My wellness journey – back to the grind

I feel as if I am starting a grand adventure with no idea of what challenges I will encounter along the way. On this journey I have some friends this time. I have hedged my bets for success and set up a few different support systems to hopefully make this time a roaring success.

To be successful I felt like I needed to put some supports in place with those that I am around the most so at least that way they are less likely to tempt be by being embarrassed if they fall off the health wagon. I always have an accomplice with one of my oldest friends who lives on the other side of the planet from me. She gets me. Even though I live just outside San Francisco and she lives just outside Melbourne. We are always sharing our workouts and meal ideas and out successes and failures. This has gone on for years as we have seen each other through ups and downs we are always there to support each other. But we only see each other every few years even though we message each other constantly and even talk via facetime when we have a lot to say and it isn’t the middle of the might for one of us. But I needed to get those on board that I see daily.

My next accomplice is a friend of mine that has just as much weight to loose as I do who also has some similar challenges like a special needs child at home and a few health challenges of her own. We are both motivated to get in shape and have healthy outings where we make healthy choices and go for walks and even find time to chill out at the float spa and oxygen bar as we sip our tea. We are both in it and will be for a while. Neither of us are going to win any speed races but I can lend her a steady hand for steps to help her stay stable and she doesn’t go so fast that I need my inhalers.

Up next I needed my co worker to be on board. We share an office and I can’t have her eating unhealthy snacks while I munch on carrots and celery. Well, a few days ago she made a pact with one of my other co workers to start going to the 5 AM class at a local gym starting on Jan 7th for their 3 month challenge. If you make your weight goal and check in for a certain number of workouts in that period of time your gym dues get refunded to you. It is not cheap so they are motivated. This is awesome for me because we should all be up and going to the gym at the same time and will have a group text between the 3 of us to keep us motivated. It double works for me because the person who is budding up with the one I share an office with is the other person who starts an hour before everyone else with me. We are literally the only people working in the building that early.

That leaves me to my home. I had to get my husband on board or all that work with my friends can be ruined with one binging weekend with him. I put my foot down just before New Years and told him no more takeout. We either go out for a date night or out with friends for a sit down meal or we make food at home. Take out is dead to us. I them socked up our freezer with individual frozen meals of all kinds so if we are hungry but too tired to cook we just pop one of those in the microwave for 5 min and call it a night. But NO TAKEOUT. I am also in a fitbit step challenge with him to always get more steps average per week than he does but I am not telling him we are in a challenge until I average at least a few thousand more than him consistently. He is a stay at home dad and has time that I just do not have to workout. If I tell him we are in a challenge then he will get off his butt and I will never have a chance of catching him. I need my habits in place first before I throw the challenge out to him. Sneaky? Maybe a little bit. But I got the idea from him who secretly was in a challenge with a friend of mine who was running a 5K every day before work.

So now I have Home, Work and my social life taken care of so hopefully this will set me up for success. But I still wanted something to challenge myself to stay on target so I started a dietbet. You may not have heard of dietbet. What does is let you bet against yourself in a weight loss challenge. I did the short one that lasts 4 weeks where you loose 4% of your starting weight. You weigh in with a photo with the secret password that is sent to the judges who then approve your weigh in or have you re-do it if something seems fishy. You then start your challenge. You weigh in weekly to get a chance at various raffle prizes to track your progress in the same way as your initial weigh in. Then you weigh out at the end of your challenge. If you make your goal not only do you get your money back but you split the pot of money from everyone who did not make their goal. I have done the challenges before. Sometimes I win, sometimes I loose. I really don;t mind if I fall short of my goal and loose because I have still made progress toward my ultimate goal of loosing the weight and getting healthier…but is is nice to win.

I started logging my foods and drinking more water a few weeks ago so I would already be in the habit by New years. That leaves my skincare goal. Most of the time I fall short because I am so tired in the morning I forget my moisturizer. So I solved this problem by just bringing another set of my morning skincare into work and leaving it in my desk drawer. I have no idea why I didn’t think of this a long time ago. With that problem solved I am down to my stress management…always a challenge for me.. So I purchased a membership for a monthly massage. I don’t like to be wasteful so this way I am forced to take an hour out for myself every month and chill out. Add this to the quarterly float theorthern Light spas with my friend and I am off to a good start. Leaving my last challenge to fit in 15 min of stretching/meditation in the evening. I decided to do this when I got upstairs to get Pjs for my kids in our quiet time before they go to bed.

Overall, it is not a perfect plan, but it is a plan. I started parts of it back in December and I am sure I will modify it more as time goes on and I see what works/does not work. I have a basic plan and I will modify it a little every month either fixing things that are not working or increasing my workouts or changing them up as needed. This is not a quick 10 or 20 lbs. I have over 100 lbs to loose to my goal weight. This is definitely a long journey and one that will probably take me a few years to complete but I am hoping to have lost at least 100 lbs by New Years 2024.

This is my Journey. I will take it one day at a time.

Standing on top of the world

I woke up today after having an amazing dream. For some reason most of my dreams play out like movie previews. I’m not sure why that is, but anyway… in this dream I had accomplished my goal of making it to Everest base camp before my 50th birthday. It was amazing! I looked great. So happy and healthy and everything I could imagine in a perfect world. I even had a bit of a tan. It looked cold there since I was wearing my red coat and hat with the ear flaps. It was set to the song “Standing on top of the World” by Van Halen. and I was spinning in a circle taking in the Himalayas. It was beautiful.

Why mention this? After all, it was just a dream. Well, I believe that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. I know travel has been on my mind since I just put in for my annual leave at work that morning and was working out my budget for 2024 to make sure I have enough left at the end to put in for my trip to the UK with my husband (his first time there and I think my 5th) as well as my 50th birthday trip to Nepal to make the trek to Everest base camp… something that has been on my bucket list for an eternity. I am not getting any younger and I wanted to do something epic for my 50th so Everest it is!

Let me start by saying I am by no means in shape to make the trek now. I have just over 100 lbs to loose and my current average of 4000-5000 steps a day is far less than the fitness level I will need to make this dream a reality. But I have a plan. I am goal oriented and now after my dream I have seen that it is even better than I imagined. But I have 20 months to get where I need to be. I can totally do this!

No matter what your dreams are you can achieve them with a plan.

#EVEREST2024

My weight loss journey-November update

It has been a while since I have updated my progress. Not that it hasn’t been on my mind but life happens…in my case work.

I’m sure I have mentioned my hatred of the insane workloads and all the mandatory overtime with all the 12 hour days and 6 day weeks. Finally September arrived and my coworker took the overtime allowing me a bit of normalcy back in my life.

Then the day from hell happened and I finally cracked. I got to work at 7:30 AM as usual and the alarm was going off. With the engineers on strike there was no one to turn them off. It took until 3:30 in the afternoon to get the alarm shut off. Also the AC was stuck on Arctic blast and our department was 56 degrees…also unable to be fixed. By the time I left work at 4:30 I was in tears. My nerves were shot. My eyelids were twitching and I had a pounding headache.

I go home and still feel like hell. My Blood pressure is high so I go to bed. Surely I’ll feel better in the morning. I wake up the next day (a Saturday) and my husband tells me “happy weekend! You don’t have to go to work today!” I start crying. My pulse starts racing. I can’t get it together. So he gets up and tells me to take my time. He will get the kids up and start breakfast.

I can’t get it under control. I try to get out of the house and take one of my kids to the pumpkin patch and start having chest pain. I think this is it. That place is actually killing me. I turn around, take my son home and go to the ER.

I get a full work up to make sure I am not actually dying and end up with a diagnosis of extreme stress, a chill pill and a follow up with my medical dr who then takes me off work and puts me on anxiety medicine to try to help me get under control.

A few weeks later I’m starting to feel human again. I made some changes at work (including actively looking for another job). I slowed down and I get done what I get done. If people need to wait oh well. Maybe they should hire enough staff to cover the volume of work that needs to be done. I’m fully booked to the end of the year. Today I started the pile of consults that need to be seen but there’s nowhere to put them. I’m not overbooking myself again so people get seen in a timely manner.

I am also waiting on a surgery date in January for carpal tunnel surgery. So I’m not booking anyone in January until I get that date. I’ll book up to that day…when I get it.

Even with all that is going on and Halloween I still managed to loose just shy of 6 lbs in October. I’m hoping I can continue to slowly loose the weight through the holidays because overtime just started up again with today as my first 12 hour day again. I agreed to 1 a week and I choose what day it is and no more Saturdays.

I’m really hoping I get the job I applied for a few days ago. It is my light at the end of the tunnel. 20 min commute vs 1 hour, 1/4 the patient load and higher pay. At first I was thinking I would maybe pick up 1 Saturday a month to help my current coworker…but my husband is right. I’m already detaching from that job in hopes of getting this new one. Once I leave, I will not be back. That mess is their problem, not mine.

Not my monkeys, not my circus.

I just keep focused on the light, think positive and hope like hell that I get that job and can move on.

It came up too fast and now it’s over…

Well, that time is here and gone. I was planning on a slim, sexy body for my brothers wedding and while I failed at that, I am about 35 lbs lighter than when I started and still looked better than if I was 35 lbs heavier. As an added bonus all the running around and dancing left me 4 lbs lighter after the 4 day weekend.

I’m not stopping here. I am still determined to get back into shape. The pandemic may have thrown me a curve ball but I’m slowly working on it. One this this weekend has shown me is that my day job, commute and lack of movement on weekdays is really what is stopping me from being fit and fabulous.

I need to figure out how to add exercise to my weekdays sans-gym. Even moderately active will be an improvement on my 3000 steps a day I get chained to my computer. I need to figure out something to get moving to reach my goal of being fabulously fit at 50. (I have 36 months to make this happen, but I’m aiming for 24 or less so I have it off for a year before my 50th)

It is said that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a first step. Tomorrow I’m taking that first step and going back to my mosquito, wild animal walks around the park and back in the mornings. I have insect repellent and pepper spray. So as long as I don’t spook a skunk or come face to face with the bobcat or mountain lion that occasionally wander our neighborhood I should be good. (I have only seen the bobcat. But my friend a couple streets over has seen the mountain lion ahhh the joys of living close to nature)

36 months to 50…

I got this!

My weight loss journey-the hubby joins me

Things are returning to “normal” in our house. The kids are back in school and my coworker is trying to buy her 1st home and actually wants to work ALL of the overtime until she is settled and I am happy to let her! With this weeks overtime behind me and no more in the future I’m feeling human again.

With my husband on board with the weight loss it is making my life easier with less temptation. Our new fridge was delivered a week ago (the old one finally died.) so we are stocking back up on healthy food and cooking at home. It was rough going for the few weeks between “fridge isn’t working” and “new one is here” but we survived.

My hurdle now is exercise. With masking back at the gym it’s a no-go. I can’t do cardio in a mask. I already wheeze like crazy without the mask adding to my struggle. I was full on ready to get back to my walking around the park and back then the fires started and now the air quality is “chunky” with a mist of ash falling constantly. I’m pretty sure the smoke and ash are not good for my lungs. My current plan is to skip cardio and work on my core and stretching until masking at the gym goes away or the air is breathable outside again.

Halfway through august and I’m down 3 lbs so far. At least it’s going in the right direction.

My weight loss journey-July 2021

Holy setbacks Batman!

Thankfully I only gained 1 lb in July and that is a miracle. Between the 4th of July holiday weekend and the 60+ hour work weeks I am amazed that is all I gained. I’m the type of person who draws a line in the sand, regroups and starts over. That is what August was going to be for me…a fresh start. With the overtime behind me I’m getting back to my meal planning and back to the gym! I had a plan…and it was a good one then Thursday, July 29th I get told that the overtime is going to continue through August oh, and by the way you are working on Saturday too. I almost cried.

My work week has been 8-5 Monday, 8-7:30 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then back to 8-5 Friday and Saturday. Yes, you read that right…6 days a week and three 11.5 hour days. Oh, and I have an hour commute each way. I’m struggling. I’m exhausted. I’m desperately trying to regroup and try to figure out how I can make this work. My decision…food is key. I just do not have time or energy to exercise so my diet needs to be near perfect.

I have had suggestions from fit people I know try to help me figure out how to fit exercise in my day. I’m up by 5:30 AM and leave the house about 6:30 AM and get home around 6 or 8:30 PM depending on the day. I get ready for bed at 9 and I’m asleep somewhere between 10-11pm. Giving me 5.5-7.5 hours sleep depending on the night. My early days I spend as much time as possible with the kids before they go to bed because I don’t see them at all on my late days. That is honestly the hardest part…not seeing the kids.

So I average about 6.5 hours of sleep a night and I’m at work, commuting or with my kids the other part. What do I give up? Work is set and I don’t want to work the OT as it is, but it isn’t optional. Sleep? I’m exhausted as it is. Time with my kids…yeah, I’ll give up sleep first. My kids are still little and they grow up so fast. I’m not making excuses. It’s just my reality. I have pondered this trying to work out a solution on those many hours commuting. I have goals so I was going to cut my gym time down to 30 min. But as if the OT wasn’t crushing enough Friday I get an email from the gym saying they are going back to mandatory masking for everyone while in the building vaccinated or not as of August 1st. That sealed the deal for me and I put my membership on hold.

So that’s where I am. My first month that I did not loose anything and actually gained a pound. I am determined NOT to gain anything in the month of August and my goal is to lose at least 4 lbs with diet alone. I’ll check in again at the beginning of September with an update.

When a “day off” not really an actual day of rest

At some point “days off” work didn’t actually become a restful day to recuperate from work and enjoy life but they became just more work. It starts slow. You do your laundry, get groceries or run a few errands but easily have time to hit happy hour, grab lunch with a friend and catch a movie or go to the park with your family. My life has not been like that in some time now. It makes me wonder what happened? I see photos on Facebook of people out doing all kinds of things but not me. I always seem to be busy. Now, I’m not saying that I never get out, because I do. Just not as often as most other people.

I knew I was busy but I didn’t really understand until a few days ago. I took a day off of work so my husband could go to the dentist. He would not be done in time to get the kids off the bus so I took the day off of work. Now, my thought was I have a lot of things I need to get caught up for my photography business on so I’ll just get up like I’m going to work and pop open my laptop in the living room and get some work done. 13 hours later I finally got caught up…kinda. I still have more to do. There is always more to do.

Now I’m behind on my blog posts. How did this happen? Well…I have been busy. We are behind at work so there has been a lot of overtime. We had several people quit to take care of their kids when the schools did not reopen in the fall. No one has applied for those open jobs in almost a year now. Because we have been working short staffed we now have 4 people out injured (I will be joining them briefly when I have my carpal tunnel surgery after the kids are back in school). All of these vacancies have now brought us to the point that we have been opening for Saturday appointments for the last 3 months to try to catch up and now this month we are opening in the evenings too. So in an effort to be a team player I have been working from 7:30AM-7:30PM 4 days a week and 7:30-5 on Fridays. My coworker has been working 6 days a week taking the Saturdays since she works from 8:30-5 on weekdays. Add in my kids, photography business, household chores and getting up at 4:30 AM to get to the gym (that just opened on June 15th) before work and I am one busy, exhausted woman.

So I started looking at those relaxed, refreshed people out enjoying life all the time and wondered what they have in common. What are they doing (or not doing) that allows them to just chill out? With 1 exception the thing they all have in common is lack of a job. They have someone else providing the money they live on. About half have a minimal gig they do from selling something from a MLM of some sort or teaching an occasional class on something. By minimal I’m talking 1-2 days a week for about 2 hours actually working. Something to give them something to do. All have teenage or older kids. Only one had a full time job but her kids are grown and out of the house and no grandkids yet.

This made me realize that I’m not being fair to myself. I’m not comparing apples to apples. These women are not gone from the home almost 70 hours a week commuting or at work. Most days I’m commuting or at work for 15 of the 24 hours in a day. 9 hours to sleep, shower and go to the gym. No wonder I look exhausted. The 6 hours of sleep I get a night keeps me functional but not relaxed and refreshed. Makeup? What’s that? I’m lucky to just have clean laundry for everyone and groceries in the house (that I have delivered because I do not have time to shop). I’m not one of these women. I will not be one of them until my kids are grown and I’m retired. So until that point, I am ok and doing pretty good managing it all like so many others out there. The apples can stay apples. I’m ok being an orange. Maybe someday soon I can pull it all together for a day at the beach…

Self help and exercise

On my morning walks I have started listening to self improvement books. I feel that way I can work on my body and my mind at the same time. Pretty efficient huh. Yeah, I thought so too. My current book (The Creative’s Curse by Todd Brison) inspired this post.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now you know I think of myself as just a mom. I’m a regular person. I’m not rich or famous or glamorous. I work hard and try to make the most out of my life. I didn’t have any special privileges growing up. In fact I grew up in a poor neighborhood and went to the “bad” schools. I have had to work hard for everything I have.

I’m also old…well when it comes to blogging, social media, websites and technology I’m a dinosaur. I have no clue what I’m doing and find myself googling terminology because I don’t know what people are talking about. Because of this, through listening to the books and doing webinars I have learned that I’m accidentally doing things right. My website is “branded” not because I had a clue what that was before I took the class but because I thought it looked better. I post a new photo on my Instagram every day. Not because I’m trying to raise my engagement and grow my audience but because I take a lot of photos and it drives me crazy when half my social media feed is all from the same person so I post one photo a day. I try to post one blog post a week. Also not for engagement but because it forces me to write something once a week. When I’m busy with large photography projects or home life I don’t work on my book. The blog keeps me writing.

You may wonder what any of that has to do with anything, well frankly I have no idea what I’m doing. All this stuff is where youngsters excel. I have found myself talking social media with these whipper-snappers as they try to explain to me how social media works like I’m 105. I had one youngster try to explain it to me using her Instagram as she carefully crafted a post for her 800 loyal fans. Saying how she has so many followers he should teach a class for people like me. After she made her post she wanted me to make one so she could help me. So I pull out my phone and start to craft a post for my 7,000+ fans. She looked at how many followers I had and asked me who’s account that was. I said mine.

In the book I’m listening to he is talking about his social media following (it’s lower than mine). In my last book by a different author he talks about his success and what strategies got him there. He also has less than I do. So the question on my mind is how can people who have not achieved the level I’m at teach me to do better? I’m already doing better than they are. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m apparently doing it right. I just post stuff I like at a frequency that doesn’t overwhelm or annoy me.

I’m not delusional. My ego is not inflated. I understand I’m just a mom. I work a full time job. Play with my kids. Do laundry. I have a photography business. It in no way replaces the income from my day job that supports us. I have this blog that I write to get things out there and force me to stay writing. (I started this blog after reading Single Wide Female) I honestly did not think anyone would ever read it. When I got my first follower I called my friend because surely it was a fluke. I’m still shocked when I get new a new follower every few days. I appreciate you guys. You keep me going.

So here I am. Just a mom. Walking at the crack of cock a doodle dark to try to loose weight because she does not have any other time to exercise. Listening to audiobooks because it’s the only way things get done is multitasking. While keeping up with the kids, my job and my side hustle photography business…and a few writing and charity projects tossed in the mix for fun. And I wonder why I’m so tired…

My weight loss journey – March/April

I missed a monthly post in there but I have not stopped. March showed my biggest loss to date with 8.2 lbs! you may ask what changed nearly 6 months in…

Well February was cold and wet and my exercise dropped leaving me to a measly 4.6 lb loss. Not cool man. But my goal weight loss for 6 months is 35.5 lbs. I can live with that. I still have a LONG way to go to my goal.

Now I like my stats and data. I like to weigh myself daily so if I eat pizza and beer and get all bloated I immediately see the scale rise as punishment for that indiscretion. I also like to see the satisfying drop from a day of doing everything right. Now sometimes it doesn’t work like that and there are fluctuations, but in general bad behavior shows up pretty quickly and I can correct it before things get too out of control. Along with my data I like to set small, obtainable goals. When you have over 100 lbs to loose (or anything more than the covid 20) this is very important…or at least it is to me. The little slow downward slope of the weight line just is not enough. DietBet was cool, while I still loose I often fall short of my goal and frankly I’d rather spend the cash in something else. So I started my search. I found an app that is kinda my new best friend. It has all the data I want to see as well as breaking my weight loss up into smaller goals and options on how I want it broken up. I opted for even numbers at 5 lb increments. (I went back and forth between 5-10 lbs and finally settled on 5 so every month I make at least 1 goal with most months hitting a new goal twice. This has helped me out of my February slump into my record March loss.

It is still a work in progress. I still struggle with the sleep/exercise balance. I still get busy and forget to log my foods at times. While I have lost over 30 lbs I have so much to loose that you really can’t tell. In my mind I know diet and exercise with a slow 1-2 lb loss a week is the way to go to truest keep it off but in this modern time of instant gratification I just want to pop on a bikini and look fantastic already.

I have 6 weeks until I go to Cabo San Lucas and 6 months until my brother’s wedding. I’m hoping to stay strong through the spring and summer and stay closer to the 2 lbs a week loss. I’m trying to focus on healthy activities. I’m trying to reward myself with things like new clothing (we are just not going to talk about the awesome swimsuit I got online for my trip that I can’t get up past my knees). I’m adjusting things as I go along. I’m finding out what works for me and what does not. It isn’t easy, but then again things worth doing rarely are.

I love my data!

Accountability – my weight loss Journey – month 3

Here I am three months in and I finally feel like I have this worked out. I have my morning rowing (I’ll switch it up with step/dance videos later). I’m meal prepping breakfast and lunch. Some days I’m good, others I’m hungry. I’m not sure why that is yet. But I’m still tweaking my snacks trying to figure out what will keep me satisfied. Overall, I’m doing pretty good.

I still want to increase my water consumption. I find this is a challenge since I’m at work all day, wearing a mask. Sure it’s an easy thing to take the mask off to get a drink but it’s one additional step and it seems to be a barrier that I need to overcome. I’m use to just drinking leisurely at my desk while I do my notes but with a mask on that just doesn’t happen. I think this will be my challenge I work on in month 4.

The last part that I have not fit in is yoga in the evenings. I’ll admit it. I have not don’t yoga once in the last 3 months. I put a yoga mat in my bedroom and one in the garage so wherever this happens I’m ready. I’m just not sure what my block is in the evenings. When I have a class somewhere else I pop out to it super easy. But yoga at home…I’m just not a fan so I put it off. My only thought is when I go to a studio the room is open and clean and clutter free bringing peace. Unlike at home where I’m always looking at things I should be doing or having to kick dinosaurs, cars or trains out of the way to have space for my mat. I’m happy to say I have solved this problem!

I had an old yoga teacher friend contact me and ask me some questions about what kind of classes and times and formats I think would help. I have my input. She then contacted me again a few days later and told me she just put together some regular zoom yoga classes and if I want to attend I can join them via zoom or I can join her in her home studio while she teaches on or off camera. I told her 100% I’m in! I told my sister who has been complaining about being stiff about the classes and she is in too. For the first month I’ll do the classes via zoom with my sister and once I get back into the flow in a month if my sister sticks with it I’ll stay with her and if she drops it I may go to the studio. We shall see.

So you might be curious where I’m at now… this month I lost a respectable 7.4 lbs. it isn’t enough to win my diet bet, but it’s 7.4 lbs less on my body. If we add that to my running total of 15.3 lbs, I am down a grand total of 22.7 lbs!