healthy hacks

The Extra Weight

It was Amazon Prime day. I had been thinking about purchasing a weighted blanket. The price was right. I took the plunge. Was it worth it?

First, the box was heavy. It was a weighted blanket inside the package. Why wouldn’t it be? Nothing fancy from the aesthetic side but functional and purposeful….we shall see.

Night one. It’s heavy! It’s heavy on my body. Maybe a bit of a smothering feeling. Almost seemed like it would be so much extra effort to get up and go to the restroom.

Night two. I knew what to expect now. Today it was hot. Come winter that will be good but today was a warmer fall day so it didn’t have me jumping for joy.

Day three: the real question was did I sleep better? I don’t know is the answer. I don’t have an issue sleeping so it was in/out just like normal.

Day four: I was sore from my workouts. Going to bed was an extra effort. Lifting that extra weight seemed daunting but I did it. That extra weight seemed to diminish the aches or soften it a bit. Off I went to lala land.

Day five: I had to travel. A hotel was in the mix. I noted I missed my weighted blanket. It could have been the newness of it but I missed it. Obviously I’m not going to travel with my weighted blanket so I’ll have to wait a few days to get back in the comfort flow with it.

The verdict is: I’d say give it a try if you have been considering a weighted blanket. Your results may be more spectacular than mine. I could see it being a benefit if you are stressed and need that weight to calm you or if you struggle winding down it could definitely help you get settled due to the weight alone.

My package said it’s like getting a giant hug. With so much physical distancing these days maybe you need one just for that hug option.  Just another weight post for you think on.

family, Teddie Aspen

Dog Lessons

It wasn’t long ago I was digging through boxes leftover from my childhood home. I ran across an American Kennel Club certificate. Maximillian was his name.

I had heard his name many times in my life, often with a sneer from one of my brothers. They loved their dog, and I was the reason we got rid of him. Maximillian, the prized pooch, couldn’t stop knocking me over as a newly walking toddler. So, he had to go.

All this to say, I didn’t grow up with dogs. I had a cat named Snoopy I treasured but was allergic to (a story for another post), but never a dog. I just didn’t get dogs. Never wanted one. And who knows, maybe I was even a little scared of them from all my hard knocks as a babe.

As an adult, when my family wanted to get a dog, I resisted. We even had a dog live with us for a while that didn’t really work out. We ended up taking him to a new home where he could have the room and attention he needed.

Then Penny came along. My sister-in-law became her unexpectedly permanent foster mom. She needed a place to live and a family to love her. Would we be interested? I didn’t really want this at all. We could take her for a 2-week trial to see if we could handle it.

And she never left. We live together but I wouldn’t say she loves me. Still, my heart softened seeing how much everyone else loved her. She changed our family.

And then came the dog that I really did love. Chester. The unlikely, homely, wiry guy from the pound. The underdog. I didn’t even know why we would ever need 2 dogs. I was just getting used to 1! Then Chester who got scared by sudden movements and noises, Chester who always backed out of the room…Chester came along. He was very shy at first but eventually came around and became sweet, playful Chester. He loves to run and bound through the woods, and his sad eyes will pull at your heart strings every time. Chester changed my heart about dogs.

Now there’s the newest member of the clan named Nash, who I’ve taken a liking to. I even embrace my extended family and friend’s dogs. Heck, I even get to walk dogs and dog sit once in a while. Truthfully, I still don’t know how to act around dogs, and they can tell. It doesn’t come naturally for me and maybe never will. Thankfully, I’ve learned that many dogs are pretty forgiving if you at least try. They teach me about protection, loyalty, priorities and unconditional love. They seem to bring out the best in people just by being there and present in the moment. That bowls me over in the best of ways.

fitness and nutrition

5-10-15-20

Counting by fives is easy. You can count quickly with this method. Could counting by fives ever have a negative effect? Can you reverse a negative effect?

Let’s look at a 5-pound fluctuation on the scale. It is not a big deal to many. A scale can fluctuate and 5 pounds is a good cushion for many splurges or environmental issues. I’m in agreement. Up or down five is considered acceptable.

Now let’s just say you were fluctuating on the high side on the scale. You know that but you add 5 more pounds. Technically that’s 10 pounds in total but since you are counting by fives the justification is it’s just five pounds.  Not a big deal, right? 

It happens again. Now that totals 15 pounds but really it was just five pounds, right? What I’m getting at is counting by fives could diminish the big picture number if you look at things a certain way. Like by just 5 here and there. It’s easy to do if you are not paying attention or are choosing to look the other way for whatever reason. That’s why many long term weight loss programs require tracking. Without that measurement stick it’s easy to get off track.

I’m not a big scale person. I mean I don’t like to look at it daily as it becomes a consuming and daunting task. However for those who watch their weight to an extent it’s a needed measurement tool. One of many tools.

For me, I have been off my macro counting for a good bit (over a year).  Wanting to see how I fared eyeballing things. I did well. I could handle it. What I learned when I meticulously watched my macros was instilled in me. A routine. A habit. I was strong and consistent.

However, when I’m not tracking it’s easy to add in an ice cream, a candy, a drink, and other small items that add up in time. The 5, 5, 5 scenario…

Before you know it, five becomes ten, ten become fifteen and so on. For me counting by fives can have a negative connotation. During Corona I counted by five. I counted more than once by five. It added up.

The good news is I didn’t let fives multiply to the point of no return. I shook myself and said let’s get back on track and count macros to reverse by fives. I will use the scale as a tool. I’ll use my measuring tape to monitor inches and I will use myfitnesspal to track my intake daily until I’ve reversed the effects of just 5 pounds. I know how to do it. I just need to buckle down. Take the task on. Own it. 

We all have our own challenges of maintaining the physical / mental balance that’s right for each of us at each stage of life. Pandemic included! For me, I know my happy place on a scale, in inches and in macros. I just need to be diligent in staying the course even when a pandemic hits. Basically eliminate excuses and although a treat is okay here and there. I need to choose what’s worth the indulgence vs. slipping into a 5, 5, 5 scenario.

Another tale of how to saddle up and put in work. Success is something you work for and sometimes you have to work for it multiple times. Trust the process. Learn each time. Counting by fives in reverse. That’s how I got here. That’s how I will get back to my starting point. No big deal. Just need to practice some patience while being consistent.

For some reason I think counting backwards by five is much more difficult than adding by five. What an irony. With all that being said it’s not hard to get started. Just takes a little self motivation.

mental health, perspective

The Web

Can you see the web hidden in the dew and the sunlight? If you can’t it’s okay. I will tell you about it.

The web is masterfully crafted. Many layers. Anchored skillfully. It was a beautiful web. There were spiders to the eye. There were no prey woven in. It was a midnight masterpiece I’m sure. One that a skillful spider crafted while I slept. 

When I awoke it caught my eye in sun. It was hard to get a picture but the dew and the sun made it stunning to admire. Not many can say they found a web stunning but on this day I did.

It’s craftsmanship had me interested. Much like life we live with many tangled layers similar to a web. Carefully crafted relationships. Overlapping work and pleasure lines. Family connections. Friend circles. All interwoven to fit what we call life.

I was drawn to this web today. A simple part of nature. Many won’t see. Many will take for granted or even wipe it a way in an instant. But the beauty of it all is a spider will get back up and craft a different web. Maybe one that can withstand more than just a simple wipe away.

This was a firmly build web. Anchored. Robust. How does your life web compare? Is it flimsy? Can it be wiped away easily? Are you memorable like this web was for me? Can you say your feet are planted firmly in life?

Life is so full of many ups and downs. Sometimes you have to pick yourself off the ground and start fresh to build a better life web. The beauty is we are all capable of doing this. 

Get after your day today. Look at your web. If it’s tangled, worn or flimsy look at options to refresh your web of life. If it’s robust and built sturdy look around and see if you can share your gift of life stability with others. Somebody nearby may need help with their web.

Enjoy your day.

challenges

October Happenings

Wow October 1st seemed to arrive fast. Quicker than I was prepared for. As did the chill in the air and fall foliage. I’m not sad summer is gone for now. Rather I’m looking forward to final chapter of 2020. The fourth quarter. The last three months of the pandemic year. An easy bye Felicia will be coming from my mouth as 2021 arrives.

The final showdown of 2020 happens in these last three months. We all know it’s been a trying year for many. Most notably due to the pandemic. As I turned the page to October on my calendar I thought to myself I should finish the year with as much vim and vigor as I did when I started the year. Goals in hand. A bottomless cup of fuel to knock out all the goals I put to paper.

Time to say good bye to those extra covid pounds sitting on my waistline. My jeans are somehow not fitting like they should. Time to get moving at a higher level for myself in all aspects of life. I need to hit a few goals in a condensed time period to finish the year with a bang. The pandemic isn’t going to sabotage me. It merely sidelined me for a period of the year.

Let’s go. That’s what I’m telling myself. Going to find some new obstacles. Going to make some lasting memories. Going to try a few new things too. I’m going to write my ending to 2020 the way I do life. Dream big. Live large. Smile often.

How will you wrap up 2020? Remember as I’m wrapping up the year I’ve already laid the groundwork for 2021. I’m a plan-o-gram girl. Getting things done but enjoying life, too. It’s a delicate but needed balance.