarily limitless, that I may not be able to practice it in multiple areas of my life simultaneously with success. Like, if I’m not drinking and I’m not eating sugar and I’m exercising every day, I might really struggle to not go shopping or to keep up with the laundry. Or maybe it just requires more practice, more patience, more failures-as-learning-experiences…

Ack, or maybe I’m just making excuses. On with the day!

Addressing Burnout

I wanted to be sure I wrote about this today. I am officially burned out. This was a tough week mentally, as I had committed to being on a panel, discussing 2015 predictions for our industry. The fact that it was for my peers made it even more challenging, since we were speaking to people who are very knowledgeable about the topic. I am not comfortable being the center of attention, and I have little confidence in my speaking skills. My brain has a horrible tendency to completely go blank. Fun times! So I think that, coupled with the challenges I’ve given myself so far this month, is causing me to feel a little bit over all the restriction. Also, my boss gave us free tickets to a basketball game (in a “party suite,” no less) on Friday night, and it just felt really good to let loose for awhile – drinks, bad food, late night out with my husband. And we didn’t have to feel guilty about spending money because it was free!

The good news is, I hated how I felt yesterday, after drinking too much and eating so many salty things and not going to bed on time. We were supposed to run six miles yesterday, but we rescheduled that for today. So I pretty much felt crappy all day, and I know I’ll continue to feel crappy if I don’t get right back on track.

We’ll be heading out for our run shortly, and I’m going to eat well today and limit the booze to a glass of wine or two. I guess I’m just wondering how to maintain balance. If I say no to everything, I’ll become resentful and I’ll be more likely to cheat/fail/get off track/whatever I should call that. I want to be gentle with myself, to nourish myself, and to take pleasure in that. I want to think of exercising, eating well, and getting lots of sleep in the same way I think of shopping sprees, mimosas, and pizza delivery. I suppose a lot of this is just the ongoing process of growing up, maturing, living and learning. A lot of it is retraining my brain and remembering what I want the most. Delayed gratification. But then I know it’s important to also give myself a break now and then. The trick is maybe not too much of a break? Or find a non-self-destructive break?

I don’t have the answer right now, but I’m glad I’m aware of this and can start working towards a solution. I hope that owning my burnout is the right first step. Looking back, I definitely hit a wall when making changes, and I’m pretty sure this isn’t unique to me. Something to think about during my long run today 🙂

Getting Into the Details: Resolution #12

12. Practice empathy, be more compassionate and stop being so judgy.

This will be a resolution for the rest of my life. I am constantly reminding myself that no one is here to meet my expectations. Even if I can’t understand someone’s motivations, I need to remain aware that they are most likely different from my own, and that doesn’t mean they’re bad or less important.

I have no idea why I feel the way I feel when someone does things that are unhealthy, or bad for their career. It really doesn’t affect me at all. I can’t even totally explain how it is that I feel. Definitely uncomfortable. Definitely none of my business! I think it comes from a good place; I want to help my friends/family/coworkers succeed, and I’ve made some really positive and difficult changes in my own life. So I must be an expert, right??? Hah.

I’m working hard to just be supportive and to just listen. I recently learned my habit of trying to help someone to look on the bright side is super obnoxious. Really what most people would prefer is that I just agree with them that something sucks. This is completely unnatural to me, but I’m working hard to change it. My mother, my husband and my coworkers have all talked to me about it, so I’m obviously not coming across the way I intend. I’ve been trying to be much more conscious of this, and when someone needs to complain about something, instead of telling them about all the good things in their lives or trying to explain why someone might have said or done what they did to that person, I’m just saying I’m sorry. I think that’s being empathetic? I hope it is?

I am probably a horrible motivator, and for now, that’s ok. I can motivate myself, and I can use that motivation to become more empathetic, to be a better listener, and to understand more about other people’s motivations. Work in progress, for sure.