And so it begins…

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These are my “beginning” pics. Posting these so I’ll have something to compare against later. For reference, I’m 46 years old, 5’3″, 203.4 pounds. Blood pressure is on the high end of normal, cholesterol is slightly high – but not alarmingly so, all other numbers fall in the normal range (as of last fall when I had blood work done). Yes, I listed my weight. So tired of being ashamed of that number, tired of trying to hide it, tired of feeling the literal and figurative weight of it.

My goal is to feel amazing, have energy to spare, bring all my blood work numbers into the normal range, and feel like I live an active life. And oh yeah, fit into smaller pants because these size 18s are not working for me.

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Food Notes

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Quick tidbit on food: I’m realizing that the more satisfying my food is, the less I need to finish off a meal with dessert or just a little something sweet. A salad can be good, but it becomes 1000% more delicious and satisfying if I have a boiled egg on it. So satisfying, in fact, that I didn’t even *think* of wanting anything sweet afterwards. That’s a big deal for me.

Getting left behind

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You may or may not know that after many, many years of dieting and trying to lose weight, I took a break. It’s been almost 2 years since I declared that I will never do another diet again and I’ve stuck to it. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to maintain my weight – I’ve stayed within the same 4 pounds (+/- )the whole time. During these last 2ish years, I’ve been doing a lot of mental and emotional work and I have come a long way, baby. I’m sure I’ll always need to have access to some kind of counseling and I am totally fine with that, but I have put little to no effort into losing weight – I needed that mental break.

In the last couple of weeks, it has come to my attention that some people who have previously lived a sedentary life (much like myself) are now working on getting fit and losing weight. These are people that I am close to – some are family, some are neighbors, some are acquaintances – but they are people that I know personally and they are crushing it. Some are simply walking everyday, some are doing vigorous workouts at the gym. They are working out regularly, eating nutritious foods, and subsequently losing weight. Some are losing a little bit of weight and some are losing a lot of weight.

But what they are all doing is leaving me in the dust.

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Don’t be jealous of my artistic skill. Some of us are just born gifted. 

When I realized how many people I personally knew who are actually making the effort to change their health, the first thought I had was “I don’t want to be left behind!”

It’s so different watching the progress of people I actually know versus watching the progress of a random stranger on Instagram. It also made me realize that as long as those people were overweight and sedentary, I felt like it was okay for me to be that way as well. Maybe not okay, but I felt like at least I wasn’t the only one. Now however, I feel like saying “Oh, wait. We’re doing this now? We’re getting healthy…is this a thing now? Oh, okay, hold on, just let me get my walking shoes on…” It’s like now that my friends and family are into it, it feels okay for me to be into it too.

And maybe that’s why it’s been so hard for me to do it in the past? I didn’t want to be the odd man out, the one who was going against the grain and doing things differently. Actually I don’t think that’s it…I think I just wanted my own personal tribe to do it with me. I wanted a real-life group that I could belong to. And now I see this group forming before my eyes and suddenly I realize that I want to join in on the fun. 

I don’t know exactly yet what this is going to look like for me – I still refuse to do a “diet” but I’m sure there is a way I can improve my health without it feeling like deprivation and torture. I know I need to start small, but I know myself well enough that I can’t start too small because I’ll get bored, but I can’t go gangbusters either because I will wear myself out and quit. I just need to find that middle path, that sweet spot that challenges me but is also sustainable.

What I also need is accountability. I may start posting here, but posting more Instagram-style and less wordy-y. More frequent, but shorter posts. Or heck, I may start a new Instagram account and post there…not sure yet, I’ll figure it out soon though. Any suggestions?

Okay, so. I’m doing this! I think. No, I am totally doing this. Now is the time. This is happening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shoulds and the Screw-Its are The Evil Stepsisters and I am Cinderella.

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In case you were wondering, and even if you weren’t, I’m still talking with the fabulous Emily at least once a week. We’ve been meeting over Skype for well over a year and half now and we’re still going strong! Yay for mental health technology!

In our conversation yesterday, she mentioned something that made my ears perk up and has stuck with me since then. She said that whenever you tell yourself you “should” do something or when you say to yourself “screw it, I’ll deal with it later”…those two thoughts come from the same place. They come from the thought that (wrongly) says you don’t deserve self-care.

For example, you might say to yourself “I really should go to the grocery store after work” because your cupboards are nearly bare and your family will want something more than wilted celery for dinner. Now, let’s say it’s been a long hard Monday and you had several fires to put out at work and you spent all weekend at a volleyball tournament with your daughter and you are just flat out exhausted, but you really neeeeed to hit the grocery store. Your thoughts might tell you that you should just go to the store and get it over with even though the thought of doing so just makes you want to stab someone. Your thoughts are telling you, “you don’t deserve to go home and take a nap first” but your thoughts are WRONG. What if going home, taking that nap, and then going to the store is the right thing (and the right way to honor your needs) at that moment? This is exactly what I did yesterday – I went home, took a nap, then went to the store and bought groceries. Sure we had dinner a little later than normal, but you know what? No one said a thing about it. I was in a better mood, I felt a little more rested, and I had a little more energy to cook a nice meal. I could have even just bought a rotisserie chicken at the store if I wanted to skip cooking (but I wanted to play with my Instant Pot, so that’s why I didn’t). Taking a nap and listening to my BODY rather than my HEAD was the exact right thing to do. Don’t be afraid to alter your routine or do something just a little differently if that’s what is right for you at that time.

On the flip side of the Shoulds are the Screw-it thoughts. Those are the thoughts that say “I don’t want to deal with this right now so I’m just going to make the easiest choice”. An example of this: You have eaten well all day – lots of veggies and lean protein, a good amount of fat, plenty of water…you have been KILLIN’ IT all day food-wise and you are feeling good. Then it gets to be 9:30 at night and you realize that you forgot to put those wet clothes in the dryer this morning and your daughter reminds you you haven’t put money in her lunch account for 3 months and your cat is just being an asshole (which is kinda normal, but tonight it just adds to your stress).  You remember the box of cookies in the pantry and despite knowing that you don’t really want them, you battle with yourself for approximately 2.5 seconds, say “screw it”, then tear into the cookies and cram them into your mouth without really tasting them. That “screw it” thought says you don’t deserve the time and effort it would take to pause and ask yourself if you really need cookies or if you really are just frustrated and need to take some deep breaths/meditate/go to bed/punch a pillow. That Screw-it thought says you don’t deserve to care for yourself or your feelings…and again, that thought is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

I am much better at talking back to the Shoulds than I used to be, however I still struggle mightily with the Screw- its. I often refer to it as letting myself off the hook which really means I’m giving myself permission to not take care of myself. However, realizing that both of these thoughts come from the same place will hopefully  make it easier to start talking back to the Screw-its. I mean, if I conquered the Shoulds, surely I can also conquer the Screw-its, right? Right! 🙂

 

Podcasts and connection

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I love podcasts. Most times, if I have a lot of work to do and I just don’t want to do it I put in my earbuds and fire up a podcast and get super productive whilst not paying attention to anything other than what’s in my ears. I love This American Life and Serial, so when I saw S-Town* was coming up, I waited with anticipation until the podcast series dropped yesterday and had the most productive day at work EVER.

The whole series is only 7 chapters long, each about an hour in length, and I got through 4 chapters yesterday, then finished the remaining 3 chapters today.

*sigh*

I won’t give away any spoilers here, but I have BIG THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS about this story. I am heartbroken and curious and realize that all any of us really want in this world is connection, and most of us will do whatever we can to connect to somebody, anybody, who we think might understand us even just a little bit.

I also just yesterday finished Missing Richard Simmons, which is a podcast about how exercise guru Richard Simmons seemingly just up and walked away from his celebrity one day. This is a man who craved attention – so much so that when tour buses would come by his house, he would go outside and talk to the tourists and take pictures. He seemed to relish in the connections (some brief and some years-lasting) that he had with his fans and friends. So for someone like this to just abruptly give it all up was alarming to those who knew him. I won’t give away any spoilers here either, but in this case, it seems that Richard may have overdosed on connection. Or maybe he just realized that connecting superficially with thousands is not the same as having a deep, meaningful bond with only a few.

I think we all crave that thread of kinship that can run from one human being to another. There are so many ways to develop that bond: the old ways of writing pages and pages of letters, talking on the phone for hours, having weekly dinner parties, or getting together to play cards with friends are falling by the wayside (sadly, in my opinion) but now we have Facebook and texting, blogs and podcasts, and even Crossfit or Zumba classes are ways to connect with like-minded people. Even though it feels like a lot of our communicating these days is other than face to face, we still want to know that someone understands us, or at least wants to understand us.

After listening to these two podcasts in as many days, I came away with a feeling of sadness for the main players in these stories, but more appreciation for the few real relationships I have in my own life.

So…what should I listen to now? Recommendations are welcome!!

*S-Town is full of  “colorful” language and adult conversations – if you have sensitive ears, you may want to skip this one. Actually Missing Richard Simmons is too…so I don’t know, if you can get past the language, they are interesting stories, but I heard words I haven’t heard since I rode the bus in high school. Consider yourself warned. 

 

As promised, a few Instant Pot recipes

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As I stated in an earlier post, I gifted myself with an Instant Pot (or as some people call it, an “InstaPot” because apparently Instagram has ruined us all) and I have really enjoyed using it. I am gifting you with some of my favorite recipes because I am a giver and also I need blogging material.

Here are a few of the recipes I have tried that made me say “dayum that was delicous”.

One of the first recipes I tried was this Lentil Tacos recipe.  I was out of tomato sauce, so I just dumped in a bunch of salsa because I ALWAYS have salsa in my fridge. Please note that I did not fry my own tortillas because ain’t nobody got time for that. After dinner, I took the leftover lentils and put together a burrito bowl that I took to work with me the next day. It was super delicious! So easy and I can see how you could substitute these lentils in pretty much any Mexican dish.

Along those same flavor lines, one of my favorite things to make in the IP is Mexican Shredded Chicken. I don’t follow a recipe for this, I just dump in chicken breasts, some Rotel, and some chicken broth and using the Meat setting I let it cook for about 15-20 minutes (depending on how many and how big the chicken breasts are). I do a natural release for a few minutes then quick release. I shred the chicken and use in an whatever Mexican flavored dish I happen to whip up. It’s great for quesadillas, tacos, burrito bowls, or even on top of a salad. So versatile and I love to keep some in the fridge for a quick snack for the kids or an easy lunch.

Not long ago, I made a turkey meatloaf in my IP and while it didn’t really cut down on the cooking time, MAN did it have some good flavor!! I don’t know what it is about the IP but the food just seems to be so much tastier than other cooking methods. This is the recipe I went by – I don’t think I followed the recipe exactly but used it mainly as a guide for how long to cook the meat. I used my stainless steel vegetable steamer to place the loaf on and I was doubtful that it was going to turn out well but it actually worked great! I came out looking more like a meatloaf cake (meatcake?) but it was still delicious.

I’ll keep posting more recipes as I try them. I’ve got some lima beans and garbanzo beans that I want to cook in the IP and I’m sure I’ll find more recipes I want to try soon as well. If you have any favorite recipes, share them in the comments because sometimes I am lazy and don’t feel like searching Google very hard for a fun recipe. 🙂

Spring Break

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Hey Howdy Hey!

I took a few days of vacation last week because my kids were on spring break, but what I didn’t realize is that I needed a spring break myself. Man, it felt good to just relax and do whatever I wanted without feeling a time crunch. I have to say, I really enjoyed not working. 🙂

But now I’m back to the grind and we are officially in the End of the School Year frenzy. My kids will be out for summer vacation in 8 short weeks and oh by the way when did it become MARCH??? Does anyone else still feel like it should be November???

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We have a few more weekend volleyball tournaments, and my youngest just made the middle school cheer squad so her practices are already starting, and I’m considering taking a creative writing course because…well just because I want to. So Busy Busy Busy around these here Pear parts.

Here are some things coming down the pike on the Pear (don’t let me forget to blog about these!):

  • I’m having fun experimenting with various aspects of my life in regards to cooking, exercising, even makeup!
  • Tasty Instant Pot recipes
  • I’ve discovered the joy and ease of a capsule wardrobe (on a budget, no less)
  • Changes from then to now – things I used to do/think/feel and how I no longer do/think/feel them

These are just a few topics that have been rolling around in the bloggy part of my brain. Now to just get them into the computer!