i’m back

This past year, I was sliding down a slippery slope. I was a shell of my true self. A different person. You see, depression runs in my family and I’ve had it once before (a long time ago).

Unlike last time, I got help sooner than later.

I met up with a psychologist who’s bio spoke to me. She was trained in yoga, helping many clients recover through both yoga and meditation. These are two things I LOVE so I was hopeful.

During our first meeting she mentioned her 8-week class that was about to start: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.

Here’s the blurb about the class, “This 8-week group provides proven, innovative skills to help you break the cycle of depression and anxiety once and for all. You will learn strategies that help you see clearly that thoughts and emotions come and go, Many find that these skills help them side step the mental habits that lead to despair, excessive worry, and self-blame. Hands-on skill building exercises are taught that incorporate mindfulness (attentional control training) and cognitive therapy.”

I finished the class in December and am now stronger, wiser, more mindful. I’m close to my normal self again and have great new tools to combat any negative thoughts or depression lurking around the corner.

It’s such a relief.

I believe in fate and this sure was an example of that. I stumbled upon my psychologist on google, she’s a yogi, her class was perfect, and she’s even located 1 mile from my house! That’s unheard of out here in suburbia. Usually you have to drive at least a couple miles to get to where you’re going!

On our last day of class we got to pick out a little token to remind us of how far we’ve come.

IMG_3637

I’m not sure where I’m going to put my little stone yet but I’d like it to be in a place that I see it daily, frequently. The mantel?

Now that I feel capable of tackling projects and this blog again, I can’t wait to update you! You know I may have done things like survive a marathon (?!) and convert to a vegan diet (?!). We’ve also completed a couple of snazzy house projects and have a lot more in the works. Oh and I might have another animal. Hehe.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with you again! It’s gonna be a good time.

Advertisements

slowing down to pick myself up

I’m turning inward today! I hope that’s okay.

__________

When I’m stuck in a rut I easily become overwhelmed – with my to-do list, my relationships, my life. I’m currently at this point.

I truly believe I should be able to fix this problem and have attempted all my life to do so. I’ve written posts about this subject here, here, and here. I’m always able to stay on top of things for a couple weeks but then I get to busy, stressed and everything goes out the window.

I’m so very tired of this vicious cycle.

I watched a documentary on Friday night called Happy. It’s about people and what makes them truly happy.

That night I was up at 3:30 thinking about it. I panicked during this bout of insomnia, feeling overwhelmed about failing to be happy.

After a few hours, my mind started to settle and clear. I began to try and figure out what I could do to fix my problem.

I’ve had a couple nights like this in the past few weeks. They remind me of one night of insomnia last year when I realized I wanted to quit my old job (and career) that I went to school for so long for. Now I’m at a completely new job and loving it so I’m thinking I’m at the cusp of another step in the right direction.

Thank goodness.

When I’m overwhelmed I usually find something to escape my feelings. My go-to options are TV, the Internet, food, and my dogs. I think spending time with my dogs does help me feel better and more present but the other stuff really doesn’t. I feel lazy and stressed once I finally decide to get my butt off of the couch. I’m also usually doing a combination of TV, Internet, and food so I’m even more removed from ‘real’ life! Not good.

I know that it’s definitely healthy to escape the hustle and bustle of real life sometimes but lately for me it’s getting in the way of living that life.

My epiphany on Saturday night/morning was something that I already know but have a hard time doing.

To really try to become happier, I’ve got to take it slow. I’m going to focus on fixing one poor habit at a time. Anything else I do that might not be considered healthy doesn’t matter for now. I just have one thing to do. That’s it. That should keep me from getting worked up.

I’m thinking I’ll start with no TV. Without TV I’d have soooo much more time to do things that I really love like gardening, reading, art, even chores! If I’m successful… wait… when I’m successful, I’ll be able to replace one bad habit with tons of other good options. Perfect.

I’m sure there are other people out there like me but man does it feel like I’m the only person sometimes with these silly struggles.

I hope to update you on my progress next week. This should hold me accountable!

Who’s overwhelmed? Who’s with me? Who has some words of wisdom for all of us? 

the mental side of training

Al and I have successfully completed one whole month of marathon training!!

I think I already knew this but the mental side of the training is by far the hardest part. I made it through two tough mental challenges this week.

I have a big fear of getting injured – of not being able to even start the race let alone finish it.

I’ve been recording my workouts and thoughts about each one in my training manual. After just four weeks I’ve figured out what I need to do to stay healthy and uninjured: SLEEP, eat, hydrate, stretch, foam roll, do yoga, and cross train. It’s a long list, but I’m trying to keep up with it.

This week life got in the way a couple times. There were multiple days of getting off of work after 7 which forced me to skip the yoga classes that I know help me with my IT bands and hips. I also had to work Saturday which is normally my cross training day.

Training and injury prevention is about structure but I’m also realizing that it’s about flexibility. Because I was unable to make it to yoga, I was too sore to run on Thursday so I ran on Friday instead. I doubled up on my workouts and moved my Saturday cross training to Friday as well since I had to work.

I ran nice and slow on the dreadmill treadmill and then I swam a good 1500 meters that really helped loosen up those tight running muscles.

I loooove a good plan but this week showed me that I can adapt when obstacles get in the way. Next week if I can’t make it to yoga again, I’m going to roll out my mat and do a session at home. I have plenty of classes to choose from in my iTunes library. No excuses!

I’ve got a fear of the distance itself.

26.2 miles is flippin’ far! Enough said.

Yesterday, we didn’t even run close to that but the mental challenge was ridiculous.

A couple of factors added to the fear. It was already hot and humid at 7 am when we started running and, well, I didn’t want to die in it. I was afraid of getting lost because the big running pack spreads out and I often end up running without many people in sight. Lastly, it was 7 miles and I hadn’t run that since March when the weather and course were totally different.

I started off super tired and feeling sorry for myself. My legs felt like lead. Everybody was passing me! I kept looking at my watch. I was running a 10:00 minute mile. I thought, Well either my watch isn’t working (because I planned on running ‘easy’ and was expecting a 11:30 pace to fight the challenge) or these people are going to pass out at the end!

By mile three I was still feeling pathetic and people were still passing me. I reminded myself that there was a water station at the halfway point so I’d be able to stop for a second and mentally regroup.

The 30 second break was just what I needed. I saw some of the people standing around that had passed me miles before. Their fast starts were getting to them. And the Powerade I drank was the best thing EVER! All I needed were some electrolytes and a confidence boost. I started running again and felt 100 times better.

The rest of the course was mostly in the shade which was nice. I stopped again at the second water station and kept on. I passed a couple more fast-starters while keeping my 10:00 minute pace. I couldn’t believe I was keeping that pace in the heat and for that distance! I thought, Maybe this training is working! Maybe I can actually stick to this pace at the marathon!

I was so shocked because our coaches have told us that our pace will start to slow when the distance increases. Obviously 7 miles isn’t far compared to what we will be doing in the months ahead so my pace might still decrease but I tried to run ‘slow’ on purpose and kept the pace up naturally. Sweet.

I heard the 6th beep (6th mile) from my Garmin and laughed out loud. I only had a mile left. I was so proud to go from almost bottoming out mentally in the beginning to feeling super tough in just an hour.

Even though you aren’t supposed to on the long runs, I sped up my pace because I could (!!). I felt like I could run a couple more miles without much trouble. Thank goodness because we’ll be running 8 miles next week!

I know there will be a lot more hurdles in the coming months and it’s going to be rough but I’ve got the tools to help me overcome them. Can I get a HECK YEAH?!

Yikes, that was intense. Excuse me while I come back down from my runner’s high.

Tell me about a mental hurdle you’ve overcome!

SlimKicker & a giveaway

A while back I wrote about my bad habit of eating candy.  I said I would stop cold turkey.  A couple weeks later I talked about making healthy decisions and how I was going to give myself a little pat on the back for choosing the healthy route.

Well the healthy choices are going really well and so is my acknowledgement of them but the candy? I might need a little more help with that.

Someone out there in the universe knew this because I recently got an email from Sue over at SlimKicker!

SlimKicker is a calorie counter and game that helps motivate you to stay healthy. It turns your diet and fitness goals into a level-up game with points, rewards and challenges.  You level up by tracking healthy calories and exercises, and completing challenges such as quitting soda for a week.  They also have healthy recipe suggestions on their recipe section and on Pinterest.

I’m not one to count calories because it just didn’t work for me and I already track my marathon training but you know I LOVE a good game! I signed up with SlimKicker and started my own 7 day ‘No Eating Candy’ challenge. After the first week I hope to restart the challenge with two weeks, three weeks and then up to a month.  After over two months of challenges (added up) and daily check-ins to the app, I should have a new healthy habit on my hands and lots of points under my belt.

I just think this is such a great idea.  Everyone loves a good game and we all have little habits that we might want to improve!

Now you get to participate!

I’ve teamed up with SlimKicker to give you a change to win this snazzy Slow Cooker.  You could make so many healthy recipes in this baby!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment with a fun, creative fitness or diet challenge. One or two sentences is fine. SlimKicker will then pick their favorite and I’ll announce the winner in about a week!

Good luck and have a great weekend!

———-

Please note, this giveaway is limited to only readers in the USA.

shyness

No recipe today! If you were hoping for one, I apologize. I’ve got some random thoughts instead. I hope you don’t mind!

———-

I’ve read a couple times now on a blog that the writer thinks shyness is useless and ridiculous. This got me a little heated and made me think about my own situation.

I wrote a post about my personality type a while back. The first characteristic was ‘introvert’. I didn’t choose to be one but I actually like the way I am. Thank you very much!

That was the only rant, don’t worry.

Now I’m not a mute without friends or something but I do have trouble in social situations with new people, get sweaty palms like my Dad, and according to the Starbucks near our house, I (and my husband) speak too quietly because they almost always get our order wrong! I even speak up on purpose when we’re out because I know people will have trouble hearing me. Ha.

This past week a couple thoughts have been running through my mind on the subject. I can’t seem to get a cohesive post together but my fingers want to keep typing so here are my tidbits:

  • When I was younger, I had a much more difficult time with this stuff but nowadays I’m used to it. I know how I’ll react to any social situation. I attempt counteract my shyness and break out of my shell quicker. Living more in the present and being aware, I’d say.
  • During my main ‘growing up’ years I lived in Puerto Rico. When you greeted a friend or even met someone for the first time, you often air-kissed them on the cheek. I personally found that this helped break the ice -> ‘Well I’ve already kissed you on the cheek, let’s be best friends!’. It worked pretty well for me! I moved back to Florida three years later and someone attempted to shake my hand. What in the? No friendly kiss? I gave them a floppy, wimpy hand. I don’t even think I shook it! I was lost in my own country’s customs. After my technique was made fun of by some random lady, I finally got my act together and shook with confidence. My Puerto Rican brain still thinks shaking hands = awkward. This doesn’t help in social situations!
  • Blogging is awesome because I don’t have to be shy!! Well I was nervous about writing this post but what the hay. You’re still reading it so that’s good!
  • I’ve read somewhere that many writers are introverts. They often hate the book signings because they have to interact with people. Pretty interesting.
  • I’m part Norwegian, introversion is in my blood. ‘At first, you may think they are acting as if they have no more room for  for friendship, but once they feel comfortable with you (and often this happens quickly), you will get to know them better and strong ties of friendship will develop.’ (source) So pretty much, I may appear lifeless at first when someone meets me but that’s because I’m shy and not because I’m a cold, hard… well, ya know. 😉

Does anyone else out there have similar traits or even just thoughts on the subject? I don’t read about this issue online much so I thought it’d be interesting to see what comes of it.

no place like home

I’ve always lived for the next event – a vacation, holiday, birthday, or often just the weekend. Sometimes I get so caught up in the future that I don’t even remember what I did that day or week. It creeps me out sometimes actually.

Where I’m going with this is a little example of this post that I recently wrote. I’m still using the ‘believe’ mantra and it works great but vacation threw me off a bit.

We had an AH-mazing time in Australia (you’ll see more pictures soon) but the second we started traveling I missed my dogs. I then thought more about it and realized I missed not only the dogs but the family all together and our regular routine. This thinking is quite different from me normally focusing on those future events.

I missed my daily, regular life which is good since that’s what life mainly consists of!

I believe this means that the whole ‘living in the present’ thing is working. I’m enjoying the simple things in life. Like this past weekend I enjoyed fixing up the house, going for walks, and watching the dogs play. It’s such a nice feeling to be aware and take it all in.

The jet lag is almost gone and the routine is almost back to normal.

It’s good to be home.

Are you a homebody? I think I might be!

 

to eat meat or not to eat meat?

That is the question.

Ever since I was little, meat has grossed me out. To this day if I chomp on an unmentionable (veiny thing or fat) I panic, start to sweat, and then either attempt to swallow or spit it out. Lately I can’t even finish the meal if that happens.

Ground up stuff on the other hand, I can take – all that nastiness is mixed together so you can’t determine what’s what! <- That statement is so ridiculous but true. An example: I had a Mexican meal last week with the best beef tacos and tamales in town. It’s located here but has a different name now just in case any Richmonders want to venture outside the city.

Meat promoting aside.

At the beginning of this year I attempted to stop eating any of it. It was fine except for when I went to eat my normal meat meals like pizza and Mexican when I’d have to rethink a bit. Obviously there are simple substitutes but it made me think! I went a couple weeks and then went back to my normal eating habits. I think going back was a combination of having to cook for myself as well as my meat eating husband and the question of ‘why?’. What’s the point of stopping if I like some of it? I thought this and I’m sure my husband did too.

This morning my blogger friend Sarah wrote a post on Polyface Farms which is a ‘green’ farm talked about in the movie Food, Inc.
She reminded me that I’ve had this post in my drafts folder for a couple weeks now so I thought I’d bite the bullet and finish it.

I’ve been meaning to watch Food, Inc. ever since it came out (four years ago!) but I’ve been too scared to do it.

You know I’m a huge animal lover (my family keeps growing and growing) so too see all that pain and suffering would be tough. Watching the movie would be a game changer because I’m not a huge meat eater to begin with.

I’m scared of becoming a vegetarian even though I have an urge to do so. Also, it’s about the cooking challenges and the judging of my reasoning by others. Very silly reasons to not watch a movie that will help me grow. I am a grownup after all, I can do it.

But I haven’t.

I know for some vegetarians it’s about how gross it is to eat flesh and for others it’s about the rights of animals. Or at least I assume these are the reasons because really, up until I started reading healthy living blogs, the only vegetarian I knew was my older sister, Amanda. Hi AMP!

After writing the above, I realize I’m a little bit of both.

So should I become one? My views on animal cruelty are quite strong but I do like to eat meat once in a while. Do I want to give up my beloved tacos and tamales? Maybe I should just make sure the product is coming from a ‘happier’ place like Polyface Farms?

I think for now, that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll find a local farm and/or head to the farmer’s market on Saturday to explore my options. Maybe I’m chickening out or maybe this is what I’m supposed to do.

It’s an interesting crossroads to be in. I’ll be watching Food, Inc. this week for sure.

If you’re a vegetarian or meat eater that is particular about their vendors, what is the reasoning behind your eating habits?