Pharmacology, Tattoos, and a Clean Kitchen

Dear Blank Page,

I can’t wait to tell you what I’ve been up to lately. Aside from dropping in to experience the shopping event known as Lilly for Target — just for kicks — I’ve been working on cleaning and organizing bits of my house. No pressure, just small bits. Well, I started with a biggish bit; tackling some bothersome issues like dirty toilets, litter boxes and my kitchen sink (which by-the-way looks brand new again now that I scrubbed it.)

I guess this sounds pretty ordinary and maybe not any bit impressive to most people. That’s okay. When I’m depressed and bathed in anxiety I have no will to care about most things. I drop out of life, lose focus, and hunker down in some deep part of my brain. The mere fact that I not only care, but that I’m acting, well…that’s a really good thing.

I’m not entirely open with people about how deeply affected I am by mental illness. I share articles on Facebook, but I never say, “I loved someone who suffered. I am someone who suffered. It’s been around me my entire life.” I told you that I’m getting help. Finally. Really aggressively, seriously trying to recover. My mental illness and shame has manifested in several ways. One way was drinking. I no longer drink. I’ve also struggled with disordered eating and an eating disorder since I was a young girl. Those behaviors are proving challenging to change. But, the progress I’m making with my depression and anxiety is helping and giving me hope that I can recover. I am working with a counselor, an MD, and a registered dietitian. They are good people and I feel safe with them.

I tell you, I was so resistant to medication for so long. It frightened me. Dependency, bottles on bottles on bottles, false hope. I tried medication after medication when I was in high school. It was terrible. I watched my mom try medication after medication. It was terrible. But I decided to try again at 33 and 11/12ths. I was getting worse. I could see the cycle happening. And the thing is, it’s working. It’s helping. But it’s not just the medication. It’s the help too. Anyway, I’m feeling good.

Also, on Saturday I went for a consultation for the tattoo I talked about a couple years ago. It’s going to be a little bit different than what I described that day, but I’m finally taking action. I’m exited but also kind of scared and anxious. I’m supposed to go on May 7th to get it inked on my right forearm. I’ll show you when it’s done.

So, I guess that’s it for now. I just wanted to say hi, see how you’re doing and let you know what’s new.

Take care!

Katie

 

The Bet

I mentioned in my last post that I gave up sugar for the month of April. Giving up sugar means giving up more than sweets; its giving up foods that contain sugar — and there are lots of them. So far, so good. When I wanted chocolate the other night I blended up cocoa powder with almond milk, ice and a little protein powder (it has stevia but I’m allowing it.)

This brings a certain mindfulness back to eating. It also helps reinforce preparing my own food and relying less on eating out and pre-packaged foods. (Bye bye Amy’s!)

In addition to this I’ve now entered into a bet with Cheryl. She gave me three choices:

  1. Go all month without sugar (but I’m already doing that)
  2. Lose 5 lbs this month (hard to control)
  3. Workout everyday this month (hmm.)

I chose #3: Workout everyday this month. Here’s why I chose it and why I agreed to the bet. (It’s not for the reward at the end.) Oh, but first the terms. Things that don’t count as a workout: walks and stretching. They’re still good (and encouraged) but a workout needs to meet a certain level of intensity. Things that do count include: yoga (but it needs to be a class or a full DVD — just languidly doing yoga poses in my living room does not count), workout dvds, classes, shorter workouts as long as they are intense (like 20 minutes of interval running), walking up the stairs at work (from the bottom to my Floor 22), and other circuit workouts.

I said yes to the bet because it supports my goals and I like challenge. [Also, the thought disappointing someone else makes me unhappy. ] The languid yoga and stretching and simply not working out have been too prevalent lately. If I want to meet my goals I need to keep pushing myself. A big part of that means not skipping or short-changing workouts.

Who knows – I just might reach that #2 Lose 5 lbs after all.

Tomorrow Is Another Day

I awoke today with joy. I felt lighter.

Something I should clarify about last night’s post. (other than the fact that I was drugged when I wrote it – so please,  consider that when critiquing.) Actually, this came up when I was working out with Cheryl this morning.

[SHAMELESS PLUG:  Cheryl is awesome. I would NOT be where I am today without her help. Not just the exercises she makes me do. (Sometimes I am enjoying chatting so much that I have to stop myself when I’m working out and remember I’m working out. Anyway.) The guidance, the accountability, the nutrition help, the encouragement, the ideas for just every day healthful living. If you can’t workout with Cheryl in KC you can sign up for her daily emails. You’ve seen me blog about them before. The extra cool thing about the emails is this: they aren’t just emails. You get interaction with Cheryl. And with that, we are back on track for the topic of this post…]

I ate a lot of M&Ms. I sought out and purchased the medium size bag of peanut butter M&Ms and plain M&Ms. (I didn’t share that particular piece of information. It wasn’t just one bag y’all – it was TWO.) I also thought it would be a great idea to have tortilla chips and salsa for lunch on Sunday. I love love love (oh mi amore!) chips and salsa. I didn’t write last night’s post to celebrate my foray into binging. That’s what it was. It was a binge. It should not be celebrated. It was different from an indulgence or a treat.

One of the hardest things about overcoming an addictive relationship with food is understanding what is happening when it is happening and before it happens and finding a way to alter the behavior and the thinking. I didn’t want to alter the thinking on Sunday. I just wanted to eat my chips and salsa and my M&Ms dammit! It was a slip.

Having someone to talk to about it can remind you of things that need to run through your brain: Have a plan. Think about it before it happens. Have alternatives. Think about how you feel after. It isn’t easy. Sometimes you will give in. (Like I did.) But most of the time you won’t. And the feelings you will get about not giving in will bolster you. And it builds up.

Figuring out why you want to turn to comfort foods helps too. I was feeling bad about a decision I made and bad about my run. I’ve also been feeling uncertain and scared about my progress. This is the point where I usually fail. And I so badly want to succeed. I so badly want to be proud. I’m humbled every time someone says something nice to me or about me. But it also puts pressure on me. I feel like I have to be great not just for me, but for other people. But that is a powerful thing. I want to help people. (I’m also a total glory hound – HA! not really) I want to help me. It’s all just one small decision at a time.

After opening up about my tryst and acknowledging the feelings and thoughts that were driving the desire, I felt so much better. It allowed me to wake up today full of joy and hope. It made me feel lighter.

FACE IT. Plan for it. It’s not going to go away. If you are an emotional eater, that part of you isn’t going to go away overnight. You are going to have to work on the thoughts and behaviors. You are going to have to face it. Slay it. Pick it up and hug it close. Look it in the eye.

Enough.

I Ate a Bunch of M&Ms

I’ll write fast and fluid because I’m getting a little woozy and heavy lunged from Benedryl.

Losing a lot of weight doesn’t lighten everything. I’ve been in a plateau-like place with my weight for the last month – 2 months. I feel stronger. I have better cardio endurance. I think I’m smaller. But, my weight is not going down like it was.

I also still eat. Being so careful and tracking (and measuring – yes, people, measuring – and BEING HONEST with those measurements – is a huge key) sometimes becomes constrictive.

I eat clean and avoid the foods and food-like things that my body doesn’t like because it makes me feel healthy and it helps me stay strong. But sometimes I say yes to the foods. Like yesterday I was feeling melancholy and I ate comfort foods. And felt like shit.

And today, I ate more. And felt like shit.

I won’t feel better until I flush all the crap out. (ha) [this is also the only time I will admit to finding some redeeming factor in the idea of the “cleanse.” I don’t believe in any of that stupid “only eat this this day “etc bullshit. No, I simply believe in eating real, whole foods that you prepare yourself and that don’t come in packages. No pop. Water, coffee, tea. Minimal dairy. No meat (but that’s me.) It’s only a “cleanse” if you haven’t been eating healthfully. I hate the idea of the “cleanse” because people look at it as a temporary thing. A quick fix. And the only quick fix to health is through habit. Consistency. Nutrient dense, whole foods. Water. Exercise. That’s it. So simple. Also, rest. (I can tell when I’ve had something processed or at a restaurant because I get thirstier.)]

Anyway, it’s important for people who are trying to change their lives through more healthful eating to know that we all indulge. We all stumble. We all hate it. We all enjoy it. But the thing that makes the difference is what you do after. Making sure it doesn’t define you.

I’m more than this. I’m more than what I eat or why I eat. I’m more than a crazy runner girl. But I’m those things too.

Keep pumping the iron. Keep squatting. Keep running. Keep remembering how good you can feel. Keep remembering how proud you are. Keep loving yourself. Keep remembering why you make the choices you do. (and sometimes those choices are an indulgence. Understand that.)

Your weight will go up. Your weight will go down again. Your weight will go up again. And it will go down again. It’s normal. Let it go. Be honest. Track. Measure. Eat whole foods. Mostly plants. Exercise. Drink water. Do it consistently. Don’t beat yourself up when you deviate.

Blah blah. My stomach hurts. (Actually, it’s my intestines.)

See.

weight chart
See? Up and down. Just don’t give up.

10:46 pm. More thoughts.
It’s not all “BOOM! I’m skinny!”. Or “BOOM! I only wanna eat veggies all day long!”.

Sometimes I think having food intolerances and being meat-free make it easier. But really, no.

I’m not trying to be preachy. Just letting you (and me) know (remember) that I’m not defined by food. I’m not suddenly going to be 70 lbs heavier again. I’m going to succeed. And so can you.

Also, I’m going to look for a cooking class or culinary event that caters to my dietary requirements. Also, thinking about giving up dairy and eggs. And fish. But not honey.

In Which There is Self Doubt

I’m at an important point in my “journey.” This is where I usually stall out or backslide. aka FAIL. FAIL FAIL FAIL. FAIL FAIL FAIL. flop.

I am determined to push through. I am determined to succeed this time. Right? Am I? I am?

The last 2 weeks my motivation and self confidence have been tenuous. Keeping the “but I WANT” voice of my inner child quiet has been more challenging than it was a month ago. I am working on a new self definition. Sometimes I do not believe I am who I am. I enjoy exercise. I enjoy cooking and eating healthy. I enjoy being a morning person (mornings are just this wonderful combination of peace and energy – so much possibility!) I enjoy that some of my best friends are four-legged (and snuggly!) I love lying around with a book and a cat or 3. I’m not much for crowds. I’m still shy and awkward with people until I really know them (that hasn’t changed much.)

Am I seeking to soothe something? Am I just tired? The mental and emotional aspects of such drastic lifestyle changes cannot be negated. My life was not what it was because I was happy, healthy, and fit. Losing weight and having a healthier body doesn’t fix the rest of me – but it sure helps.  Working on one or two things every month helps. That focus is critical.

In all of the self doubt and fear, this is a cloud of inspiration descending. It is a pushy cloud. It both envelopes and consumes me. Several people told me they’ve been inspired by my progress. And others are inspired by having a goal to share and the pride that comes with achieving something through hard work that they never thought they could do. YES! We are STRONG.

As I try to get myself back in a positive groove, I think about these people. They motivate me to be more. So, keep being awesome people. Because right now? I need some of your awesomeness to remind why I live the way I do now.

I do not know what will become of me if I slip backwards or get stuck. And I’m frightened.

I Don’t Wanna

I don’t want to do jump squats today. I keep trying to find a way to get out of them. I’m afraid of them. I’m lazy. I’m tired. I. DON’T. WANNA.

But here’s what happens tonight when I try to go to sleep if I don’t do them:

“I should have tried. Why didn’t I try?”

“I could have done it. Right? Guess I won’t know. I could have. I bet I could have.”

“Fail.”

“I suck.”

And my favorite – truly, my favorite:

“Why didn’t I try?”

And then I won’t sleep well. And I NEED to sleep well tonight. I already modified my workout plan to account for the fact that I need to get to bed (and ultimately to sleep) earlier and to eat dinner before 8 or 9pm.

So, tonight I will not be saying those things. I may not make it through 100 – but I am going to do my best because I don’t want to keep questioning whether I can do it. I want to know.

Like on Tuesday when I didn’t make it past 30 seconds on my second and third planks. I held the first for a minute. I BET I could have gone longer on the last two. But I hit that 30 second mark and I just gave in. I quit. I didn’t push myself that extra bit further.

The extra bit is what really counts. It’s what gives me that hope and encouragement and confidence to keep going. To look down the road and not veer back toward where I’ve come from.

Constant hard work keeps me motivated and focused. So maybe I don’t wanna, but I needa.

Not Madonna’s Song

36 seconds. That’s how long it took me to bear crawl from one end of the mat to the other. Nothing quite evokes the negative self talk and overall crappy attitude in me quite like the bear crawl. Maybe it’s because it’s awkward. Or it could be because my ass is in the air. Or may it is simply because it is HARD.

I dislike complaining. I also sincerely dislike having a bad attitude. All it does is make it harder to finish, harder to break new records, and harder to breathe. (Yep, the negative thoughts breed anxiety which breeds a problem with breathing.)

Also? I don’t feel like dumping that negativity on someone else who’s just trying to push me to achieve my goals. I don’t want to dump on anyone about anything EVER (small issue I have that prevents me from sharing at times and often leads to me being a hermit for an undetermined amount of time.) Anyhow, no one wants to hear someone bitch and moan. And isn’t it a waste of time? It feels half-assed to me.

I got into this to challenge myself – to improve myself and become stronger in mind, body, and spirit. And the work pays off. The burning weight that used to be my lungs after cardio is non-existent now. My heart is stronger. My breath is more controlled.

So, I’m going to try something new. Any time I start to have a negative thought or feel like I’m struggling, I’m going to call upon a few special images and sayings that I can use to flip my focus and my attitude. I’ve successfully used a trick like this before when I was trying to forget about a crush in college. Any time his name would pop into my head I would think of something else (funny, I don’t actually remember what it was anymore!)

So, here are a few of my “happy thoughts.”

*The song I’m referencing in the title of this post is 4 Minutes. It happens to be a pretty decent workout song.

Stop! Hammer Time.

This year March Madness has been something slightly different to me. Now, I still have a bracket for the NCAA tournament (though, after sucking up the first round of the tournament and crumpling my doomed bracket into the bottom of my purse I had slightly less enthusiasm for my beloved competition.) The new, fun twist on March Madness this year has been a challenge by my trainer, Cheryl for all of her minions. Each week she emails a list of daily health and wellness challenges. She then follows up each day with the rundown for that day and adds a detailed description of why the newest thing is such an awesome thing to incorporate into your routine. What I forgot to mention is that each day compounds on the last day. So, here’s a sample of what this week looks like:

“Wow. You all have come so far. This marks the beginning of week 4 and soon this March Madness challenge will be complete.

Thursday, March 22 TODAY!

  • Drink eight 8oz glasses of water.
  • +rest

You should consider today a rest day if you wish.

If not today, then you should rest at least one day a week.

Resting gives your body time to repair and recharge, and it’s actually on the rest days that you get stronger.

Are you resting?

Friday, March 23

  • Drink eight 8oz glasses of water.
  • + plank for 3 minutes

Saturday, March 24

  • Drink eight 8oz glasses of water.
  • + plank for 3 minutes
  • +100 squats with weight

Sunday, March 25

  • Drink eight 8oz glasses of water.
  • + plank for 3 minutes
  • +100 squats with weight
  • +45 minutes of cardio

Monday, March 26

  • Drink eight 8oz glasses of water.
  • + plank for 3 minutes
  • +100 squats with weight
  • +45 minutes of cardio
  • +40 push ups

Tuesday, March 27

  • Drink eight 8oz glasses of water.
  • + plank for 3 minutes
  • +100 squats with weight
  • +45 minutes of cardio
  • +40 push ups
  • +donkey kicks

Wednesday, March 28

  • Drink eight 8oz glasses of water.
  • + plank for 3 minutes
  • +100 squats with weight
  • +45 minutes of cardio
  • +40 push ups
  • +donkey kicks
  • +a non food reward”

A few caveats:  I am AWESOME at the non food rewards. However, I feel kind of disappointed in my performance of the challenge. I didn’t maximize my opportunity to really gain some extra strength and push myself. In some ways I did AMAZING! As you saw from yesterday’s post, I tried 3 different new classes. Any day that I met with Cheryl I did whatever was on the list. When spinach and veggies were part of the challenge I often fulfilled them before noon. Water? Oh my. Blessed heavenly liquid. I sweat a lot. I kind of caught on to this last summer when I was so drenched after a class that when I got on the treadmill I thought it was raining, only to realize it was just my ponytail dripping on the backs of my legs. MMMmmm sexy!

Back on topic! Less about how awesome I am of ridding my body of its precious resources.

From the list above you’ll notice that there’s a pretty solid list of components to complete today. I’m proud to say I DID THEM ALL. My original workout plan for the day was running but my bff wanted to go to dinner and I had the dull throbbing in my head of a headache being masked by too much ibuprofen. So…dinner! Driving home I thought, “there is still daylight. I could still walk or run. let’s do this!” And then I got distracted with self teeth whitening. Sigh.

Determined not to fail myself – for this is the week of getting myself back on track DAMNIT! (remember the cookies? oh the cookies…so sweet, so, so sweet) – I committed to at least getting through the day’s March Madness challenge. And then I remembered the intensity of yesterday’s planks (I have rug burns to prove it! my own fault) and I knew I’d have to find a way to break up the list into something manageable and fun. So, here’s what we were supposed to do:

Tuesday, March 27
  • Drink eight 8oz glasses of water.
  • + plank for 3 minutes
  • +100 squats with weight
  • +45 minutes of cardio
  • +40 push ups
  • +donkey kicks
Here’s how I accomplished it:
20 plie squats with a pull (10lb dumbbells)
*self dialogue, “I can make a circuit! I need to find a way to get that 45 minutes of cardio in. Hmmm”
My helpful assistant, Gracie also threw her own help in.
Gracie helps with circuits
Gracie tried to help with planks.
**Enter the circuits**
One and Two
  • 30 seconds jumping jacks + a few seconds of other jumping around in a spastic manner
  • 20 squats with weights in front (10lb)
  • 36 second plank (forearms)
  • 8 push-ups
  • donkey kicks on hands and knees (there’s 3 ways to do these but I always feel the most badass when I do them on hands and knees) – 1 minute per leg
Dance, Dance Fever: or, how I shook my booty for a bit to wiggle it all out
A break between sets 2 & 3 whereby I danced my ass off to LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem. About 5 minutes total.
Three
  • more spastic leg movements to wiggle out
  • 20 squats with weights in front (10lb)
  • 36 second plank (forearms)
  • 8 push-ups
  • donkey kicks on hands and knees (there’s 3 ways to do these but I always feel the most badass when I do them on hands and knees) – 1 minute per leg
Stop. Hammer Time.
Danced to 3 songs:
  • LMFAO: Sexy and I Know It
  • Avril: Girlfriend
  • Katy Perry: Last Friday Night (part of song)
  • JLO: On the Floor

Four

  • 10 squats with weights in front (10lb) + 10 plie squats with pulls (10lb)
  • 36 second plank (forearms)
  • 8 push-ups
  • donkey kicks on hands and knees (there’s 3 ways to do these but I always feel the most badass when I do them on hands and knees) – 1 minute per leg
Groove Thang
  • Beyonce: Single Ladies
  • Fergie :Fergalicous
Five
  • Single leg deadlifts with weight (10 per leg x 2) (I switched since I’d already met the official squat number and SLD’s make me feel tough and graceful all at once)
  • 36 second plank (forearms)
  • 8 push-ups
  • (no donkey kicks because I’d already hit the required number and I felt I’d overachieved enough for the evening)
The whole thing ended up taking at least 45 minutes due to the dance sessions between weight/resistance sets. Here’s the result.
Exaggerated Smile Proof
You can't see the bucket of sweat, but I'm smiling big because I'm done and my ass is going to be sore (again)!

Hi! Remember Me?

So much has happened in my fitness life since I last wrote. I’ve tried new classes: yoga, zumba, and belly dancing. I’ve discovered I can actually run a full mile without stopping (on a treadmill and outside!) My clothes aren’t fitting anymore because they are too BIG. I have so much more confidence and less fear about trying new things.

So now you are caught up. I’ve been having trouble the last week or so with my eating and routine. Whenever I get lazy about one thing (like doing the dishes or laundry) it seems like it snowballs into all the things (food prep, cooking, bringing my lunch to work, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, keeping to my full workout schedule, not eating processed foods, etc.)

I’ve tried to merge some of my old life with my newer fit life. Not working so great at times. My body simply doesn’t like alcohol or processed foods. It may not like a lot of grains and it may hate soy. I’m also eating less and less meat. It’s kind of expensive and I am finding myself more and more sensitive about animals. (I tried to befriend two geese after my run on Friday night. I stood and stared while Goosey1 slowly waddled away from me. Goosey2 seemed to feel safe enough and continued sitting, perhaps waiting for a cue from Goosey1 that would indicate true danger.)

So, my focus this week is on getting back into my routine. Getting the flow. Tackling the little things while they are little, instead of having to spend an entire Saturday and Sunday catching up.

This week’s plan:

Monday: Morning workout with Cheryl (this is a great way to start the week when I feel so off track) – smoothie and oatmeal, spinach salad with cherries, feta (if I have any), roasted red peppers, black beans, and vinegar dressing, banana!, dinner probably egg white omelet. Plan rest of week’s meals because I didn’t make myself do it today.

Tuesday: Grand Jury Duty in the AM so breakfast of oatmeal & egg whites before I go, SNACKS (some sort of portable fruit like orange, almonds so I don’t make myself sick like last week.) Running in the evening (at the gym if it’s raining or super wet – if it’s nice out I’ll be outside)

Wednesday: Maybe Zumba in the evening, maybe yoga sculpt (it was almost all men last week so that makes me sort of uncomfortable)

Thursday: Evening Yoga or day off.

Friday: Morning workout with Cheryl! (rescheduled from Thursday)

Saturday: Special end of March Madness Group Bootcamp with Cheryl. I won’t lie. I have fear about this workout. Maybe because I’ll be working out with other people who train and I don’t wanna be the slow, uncoordinated, weak, fat kid.

Sunday: If I don’t take Thursday off, this will be my rest day. I think I might get up and run though. At least a walk.

So there it is. Now I can hold myself accountable. Now YOU can hold me accountable. I might even simply my routine to just my training workouts and running with stretching/yogay stuff everyday. My neck and shoulders are so often in pain and crackly that I probably need to focus more on stretching.

*sigh* Must get myself back in sync. I mean, this week wasn’t awful (okay, today’s eating was horrible because I ❤ cookies and scones and I didn't feel great because I had a couple vodka sodas last night) but it doesn't meet with my standards and my stomach hurts from the fact that I apparently can't handle more than one boozy drink.

I think my biggest challenge is how to interact with people everyday when I am so particular about what I eat, drink, and how I move. How do I go out with friends? Ah Bartleby. Ah Humanity.

One More Thought…

…on working out with a trainer. I have never said the word hard so much without giggling at innuendo.

It’s mainly because I’m too focused on trying not to die, watching the sweat drop off my face onto the floor, watching my arms shake, and/or breathing.

Also, I’ve never been so conscious of my wrists, elbows, or shoulders.