My Call to Adventure

Happy Monday Everyone!

In yesterday’s post, I committed to re-launching my healthy journey. Like most others who have to dedicate themselves specifically to improving their health, I’ve made some bad calls lately and it’s time to rectify those. Before I get too far into this, though, I think it’s important to explain my Call to Adventure.

If you remember, the Call to Adventure is the first part of the Healthy Hero’s Journey. It’s that moment where you realize that a change is required for you to attain your individual health goals. For me, that moment occurred this past Saturday.

To explain Saturday, I have to first explain the last few months. Back in June, I developed a stress fracture in my pelvis, which rendered me non-weight-bearing for 11 weeks. During that entire time, I managed to keep my weight within about 5 pounds of where I was when the injury first occurred. I considered that to be a win, of sorts, considering how difficult that particular timeframe was. But since then, my weight has continued to climb steadily until yesterday morning, when I weighed in at 12 pounds higher than my pre-injury weight of 140 pounds.

Saturday wasn’t even about my weight though – mostly because one of the habits I’ve fallen off of is weighing in daily. No, Saturday was about my injury. I can’t even explain it, except to say that my family had just gone home after the holiday and I found myself sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself because my leg (on the side my pelvis was injured on) had been bothering me. I didn’t do my normal physical therapy stretches and exercises on Thursday and Friday, because of the holiday, so my leg was bothering me more than normal.

I decided to head to the gym for some time on the treadmill. About 3 weeks ago, I was released to finally start using the treadmill. Not for anything crazy, mind you. I’m just allowed to work on speed walking – with my easy walk at a 3 and my speed walk at a 3.5. That still makes me laugh because 3.5 was my super easy walk before my injury!

At any rate, I was told to start off with 15 minutes of interval work on the treadmill then, after my first week, I was allowed to work my way up to 30 minutes. The problem is that I had a slight setback after that first week – with my muscles clenching and becoming too tight for me to do much at all – so that 30 minute goal has remained elusive. So Saturday, I set out to beat that.

Nine minutes into my walk, my muscles began to clench and strain again. I tried to push through it for a tiny bit but when everything started to feel “off” even with my easy walk, I knew I was done. I slapped the treadmill (ouch!) because I was so mad and, because I was alone in our apartment’s gym, I seriously contemplated throwing one of the workout room’s stability balls just because the bounce of the ball against the wall seemed like it’d be pretty darn satisfying.

But I didn’t. Instead, I went back home, had myself a small cry of frustration, and ate a leftover cinnamon roll from breakfast with my family. And then I had another cinnamon roll. And then, I made some chocolate chip cookies and ate those. And then I dove into some of the holiday candy we already have around the house. Seriously.

If that’s not stress eating, I don’t know what is. What I do know is that I only ate that way because my husband was at work. If he had been home I would have figured out a different way of working through my stress. Instead, I let myself indulge and then I cleaned up all the evidence of my transgression so that he’d never know or question it. And that is a major problem. I’ve always felt that unhealthy eating is an addiction, just as powerful as smoking or alcoholism and “hiding” my unhealthy eating or engaging in “secretive” unhealthy eating is always the first sign to me that I’ve slipped into a dark place.

My Call to Adventure

So that was my Call to Adventure moment. I’m not going to lie. I knew I was doing wrong even as I chomped down those chocolate chip cookies. But, right or wrong, I let myself have my sad, woe-is-me moment, and then I told myself that Sunday would be different.

And it was. Sunday (and so far today) all my food was either been healthy or at least healthily proportioned. In fact, yesterday I was under my calorie goal for the day, which is great! I did all my stretches and exercises, including finally hitting that elusive 30-minute goal on the treadmill. It wasn’t easy but I decided it was time and I just needed to push through until it was done. It’s a small triumph, but I know that a million small triumphs will eventually get me where I want to be. And, as frustrating as Saturday was, it’s nice to know that it was enough of a Call to Adventure to get me back on track so I can continue working toward my goals.

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Vacation Recap

Ok, so it’s taken me a little longer to recap my vacation than I expected. I’ve been back for almost a week and I think my brain is still halfway in vacation mode so I’ve been lacking in motivation.

The good news is vacation went great! Calories intake was awesome – I actually probably ate a little less than I should have. And my step count was out of this world! I got in way more exercise than I expected so I wrapped up my Monday-Friday week with a little more than 100,000 steps. No complaints there! 🙂

Overall I’m really happy with my vacation experience. I maintained my weight, which is exactly what I was looking for. And while the temptations to be bad were there, like I expected, they actually served more as a motivation to stay on track than any kind of real temptation.

Now it’s time to turn my attention towards breaking past this plateau. I think I’m ready for the challenge! 🙂

Happy and Healthy in Tampa

Have you ever thought you were meant for something more? I’ve felt this way most of my life. There’s even an item on my Life List that’s “change the world” – no kidding! Every now and then you hear people say their line of work or hobby is a “calling.” Well I’ve been hearing a “call” all of my life, only it’s in another language or it’s far away and I just can’t understand what it’s saying. The result of this is that I’m constantly coming up with these big, grand ideas that fizzle out shortly after I have them because they’re not the right fit for me. 

I explain all this because maybe it’ll help you understand the crazy mix of anticipation and anxiety I’m having right now. See, ever since I’ve started on this leg of my health journey I’ve been wanting to CONNECT with others who have faced the same struggles. I considered starting a Facebook group but that didn’t seem real productive. So I’ve settled on a new idea that just might work – a Meetup group in Tampa (where I live) called Happy and Healthy. 

The goal of the group will be the combination of having fun and getting/staying healthy. I want it to include fun, active events (group hikes, dance parties, water balloon fights, etc) that show how you can burn calories just by LIVING. I also want it to include all the normal things people do for fun (bowling, game nights, dinners out, etc) so people who have struggled with weight loss can see that it’s possible to be healthy and still enjoy yourself. Lastly, I want it to include discussion – the full sharing of ideas and experiences we’ve all had while trying to get healthy so everyone can learn from each other and reach their goals.

Why Meetup? Well there’s a number of reasons, really:

  • I know I can do it. I’ve run a few successful Meetup groups in the past.
  • I love the creative side of organizing Meetup groups. The events we have are only limited by what I can come up with.
  • I like the idea of face-to-face connection and interaction.
  • Doing something local also helps me to get out more and explore the area.
  • I think more impact can be made when we all can see/do things in real-life situations.
  • Being the organizer in this type of group will be good motivation for me to stay on track with my own health journey.

So given all that, it makes sense, right? Well I’m anxious all the same. I think it’s because getting healthy is something I’m really becoming passionate about and, as such, this may be the closest I’ve come to understanding that “call.”   

Still, other internal and external doubts come to mind:

  • My husband wonders if there will be low interest because people will see this group as nothing but monotonous conversation. I think my target audience would be ABSOLUTELY interested in this but who’s to say which of us is right?
  • I’m notorious for taking on too much. What if that happens with this? Maybe there will be higher interest than I anticipate and I won’t be able to handle it all or I’ll actually fall off track with my own weight loss because I’m too busy.
  • What if I can’t let the group follow a natural progression and I try to accomplish too much with it at once? When I say I “dream big” I really mean it. At its basics this group would be a few casual get-togethers every month. But I’ve already imagined it being way more than that. Maybe we’ll do regular birthday celebrations for members. Oh, and I could encourage members to share their goals so I can encourage them individually. Maybe we’ll do huge celebrations whenever someone reaches a a milestone – that’d be fun! Ooh, what if we have photo shoots and ceremonies when people reach their end goal? And maybe I could establish a mentorship program where successful members help guide new ones! Maybe the group will be so successful that we expand into other cities! I wonder if I could figure out a way to make a living at this (even though I don’t want to charge people to participate)…See what I mean?
  • What if this requires too much energy to sustain? I work in a somewhat stressful job with high interaction with others. So maybe adding more highly interactive activity in my downtime will be too much.
  • Am I completely out of my element with this idea? I mean, who am I to think I can help others? I haven’t even reached my own goal weight yet!
  • What if I’m wrong about this being the path for me and I let others down because I can’t sustain the group? This is perhaps the worst negative thought for me. Every time I think I’ve found the right idea and I’m wrong, I HATE it. It makes me feel flaky. I’m fairly self-aware and I don’t think I’m truly a flaky person but maybe that’s a blind spot I have for myself. I would really like for that to not be the case.

Here’s the thing: Anytime we try something new or big there’s bound to be some doubts, right? So here is my logic for all of the above doubts:

  • My husband could be right. But he’s also never struggled with his weight or health so he won’t have the same perspective as those of us who have. All I can go off is how I feel about it.
  • Because I’ve run Meetups before, I know how time-consuming it can be. So I’ve already made plans to recruit some assistance from other members who like to plan events.
  • Since I’m aware that I “dream big” I can hopefully rein myself in to allow that natural progression.
  • It is likely that I WILL get overwhelmed at times. In those moments I’ll just have to remind myself of the larger picture and plan in some alone time so I can find my balance.
  • I may not be any kind of expert and I may still be working on my goals. But no matter what, I – and anyone else who’s struggled with weight loss – have something to share that might help someone else. 
  • It is still possible that I will find out this is not the right path. There’s no way for me to know that until I try. In the meantime, I’ve put a lot of thought into it and it still feels right. I can’t do much more than that.

Who knows what will happen with this group idea? All I know right now is the group is created and I’m in the intolerable 4-day waiting period before it’s actually announced to anyone. If all goes well, it will be announced, members will start rolling in, and will start having fun AND success! If not, well maybe this is not my “call” and I’ll keep looking. Time will tell I guess!

Planning Ahead to Stay Healthy

Last year I was doing really well with losing weight until the end of the year hit and work became crazy. I was traveling a lot and working long hours so it became harder to workout and plan healthy meals.

While that might help me understand why I fell off track, it certainly doesn’t excuse it. I thought I had a good plan going into my busy season but I couldn’t stay steady. If I’m going to change that, I need to understand what went wrong. And, even better, determine a better plan that can be tested real-time.

healthy plan, getting healthy, healthy habits

Analyzing the Breakdown

First off, when I think back on my “plan,” I realize it wasn’t really a plan at all. I did a few things to set myself up for success, such as:

  • Booking hotels that had gyms.
  • Packing workout clothes and shoes.
  • Planning plenty of time for travel to keep my stress low.

Beyond that, I honestly didn’t do much. I thought I had built up my healthy habits and mindset enough that I could rely on that. The problem is a few things occurred that I hadn’t planned for:

  • My “workday” was taken up by the projects I was traveling for more than I expected. As a result, I skipped workouts so I could knock out emails and my regular work in the evenings.
  • The buildup of work and travel stressed me out more than I expected, which triggered old habits of eating food that was “easy” or “comforting.”
  • I took too much advantage of being on my own, where no one but me knew how much I was eating so it was easier to hide.

The thing is, every Fall will be just as busy so it’s really important for me to figure out a healthy plan that WILL work. And out of the blue, I find myself in a perfect situation to work towards that.

Next week I will be attending a conference out of town, followed by a weekend trip – also out of town. That’s a whole lot of time out of my routine and away from my refrigerator, stove, and blender!

Thinking Through the Details

Looking back, I think my biggest mistake in the Fall was relying on my regular healthy habits to pull me through a highly irregular situation. So this time around I intend to plan quite a bit more.

To successfully plan for something unusual like this, I think it’s important to know a few things:

  • What will the schedule for the day/trip be? How can you use that to your advantage?
  • What resources are available to help you (i.e. Refrigerator in the hotel room, access to a supermarket or a car to get to one, a gym, etc)? How will you use those to serve your needs?
  • How much free time will you have and when will it be in the day? How will your food/exercise needs fit into that?

For me to make an adequate plan, I also need to know what my primary goals are. In reality, my goal is to not deviate from my plan at all, which means hitting these goals at a minimum:

  • 10,000 steps per day
  • Tracking my calories and hitting my 500 calorie/day deficit
  • 15 minutes of strength training

If I completely have my druthers I would get a full workout in instead of just the 10,000 steps and 15 minutes of strength training. Especially since I’ve really started hitting my workouts hard this week and I don’t want to lose that momentum.

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After doing a little research, here’s how next week will look for me based on the above questions:

Schedule

  • Monday I will work from home for the first half of the day, then drive an hour to the conference location, where I’ll be staying. After arriving, I’ll be tied up from at least 4pm until 9:30pm.
  • Tuesday our conference breakfast starts at 7am and every hour from there is scheduled until 4:45pm. Then I will have a two hour break and be busy again from 6:45-9:30pm. Dinner will be provided by the conference so those 2 hours are completely mine.
  • Wednesday I’ll be tied up from 7am-5pm, at which time I’ll travel home and have the rest of the evening to myself.
  • Thursday will be a normal day.
  • Friday I’ll leave for work at 7:30am like normal. That afternoon, I’ll catch a flight so we can start our trip with family. We’ll land at 7pm, in time to go to dinner with family. We’re also staying with family for the weekend.
  • Saturday and Sunday should be easy enough to figure out. We’ll be spending time with family and traveling home on Sunday but we’ll also have a fair amount of down time.

Available Resources

Unfortunately, after doing my research I found that I don’t have as many resources as I was hoping for during my conference. But everything is workable. 🙂 Here are the resources I do have:

  • The hotel I’ll be staying at for the conference has a complimentary gym.
  • The family I’ll be staying with over the weekend also has a treadmill and weights available to use.
  • The family I’ll be staying with also obviously has a refrigerator and other kitchen items.

The hotel, surprisingly, does not have a microwave or mini fridge. Fortunately I do also have a few other things at my disposal, such as my Fitbit and other tracking apps I normally use. Long ago, I also wrote down most of the videos I’ve used from programs like P90X and Insanity. This makes it very easy to use them wherever, whenever I want.

strength training, getting healthy, healthy habits

The Plan

Given all of the above, here’s my plan:

  • For Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday I’ll do my workouts in the morning. I normally get up at 5am to work on this blog and other personal items so it shouldn’t be difficult to keep that same morning alarm.
  • Since I don’t have much awareness of what type of food will be served, I want to be sure I’ll get my fruits and veggies in – especially because these are usually this first things to go when I’m in a tight spot with food. Since I won’t have a refrigerator, microwave, or any other way to prep food I’m going to relay on apples and canned green beans for the two full days I’ll be at the conference. The rest of the week days I’ll at least start my day at home so I can prep those days like normal.

apples, healthy food, healthy choices

  • My family is pretty healthy so I don’t need to stress too much there. The only exception is I know we’ll be celebrating Saturday night so I’ll have to watch my portions with dessert.
  • I’ve already made plans to go hiking with my family on Saturday, so the only thing I have to worry about is doing an alternate workout if the weather doesn’t hold out.
  • If all of the above works out I’m not worried about skipping my workout on Sunday, as long as the above minimums (10,000 steps, calories, etc) are met. If something goes awry with my plan and I need more workout time, I’ll take advantage of my family’s workout space or entice my mom into a long walk or run.

Most likely, no one else will care about this post but I already feel immensely better about how next week will look, having done some planning. Fortunately the habits I’ve learned should help in a few ways (avoiding temptations, staying motivated, etc).

What do you do when you’re in similar situations? Have you found any tips or tricks that help you stay on track when your routine is disrupted?