Time to Flip the Script

Anyone out there who has been following this blog for any length of time should have figured out by now that I don’t really know what I am doing. I am not a fitness or health expert by any stretch. Not even close. But, I’m learning. I hope. I mean I think so, anyway.

But I am a counselor by trade which makes me constantly curious about why people do what we do. And since I am my favorite subject (at least for the purposes of this blog), I am really interested in my own motivation. So in these past couple of weeks I have been paying a little more attention to my inner dialogue and my behavior. I was using a food diary for a month or so and noticed a nominal difference in my weight. I was exercising and going to the gym and not seeing any change. I actually gained a pound or 2 in fact. And that frustrated me. So I decided to take a step back and examine why I am focused on getting to a number on the scale. Will that make me happy? The answer is no. Because what we chase when we diet is the ideal, which for common folk like me is impossible very difficult to obtain.

So I started to pay attention to what I was looking at and what I was saying to myself and what other people around me say to each other. And what I saw, heard, and noticed made me sad. I saw lots of articles about getting your body ready for bikini season. I saw posts about what fruit your body resembles. And come to think of it, women’s bodies are compared to food all the time: muffin top, apple bottom, pear-shaped, cottage cheese thighs. Why is that? Why do women’s bodies have to be compared to anything? Why can’t we all just be human shaped? Put two “pear-shaped” women together and I guarantee you they don’t look alike. They probably don’t even really look like pears. They look like people! Every woman’s body is unique. We don’t fit into a cookie cutter (ha!).

I was clothes shopping the other day when I overheard a couple of young women in the dressing room nearby. They were trying on bikinis and one of them was complaining about her belly or her butt or being fat, I can’t remember. And the other was saying that she was the one with the fat fill-in-the-blank. It went on and on. And then I saw them. They were lovely, and thin by my estimation. And certainly had nothing to complain about from where I stood. But the fact that they were so unhappy with their bodies made me sad.

I’ve spent a lifetime being unhappy with my body. Ask any woman she’ll probably tell you something similar. Is it rare to find a woman who is content and confident in her own skin? Because it shouldn’t be. I want that for myself. But as I listened to my inner critic (man, she is mean) call me fat, ugly, idiotic, stupid, I noticed I was making myself feel badly for having a healthy body and dressing it with ill-fitting clothes! I am not any of those things I called myself just because I have a few extra pounds on my frame. I’m healthy. My body is strong but it is changing. I’m having some difficulty accepting that, I guess. Maybe I have to let go of the idea that if my body doesn’t look like Jennifer Aniston’s then I am a fat loser and an ugly failure.

I want to be done with exercising to change my body. I want to exercise because it’s fun and I love what I’m doing, and doing it makes me happy. Sometimes I like to be on the treadmill watching bad tv and letting my brain zone out. And other times I am happy to be hiking in the woods with my pups, or running in the neighborhood around my school. These things make me happy. Dancing makes me happy. Yoga makes me calm and peaceful. Pilates makes me feel graceful. I want to play tennis this spring with Bobby because it will be fun. I ride a snowboard with Bobby because it is challenging and I love being with him. I don’t want to focus on calorie counting or pant sizes anymore. It is time to let go of that because it is unhealthy. This is the time to celebrate all that my body can do and let my mind embrace that, rather than scold my body for being something that it can never be.

And when does berating, insulting, condescending, and abusing someone ever have a positive effect? It never does. But encouragement, congratulations, applause, recognition, and compliments do a world of good. Body and mind are linked. What you say to yourself is felt in your body. So let’s flip the script.

positive talk awesome shaped

Not My Monkeys

So I guess this blog is where I go to vent and/or ramble. I don’t have a fitness topic to discuss per se, but I do have something on my mind and a little realization that has been percolating in my little pea brain. I need to vent and/or ramble this realization out.

monkeysHave you ever had a week just chock full of annoyances? Please don’t shatter my fragile ego by saying no. I cannot be the only one who finds ten thousand things annoying before 10 am.

This week has been particularly trying for me. It started out well enough, riding the high of a good 5k performance on Sunday. But it took a turn south fast, man. Nothing related to my husband, dogs, home, or family. They’re all good and I love them all dearly and certainly would never bash them way up here on my virtual soapbox. Mostly it was work and commuting that made me want to purchase firearms. (I kid! I have access. I kid again! I don’t know what to do with that sort of thing, and have no interest in actually harming anyone or anything. Seriously). Anyhoo…I’ve been laying low at work, keeping my head down, not getting into too many skirmishes. But there have been issues. And I have my opinions about said issues. And I stay quiet. And all those unsaid opinions fester.

This morning I woke up with a little Polish proverb in my head:

not my circus

Being the good Polish girl that I am, I started repeating that in my head as I watched students park in faculty parking spots. It happened again as I was in the staff restroom and a student burst in and then said “Oops! Awkward!” and backed out again. Yes it is awkward that you’re in high school and you can’t read a sign on the door that says “STAFF ONLY”.

And then another funny thing happened. My opinions started coming out of my mouth. I have spent many a year keeping my voice quiet and my opinions locked inside. When the safety valve bursts I feel as though I have a tendency to keep it “too real” sometimes and end up later regretting it. Well look out family and friends because I am over it. I have a lot to say and I’m not staying shut any more.

Of course if it’s not my circus or my monkeys, then I won’t bother. Part of being healthy is not only eating right and exercising, it is finding your voice and using it for the betterment of yourself and those around you. It’s for freeing yourself from gossip and negativity. It’s for letting go of pointless drama and parking spaces close to the building. It’s for laughing at the ridiculousness of the daily grind, and remembering that we are but a tiny speck on a flea on a monkey’s ass.

And it’s for having a good laugh when the monkeys wear you down.

monkey washing a cat

monkey washing a cat

It Was the Best of Runs, It Was the Worst of Runs

Today was the virtual 10k that I signed up for back in January. I had to make the difficult and frustrating decision not to push for the 10k due to medical reasons. I have to listen to my body; I’m not 23 anymore. I have a mortgage and a job and bills. I know I’m not invincible. So I downsized to the 5k. I didn’t do any preparation for it – in that I didn’t run at all until today.

Race swag

Finisher’s medal, t-shirt, and swanky skin care swag

Today was bitterly cold. And windy. And icy. I’m lucky I didn’t break my coccyx. But I did it. I got out there and ran with the wind in my face. The whole time. At least that’s how it felt anyway. My legs were heavy, my pace was slow, but I ran and I finished and I was so proud of myself. I am proud of myself. I was nervous to get out there because I didn’t know what I was going to be able to do, but I figured worst case scenario I walk the 3.1 miles. Aint no thang. And my start and end point was the bagel place by the bike trail, so I was going to have my bagel and latte no matter what. That was my mantra when my teeth were chattering and the wind was freezing my brain: “bagel and latte, bagel and latte”. It seemed to propel me toward the finish line.


With my finisher’s medal and my pal Dio

5k results

I wish I could bottle the excellent feelings I have right now. While I was running I kept wondering what the hell I was doing. But now that I’m done I just feel really jazzed that I did it. And the fact that the weather was so brutal makes my victory all that sweeter. I am more motivated to get out and run than ever before. Now I know I can.

What’s on the agenda for the rest of this beautiful Sunday?

  • Netflix by the fire. I earned some well deserved couch potato time.
  • Laundry
  • Corned beef and Harpoon Long Thaw (seems appropriate today)
  • Hot tubbin’!!
  • NCAA Tournament Selection Show. Go UMASS!

Better Know a Macro

Anyone else love Stephen Colbert? I love his Better Know a District series. Anyhoo…anyone know what a macro is? I didn’t until just a few days ago.

…Insert dream sequence here…

So a couple of things happened last week. First my cousin shared a really good article about lifting heavy. You can find it at http://sophieologie.me/2013/09/26/1200-calories/. It’s a great read, so take the time to check it out (or not. I’m not the boss of you). My takeaway from that article is that I have no idea what I’m doing with my diet and exercise. It basically said counting calories is not the way to go, lifting heavy is. And why are women so preoccupied with weight and body image anyway? Spoiler alert: it’s the media. Duh.

Then the very next morning I woke up to another friend posting about how we should be counting macros and not calories. WTF are macros?? http://iifym.com or If It Fits Your Macros is the place to learn all about it. Short version: macros are carbs, proteins, and fats. If a person, say me, wants to drop a few pounds and tone up some muscle, then said person needs to lift heavy and count macros. And all this time I’ve been thinking it’s all about calories. Wrong! Maybe. I really don’t know. I guess this requires more research.

I’ve been using the MyFitnessPal app and counting calories like an anal-retentive crabapple, apparently. I really should be focusing on getting the right combination of macros and weightlifting in order to see any significant change. When my friend asked about my gym routine, and I told her the truth, she laughed at me! And here I was thinking I was working hard. I mean I work out and I sweat. No, no no. Lift heavy and eat your macros!

In all honesty I’m not totally sold on the macros way of life yet. I haven’t committed to it but I am looking at my macros when I log my food. And I’m still counting calories. Like a chump. But it’s what I know.

What do you think? Calories? Macros? Pints of Ben and Jerry’s for all and eff the diet talk?

Meanwhile…I’ll be:
Painting my nails OPI Don’t Bossa Nova Me Around
Not Getting ready for the 10k I signed up for because I won’t be running.
Getting ready for the 5k instead. It’s on Sunday and no, I’m not ready. Not even close.
Reading up on macros and lifting heavy. Maybe.
Starting season 4 of Lost cuz the Couch Potato gotta represent.

How ’bout a little Colbert Eye Candy?

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest


Routines and Habits

Everyone has habits and routines.  Sometimes we don’t look at why we do what we do. But when you’re a couch potato looking to improve your fitness and health, then examining routines and habits is a requirement.

That said, here are a few of my good habits:

  • I always, always, always eat breakfast. Oatmeal with peanut butter is one of my faves. I ❤ peanut butter.
  • And coffee. Must. Have. Coffee.
  • I do cardio and strength training every week.
  • I stopped adding sugar and artificial sweetener to my food.
  • I love vegetables. And fruit too.
  • I get a good 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • I drink tea (chamomile and lavender is delish) in the evening after dinner.
  • I am still using My Fitness Pal.


Here are a few not-so-good habits:

  • I binge watch Netflix. I am a couch potato after all.
  • I love me a glass of wine in the evening. Full disclosure – it used to be a shot and a beer, so this is actually a big improvement. Hey, my job is stressful. Don’t judge.
  • I am a really good cookie baker, which means I must taste-test lots of cookies.
  • I am not the person who cooks dinner at my house, which means I am frequently at the whim of whatever concoction Bobby feels like making. Sometimes it’s salmon, and sometimes it’s cheeseburgers.
  • We eat out. A lot. Once a week on average.
  • My boss brings potato chips to our weekly meetings and I eat several handfuls. Well, he does go to the trouble of buying those chips for us, the least I can do is eat them, right? Right.

My weekday routine is to wake up really early (hello, 5 am), get myself together, make oatmeal, throw a lunch together (usually leftovers, but lately yogurt and fruit), walk the dogs, and get to school for 7:15. All I can say about this routine is that it is not much fun. I like spending some time with the pups before I leave for the day, but this means we are walking the neighborhood in the dark. And no headlamp, iPhone flashlight, or doggie collar light makes that feel like morning. It feels like we are walking in the dead of night, surrounded by bears, coyotes, the undead perhaps, and maybe even a chupacabra. My neighborhood creeps me out when it’s dark, is what I’m saying.

Lotus with Bob’s shoe


Then it’s work, work, work all day. I am a high school counselor who travels between two campuses so I do a lot of walking and moving around. I am not stuck to a desk. I like that. And most days I’m pretty busy. I don’t tend to eat out (I just realized that’s a good habit!)I bring my lunch, or stop at a grocery store to stock up on healthy foods. I’ve been shopping at a store that prominently displays NuVal scores, which is so helpful in choosing nutritional foods over junk (bonus good habit!).

After school I either go to the gym for a 30-45 minute workout or go home and workout there. I must admit, I am much more motivated in the beginning of the week than later. And by Friday all I want to do is come home, sit down with a glass of wine and watch Lost episodes on Netflix. I suppose if I exercised 3 or 4 times (my weekday goal, but rarely achieved unfortunately) then this would be a great reward. I should try that. Most days my gym bag is packed and in the car. Full disclosure – I don’t always get there.

So this little post topic was helpful. I can see where I could use some improvement. I have made progress and will continue to do so, figuring out how to bust through roadblocks, and motivational lulls. Guess I gotta figure out how to get 3-4 weekday workouts in, and avoid the potato chip meetings. Or how about 1 handful instead of 3?

Anyone want to share? Good habits, bad habits, routines? Favorite potato chips? My favorite chip is any and all. I’m not picky. Although I don’t really understand clam-flavored chips, but anything else – salt and vinegar, barbecue, sweet potato? Count me in.

Give up or Regroup?

Hello dear reader(s)!

It’s been a while since I posted. And it’s not because I fell off the wagon and have been sitting around in my pajamas eating pints of ice cream although that does sound fun. I’ve just been busy with life and welp, time management is not my strongest skill. Now you know.

Anyhoo…here I am ready to report what I have been so busy doing. Ummm…my job. Since February vacation I have been uber-busy with the old full time job. I’ve also been working out at the gym and at home 5-6 days per week. Booya! What’s been keeping me going is that I am still using My Fitness Pal app, which really helps me want to exercise because then I get to eat more! Win-win.

As some of you original readers (my O-Rs) may remember my goal with this blog was that I was going to tackle a really challenging race series. I have since trashed that goal for reasons currently beyond my control. In that my health won’t allow me to run at this time. I am hoping that my situation will improve in the next few months and I can tackle some races in the summer. Time will tell.

Meanwhile…I came up with some new goals. Wanna see them? Sure you do!

My 10 Commandments:

  1. Keep a food log.
  2. Drink lots of water and tea daily.
  3. Eat more fruits and veggies. Eat less meat, processed food and less sugar.
  4. Sweat 5x/week. Have fun exercising.
  5. Strength train 2-3 x/week. Lift heavy.
  6. Stretch every day. Find ways to improve flexibility.
  7. Give Bobby a compliment every day. (Just because he’s nice and he needs to know how much I appreciate him).
  8. Try a new healthy recipe every week.
  9. Limit alcohol to 0-1 small drink/day.
  10. Enjoy special occasions, but don’t overdo. Aim for 80%/20% healthy options versus treats.

I had to regroup when I learned that running wasn’t going to happen right now. I didn’t want to give up, but I needed to figure out what I can do instead of running. I came up with this list a few weeks ago and I am still following it. Some of these are easier than others, but it’s more comprehensive than running a race series. This list helps me structure my health better. For example, I find myself going out of my way to plan my meals. I’m noticing that my diet is carb-heavy and protein-light. So I’m figuring out how to add more lean protein to my meals. Gotta build that muscle, yo! I am enjoying my current exercise which includes time at the gym and at home. Basically I’m following Joan Jett’s advice. Yeah, we’re buds. You didn’t know??

Joan Jett

via pinterest.com

I like setting goals. I do. But they require a start and end point. The commandments are open-ended and life long. Which, dear reader(s) do you prefer to use for your own life? Goals, rules, commandments, none of the above, fill in the blank?

Gotta log some snacks. Peace out, O-Rs.