adventure

First Timer

I’m a first timer. A virgin of sorts. New skill. New form of fitness. New level of cold. New land to explore. New. New. New.

I guess I should let you in on the secret. I’m wearing an apparatus that I thought was going to resemble a tennis racquet on my feet as I trek through snow. To my surprise I had something more modern and practical. They call this snowshoeing and I’m paying for this form of torture just to say I did it! I must be a little nuts but I love completing unique excursions whenever possible.

I obviously love to share my stories in case one may want to try said activities. I also like to catalog my crazy adventures for the years ahead when I am not physically or mentally able to complete such crazy things. So here goes. Snow is on the forecast for today 1-3 inches. Cold temps and strong winds. That is just the start.

I’m layered up and ready to tackle the unknown. The initial climb is a few switch backs that get the heart rate going while you get used to your new footwear. I loved the bottom of mine. The claw-like bottom gives you so much traction in the snow. It was definitely an experience.

Hiking through the trees was my favorite part. Every corner was a little different. We traveled around a mine site and learned a little about the area history. We hiked near cliff hanger house that was being built with million dollar views. We got pretty close to an avalanche area and saw how the path changed.

I didn’t use poles for my hike but my pal did. I’m sure I could have benefited from them but I felt the traction from my snow shoes gave me the stability I wanted. I guess I opted for less baggage on my trek. A little more vigorous than hiking is what I would explain. If I lived somewhere cold I think I would definitely have a pair of these to kick around town in.

This view was amazing although the picture doesn’t do it justice. The skies were grey today due to the stormy weather but the climb yielded some amazing views of the city and the ski trails. If you are ever in this area, you should give snow shoes a try. Just because.

fitness and nutrition

The Streak Ends

If you’ve read this blog for a bit, you know I love streaks. I’m on streaks with some of my snapchat friends. But the big one for me was closing my move ring on my Apple Watch each day.

First, I wanted to make it to 365 days. Done. Then, I wanted to stretch it to two full years. Recently, I hit that goal. I was trucking along toward my next goal, 1000 straight days, when it finally happened. My watch broke. My luck finally ran out.

My battery on my watch had started to fade. I had to charge it midday. One day I was charging it in my car as I was driving. I had to hop out of the car and my watch hit the ground. The cracks started showing, and a few days later pieces started to chip off. Once I got it wet it was dead. On day 771, my streak ended.

It took a few days to get a new watch. I was surprisingly not all that upset about waiting, or even losing my streak. I took a few days to just think about gratitude. I was grateful that I didn’t lose my streak due to illness or injury…considering that my streak started just as COVID-19 hit the US, that streak took on new meaning. I was grateful that I didn’t lose it due to lack of effort or motivation. I was grateful that the technology gave out before my will did.

I did miss quite a few things about it…I missed looking at my heart rate during workouts. Many of our workouts at our CrossFit gym tell us a percentage of effort we should be putting out. These match up with heart rate info for me. For example, if I am supposed to be giving out 70% percent effort, I’d expect my heart rate to be around 125. I looked at my wrist many times only to find my watch tan line. I also missed seeing my calorie totals as they went up throughout the day. Funny how technology shapes our behavior. Oh yeah, and I missed knowing the time.

Really I also missed the connections to my other fitness friends that I have on my watch. I love to give friends a virtual high five through a watch comment. I just get a kick out of them…some friends get sarcastic ones, some get cheerful ones. Regardless, it makes me feel connected and happy to encourage people when they are working on their health. And I like the little cheers I get in return.

So I got my new watch just after Mother’s Day. I didn’t miss any days of workouts or movement when I didn’t have the watch, but the counter starts over regardless. So, it’s back to day 1 for me. 999 to go.

awareness

I Am

In today’s episode of “words matter…”

Watch how you speak about yourself.

A family member of mine recently had surgery. It was pretty major, requiring him to take a serious step back from his hard-working, able-bodied lifestyle. He went from working 60-80 hours a week in a physically demanding job to passing most of his waking hours sitting on the couch, healing. He went from managing many tasks for multiple businesses and family members to needing help tying his shoes and buttoning his shirt. It would be a long recovery.

A couple of days after the surgery, as he slowly slumped up the stairs to move from couch to bed, I heard him clearly mutter “I am pathetic.”

To which I responded, no…you may not feel well or energetic, but you are not pathetic. You are healing. You are making progress. You are doing the best you can. You are doing what needs to be done.

I hear it in the words of my friends often, too. I am so stupid. Why am I this way? I am such an idiot. I am such a dumbass. Whatever insult you feel you deserve in the moment.

Does this gloss over every mistake? No. But it’s the “I am…” that we have to look out for. Don’t mistake how you’re feeling for who you are. Don’t confuse an error you made with your identity. Watch how you speak to and about yourself. Don’t put that energy out into the universe.

Instead, tell yourself you are strong. You are on the right track. You are figuring it out. If you screwed up, own it and vow to do better. “I am ready to learn and improve.” Whatever you need to say to and about yourself, keep it positive. If you make a mistake, you can remark about the action, not about who you are as a person.

Words matter, use them wisely, even when you’re just talking to and about yourself! Today’s healthy mindset hack. Watch your language!

fitness and nutrition

Back on the Wagon

After “keeping it off” (mostly) for a few years, my weight has drifted up, up, up. I had an “alarm bell” weight of 180, where I was supposed to get my act back together and tighten up again. I hit 184 about a year ago and shifted my nutrition to a template with more vegetables, little added or artificial sugar, limited dairy, and lots of protein at each meal. I lost weight and felt better, even getting back into the 160s briefly, but mostly hanging out in the 170s.

Late in the year I hit 180 again. Then my weight continued to go up. Sugar made its way back into my eating toward the holidays. Then cheese started to creep in pretty often, too. Sigh. I just didn’t feel like resisting everything anymore.

My clothes didn’t feel right. I couldn’t see my muscle definition buried under more pounds. But couldn’t get going in a better direction.

Then, a post from a co-worker. Folks at work are feeling similarly and need motivation to get on track before summer brings swimsuits and skimpier clothes. 20 dollars and one weigh in at the beginning, one at the end. Highest percentage of body weight lost gets the pot.

Wanting to game the system somewhat, I gave myself a “free for all” weekend before the first weigh in. I went for Mexican and dove into the chips. Ate big desserts. Fried chicken. The works. Unsurprisingly, I weighed in at my highest number in several years.

So now I’m back on the nutrition bandwagon. Here’s the plan… I’ll keep the vegetables and protein. I’ll reduce the fats and non-vegetable carbs that had been taking up more and more of my plate of late. I’m going to add back in high-protein flavored yogurt and some chocolate chips in moderation. I’m hoping that intentionally incorporating some of the things I crave will keep me on track and not going overboard.

Still working on water. Still skipping alcohol. Keeping up with workouts. Posting here for accountability. I have until May 2 to see how this little experiment works out. Updates will follow.

In the mean time, readers, how do you deal with nutritional backslides? Setbacks? Redirects?

balance

Life being Lifey

Life is being extra lifey these days. War, weather, mental stresses, financial hardships, on and on and on. It’s everywhere. My work life, my personal life, family friends colleagues acquaintances are all full of it. People are messy in their best times. Now, their messiness is more like a shambles that spills out and spreads all over.

Assume people will get sick, have issues and set backs and not be able to execute. Assume extra tasks, jobs, and responsibilities are coming as a result of the balls that others will drop. It’s just how things are right now. How can I thrive, survive, persist, stay sane in light of these times?

Here’s how I am hanging on for this bumpy ride:

Eat well. There are certain things I don’t farm out to anyone. Nutrition is number one. I own every step of that process from planning it to shopping for it to cooking it to packing it up. I don’t like being off plan and I don’t always make great decisions when it’s left to the last minute, whatever I can get my hands on. I know that eating well makes me feel better and do better. End of story.

Exercise first thing in the morning. The only possible exception is Sundays. Exercise helps me manage stress and gives me a sense of accomplishment and strength right off the bat. Extra boost if I see my friends and get the social sweat aspect of life first thing as well, but this isn’t always possible. Movement always is!

Stay ahead on things, knowing curveballs are coming. Busy season is about to kick up. When I have an idle moment, I try to think about what task I can push one step (or more steps) forward. Throw the laundry in. Clean something. Stock the pantry with two instead of one. Hopefully, when deadlines come or something is needed, I am ready instead of behind the eight ball trying to juggle and patch things together. Being ahead on what I can eases my stress.

Sundays. Sundays are my reset and ready-for-the-week day. I try to protect this if at all possible. It is often the only day I start with an extended coffee time at home. I write. I pull out clothes for the week. I make lists. I try really hard not to drive anywhere further away than 10-15 minutes unless it is a soul-serving adventure. Looking ahead on the calendar, keeping Sundays “sacred” will get harder and harder as fall’s busy-ness kicks in. Even as I write this, my Saturday and Sunday has flipped for this weekend. But I still try to keep one day with fewer commitments. Go-go-go all the time wears me out.

Notice nature. Get out and immerse myself in nature as often as possible, even for a few minutes a day. Flower farming has been amazing for this. I have a couple of hours a week in our field, just cutting flowers, watching bees and butterflies, soaking up the fresh air. I keep our flowers with me at work and home so I see them many times a day. They always make me take a small mental pause and smile.

What could I add? I need to write more often. I need to stretch. I need to meditate. These fall too low on the to-do list right now and I know each of them would help. This paragraph is a challenge to myself!

These last few weeks have been a lot, at times bordering on “too much, I can’t handle it, get me out of here.” There have been times I’ve considered drinking alcohol, which I don’t do. I’ve considered massive carb-and-cheese-laden meals of things I don’t typically eat. These things float through my mind, I notice them, then remind myself what works for me.

“Self care” has been a buzzword over the last couple of years. It comes with these challenging times. Life being lifey just beats many of us down and we need to take care of ourselves. I am a firm believer that you can’t pour from an empty cup, meaning you have to keep yourself cared for before you can care for others. Self care looks different for everyone. For some, it means doing whatever you want, regardless of the craving and what it costs. For me, self care does not mean self indulgence. Sometimes it means reminding myself what my goals are and what makes me feel healthy. A cocktail isn’t self care for me. Or a piece of chocolate cake. Might feel good for a moment, but then I’m left dealing with the fallout from my own impulsiveness.

In the end, I can only try to control my own decisions, my time, and my attention. I have to redirect myself when the decisions others make upset me. Boundaries are ok to set and adhere to. I only have to explain myself to those select few people who warrant it. But for most people, “no” can absolutely be a complete sentence.