A Semi-dry September

I just realized that my sister’s wedding is in two weeks and I’m still fat. (Okay, a little chubby.) I had meant to be thinner by now. Apparently I like food a little too much…and beer. It’s probably the beer.

Earlier this calendar year I talked about the weight gain that has accompanied me starting dental school. I spoke of the need to scratch out time during the (extremely) busy week to run regularly as a means of, hopefully, losing a few pounds but also to keep myself healthy. Fight the man impending hypertension!

I’ve been fairly successful at implementing a plan to run at least three times a week. There’s been a crazy week here and there that I haven’t, but overall I’m back to regular running. I’ve even been managing to drag myself out of bed a little earlier on weekdays

to get in three miles instead of the two I had been. On top of all that I’ve been eating a salad for lunch pretty much every day that I’m at school.

But still that freaking scale has refused to budge.

Over the August break (18 whole days od freedom between the summer and fall terms) I saw a slight downward flux but then school started and it was like those four pounds were never gone. So much for positive momentum.

Obviously I need to do something different. What’s that they say about insanity and doing the same thing over and over? Yup, I’m feeling that. Which is why I’ve come up with the idea of having a semi-dry September. It’s like the “dry month” many people take (or talk about at least) in January when they’re all full of hope and enthusiasm for healthy living except kinder and more gentle.

Plus I know myself and, let’s face it, an entire dry month is out of reach for me right now. My day to day is too mentally demanding to impose the level of self control required… and before you start lecturing me about unhealthy attachments to alcohol and all that check how many pops…err, sodas you’re drinking a week. I don’t drink all that much but I do enjoy a good quality beer in the evening. And unfortunately the beers I enjoy tend to be quite high in calories.

That’s right, KBS, I’m looking at you!

So, this September I’ve been going semi-dry and (mostly) limiting my intake of super yummy but sadistically high calorie beers to the weekend. Hopefully the reduction in calories this brings will tip the scales in my favor.

Thus far I’ve had mixed results but it’s a start, maybe a start that will lead to better habits. And, at the end of the day, we are our habits.

Self-sabotage, my old friend.

To be human is to practice the art of self-sabotage to some degree or another; whether we acknowledge it or not, everyone does it. Some of us, like myself, are well practiced at self-sabotage. Maybe even a master. I mean, if you’re going to do it, do it right! Go big or go home! (I’m a fan of using ridiculous mantras to justify my life choices…especially the bad ones.)

This past fall I started dental school. It’s a pretty big deal and a goal I’ve worked towards for a total of twelve years total. There were some diversions and a span of a few years where I did not think this was going to happen. To be honest, I could have made things much easier on myself and taken a more direct route. But, like I said, I’m a master of self-sabotage. Now that I’ve made it, for all intents and purposes my goal of being a dentist is as good as accomplished (minus four years of intense schooling that leaves VERY little time for anything else), I thought I had moved beyond the habit of self-sabotage. Silly me!

School started in August. It’s been six months (I’m on spring break now hence the random blogging); in that time I’ve grown quite a bit. The first semester was a lesson in adaptation; it took a hot minute to feel comfortable in my class of (mostly) very pretty and privileged (mostly) 22 year olds. I’ve learned how to manage my expectations of myself while balancing 25 credits a semester with 2-3 hours of commuting a day and the demands of managing a four-kid-household. I’ve realized that C’s really do get degrees and are okay (once you’re actually in your program) as long as you’re learning everything you need to know to be successful. Like I said, I’ve grown quite a bit… I’ve also grown a bit physically too.

Before mid-August I was running quite regularly, doing fun runs every few weeks. When school started my activity level declined dramatically. Along with not running much I was sitting, literally just sitting, eight to ten hours a day five days a week. I manged a fun 5k with my nine-year-old and a random 10k race in October but on a day-to-day basis…pretty much nothing.

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When I’m not in school sitting I’m at home sitting and studying. So. Much. Studying!

Just before Thanksgiving I discovered that my blood pressure had gotten high. For a weekend it was very high. I was both shocked and panicked (which probably just made my blood pressure even higher).  How did this happen? I’m healthy, I’m a runner!!! Well, I was a runner. But still, it hadn’t been that long!

I took stock of the situation and realized I had also managed to tack on close to fifteen pounds of extra weight. (I know that’s not really That much but I’m a small person, even five pounds on my five foot two self is notable). One of the sets of scrubs I had bought at the beginning of the school year didn’t even fit anymore. Yikes! This didn’t happen all at once, it was a slow, steady creep to an overweight and unhealthy me. I had this idea that I was a fit, healthy person but obviously my self-perception was inaccurate. High blood pressure has wreaked havoc on the women in my family lately. I was motivated to do better, I started getting up even earlier than I already was to run a couple miles on my handy-dandy treadmill a few times a week.

And it was helping. My blood pressure went down to borderline high instead of Yikes high. My monthly mileage has been close to 40 again. I felt pretty decent, like I was building better habits and being healthy…But my weight was not really moving. Sure it would go down for a day or two but it always creeped back up. What the actual F was going on here?

I was starting to get frustrated…Until one day, just after an early and gross two miles on the treadmill, it hit me…Self-Sabotage!

Here I was pushing myself to get up and run, working hard to get back to a state of good health, but at the same time I was eating whatever was convenient and drinking a good (heavy) craft beer or two at least four times a week. And I was using the more regular running to justify it. I’d tell myself it was a treat… you know, for all that hard work. (eye roll!) It was one or two steps forward, one or two steps back which equals not moving at all! As soon as I saw it I was irritated with myself. What’s the point of missing sleep and working to get back in shape if I was just going to pull the rug out from under my feet and end up back where I started at the end of the day?

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Self sabotage at its finest! 

Now that I’ve caught myself employing the old self-sabotage tactics I’ve been a little more conscientious about what, when, and why I’m eating and drinking. Awareness is half the battle.

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Awareness = knowing. Now all I need are some lasers.

Time will tell exactly how effective my new found awareness of my own negative tendencies will be in getting back to a fit and healthy state. Either way this has been a good reminder of the importance of consistent good habits and self-awareness (not my strongest suits). You can’t sit back and coast on yesterday’s success; reaching one goal, even a big one, does not mean you can just stop working. (Mantras again.)

Here’s to health, well-being, and regular running!

 

Sticker Shock

I’ve been experiencing a lot of sticker shock lately. In more than one area of my life and I’m having a hard time dealing with it!

Sticker Shock #1 – School Costs

Both my co-blogger and I are back in school – as 30-something year olds. Now, when I went to college the first time around fresh out of high school the numbers attached didn’t mean much to me. My Dad helped handled the financial end of things. Don’t get me wrong he didn’t pay for college but he helped and dealt with the loan people. When I exited college I had loans to pay back but, again, the numbers didn’t mean much to me. (And I should note I did get out of college with less debt than many of my counterparts….THANKS DAD!) Flash forward 10+ years later and I’m still paying on the loans and boy oh boy do those numbers have meaning. Big debt-like meaning. When deciding to return to school the financial aspect held a lot of weight but hey, Edubucks, right??

Wrong! Well, sort of. I’ve been taking pre-requisites for nursing school some of which were taken at a community college and some at a university. The classes I take at community college I’ve been paying for out of pocket – you know, cold hard cash. I just signed up for a class to take over the summer and this ONE class is going to cost me just under $1,000. I saw this number when I registered and flipped out. My co-blogger was sitting next to me and commenced trying to chill me out but I wasn’t having it. $1,000 for ONE class! Those thieves! How dare they charge $342 in “lab fees?!” It’s all bullshit! My co-blogger calmly reminded me that I had to have this class and, remarkably, it would never be cheaper or at a better time. She was right. I’m taking the class but I’m still pissed that my tax refund is disappearing into school costs.

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Sticker Shock #2 – My Weight

My last semester of school was rough. It was a bad schedule and I didn’t handle it well. I just had my annual 3-year-late physical. Of course, they weighed me. Holy shit. That happened. I knew last semester was rough but now I had a number that indicated just how bad.

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My co-blogger/friend said it was my “Come to Jesus moment” and then shared a story about a friend of hers. This other person was on Ambien, that good ‘ole do-shit-while-sleeping drug, and managed to eat entire boxes of rice krispy treats at night. The best part was when she woke up she totally blamed her roommate. I least I got to enjoy all the wonderful bad for me food that contributed to my weight gain (although some I’m sure was stress and lack of sleep). My co-blogger teased that it was like getting pregnant without the fun parts. I joked back “Like the Virgin Mary?” I’m pretty sure that joke raised my standing a couple notches on my dead Catholic Grandma’s haunt list. Luckily there are other family members that I’m pretty sure are still above me.

Sticker Shock #3 – A Tree is Gone

My boyfriend and I bought a house together last year. Shortly after we moved in his buddy, in the midst of a nasty divorce, moved in with us. The buddy needed a cheap place to stay and we thought some rent money for a bit would be nice. He came to stay and has yet to leave…I’m not sure he’s ever leaving. Since we weren’t charging him much he agreed to do most of our outside work. For about a 6 months now he’s been saying that he was going to cut down a pine tree in the mini side yard. I took all those comments with a grain of salt I’m not gonna lie. Today we came home and the pine tree was in pieces on the lawn! Just like that.

Just like that our yard looks a lot bigger and we possibly have room for a fire pit. I’m finally going to have to get my act together on landscaping – at least a little.
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For now if you need to find me looks like I’ll be out not spending money, running or cleaning up the yard. Summer is coming and there’s a vacation around the corner that requires a swimsuit.

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I want it NOW!

I’m trying to kill my grass. No, really, you read that right. I want to kill all the grass/weeds that currently inhabit my itty bitty backyard. My plan is to kill it, since it mostly grew in as weeds this summer, and start fresh in the spring. Then I’d like to landscape it so I never have to mow back there. It’s a seriously small backyard and I have dreams of making it an self-sustaining oasis. So yesterday and sprayed it with grass killer and was excited to look at this morning. I looked out the window hoping to see a “field” of brown…buuuttt…it looked the same. Damn it, where are my instantaneous results?!

I want it NOW!

This led me to think about other areas in my life where I’ve been lacking patience. Where if I just relaxed my expectations and had a whole lot of patience (plus some other stuff) things would probably work out better. Two prime examples are running and weight loss. Obviously these things go hand in hand.

I don’t want to go through all the hard parts. The beginning of running just sucks – I just want to be able to do it. I know, somewhere in my head, it’s the hard parts that matter.

The same holds true for weight loss. I don’t want to have to put in the work. I’d really prefer the quick fix. I’m not even a person who really believes in quick fixes. I never buy into fad diets or claims – although I have considered trying the ice cream diet. J/K
School too. While I really enjoy parts of it going through the day to day can be hard and I just want to get to the end result. Yep, I’m going through a big I want it now phase. I really need to step back find my patience and start the hard parts. Embrace the hard parts.
But…
I just want it NOW!!

I just want it NOW!!

P.S. If anyone has any landscaping tips, I’ll take them!!

A Runner? Not me…but here it goes anyway

So by now you may have noticed my co-blogger is a runner. And she, like, likes it! One night at work she was waxing poetic about the joys of running. Man, she made it sound good. Somehow she talked me into training for a 1/2 marathon this year. She made it sound so delightful. I had pictures of me breezily jogging down the street in cute running clothes, getting skinny and overall heath and wellness. Apparently I can be talked into anything when sleep deprived. Reality just flies out the window.

I am not a runner. I haven’t exercised regularly in YEARS! And, yeah, I’m overweight.  I started to jog in January. We were scheduled to do a 5k last weekend. She did the 5k. I did not. After 1 month of jogging I got sick. Just your average head cold mind you but that was all I needed to stop training…for all of February. That’s right one week off turned into one month which is slowly turning into two.

But today it was almost 50 degrees out. 50!! And with all the cold we’ve had I couldn’t let this weather go to waste. Plus we’re supposed to get some monster snow storm tomorrow. Inspired by the weather I stopped my delaying and went for a run/walk.  Time to get started on keeping my word.

Now let me just say I did not look cute and it was not fun. There was huffing and puffing. (No houses blew down though so I suppose that’s something!) But I went and now that I’m done it’s good.

So while my co-blogger is inspiring and loving the run I’ll be in the background whining and bemoaning it…but doing it cause damn it I said I would. And it’ll get better….RIGHT?!?!?!?