It has been exactly fourteen days since my last final exam for the Spring 2013 semester and I can’t decide on which way that I want to spend my time! The first week and a half was sort of planned for me, because I had to squeeze in some observational hours for my summer education classes, and go to various field days, and an awards ceremony. Then I spent a day or two trying to really clean house before I had kids home 24/7.
Right now I’m trying to find a balance between my hobbies and keeping the kids on some sort of schedule so that they don’t drive me insane over the next three months. I try to include them in some maintenance chores in the mornings, we do 30+ minutes of “silent reading” after we eat lunch, and then if they have behaved we do video games or a movie for a few hours.
I think we all appreciate the structure.
I just can’t figure out which hobby I want to focus on. For a short while, I didn’t want to look at any books because I was so sick of reading stuff I had to read for classes. Now, I have so many things I want to read, but it is still difficult to carve out time to do it because I sort of get absorbed in a book and want to read it all at once. I’ve got so many tv shows I want to check out that friends have recommended. Chad and I started watching Dexter (from the beginning) a few weeks back. We’re up to season 4 and trying to catch up before the final season starts (June 30th!) I’ve got a couple of crafty projects I want to try, and fortunately those can’t distract me until I have the money to buy the supplies for them (read: after a summer full of $500 electric bills) and by then I’ll be completely saturated with back-to-school stuff and preparing for all the busy holidays.
I’m not complaining, actually. I imagine my house would look like an episode of hoarders if I had the money to start all the projects I see on Pinterest.
I think what I’m spending most of my time doing is organizing. Some wouldn’t call this a fun hobby, but there is something so soothing to me about putting everything in its place. I’ve been going room by room in my house, excavating every nook and cranny, tossing, donating, and sorting every item. I asked my husband for Space Bags for Mother’s Day. Weird? No. What mother wouldn’t be thrilled to have winter clothes and school clothes in vacuum-sealed bags and packed neatly into a 55 gallon Rubbermaid tote? For those of you who aren’t mothers, I guess you wouldn’t understand the ripple effects of not having to wash all of those clothes. I envy you.
I can’t believe the last time I wrote anything was in the middle of March. These last two months have been incredibly busy. It took every extra ounce of energy I had to finish the semester. Lots has happened though, so I guess I’ll start there.
My college consolidated with another college, which was supposed to open up opportunities for the student body. What actually happened was that the campus I attend became a satellite campus, with a minimal offering of courses and majors that require courses at other satellite campuses. I completed the classes I needed for my AS in Psychology this semester (and will be receiving my first, official college degree in the mail in 3-4 weeks); but, I had to switch majors because the BS program is on the campus that is a one way, 70+ mile commute. My new major is Early Childhood Education and I should be completing my Associate’s degree in the Fall. I’m certain that I will be happy with this career choice, but the uncertainty throughout the semester with the merge has been very stressful.
Speaking of stress, I made my first B. I made 3/5 Bs, actually. I was pretty disappointed with myself, because that also kept me about .67 GPA points shy of the Dean’s List for the semester. My cumlative GPA is still a 3.85 and I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that a 4.0 is not really super important.
I’m taking two classes this summer and four in the fall. The summer classes required 10 hours a piece of observation of school-aged children. My professors were pretty awesome about letting me knock out those hours before the school year ends. I sat in on a third grade class and a first grade class for most of them, and spent a few hours with a couple of fourth grade teachers. I’m glad that it worked out the way it did, because it renewed my desire to finish college. When I found out I was going to need to change majors in the middle of the semester, it was hard to find the motivation to keep going.
Being done with the semester has given me the chance to breathe. The house looked like it had barely made it through a natural disaster for a while, and it has felt so soothing to get things back in order around here. The house is completely silent during the day, while the kids are at school, and I can take my time cleaning each room from top to bottom. The only problem with this is that I see ten million projects I want to get done, but I lack the extra funds to do them. It feels good to be home though.
My summer classes are online and they start on the 28th. I’ll be ready for them by then because the house will be spotless and I will be bored out of my mind.
It’s been a really, really long time since I put up any pictures of my progress. I have been doing Zumba since the weekend after Thanksgiving and I am starting on week five of Jamie Eason’s Live Fit training program this week. The pictures should speak for themselves. The “before” photos (on the left) are from a while ago, where my weight was somewhere between 260-268 lbs. My current weight fluctuates between 239 – 242 lbs. I’m not sure of my measurements, but I wear a size 18 pants now and 14/16 ish shirts. Women’s clothing sizes are so sporadic that it’s difficult to tell sometimes. Click the pictures if you want a bigger view.
Chad and I spent the evening at one of our favorite restaurants on Saturday as we celebrated (two weeks late) our eleventh wedding anniversary. I chose to indulge myself a little more with some sushi, and a chicken hibachi meal (both of which I had a go box of leftovers for lunch the following day). I also enjoyed two martinis, one pomegranate and the other Godiva chocolate. When I woke up the next morning I knew I should have avoided the scale, but I didn’t.
It said 248 lbs.
I knew that was way over the correct weight, because it wasn’t even a week prior to that, that I was able to log into MyFitnessPal and log that I was 238 lbs. I spent January busting my behind in the gym, doing Zumba, and R.I.P.P.E.D. I was (and still am) working out six days a week. I’m doing Jamie Eason’s Live Fit weight training program five days a week (I’m on week four), Zumba three nights a week for an hour, and R.I.P.P.E.D. on Saturday mornings for one hour. I know I’m burning tons of calories too, because I monitor them with a BodyMedia Fit armband. I count calories and eat (mostly) healthy foods, and I was making great progress through the month of January. Almost five pounds down(247.2 down to 243). Then I got really sick with tonsillitis and bronchitis. I was out of it for a week, doing nothing but laying in bed, taking medicine, and drinking powerade. I weighed 238 after that week. I expected to put a little bit back on once I started eating normal food again, but I knew it wouldn’t be anything crazy. If anything, the bed rest gave my body a break and a chance to catch up.
Anyway, five days after eating such a highly indulgent meal, I’m finally back down to 239.7 lbs. Like I said, I expected to gain back a little bit, but ten whole lbs was a bit ridiculous. I know it wasn’t fat. It was water retention from the heaps of salt in the food at the restaurant we chose. Probably the alcohol too. I’m pleased with myself for not freaking out like I have before, and using it as an excuse to quit exercising and just binge out on horrible foods. Now I just have to be extra careful on date nights to watch my salt intake. I know it’s supposed to be a treat, especially as infrequently as we’re able to get out by ourselves, but I really want to be as close as I can get to 200 lbs by the end of April when I do the Dirty Girl mud run. Something tells me that it will be much easier to throw a smaller version of myself over a cargo net. Realistically, I realize that I will likely lose around 10-15 lbs, but it makes a difference. That would put me in the 220s, which I haven’t seen in a long, long time.
I’ll be watching my salt like a hawk.
I’ll see you soon, my love. But this year I’ve got goals that don’t include you.
This week I literally hit the ground running with my pre-planned exercise schedule. I bought a paper calendar and mapped out various types of workouts for the month of January. Three days per week are morning runs with the c25k plan, two days are one hour evening Zumba classes, Saturday mornings I have a new class that my Zumba instructor started teaching again called R.I.P.P.E.D. Aside from these, I will use my workout DVDs to fill in the gaps. I’ve got plenty to choose from, including Turbo Fire, Body Revolution, and an assortment of the ones available at Wal-Mart.
I had my regular Zumba class on Tuesday night. Well, aside from the fact that it was decorated like a night club to make it a fun New Year’s Day workout. Thursday, Chad and I went to use my Christmas gift card to Academy Sports + Outdoors. I picked up a new pair of running shoes (Asics GT 1000s). Friday morning, we sent the kids back to school from their winter break and went for a jog. I did Week 1, Day 1 of c25k. My first mile was a little over 15 minutes and the second was around 17. Both are better than my first attempts (~18 minutes) from a few months back, when I gave myself nasty shin splints. The second was a little slower because it included the cool down, and then walking the rest of the way back to my house.
Size 11s, Yes, my feet are huge.
Chad’s ankle started really bothering him, so he won’t be running with me for a couple more months. He sprained it pretty badly in September and it hasn’t quite finished healing. I was okay, though I could already tell my thighs were going to be sore. I soldiered on through the Zumba class that same night, not even realizing how hard I was dancing because it was so much fun. That was, until I woke up the next morning and my legs were so sore! I wasn’t going to give up though, and I went to the new R.I.P.P.E.D. class, which was tougher than expected. I think it was mostly due to the previous soreness though. Despite the aches in my body and not being familiar with the workout (and needing to modify a few times), I still burned over 500 calories.
Then I came home and winced every time I stood up or bent my knees.
I’m sure I looked weird trying to walk up the front steps stiff-legged, but goodness it hurt. After burning about 2,000 extra calories in two days, I was starving. Not that I didn’t eat for two days, it just seemed like I was a vacuum for the rest of the afternoon and I wanted protein, protein, and more protein, with a side of salt. I opted for a Zaxby’s Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich. Not the healthiest choice of post-workout fuel, but I made good choices throughout the rest of my week and this is about moderation, not deprivation. I’ll just need to guzzle water today to combat the sodium.
Everybody needs a rest day to give their muscles time to repair themselves, and Sundays have been scheduled for me out of convenience. The kids are home, so exercise is a little more difficult to squeeze in. I find myself more frustrated after having to interrupt my workout to go referee an argument or answer the question “How much longer do you have to exercise?” a thousand and one times. Plus, it’s a good day to spend tidying up the house and prepping everything for the kids and I to go back to school. I’ll be using Sunday’s to prepare snacks and lunches for the week so that I have good options on hand when I’m busy with college stuff.
And with that, I’m off to work on my bedroom. I want to tackle the closet and give the dogs a good scrub. I also need to work on some laundry.
Every year I see status updates, tweets, memes and other social media comments saying things like “I cannot wait for this year to be over with. It was horrible. Next year is my year.” Typically, it’s the same people posting the same thing the very next year. While I have experienced some truly sad, discouraging, or bad things over the course of 2012, I wouldn’t call the entire year a loss based on those few experiences. There were plenty of wonderful things about this past year as well. Besides, if you really think about it, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate and understand the good without knowing what it’s like to go through the bad. Our attitudes tend to color our perspectives though, and sometimes we get caught up in negative dialogue.
How can we change this?
2013 will be full of memories!
Someone posted this idea to one of my social media sites. I think it was Facebook, but it may have been linked from Pinterest. It is a “Good Things” vase for 2013. The instructions said to get a jar, write 2013 on the side of it, write down good things that happen to you during the year, and then dump it out at the end of the year and remember all the good things. Or something like that. I intend to take it a step further and write down at least one good thing about every single day. It’s all about shifting our perspective, right? Even on days when I think I’m having a rough day, if I force myself to sit down before the day ends and look for at least one good thing that happened, it can change my attitude about the entire day. I hope I need a bigger vase!
We are less than a week away from 2013, tip-toeing closer to those New Year’s resolutions that everybody makes, but never keeps. The excuses will come, but do you want to know the number one reason so few people are able to achieve the goals they set on January 1st?
Have you ever heard anyone say that before? I know there are tons of motivational quotes floating around the internet, but I don’t know if any of them ring true in the same way that this one does. How many of us have said we were going to drop a bad habit or lose weight, only to lose steam before February even rolls around? I know I have. While I have managed to make some of my goals happen, I let others slip through my grasp because I didn’t take the time to consider how I would keep up with my routine when predictable things threw a wrench in my schedule.
Fortunately for me, my sister offered to keep the kids last night and Chad left for work early this morning. I took the dogs out, fixed my morning oatmeal, and sat here sipping on water as I considered what to write about today. I grabbed a piece of paper and thought I might start preparing a New Year’s post with the things I plan to achieve in the coming year. When I got to my goal to lose weight and break the plateau I’ve been in for over a year, I was nervous to write it down. I thought about how I had the same goal last year, but didn’t achieve it. What could I do differently? I began jotting down a game plan for each goal and a light bulb came on. In previous years, I had short term plans that fizzled out when circumstances changed. This year, I’m setting up my entire environment for success.
Here are my 2013 goals and how I plan to be able to achieve them:
1. I will have my very first college degree and will have maintained a 4.0 GPA/Dean’s List status.
– This is the easiest of the goals for me. I have already set myself up so that upon successful completion of this semester, I will have met the requirements to earn an Associate of Science degree in Psychology. I have 16 credit hours to take, which I have scheduled in a way that gives me enough time to do my homework and study while the kids are at school. I simply pay attention in class, take good notes, and give myself ample time to work on projects, rather than procrastinating until the night before everything is due.
2. I will run in and complete my very first 5k.
– This one is big. I have wanted to do more and more things since I started working out and finding which exercises I enjoy. One of them is to start running races regularly. This past semester, a friend invited me to a group that was signing up to do the Dirty Girl 5k in Atlanta, GA. I signed up and got really excited about it. Then I tried the c25k program, and failed miserably. I thought it was awesome that I could just download the app to my iPhone, strap on a pair of running shoes, and start running. By week 3 (which was actually still during week 2), I had horrible pain in my shins with every step. Apparently you don’t go from not running to running every day. The program is set up so that you gradually ease into running, which I thought I was doing. I did not realize I should be allowing my legs and body to rest for a day or two between runs. This time, I have done more research and I will follow the plan so that by April I will be ready for my 5k.
3. I will get myself back on track for debt reduction, including beginning to make payments on my student loans.
– When my grandfather got sick, I started to get very irresponsible with our money. I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I was able to spend the last few months of his life making trips to visit him almost every weekend. However, it has put a dent in my progress with our debt. Part of that was spending, and the other part was not having time to focus on a budget between classes and traveling. I have managed to keep three of our cards paid off, but that is mostly because they are specific store cards and two of those stores are plus sized (Torrid and Lane Bryant). It is pretty easy to convince myself that I don’t need to spend money there because I am still losing weight and won’t need to shop there for much longer. I need to buckle down and get back on track. I’ve been updating our spreadsheets and working out a plan. The biggest thing is that, as badly as I want to do it, I won’t redecorate our bedroom or buy new clothes for myself until we get some of this taken care of. The other part of this will tie into my weight loss goal.
4. I will lose weight and break my year long plateau of 25-30 lbs.
I’m going to do even better!
- I have to budget my time in the same way I budget our money. It started when I was registering for classes for this semester. I realized that even though I could take classes from 9:30-2:00 every day, it was killing me to have to come straight home and do homework, leaving me with no time to exercise before the kids got home. Yes, I could exercise with them home, but it makes for a very unfocused workout. I opted for a couple of online classes this semester and gave myself plenty of wiggle room. I even have time to use the campus gym if I want (which I may, for a softer running surface and weight lifting.) I also have to utilize my weekends wisely and fix my food. When I don’t do this, I wind up eating at the Wendy’s next to my school. Some days I get a salad, but some days those cheeseburgers and fries smell so good. Plus, they’re cheaper. Either way, when I spend ~$10 a day eating, 4 days a week, it starts to add up. Preparing meals for the week will help me control my calorie/nutrient intake and will also control my budget. I’m killing two birds with one stone here.
I intend to use a variety of workouts. First, I’m going to Zumba twice a week. I found a great local class that is so much fun. The instructor has extra classes sometimes on Saturday, for two whole hours, where I burn about 1700 calories. She is doing a January Get-Fit-Challenge that I intend on participating in. The in-person class is holding me accountable. I also intend to do the c25k plan, which means I’ll be getting in about 2 hours/8-10 miles of running a week. I want to redo my Jillian Michaels Body Revolution program again too. I stopped during the last phase, around the time my grandpa got sick and I was doing more traveling. I’ll have to take progress pictures with my iPhone, since my camera has some weird purple hue to it now. I may splurge on a new camera or ask for one for our anniversary in February. Anyway, I need pictures because they motivate me when I’m having a day where I feel like I’m not making progress.
The other major thing that I am going to do is to change my thinking. It is so easy to get caught up in the negativity inside my own head. Especially when things happen like they did over Christmas. I was visiting my grandmother’s house and my cousin’s boyfriend made two comments about my weight. The first I wasn’t around to hear (something about me looking like I needed to try my grandma’s crockpot candy recipe). The other happened when I was walking out to my van to grab my water bottle. My dad asked me what I was doing and when I told him “I’m getting my water.” her boyfriend said “You need to get on that Slimfast.” I pretended like I didn’t hear it, because that’s what I do sometimes. It stung though and I spent the afternoon trying to bite back tears. I made a post on my Facebook about it, and so many of my friends and family made lovely comments that kept me on track. How strange it is that those things usually drive me to eat, which is the very thing that causes me to stay heavy. I needed to hear those things inside my head because they rebuilt my confidence and kept me from overeating to numb the pain. So thank you to everyone who said those kind things.
Now that I’ve yakked your poor ears off, how do you all intend to achieve your resolutions this year?
These past six months have felt like a whirlwind. Between managing “normal” wife/mom stuff (like housework, budgeting, four school-aged kids, three dogs), my first semester as a sophomore in college, and losing my grandfather, I felt like I couldn’t catch a break. Every time I would get something caught up, something else would happen that demanded my undivided attention. I thought my grades were starting to suffer and I know my poor house was. Last week I had finals and I’ve taken the few days I had home alone (before the kids got out for Winter Break) to catch up on some of the housework. I think I’ve finally got the laundry done (thank goodness) and my bedroom looks better than it has in several months. I just started getting rid of stuff or stashing it in totes, finally organizing everything. There is something therapeutic about putting things in order, for me at least. It makes me feel so calm when there aren’t unsorted baskets of laundry piled up on the couch in my bedroom.
I’ve just been focusing a lot on getting myself back to a happy place. I found a local Zumba class. I have longed for something fun and close by that I could attend. I love, love, love this class. So much. It’s me time, which I haven’t had in a while. It’s an hour, twice a week, where I get to leave the house and allow the endorphins to flow. I’m not pausing a dvd so that I can go tell the kids to stop doing something or answering the door because the guy who cuts the lawn needs me to bring the dog in. Plus, it touches on whatever parts of my brain I used when I was in high school learning all of those flag corps routines. I like it because I don’t even realize the muscles I’m using until the next day. After about three weeks of classes, I’m already noticing toner arms, thighs and a more defined waist. Maybe when I show up to class next semester, the few people I know won’t recognize me! Ha!
Speaking of school, I managed to make As again (16 credit hours, 5 classes) and the Dean’s List. Third semester in a row. I’m pretty proud of myself. I’m on track to complete my Associate’s degree in Psychology this coming semester. I’m excited and nervous, all at the same time.
Now that I’ve gotten all of my ducks in a row, I’m revisiting some of my food and exercise issues. I won’t wait until New Year’s to fix everything and I don’t intend to go nuts at Christmas dinners. I’m going to form some new habits, like prepping food for the week so that I’m not rushed when I have things to do. I gave myself more wiggle room with my class schedule by taking an online history. That way I’m not spending so much time on campus and I can get things done at home. I’m even considering switching my statistics class to an online one, but I’m going to get some opinions about it first.
I found time to remember that I have a blog. There has been so, so much going on in these past few months. With the news of my grandfather’s illness I took a step back from various things in my life in order to use that time to visit him more frequently. I’m glad that I did, because he passed away on October 17th. It happened so quickly. The bad news came at me like one of those speed bags you punch. We found out he was sick on August 12 and he passed almost exactly two months later. Every weekend it was as if there was more bad news.
Bam! Your grandfather’s chest and abdomen are covered in tumors. Bam! He’s in Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Bam! He may live 6 more months if he doesn’t go through chemo, but he may be too weak for it and the chemo may kill him more quickly. Bam! He made it through one chemo treatment, but he fell and we can’t get his Coumadin level to come down. Bam! He’s too sick to continue with chemo. Bam! We’re putting him on home hospice care, to help your grandmother take care of him.
Then, like a ton of bricks, I got that phone call. The one I didn’t want and that I had been dreading. I was driving to class at around 8:50 in the morning when my dad’s ringtone started playing. He never calls me this early. Something is wrong. Something has to be wrong.
“Hey, baby. What are you doing?”
He sounds happy, maybe he just doesn’t realize it’s this early and I have class today. “I’m on my way to school.”
“You need to pull over, honey. I don’t want to tell you this while you’re driving.”
The knot in my throat was so hard that it felt like I couldn’t breathe. ”I’m okay. What’s going on?”
“Your Papa passed away this morning…”
The details flooded in, and I held myself together long enough to get into my parking spot. I sobbed for a few minutes, cleaned up my face, and went to class to get it out of the way. At that point, there was nothing left to do. I knew it would be a day or two before the viewing and funeral, and I certainly didn’t want to be at home with my thoughts. I managed to stick around for the quiz I had in my Literature class, but I decided against going to class on Thursday. I spent the weekend with my family.
I’m ashamed to admit that I resorted to my old coping mechanisms and I ate so much sugary crap I undid around 10 lbs worth of progress. I had no motivation to exercise, and I don’t think I actually had time for it considering that every weekend was spent at my grandparent’s house and the weekdays were spent making up missed class work or homework.
Things seem to be settling down now. The semester is almost over and I have finally caught up on everything. My grades didn’t suffer nearly as much as my waistline. I think, in a way, I needed to take the time off though. My shins and wrist seem to have healed, so it doesn’t hurt when I exercise now. I restarted the Body Revolution dvds and I intend to restart the c25k plan soon, with the appropriate rest days in between runs. Next semester is set up so that I’m not spending so much time in classes and I have ample time to get my workouts in before the kids get home from school.
Sometimes life sucks, but we wouldn’t have the peaks without the valleys. I am not perfect, and sometimes I stumble during the hard times. The difference is that now I realize that stumbling doesn’t mean I have to give up completely. I can just pick myself up, dust myself off and keep moving forward. That is what I call a non-scale victory and those are just as important. Especially the mental ones. I’m going to do this.
Today I am learning a valuable lesson about appropriate footwear for running. I have been running in my Nike Shox Turbo+. They have been awesome, for running, so far. Then Chad kept pestering me about using my Dual Fusion ST 2s, which are great for me with the light cardio and weight training stuff that is in Body Revolution.
I’m not sure if it was to prove a point or if I just didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but I went on my run yesterday in the Dual Fusions. I am seriously paying for it today. My shins are killing me! They were really sore towards the end of my run, and they’ve only gotten worse. When I was cleaning the kitchen earlier, I was putting away the clean baking dishes in one of the bottom cabinets. I squatted down to rearrange some of the things that were in the cabinet to make room for the stuff I was putting up, and I almost started crying. It felt like fire was shooting down the front of both of my legs. I thought my shins were going to burst right out of my skin. I said “to heck with it!” and tossed the pans in on top of everything else. I’ll sort that crap out next weekend when my legs aren’t so sore.
I took a long, hot bath, adding in the rest of a bag of epsom salt to see if it would help relieve some of the tenderness. I guess it’s time for a dose of ibuprofen and maybe even some topical tylenol pain reliever cream. For sure, I’m taking it easy today and focusing on homework/studying. I’ve got a biology exam in the morning, followed by a review for a lab exam for Wednesday, and then a quiz over the first Canto of “The Faerie Queene” in British literature. I also need to do some reading for my psychology classes on Tuesday, and it wouldn’t hurt to get in a few quia exercises for Spanish (we’re working on reflexive and past tense verbs, at the moment).
Aside from the pain, I feel like the training for c25k is going rather well. My baby brother (the US Marine who runs eight miles at a time on a regular basis) seems to think that a ~16-17 minute mile is pretty good. I’m still getting a feel for the route and I am definitely wearing the Shox for my next run. I’m also not taking Kristen with me next time, though Dylan seems to really enjoy it and he is able to run circles around me to boot. I think he will be a great motivator and it will help burn off some of his excess energy. I may even sign him up for 5ks and such in the future, to run with me. Kristen told me that she “hates running”, but I’m pretty sure it’s because she fell down and skinned her knee about 1/3 of a mile into the jog yesterday.