Kickin’ Monday’s Butt!

Why are Monday’s such a challenge? I feel like Monday is probably my most challenging day to stay focused. I want to stay snuggled into my comfy covers and shut my brain off so badly. After about 3 rounds of my alarm going off my brain is rapid firing all the responsibilities of the day ahead. This leads to me getting out of bed in Zombie mode. My body is moving, but I’m not even remotely focused. Distracted by just about anything from the radio show I listen to, to the way the light shines in the bathroom… it’s so pretty. I’m like a kitten playing with a ball of yarn, I’m all over the place.

I take my shower and dry my hair and somewhere in the process I begin to become human. My mind is still saying the bed is right there, you haven’t even made it yet, go on wrap yourself with the fluffy comforter for a few more minutes of peaceful bliss. On occasion this thought wins. These days I’m reminding myself that the instant joy of my comfy nap leads to a heaping ton of stress as I make myself late and inevitably end up forgetting something I need for my day, like lunch!

Several years ago, I started a program called Couch to 5k. http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml It’s a great program. When I started running, the hills of my neighborhood were my nemesis. There came a point I was tired of being intimidated by the hill. I decided I would own those hills. I really hadn’t done anything other than change my perspective, but this changed my approach. It challenged me personally. Was I really going to let the hill get the best of me?!?! Hell no!endurance-exercise-female-40751

I’m going to take the same approach to my Mondays. To do this I need to start on Sunday. Sunday evenings I need to look up what weather will be like, so I can lay out my clothes. Sounds silly, but getting my clothes out including making sure I have the right clean bra and panties is a lot easier when my brain is not in full on zombie mode. Doing this at night saves me from standing in my closet, staring blankly at my clothes wondering if I’m going to have to go naked. I’m not sure why, but in the morning, it always seems like I have nothing to wear.   This was such an easy change and big time saver.

Work; first thing on the agenda, make a list. Yep I’m going old school. What are my priorities for the week? I need them on a piece of paper or dry erase board in front of me. I know, you’re probably thinking how does this gal get through a day much less a week if she doesn’t know what she needs to get done at work. My problem isn’t that I don’t know what needs to get done, it’s staying focused on the highest priority items. It’s making sure I don’t give into procrastinating or avoiding anything I should be knocking out. The list allows me to see my priorities and check them off as I go. And OH MY goodness, I can’t tell you how good it feels to make those big check marks!

Food and exercise; I’ve found, I need to plan this too. If not, I’ll be driving through the nearest Jack n the Box and we all know that is a delicious slippery slope! That place has everything. I’m not giving in, which means I need to know what I can look forward to for lunch. For now, I’m using my 15 minute walking break to decide what healthy option I want. Do I go home to make a sandwich, run to the grocery store for an easy meal, treat myself to Panera? I have options and by 10:00 am I’m making my choice and looking forward to it until I head to lunch. When my tummy starts to get rumbly I’m actually kind of proud. I hadn’t felt that in a long time. Now that I have a plan, I know I’m getting plenty of food, I have a delicious meal to look forward to and I know that rumble is a sign of me taking charge. I’m lovin it😊

I know this isn’t mind blowing. However, for me it’s mind calming. In order to keep from spending my day running like a hamster getting nowhere, I need to start and finish my day forcing myself to focus for a few extra minutes. These very small changes are making my days steady, keeping me focused and full of energy. Don’t get me wrong, unless I’m leaving for a tropical island I don’t think I’ll ever look forward to a Monday😉  I do think giving it some thought and using a couple of lists will keep me moving forward.

WABAM I’m already feeling empowered, knowing I can own each day, even Mondays!

Big Time Fail

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At this point in my life I’ve had my share of failures. I’d say each day there is probably something I fail at. Some failures are frustrating, like forgetting my laptop at home and not realizing I forgot it until I pull into the parking lot at work, (yeah that actually happened today). Some failures I tend to be a repeat offender, glance through my photo albums, or Facebook, the bad hairstyles and fashion misses just keep coming.

Outside of the poor fashion choices, I try to understand my failures and learn from them. I think we’ve all heard someone say you’ll learn more from your failures than your successes. I agree with this statement completely!

There’s one fail in life that many people face and for some reason this one seems like the fail is taken like it’s the final verdict, a failure. This failure comes burdened with guilt, not the type of guilt that lands you in jail, the useless emotional version of guilt. The BIG doozy, divorce.

The negative stigma that I associated with this failure initially kept me from realizing how important it was to pause and step back. I accepted this was a failure and that was all there was to be said about it. Even worse probably one I would repeat, because if I could be successful in a relationship, wouldn’t I have chosen to make it work??? What was wrong with me?!? These are the feelings that kept me from understanding what I was going through and why it was a significant time in my life.

I had to start somewhere so I started by spending some quality time reflecting. I’m not gonna sugar coat it, I was big ol’ hot mess! I felt lost because I was. To get through it, there were a few adult beverages, some tears and lots of phone calls to my friends who had the courage to stick with me. My most important lesson was be engaged. I needed to stop doing things because I thought other people wanted me to or expected me to. It was time to start participating in life with intent. Help others when I want to help, when I have the energy, not out of obligation. This choice alone was very empowering, it made me less resentful and improved my sunshiny disposition A LOT!

Being engaged helped me be present with my kids. It was devastating facing giving up 50% of my time. What time taught me is make the most of the time you have.  Now when I have them, they have my full attention. I’m not too busy talking on the phone or cleaning the cabinets, I give them my time. In the past I had been there, but I wasn’t present. Now, we talk about important things like Fortnite and dance. (I’m kidding, my son thinks Fortnite is important, so important he lost his passport while in a foreign country because he was Snapchatting a picture of him with a llama to his friends. Apparently, llamas are a big deal in Fortnite, insert motherly eyeroll here.) While I don’t think the video game itself is important, understanding how he spends his time, knowing what he and his sister are doing and being a part of their daily is important and fun! My relationship with both my son and daughter has become stronger in their teen years, and that makes me proud.

In my personal relationship, I learned how to have a voice. Listening to my partner and understanding when he needs support makes me feel good. Having a partner who listens to me and supports me on my good and bad days is how I know I’ve grown. Sounds simple, but anyone who has been in a relationship where they aren’t heard by their partner will know how important and challenging this is, not to mention no fun! Sometimes I can’t believe how much I enjoy being in my relationship, its feels like the very first time, and in some ways, it is😊

The biggest mistake I could have made would have been not learning from this failure. I have learned who I am, how to forgive myself, and I’ve gained confidence in myself and my choices. Through the process I have become a better mom and am a much better partner because I own this failure. Knowing that what felt like my biggest failure could turn into me having a healthy, happy life filled with love makes me feel very blessed. I will always have room to keep improving, but over the last 6 years, I feel like I have traveled a million miles.

Life’s daily challenges can feel like walking a Lego covered path barefoot, but I’m telling you, it’s so worth it!beach-dark-dawn-39853

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It’s Fall, and I’m Thankful for Some Good Old Fashion Mom Inspiration!

Technically Fall hasn’t started, but if you have kids you know it’s here. I was talking to a friend this past weekend, I asked how mornings were going at her house. (She officially has a Freshman and a 7th grader.) Now, I should mention she’s a woman who always seems to have her stuff together; lovely home, great career, active and respectful boys, great hair, fun to be around and kind, what she said inspired me. She likes getting up in the morning to wake her sons up and make both of her boys a warm breakfast! That’s like off the charts momming, you go girl!

Me, I’m going to take that motivation and sit down today and get all the schedules on my phone. Fall has hit me with school schedules, dance and soccer practice, dance team practices, fund raising events, parent teacher meetings, booster club, the list goes on. Add that to working, managing a home and trying to keep everyone fed, I am bound to forget something or someone if I don’t get this in my phone today.

I’m updating the schedules while I eat lunch and tonight I hit the grocery store to get supplies for some chocolate chip pancakes for my kids. They’ll probably fall out of their chairs.  Pancakes are usually a Sunday thing, occasionally even a fun dinner, but a weekday morning??? My kids will have their minds blown and that makes my heart happy!

My friend inspired me to take the time to get organized, to settle the chaos of back to school and find an easy way to make everyone’s morning start with a smile😊

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*K.I.S.S.

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Over the years I’ve learned what has become a very important lesson. I want to share this because it’s giving me patience with myself. Often, I feel like we treat others with a whole lot more kindness than we do ourselves. Why is that?!? I probably have been my biggest bully throughout the years, and we all know bullying is not ok!

I’ve had to learn and accept that I don’t have a magic wand to point and change the world around me. I can’t bippity boppity boo myself into a better mother, or better friend, or a better partner. I can’t magically be thinner or smarter than I was when I woke up this morning. Even when I know what changes I need to make to improve something about myself, I’ve learned I need to give myself time to change. I think understanding this has taken me years.

Knowing what I want to change is part of the battle, deciding it’s worth the work, that’s when the change can start. As I begin to accept I really am an adult, and there’s a need for me to make big-girl choices, I also get that change is a process. (I know, I’m 42 you’d think that the adulting thing would have sunk in a couple decades ago😉). Here’s the thing, changing one thing about how I go about my day can lead to a chain reaction affecting how I can use my time throughout the day. The mere thought of trying to figure out my schedule is enough to keep me from working to improve myself. Of course, the longer I put something off, the more of a 911 situation it generally becomes. This leads to me making myself feel like a bit of an idiot for not addressing the issue sooner. Let’s call that what it is, a serious downward spiral.

Over the years I’ve adapted K.I.S.S, keep it simple silly. I’m trying to take things and break them down into small manageable changes. Dieting is a good example. I know what needs to be done to get into shape. (Exercise 4 times a week, cardio on at least three days, weight training to build muscle and help my bones, no fried food or junk food, cut back on alcohol, soda etc.) If I tried to implement all of that into my week, I would need an overhaul of my daily routine. I’d have to think differently at almost every point in my day. That’s way too much, way too fast to even get started.

Instead, I’m looking for small changes, having my water bottle in plain view, working my 15 minutes of walking into my work day, cutting out fries and potato chips. These things won’t get me to my final goal, but they’ll get me on the right path. I can manage these small changes, which means I’m not mad or frustrated at the end of each day. The small changes make it easier to be kind to myself, letting me end my day feeling good about sticking to my new goals. After a few days this confidence grows, and I start looking for the next small change.

So far, this technique is working and maintaining some semblance of sanity at my house, woohoo! Not every day will be perfect but each day I can be a little better and a little stronger than the day before. I’m going to celebrate my good choices, remind myself to be kind to me and K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly)!

*PS. K.I.S.S. really stands for keep it simple stupid, just a small change to lighten it up:)

Lake weekend, uh-oh!!!

This weekend I am headed to Lake of the Ozarks for 3 days. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while, which means I plan on having some fun!

Week 4 weigh-in for the biggest loser contest has me minus 6lbs from my starting weight😊 I wish I had a happy dance icon, because I would definitely use it here. Through extra walking, some basic weight exercises and managing my calories I’m getting results. That is good news.

We all know what a lake weekend brings; lazy, happy days filled with food, friends, adult beverages, good times and not a lot of activity. Since my plan is to have some fun and relax, I have given my food and drinks some thought.

Vodka is my go-to when dieting. It’s low in calories and carbs and can be mixed with several different mixers to give me some variety. My beverage supplies include:

  • Sugar free Hawaiian punch packets (I know artificial sweeteners are bad, but let’s remember I’m mixing with vodka so I’m going with it’s all relative😉)
  • Sugar free energy drink for when I need a little pick me up
  • Diet Sprite
  • Unflavored vodka
  • Cucumber vodka
  • Water bottles for easy mixing
  • 30 oz. Yeti tumbler with a lid to keep things cold and prevent spills, kind of like having an adult sippy cup!

Option 1. I’ll mix one shot of vodka with water, Hawaiian punch add ice, stir and off I go. Big cup with only 80 calories.

Option 2. One energy drink a bunch of ice and a single shot= 80 calories

Option 3. Mix Diet Sprite, ice and a shot and a half of cucumber vodka 100 calories (add some fresh mint for an even crisper more refreshing taste!)

My food is going to be simple:
Breakfast, Alhonna’s Bobber’s restaurant has an old school, just like home, egg sandwich that I can’t wait to get my hands on! I’ll be skipping the breakfast potatoes, you have no idea what a sacrifice this is for me.

Lunch I’ll make a sandwich, stay away from chips and sides except for fruit.

Dinner enjoy some amazing BBQ, staying away from fries, potato salad, pasta salads and chips. I’ll stick to corn on the cob or fruit with the delicious shredded beef and pork.

This weekend I will not let my diet keep me from having fun. I’m preparing so I can make some better choices.  The scale will likely go up and that’s ok. I can make it go back down with some effort. Sometimes it’s time to unwind, kick back and not think. It’s a change of pace weekend far away from the normal to do list and I am going to soak up every minute!!!

Fantasy Football vs. Dieting

You’re probably wondering what fantasy football and dieting could possibly have in common? You’ll find my days and activities can be somewhat random, maybe even leaving me feeling a little A.D.D. Aren’t most days like that for everyone???

Which is more challenging, fantasy football leagues or dieting? If you know me, you know I’m more of a support my favorite team by dancing in my seat to the stadium tunes and jumping up to cheer when everyone else does kind of fan. In other words, I know nothing about football or most sports.

My boyfriend challenged me to join a first-year dynasty league fantasy football draft. We will get back to that in a minute.

Dieting brings a plethora of questions and challenges. How many calories does that Chipotle burrito bowl I ate really have? What should I be tracking; calories, carbs, sodium, potassium, protein, cholesterol? Do carbs even matter if I’m counting calories? What’s the whole keto craze about? How many steps do I have to take before it starts to count as exercise? That’s just a few! I didn’t even touch on cardio, max heart rate, High Intensity Interval Training and more!!

Fantasy Football has meant learning about quarterbacks (QB), running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, defenses and kickers. Debating how many of each position I should choose. What round is too soon to pick a QB and what round could be costly if I wait? I’m learning which stadiums have domes, never realized I would need to know that.  I also learned it’s important to consider how age affects my choices. What about rookies? My brain is literally going to explode!   I did find a site to get the most recent stats on injuries, and that’s helpful https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/injuries/

Those are just a few things to think about in the wonderful world of football.  So far I think I’m keeping up.  Thank goodness my boyfriend is patient!  Added bonus, we are getting a bunch of extra time together while I learn the ropes of fantasy football.   If you want to create your own draft check out https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/football/draft-prep/

All those questions on two completely different topics! Both are subjective, both are initially overwhelming. Thankfully both can be broken down into manageable topics. I have used myfitnesspal on and off since 2010. The food data base is massive https://www.myfitnesspal.com This tool is like having a super suit! It helps me make better choices, allowing me to understand how the changes I make affect my progress and how my body feels. I have learned when trying to lose weight calories are king for me. I can have my carbs, which typically are within reason if I stick to my calorie count. Protein and other items become more important when I get passed dropping the number on the scale and focus on muscle tone, but that’s getting ahead of where I’m at.

I have a feeling there will be celebrations along the way for both challenges. I also know there will be some setbacks requiring me to take a fresh approach. Which is the bigger challenge??? I’ll let you know after draft day, August 25th. Fingers crossed my cheat sheets will do the work for me. Hmmmm cheating, now that is what you call a big difference; cheating in fantasy helps, in my case it’s absolutely necessary. Cheating on my diet creates setbacks, and new emotional struggles opening the door for self-defeat. That’s no bueno!! I’m gonna try to keep that door closed!

Football will bring an added challenge to my diet. I’ll have to prepare some healthier snacking options. Maybe Sushi Sundays?!? Hopefully jumping up and down rooting for my players will burn some extra calories😊

Here’s to Sunday Fundays!!!!

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!

Thanks for visiting!

I am 42
I have two teenagers
I have a challenging career (I’m betting all careers are challenging!)
I am divorced
I have had several health challenges
I have struggled with my weight before
I have a boyfriend
I love my unconventional family, including our two pups:)
I have made mistakes along the way
I believe the best years are ahead of me

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