Checking In

Let me start off by saying, this is a way for me to get it out, a way of journaling. By sharing it here I feel like I might help someone else know they aren’t alone in feeling the way that I do. I talked about this last night with my husband and he listened – but I really think he just doesn’t understand all the emotions (or lack there of) that I’m experiencing. So if you aren’t into reading about all my current woes then here’s your chance to bail.

When we started “stay home, stay safe” for COVID back in March, I thought it would be fine – temporary. I figured I was home most of the time anyway. How hard could it be. Then weeks turned into months and shit just kept getting weirder in the world. All of the things I enjoyed doing – grocery shopping, regular shopping, visiting state parks, geocaching- the list goes on, became an unpleasant experience. Grocery Shopping felt like the Hunger Games and only now feel slightly better. Shopping at Target or Walmart is depressing – shelves are bare and everyone looks sad. I haven’t even tried to go to one of my favorite places – IKEA – because I just don’t want to ruin it for myself. I just don’t find it to be an enjoyable experience anymore – now I only go to the store for purpose or necessity. State Parks are busy and limited capacity – when before some of my favorite places were near empty. I haven’t even gone to some of my favorite nearby places to visit for the same reason – not wanting to ruin the memory of it. I miss my summer trips to Newport, Salem and Mystic.

We’ve also had some crazy family stuff happen during all this and there’s all sorts of emotions that happen with that. I only mention them to add to “where I’m at”, but haven’t really shared much outside of my house. There are some things that are meant to stay in house. It’s just been… emotional.

I’ve been trying to keep my boys out of the general public during all of this too. I hate seeing them wearing masks. Yes, I know the importance for wearing a mask – so don’t come at me for that. That’s why I just keep them home as much as possible. I don’t take them out for errands if at all possible and we are keeping them home this fall to continue distance learning for this same reason. I think the mask wearing and social distancing will be more detrimental than keeping them home with me. I am hopeful it’s short term. Most of my friends are sending their kids back in person. I respect them for that. It’s a tough decision either way. I wish I could do it too, but I also think my anxiety would be in high gear all the time. Keeping them home with me if for my mental health too. Hopefully I won’t have to fight with them as much this time around to do the work!

So after all of that, I completely lost my mojo about a month ago. I took a week off from working out, that turned into two and now I’m pushing four. I’m sleeping late and can barely find the motivation to do the simple day to day stuff. Yesterday was the eye opener for me that I am on depression’s doorstep y’all. I’m about to knock to have her let me in to join in her misery. I’ve got all the classic signs. I know them well. I’ve travelled this road a few times, it’s been a while since my last visit and I’m really wanting to bypass this stay. By classic signs – for me – I mean – no joy in the things that used to make me happy, not working at my fun job (my Etsy shop) as much as I would like, feeling empty, stopping working out, getting up late, going to bed early, not wanting to socialize with friends as much, not wanting to leave the house, eating…a lot, but then not wanting to cook dinner. There’s some of the things I’ve noticed. There’s also a lot of negative self talk happening and constant jealousy of anyone experiencing success-in anything- I have no limits on that one. It’s an awful trait that I tend to have. Comparison to others is a toxic trail to take. I need to pull a u-turn and come back to home base on that. It makes me feel ugly and pulls me deeper into where I don’t want to be.

I’m hoping that by writing this and sharing what I’m trying to do will help me climb out and get back to “normal”. I want to workout (weirdo right?) because my awful body issues are also rearing too. I keep thinking – “if I lose 10, 20, blah blah pounds I’ll for sure feel better” – then I eat two snickers ice cream cones – yep that happened yesterday. Here’s the thing, my brain knows that working out provides endorphins. Those endorphins after 30/60 minutes of exercise can be similar to taking an antidepressant. It’s proven to work if you can get your depressed ass moving. BUT THAT’S THE STUPID CRAZY PART! You’re so deep in your head that you talk yourself out of getting those endorphins!

I committed myself to a 18.9 mile virtual race this month. That I told myself I would complete by the last day of September. That means I have to move at least the amount of time it takes me to complete those nearly 19 miles. If I walk for 15 minutes a day I’ll hit my goal. I have to do something to motivate myself because the idea of being uncomfortable in my skin isn’t quite enough right now.

At the same time I’ve been trying to eat a little better. But that’s truly laughable, because who eats right when they’re stressed and feeling miserable. I’m trying to track what I eat and I even signed up for a nutrition webinar in about a week. We’ll see how that goes.

If you’re still with me-thank you. I’d like (to try again) to update more regularly. I mean I pay for this freaking blog, you’d think I’d publish more. (Facepalm) My kids are heading back to school (in my office) on the 10th – so wish me luck. I need to find that “me” time quickly in order to manage having them here all day again. Just sitting in the office with me from 7:30 to 3 every day. At least the first two days are early release?

Move The Way You Love

Moving more is the gist that keeps giving.  Stretching, walking, yoga, running – any sort of physical movement doesn’t just help you shake the cobwebs from your brain and strengthen your body – but it can boost your self esteem, lighten your mood and even help you sleep better.

The second “gift” that comes with moving more is it helps with weight loss too!  Changing your eating and moving more – you can shed up to 20% more than if you only changed your eating habits.  Keep moving for the long term and you’re more likely to keep the weigh off too!

So here’s the secret – choose activity for its feel good benefits, rather than what you think you “should do”.  When you choose an activity that you enjoy, you are more likely to continue doing it, succeed in your weight loss and maintain it.  In one study that the Weight Watchers weekly sites, they asked people to walk a mile for “fun.  those people said they felt less tired and in a better mood than those that were asked to walk for “exercise”  Who knew?!

Walking – Walking is a great, everyday activity that teams up nicely with other pleasures like exploring nature, new adventures, spending time with family or friends or even listening to an audio  book.  In a recent study (done by Patel AV, et al. Walking in Relation to Mortality in a large Prospective Cohort of Older US Adults. Am J Prev Med 2017), they showed that a little walking can payoff big – the study included more than 62,000 men and 77,000 women and found that walking, even less than the two hours a week recommended by Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, can still help you live longer.

What to do?  What moves you?  If you have fun being active, you’ll do it more often.  So here’s a quick activity from the Weight Watcher’s Weekly to get you started:

WHAT will I do? ( make it simple, clear and doable – play ball in the yard, walk around the block) If it sounds fun to you, then it’s a great idea.

WHEN will I do it?  (make time for moving more and you’ll help make it happen – designate specific days and windows of time you can devote to it)

WHERE will you do it?  (It’s not enough to say I’ll walk- map a route so you know what to expect)

With WHOM (if anyone) will I do it?

So for this week pick an activity that you enjoy doing and set a specific goal to do it by answering the questions above.

For me, I enjoy walking (in the warmer weather-of course).  I download a podcast or book I’d like to listen to and then set off on the walk.  I usually shoot for at least an hour walk which equates to at least 3 miles for me.  I clear my head on these walks and don’t allow myself to looks at emails, Facebook or even answer calls.  This time is only for me.  I also do some running, where I download my favorite songs and hit the pavement.  Running outdoors is my favorite and I generally choose a route that requires me to complete the distance I selected, so i don’t quit half way through.

Right now, during the winter months in New England, I have been doing Jillian Michael’s workout programs.  I completed her 30 Day Shred and I am in my final month of her Body Revolution right now.  Up next I plan to do her Body Shred Program- which will end in mid-May, so at that point I plan to log some fresh air hours too.  I require a challenge in my workout, that’s what motivates me, something that “level’s up, every so often.  That’s what I like about Jillian’s programs.  They force me out of my comfort zone each and every morning and I feel great starting my day that way.

The key to all of this, is to find what motivates you and don’t let it get stale.  Because when your workout gets boring, it’s no longer serving your body or your mind.  It’s time to switch it up to something else.  Hit a trail with a friend or your family, try something new at the gym (like that Zumba or Barre Class you’ve been eying) – you never know how much it may change your mindset!

What’s your favorite way to get your activity in?  I’d love to hear of new workouts or things to try with my family!

Focus on Fun

Choose physical activity that you enjoy-
It can help you succeed at weight loss!
In the meeting room during the last week of July we talked about focusing on fun. Making your movement goals by doing things you enjoy rather than by doing what you think you should do. My leader gave a great example of how to have fun while earning fit points, she had us all stand up and we did the hokey pokey! It proved that just having fun or doing something silly still counts as earning activity points. We all traded stories about the last time we “had fun” or “played”. For some it was gardening, furniture restoration or another hobby. For others like myself, it was doing things with our children. I gave the example of a family hike or walk and playing with James (my youngest) in the sprinkler.
The Weight Watchers Weekly on this topic reminds you to “Move the way you love! Swapping an it’s good for me mentality for an it feels good to me mentality can open up a new world!” When you chose to do activities you enjoy over ones you feel you “should”, you’re more likely to stick with them and do them more often. “Instead of focusing on distant or vague goals that make exercise a means to an end, keep the pleasure principal up front. Choose activities that feel like something nice you’re doing for yourself as an end goal in itself. Michelle Segar, PHD has found that when you’re motivated to move for pleasure, you’re less tired and in better spirits afterwards and you even tend to make healthier food choices!!”
Weight Watchers Weekly also recommends Dr. Segar’s book No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness. I’m going to add it to my reading wish list.

My goal is to be more present for my kids. Spend more time outdoors with them. Engaging with them. It’s my priority during our family vacation to Maine this summer!  I’ll report back with my progress and with pictures to prove it! What do you do to motivate yourself to move?

Move Mindfully

Tap into the power of awe to enhance your happiness.

Moving mindfully, do you ever think about the word “awesome”? Often we use the word to mean great, amazing, cool but in fact awe is a reaction to vastness and to scenarios that challenge how we think about the world.  Coming physical activity with the awe inspiring scenes anything from the deep blue of the summer sky to skyscrapers can help heighten a sense of wonder at the world.  This can also make physical activity more enjoyable!

According to the Weight Watchers Weekly studies show that having a sense of awe in life can enhance your happiness and physical well being! It can also increase your generosity .  Its so easy to get caught up in our own life and not focus on others or the world around us, but experiencing awe can put our ;lives into healthy perspective.  Having awe reminds us that no matter how consumed we are in our own lives- what we have, what we don’t, how we compare to everyone else – ultimately were all part of something bigger.  It’s a profound, pure sort of happiness and happy people make healthier choices that can help them succeed in weight loss. 

An activity they talk about in this WW Weekly is how to “take an awe walk”
No matter if you head to the forest, the shore or around the city here are some activities to help you make the most of the walk:

1. Leave your devices behind.  Can’t bear to be without your cell phone, switch it to airplane mode and then into your back pocket.  Electronics pull you into a virtual world rather than focusing on the physical wonders around you.

2. Be open minded.  Walked this path a thousand times before?  Look around anew as if it were your first time.  Better yet, when you head out for an “awe” walk find some place new.

3.  Think small too.  No need to travel to make your “awe” walk happen!  you can find “awe” in your own backyard by simply slowing down and seeing what nature has in store for you – like an ant carrying a leaf or a bird making a nest.

If I were to pick my favorite place to “awe” walk it would be in Groton, CT.  It’s two places actually!  The first is Bluff Point and then I like to take the pathway over to Haley Farms.  Bluff point affords you some amazing scenery if you’re willing to put in the effort of a walk.  We’ve gone as a family and picnicked on the bluffs and just watched the waves crash.  It’s amazing.  The walk over to Haley Farms has been just as rewarding, we’ve seen baby birds and stunning hawks flying above.  Once you arrive at Haley Farms it’s usually pretty quiet.  Not many people hike over there, which is too bad, because it’s a beautiful place to spend the day.  We usually agree to no phone calls of Facebooking while we’re out and about.  This way we are enjoying our environment as well as each others company.

We also make several trips to Newport, RI throughout the year, spending time walking the cliff walk then strolling town afterwards for dinner.  We make sure to walk everywhere!! We usually finish those days with letting the kids splash around on the beach for a while before taking the long drive home.  Some of those pictures and memories will last a lifetime for me.

**Inspired by Weight Watchers Weekly June 17-June 24 2017**

Walk it out

Longer days and milder weather – 
make now the perfect time to step out!
 Did you know that walking is the most popular form of activity?  After all, humans are built for it!  It’s something you’re doing already in a daily life, so consider adding a few minutes her and there each day or if you’re already walking, doing it more often or for more time.  Walk on your own terms: You can do it indoors or out, on a flat surface or incline, on a trail or sidewalk and you dont need to join a gym or buy pricey equipment to do it.  All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes.
According to Weight Watchers Weekly, how this helps is as the weather turns milder and the air is fresh and warm, getting outside for a walk can boost your mood and your physical health.  Research shows that brisk walking 30 minutes a day can help keep lost weight off.  Its also a great excuse to spend time with family or friends, be sure to keep a steady pace that still lets you chat easily.
So what can you do?  Plan your steps!!  Are you ready to walk it out?  Planning ahead will make it easier to increase your steps.  The WW Weekly gave a few suggestions of how to get moving-
  1.  I’ll do:_____________ (ex. walking the dog)
  2.  I’ll do it on: _________ (day/time)
  3.  I’ll do it here:_________ (ex. around the block)
  4.  I’ll do it for:___________ (ex. 10 minutes)
  5.  I’ll do it with_____________ (if anyone) 

I know I’ve been taking advantage of the nicer weather and have been working hard on my couch to 5K program.  I don’t have a treadmill so running/walking outside is my only option.  I’ve lost a few run days to bad weather, but I just try to get out there as long as the weather is nice.  I have been doing it while the kids are in school or when my husband is home so I don’t have to try and figure out what to do with them.  I lose this luxury soon, when they finish school for the year.  So I need to come up with a plan B soon!