Time for a Gut Check

WFHWorking from home, at a time when we are relegated to staying home, almost makes me feel like a snotty teen who got what she wanted and is still in temper tantrum mode.    I’ve been dreaming of working from home for years, and now that I get to it’s been more challenging than I expected.  Before I let this take over my world and the blahs set in, it’s time to focus on the blessings.

In some ways there are many comforts to being at home.  I mean I literally have all the comforts of home, right?  It’s a little slice of heaven being able to add sweats as my go to work pants, although I’m pretty sure my waistline is going to pay BIG time.  It’s wonderful saving on gas money and the commute time is a total dream!  There’s the bonus of being able to make my lunches and being able to throw in a load of laundry, between conference calls.  I mean, that’s the kind of multi-tasking I can get behind.

Then there’s the bigger benefit of being home while my kids are for the first time navigating online school.  This is bonus time I wouldn’t normally have shared with them and with one kid about to graduate and head off to college this time definitely makes my heart happy.  Plus, I am thoroughly enjoying watching them manage unstructured schedules and find ways to meet these new expectations.  The fact that they have acknowledged how challenging this is and have actually said they miss school tells you it must be rough!  If you know my kids, you know, like most they hate the early morning schedule of getting to school.  Now they are basically begging for it to start up again.  I’m sure this has nothing to do with too much quality time with mom;)

I also get to be home to greet my fiance when he wraps his day up.  I feel like I’m a part of the rhythm of the house.  I’m here when he gets the dogs up and moving and I’m here when he walks in ready to wrap up his day.  I feel more connected to him and everyone in the house.  Many household chores would be taken on by one of us to get it off the to-do list, now we can do them together and it’s comforting.  Like everyone we are making more meals at home and WFH lets me be a part of the cooking.  Regular work weeks, my hours combined with my commute really didn’t allow for me to contribute to meal time and I missed it.

The Social Distancing Challenge

There may also be a little more TV watching , eating and drinking than prior to the social distancing era, but we have certainly found our fun there too.  We were adventurous this weekend and enjoyed a couple new margarita mixes.  While I miss sports, oh how I miss sports, we have managed to find some entertainment.  I think finding the entertainment is just as much fun sometimes as what we end up watching.  We certainly haven’t focused on personal growth, purely anything that brings some levity and entertainment; we’ve watched everything from RedBull challenges to a marble race to Ridiculousness and Tiger King.  It has all helped us laugh, relax and occasionally shake our heads in disbelief.  

Social distancing is a huge challenge and feels horrible at its core for so many reasons, from missing friends to worrying about the economy and so much more, its a long list.  But, there are some ups to this unusual time we are in, from slowing down the day and getting better time with the people I love most to finding joy in old games, sharing recipes with friends and family, and learning new ways to virtually stay connected.  It’s easy to let the change of pace we are all so accustomed to make it seem like we are bored or struggling to get through the day.  Maybe we are just dropping down a gear and letting the daily race slow down a bit, allowing us to take in some of the beauty that is around us while we are “stuck” at home.

There are hundreds of challenges everyone is facing right now and uncertainty brings fear and stress into each day.  We don’t have a lot of answers, we are facing a global pandemic and none of that brings calm or feels warm and fuzzy.   Today, I wanted to reflect on the small moments I am blessed with.  There are so many that make me smile each day.  From puppy kisses to yummy dishes, and everything in between, I hope that each one of you have many small moments bringing an up to your day.


Is There a Silver Lining to a Failing Diet?

I am without a doubt failing on my diet goals. Technically I’m still below where I started, so we will call that a step in the right direction. Although Thanksgiving is this week, and I for one plan on enjoying it, soooooo that might mean I’m right back to where I started a couple of months ago.  Even so, I think there is a silver lining.

Why am I not mad at myself? That’s a good question. Like most people in their 40’s I have a plenty of things that distract me from my personal goals. Work, the kids, a house, and I have had some medical challenges mixed in along the way. That’s life, a bunch of distractions from the focuses we feel are important. Dieting usually finds its way to a top focus. Maybe I’m trying to hold onto or regain my figure from my younger days, maybe I feel like if I do lose the weight, I’m still young.  Hahaha I know, some of my thoughts are somewhat delusional😉. Whatever the reason, dieting usually has a way of either making me feel good or feel really horrible about myself.

Failing while dieting happens, and yet I use the failure as an opportunity to squash any confidence I have in myself. Rather than considering what life is slinging at me, or even just understanding that I’m human and its ok to fail sometimes, my inner voice has all kinds of nasty it throws my way, making me feel even more miserable. You know the kind of defeat that makes you want the extra slice of pizza, followed by a tub of ice cream, all eaten while watching The Biggest Loser. All of which reminds me of my serious lack of backbone.

ENOUGH!!! That’s me yelling back at myself! I’m saying enough is enough. While I haven’t lost all the weight I wanted to, and I certainly haven’t jumped on a treadmill, I have done some good things. No, I haven’t adopted any life changing eating habits, I have managed some minor adjustments to my old habits. So, what have I done that’s good???

I have found a way to get through the normal daily challenges, a move, a couple of medical procedures and some not so exciting news about an upcoming surgery. I have managed to do this because thankfully I have help and support. The love and support in my life is something I am beyond grateful for and fortunate to have. Without that support I may have seriously shut down. Instead, I have been able to spend time with my loved ones and friends. We have been having fun, getting dressed up for trivia night, planning holiday gatherings, decorating and enjoying the wonderful life that unfolds in front of us every day.


Maybe its because of the holiday season but I feel like this is where my focus should be. If I can be there to support my friends and family, if I make time to teach the kids a life lesson(whether they are ready for it or not), if I can find time to relax and share a laugh with my unconventional family or a friend, isn’t that what I should reflect on at the end of the day? Um, HELL YEAH it is! Basically 90% of life is headed the right direction, that’s just about as good as it gets!

My 40’s have made me appreciate that time is a gift. I don’t want silly distractions, like a number on the scale robbing me of it. Each year I am reminded of how much the kids change, and how the moments throughout the year and especially at the holidays are unique every time. I want to soak it all up, even the inevitable family bickering. Let’s face it, the bickering is often the entertainment😉

I would love for everyone to give themselves the gift of kindness and understanding this holiday. It’s easy to take a breath and be kind to a stranger, we’re taught that from an early age. It should be just as easy to be kind, and patient to ourselves. Be as understanding and forgiving when we miss a goal as we would if a friend did. I want to focus on enjoying all the wonderful moments the holidays are sure to bring and better yet truly enjoy and have fun with all the wonderful people in my life. Hoping your holiday season is already off to a warm, cozy and happy start!

It’s Official…

I closed on my house yesterday, woohoo😊 Everything has either been moved into storage or moved in! Notice I said moved in, not actually unpacked. I’m seriously wishing I had a fairy Godmother. You know one simple bippity boppity boo and everything would dance right into place.

There’s so much stuff! It has officially taken over the house which is starting to produce some serious anxiety for my BF and I. Clutter has a way of making me feel scattered, probably because I can’t find what I need. Or, maybe it’s because it brings out the procrastinator in me. I’m not much for avoidance, I mean that never solves any problems, but when the clutter and chaos get to a certain point, it’s tough to get motivated. Who wants to dive into the mound of randomness that has built up over the last several weeks?

On the upside it’s not because of my once very sloppy nature; in my 20’s my closet was a waist high pile of clothes mounded on the floor, I would spend tons of time digging until I found what I wanted. My high school locker was even worse, I couldn’t even close it, I think at one point I was keeping things in my friend’s lockers. I was such a mess, it’s amazing I got through a day back then! At least at this point in my life I can blame the mess on moving.

This mess is rapidly becoming a serious problem, it looks like it could threaten my ability to start decorating for Christmas! That is so not happening. Hallmark Christmas movies are in full swing, the leaves are falling, Thanksgiving is early this year, and all the decorations are under one roof. I even know where we put them. My BF dedicated an entire storage area for Christmas decorations. Basically, that means this mess has got to go by the end of this weekend! The kitchen will be completely cleaned and organized, the kids are going to wrap up putting their remaining items away and I will take advantage of the organizing Jon did yesterday and wrap up the garage.

I’m ready to tap into my inner Clark Griswold and bust out the blow ups for the yard, oh yeah… that’s plural!!! I’m pretty sure my mom was on the verge of disowning me because of my love of holiday blow ups. Last year for my birthday I was given a 12’ Santa’s sleigh for the front, I’m not sure if he noticed when we moved, but I brought an 8’ snowman, a cute blow up Christmas tree and a happy penguin. I might be the only person who admits to loving these fine decorations, but it’s all good. What they lack in class they make up for in making people smile. Last year Carter proved my theory that they make people happy. As soon as he saw Santa’s sleigh he ran yup and gave Santa a big ol’ hug. (I should probably mention Carter was 4 at the time😊). That’s really the goal, we want to make people feel welcome, have some fun, create new memories and make the house twinkle inside and out!

It’s time to start thinking about gathering with family, baking some goodies, listening to holiday music, watching our favorite movies, and playing some games. It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Pet Peeves, Just Everyday Annoyances or Something More?

There are such a variety of Pet Peeves. Here are a few things that get my blood simmering.

I hate when I am blow drying my hair and it gets sucked in the end and knots up causing me to rip the hair out of the blow dryer, leaving a mangled mess, GRRR!

Another one that gets me, when cabinet doors are left open after someone grabs a cup. I’ve done this and yes it was like a double whammy I’m annoyed and then annoyed at myself… You know, I rolled my eyes at my own laziness, and I totally deserved it!

There’s nothing worse, especially on a Monday, than getting in my car with my morning RedBull, hands full, and all the cupholders are filled from the day before.

How about when you go through a drive through and you are looking forward to the fries and they forget the sauce, I mean seriously how hard is it to throw sauce in the bag?!?

Does it bother you when you hold the door open for someone and they don’t say thank you? I mean I know its not going to change their life, but come on how hard is it to smile and nod?!?

Then there are the daily offenders, socks are at the top of this list. How could socks possibly be a pet peeve? I mean they are cozy, they can be comforting, they keep the stink out of our shoes, and they have all kinds of cute, fun prints, so really what could possibly be my issue with socks?  Maybe the issue is with my daughter and socks just get a bad rap. She is notorious for arriving home and immediately taking her shoes and socks off and leaving them wherever she was at that moment. She might leave them in the foyer, family room, kitchen, even the bathroom. Where she never leaves them, her bedroom or the laundry basket. No, no, she’d much prefer to get the daily eye roll and lecture asking why is it so hard to put them in the laundry?? Every day, I see them and still somehow, I’m surprised each time.

My BF hates when laundry doesn’t get completely done. I like this one because there are levels to this pet peeve. If the clothes are left in the dryer, but dry that’s just annoying to him, insert eye roll and sigh of annoyance. I get it, you either have wrinkles or a repeat dryer cycle which wastes time and energy. The bigger offense is if the load gets left in the wash over night. Imagine the discovery of clean clothes sitting in moisture slowly turning to a funky, wet mess, now that’s not how anyone wants to start the day and definitely qualifies as a serious offense. He’s right too, that smell is hard to make go away! Thank goodness for the timers on our phones, cell phone technology that can save the day😉

Why do Pet Peeves get to us? The reactions are varied; it could be anything from an annoyed sigh, an eye roll, a muttered lecture given under my breath seething with annoyance and possibly some creative language. If it’s a serious annoyance and I’m alone in the car and having a bad day it could even be full blown yelling at the poor unsuspecting person. Thankfully, they can’t hear me.

I find people are passionate about what annoys them. We can seriously commit to being appalled by things others do, like heavy breathers or people who drag their teeth down their fork when they eat. Overall when I think about my own pet peeves I am amused. In general, none of my pet peeves will change my day or impact me long term. Most of them either can’t be controlled (heavy breathers, traffic) or the annoyance can easily be remedied.   I mean how hard is it to throw out a couple of old soda cans to clear space in the car, or pick up a pair of socks, or close the cabinet that was left open???

There are so many challenges that creep into each day, I wonder if the reason we let the steam out on pet peeves is because we are expected to keep it together at work, at home, for the kids, at practices, with friends, during family gatherings etc. I think pet peeves might be our safe place. The few moments we get where it is safe to temporarily lose our minds and let out a little crazy! Think about it, friends and family, even strangers are typically understanding of losing your cool over something otherwise considered most likely a petty inconvenience.  Maybe pet peeves are the key to staying sane in this wonderful yet frustrating, sometimes exciting and scary, fast paced world we all live in.

What’s your biggest pet peeve and how do you let out your frustrations? Go ahead and let the crazy out, you’ll feel better later!

Stilettos and Flip Flops

I’m just over 3 weeks into the Biggest Loser challenge.  I seem to have my eating under control. Well, saying it’s under control might be a touch strong.  Let’s be real, the cheese garlic bread and Italian salad I had last night for dinner are not exactly clean eating, but I’m keeping my calorie count within reason. Most days, activity is the bigger challenge. I haven’t quite gotten the energy to set the alarm clock earlier, that would probably help a lot! I blame my comfy bed for the lack of motivation.  Hmmm, maybe we shouldn’t have gotten that super fluffy mattress topper after all! I know, excuses, excuses.

I have a lovely desk job. Sure it’s air conditioned and the environment is clean and friendly, but let’s face it, I’m sitting on my ever expanding rump. So how do I change it?

The first thing I’ve done is a touch embarrassing should anyone ever walk into my office while I’m doing it.   I got the idea when I was visiting our Tokyo headquarters.  In Japan, the entire office does a series of stretches and movements at their desk to instructions and music piped through the overhead speaker. The fact the entire office is doing the exercises together is pretty impressive. Here’s a little info about these exercises. https://taiken.co/single/morning-exercise

Now, I didn’t go as far as asking for music to be piped over the speakers, but I did bring a set of 5 lb. hand weights to work. I’m trying to keep my arm jiggle from turning into full blown wings, you know the kind I’m talking about, not cool! I keep the weights in the corner, in full sight, so I can’t ignore them. Once a day while reading my emails I do 5 different arm exercises. https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/get-fit-5-minutes-rockstar-arms-workout  It raises my heart rate a tad, mostly likely because I’m out of shape. Regardless, I’m counting it as a plus. Still hoping no one walks in on my little office activity life hack😉

The second new habit I’ve adapted is where the flipflops and stilettos come in. Heading out the door in the morning, I’ve started packing a pair of flipflops in my purse. So as not to look like a total slacker rolling into work, I start the day in my work shoes. When I have a stopping point and need a break in the morning, rather than gab with my work buddies, I grab my flipflops and I head out to the parking lot for a 10-15 minute walk. It feels good, allows me to get a few steps on my fitness tracker and doesn’t interrupt my workday.

At lunch, whether I take my time at my desk or whether I leave the office, I am intentionally leaving 15 minutes for walking. By 1:00 I already have a 30 minute walk logged! If I’m lucky and can create another 15 minute break in the afternoon I’ll be able to leave with 45 minutes of walking done. I’ve never loved my flipflops so much! They’re compact, cozy and easy to change in and out of. No excuses right?!? Now come winter I’m going to have to reorganize my purse to make room for my tennis shoes and socks!

I’m starting to feel like I’m crushing it! Ok, maybe crushing it is going a smidge too far😉 It does feel like I’m making some changes that work for my day and that’s a goal. Woohoo!!!

Can you have fun, maintain your life and be fit in your 40’s???

At 42, nearing 43, I have not been active in more than 2 years and it shows. Like most of us in my 30’s I put a few pounds on.  I managed to bring exercise back to my life and got back into shape. Of course, my version of being in shape may not be everyone’s. At the time I could knock out a 10k without much pain and effort, my weight was steady, and it managed to stay that way for 5 years. What happened??? I got busy, comfortable and if I’m being honest, LAZY!

My late 30’s was definitely a challenge; divorce, two kids, a career, several rounds with skin cancer and a soft tissue sarcoma. This was enough to give myself a little too much wiggle room in the lazy department. I mean I had built in excuses, who would want to exercise when you’re going through radiation treatments or recovering from yet another surgery. BUT in reality, I wish I would have had the capacity to be that coach that looks at the athlete and says, “oh you’re tired, life is hard, do you want this??? If you do, stop with the excuses!”

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need a break and sometimes you need to take a nap instead of a run. If I’m being honest, that’s not how I lost my physical way in life. I’d fought to get back into shape, you’d think I’d remember all those wins and challenges, how good they had felt and how long it took to change. Instead I started losing my physical way with a big plate of nachos while watching my favorite show, or an ice cream treat after already having had garlic cheese bread and pizza. Oh, it tasted so good; can you say HAPPY BELLY?!? Overtime I kept indulging and kept allowing myself to relax and take it easy. I mean I’d earned some lazy, am I right??? At least that’s what I’d say to myself each time I decided to snuggle into my oh so comfy couch. The results, slowly all those fabulous habits eroded.

What I didn’t realize is how much it was weighing on me. I mean it showed up on the scale, that was the weight on my frame, but the real weight came mentally. Slowly I realized I was constantly comparing myself to other people. Sometimes trying to justify my choices and sometime beating myself up. Every time I went to put on a pair of pants that didn’t fit, I would curse myself. Weird thing, I realized this was affecting me not just physically but mentally as well about a year ago.  So why has it taken me so long to decide to figure this out???

I’ve finally realized, I’m scared. What if in my forties I can’t physically pull myself back together? What if it’s harder than it was in my 30’s, what if I can’t get the weight off? What if I never run another 5k?  Today I remembered something I learned when I was in my 30’s, fear is false evidence appearing real. Think about it, most things we fear are never as bad as they seem. Often, we have fears because we make assumptions or don’t have all the information to approach life’s new challenges.

I realize I was talking myself into failure before I’d even started. This usually led to more garlic cheese bread and ice cream.  I have a boyfriend, which is a new chapter in my life. He’s a partner who wants to grow and face challenges with me. He recently signed us up for the Biggest Loser contest with his company. I have decided I will take this opportunity and his support and start working on my fear of not being up to the challenge, my fear of failing.

August is the month I start looking at making positive changes, taking control and still letting myself have fun. First steps, start walking and start logging. I am tracking my activity and using myfitnesspal to track anything that goes in my mouth, that includes alcohol. Not gonna lie, I like to have a few drinks (depending on your definition of a few😉) a couple times a week, CHEERS! I’ve dusted off my running shoes, which are now walking shoes, and I have broken out the sports bras. GAME ON!

So, let’s see what reality looks like. How many good choices can I make in a week? See what I did there? I’m focusing on my good choices, not the times I will inevitably choose poorly. I mean, I want this to be a lifestyle change and I am human, there will definitely be some bumps along the way.

I will be celebrating my improvements and pausing when my will power is lacking, trying to learn along the way. There isn’t a lot of information online geared towards busy women in their 40’s. I mean there’s the basics, eat clean, exercise regularly, count calories, don’t eat fast food, stay away from soda, watch the alcohol, we all know those things. The problem is my life doesn’t always stay orderly enough to follow those “healthy guideline” This is the reason I want to share my journey.   Let’s see how I problem solve on the fly when I have no choice but McDonalds, and what secrets will truly be physical life hacks for busy ladies in their 40’s and beyond.

Can you have fun, maintain your life and be fit and in your 40’s??? I have a feeling the answer is you absolutely can! I’m about to embark on an adventure to find out exactly how it’s done in my busy world. If you would like to join me on my journey and learn a little something, or just have some laughs with me, I’m here for ya!

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