New Month, New Goals, New (old) Attitude!

Ok, I am done with all of the homesickness and feeling down in the dumps. I am done with all of the stress over the crap with school. It is time for me to re-focus and move on with what is important to me and my life… living healthier!

I started 2012 with a goal to become healthier, happier and wealthier. Here is a link to my blog post outlining what I was looking forward to in 2012 http://wp.me/p1YNaZ-n. With everything that has happened during late February and March, I have not been doing a very good job with following this goal. Now I am ready to get back on track and back to focusing on what is really important in April.

I have taken some steps in the last few days, such as joining the Healthy Living Blog community, joining the Foodie Pen Pal group, and signing up for a local CSA. I have also put together some goals for April that will put me back where I need to be. I am focusing not only on my fitness and weight-loss, but also on my overall self and finances to find the balance that I am seeking. Its time to bring rewards back into my life as well, so I have picked a reward for this month that I will be saving and working towards.

Here are my April Goals:

1. Tracking: I will be tracking 3 different things through the month of April. The first will be my finances, I will be tracking every penny that I spend in the month of April to see where the leaks are and to start coming up with some solid budgeting plans. The second thing that I will be tracking is my food. I used to track my food regularly, but over the last several months have fallen away from that. So for the month of April, I will again be tracking all of my food on Spark (www.sparkpeople.com). Finally, I will be wearing my pedometer every day and tracking my steps. I’ve worn it the last couple of days just to work and have gotten in between 5000-7500 steps while there. I want to wear it all day to get a general idea of how much I am moving so I have somewhere to build from.

2. Nutrition: This has been the area where I have really been struggling for months. I have blamed it on the fact that I haven’t had the money to do a lot of grocery shopping so I haven’t been eating a lot of fresh produce. Now that I’ve joined the CSA, I will be getting weekly produce deliveries starting the middle of April. I am using part of my food budget to guarantee that I will be getting fruits and vegetables. The first 2 weeks of April will still be tough, but I plan to be eating 75% clean by the end of the month. Along with this, I need to get my water consumption back into the range it needs to be. The last month I have fallen to somewhere between 4-6 glasses a day, where I used to drink 10-12 glasses. In April I will get in 8-10 glasses of water daily. The final step in the nutrition category is supplements. I have been really bad about taking my supplements over the last couple of months, so I want to get back on track with taking all of my supplements.

3. Fitness: In order to save some money, and because it worked so well the first time, I have decided to not get a bus pass again for the month of April. Instead I will start walking everywhere again. (I will still take the bus home after a closing shift at the request of friends & family who don’t want me walking to 2 miles home that late at night). I am also still training for a 5k in June, so I will be focusing on my 5k training. The last piece of this puzzle for April is strength. I have incorporated some full body strength sessions in each week, this month I will continue with those, but put an emphasis on my upper body and arms.

4. My Self: It is really all about balance when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, and I need to find my balance again. In order to do that, I need to make sure that I am taking some me time everyday. For April I am going to start meditating again in the evenings, starting at 5 mins and building up from there. I haven’t meditated in several months, so I think this will be really beneficial for me. I also plan to take some time out for reading. I love to read, but found that I was not taking the time in March to curl up with a book for a while. For April I also want to focus on my dental health and make sure to brush and floss twice a day.

5. Blogging: I really want to focus on my blog in April and on building a relationship with other bloggers. I want to interact with other members of the Healthy Living Blog community through their blogs and the Foodie Pen Pal program. I want to post more frequently to this blog as well, so I have set a goal of posting at least 3 times per week. Finally, to help myself when I am struggling for a topic, I want to create a list of potential blog topics that I can pull from when necessary.

So those are my goals for the month of April. I don’t think that they are too ambitious and feel I should be able to accomplish all of them. Once I get back to a good baseline, I can work on really building up to my big goals… triathlon, lifestyle coach certification, etc.

What goals have you made for the month of April??

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Moving Forward

My last blog definitely expressed my frustration with my current situation and the way that I have been feeling lately. I needed to get all of that out and work through it in my own head, getting it out here on the blog helps me to do that. Now its time to move past that and get busy on doing the work to move me forward.

To touch back on some of the things I discussed in my previous blog… I have some amazing friends both in person and on the internet that I know are there for me, even when I have a hard time reaching out to them. I know that I have support, even when I feel alone. I am homesick and I do really want to find a way to visit as soon as possible, but I know that the money is not just going to appear like magic, so its something I am going to have to work for. And finally, I am not going to graduate. Yes, as some people said it is only 8 hours, but for me its more than just the hours. I have decided to move forward in the direction I want to go and write off the entire sojourn in pharmacy. I should have dropped the program long ago, but don’t regret starting it, I would not have found some really incredible friends if I hadn’t.

As of today, I have officially joined the Healthy Living Blogs community and will be focusing more on that aspect of my life… the healthy lifestyle part… than on the past. I will be focusing on the positive in my life and what I can do to make every day as healthy, active and, yes, happy, as I can. My dreams and goals have not changed, I just hit a bump in the road that jolted me into a ditch, but I am digging out of it and ready to keep going on my path.

Lost

So this week I have been able to get back to my cardio workouts. I started walking to (or from) work again and got back into the gym and back to my 5k training.  So far I’ve also gotten in the first of 3 strength training sessions this week. I am really happy about this! I have also started taking my lunch/dinner to work and am eating much better for lunch and dinner, though am still struggling to get healthy breakfasts in the morning. I have the fixings, I’m just not making them. I think part of the reason for that, maybe all of the reason for it, is that I have been in a funk for the last week. I was hoping that getting my cardio workouts back on track would help to shake me out of it, but that does not appear to be the case so far.

There are several things that could be contributing to this funk, perhaps its a combination of all of them. But really I just have not been happy, and being happy with my life is important to me. I try to remain positive and focus on the good things, and usually choose to find the happy in everyday, but I’ve had just a bit of a harder time finding that happy lately. Maybe its the letdown after all of the rush from the weeks I was externing, maybe its the fact that the school is not going to graduate me because they feel I’m 8 hours short of my time, though the hospital feels I’ve met all of my obligations (not that I am pursuing a career in the field, but I went through a lot just to finish this program, so it pretty much sucks that I did it all for nothing). Maybe its the drag of an endless winter and the lack of sunshine, maybe it’s because I’ve coming up on a year since I’ve seen my parents or my boys. Maybe I’m just over thinking things too much…

All that I know at this point is that I’m lonely and feel disconnected from people. Most of the people here in Washington don’t know my past and everything that I’ve gone through to get to where I am. They only know what I’ve told them. So I feel sometimes like I’m a little isolated from them. Part of that is probably my own fault, but I really don’t know. And honestly, I don’t know a whole lot of people here, there are basically 5 people in the Seattle area that I feel any connection to at all, plus my brother and his wife a bit further south. I really want to go home for a visit, see my parents and my boys, bask in the sunshine for a little while, get one of Jeremy’s amazing hugs (he really gives the best hugs on the planet and I could so use one right about now). Unfortunately with the state of my finances, I make just enough to cover the rent and bills with a little left over for food, and really don’t see that changing any time soon until I get promoted or find a 2nd job. So the money for a ticket to San Diego just doesn’t exist right now. And maybe its just the homesickness that’s really dragging me down.

So this is not a happy, positive blog, which is what I normally try to stick to, but its honest at least, and really no one reads my blog anyway, so it’s really just for me…

Finding My Way Back

I have been struggling this week to get back on track with my workouts. After the long stretch of 17 hour days and going 23 days without a day off, my body was initially exhausted, but now I feel like I’ve fallen into a rut that I need to break out of. I have had 2 really strong strength workouts so far this week, but hardly any cardio. And I seem to be spending way too much time sitting in front of the computer wasting time on sites like Pinterest, Good Reads and Facebook. I love all of these sites and they can be useful tools, but when they start coming between me and my healthy lifestyle, its time to call a halt.

Yesterday I did some grocery shopping and stocked up on the things I need for healthy, nutritious breakfasts and lunches. I committed to myself that I am going to stop buying lunches and start bringing them with me. Unfortunately I overslept this morning after a bad night’s sleep and did not get a chance to eat breakfast, but I did pack lunch… but not my water bottle, so I am very short on water for the day.

Because I have not been getting my cardio in, I am going to start walking to work again (and from on days I get off early). This will build at least a 2 mile walk 5-6 days a week. In addition to that, I plan to start hitting the gym immediately after work again, rather than relying on myself to get in a cardio workout at home. I have no problems doing strength at home, but am really resistant to at home cardio workouts right now. (I have no idea why and may have to blog on this separately to see what I can come up with). I also need to get back on track with my running training so that I am ready for my 5K in June.

I am doing well with my strength workouts, I think that I just need to kick them up a notch and increase my resistance.

My goals for the next week to finish out March are as follows:

1. Drink water! Before I can drink any other beverages (except chocolate milk after my workouts), I need to have at least 6 of my 8 glasses of water in.

2. Move more! I will walk to work every day this week. Walking home is a bonus but I need to at least walk there.

3. Get back in the gym! I want to get in at least 3 gym cardio sessions this week… namely my 5K training, though I would like to get in some cross training on the bike or elliptical as well, and a Zumba class if it works with my schedule.

4. Eat healthier! Fix a nutritious breakfast and pack a healthy lunch every day. Dinner is open, but should be a healthier option if available.

5. Up the resistance! Start increasing the resistance in my strength training by moving to heavier dumbbells and/or adding resistance bands.

April is just around the corner and I want to get myself back to my workout rhythm so that I can really kick things up and move forward towards my goals!

Chasing My OWN Dreams

For the past 5 weeks I have been completing my externship to finish of my training as a Pharmacy Technician. I have been getting up at 4:30 in the morning, sleeping an average of 4-5 hours a night, commuting 2 hours a day, working 8 hours unpaid at a hospital and then working at my regular job in the evening and arriving home at 10:30 at night. All for a dream that is not my own because I made a promise to my parents (and to myself) to finish the program. I have no intention of working as a Pharmacy Technician. There were several times that I wanted to quit, not because the hospital was so terrible, because it really wasn’t, but because I felt so much dissonance between what I was doing and my own beliefs about the use of prescription medication in our society (which is not something that I am going to get into here because that is not the purpose of this blog). If I can endure that and push through, just think what I can do now that I am free to focus 100% on my dreams!

I sacrificed a lot during the last 2 weeks especially when I was pulling 17 hour days and unable to get to the gym or fit in my regular workouts. This also meant that I was unable to push forward with my 5k training plan. It was really hard to feel like I had to put my dreams aside even though I knew that it was only temporary. But I knew that my body was exhausted and could not handle the workouts on top of the long days and lack of sleep. Now I am ready to get back to my training and back to my goals!

This week I am easing my way back into my workouts and not trying to start right back into 60-90 minute sessions. I know it should only take me a week to get back to that point though, so next week I will be back up to my full workouts again. This will get me back to where I need to be both for my 1st 5K run in June and my goal to hit an “overweight” BMI by my birthday (158 lbs… currently 184.2) in July. It will also prepare me to start my training to become a personal trainer in August.

I do have some decisions to make about my immediate and near future in terms of work and my living situation (both of which are perfectly fine right now) and where I want to go in those terms. My finances are the only area of my life that seem to be really out of balance right now, so I need to make some decisions to get that area of my life balanced out as well.

The important thing in all of this is that I am happy. Really, truly happy like I haven’t been in a really long time. I am feeling relaxed even though I have important decisions to make, and I am feeling motivated and excited about my goals. I am free to chase my dreams now… and I am going to catch them!!

Pushing Through

This week has been pretty rough. I have been doing 40 hours a week at the hospital for my extern, then working 29 hours at my job, and most days I’m gone for 17 hours. I found that I wasn’t able to get into the gym like I was hoping and that I struggled to really get in any workouts. I did manage to get 3 small cardio sessions in this week as well as 2 strength sessions. I have been maintaining for the most part throughout my externship, but this week saw a small half pound loss which was awesome.

Because I am so tired, I have noticed that I have been very irritable lately. I am trying to overcome this and focus on the positives in the situation, but have not always been successful. The truth is that I am simply exhausted and starting to burn out a bit. Thankfully this is the last week for my externship and I will eventually get a day off where I can relax (March 20th). In the meantime, I have decided to stop pushing myself to get to the gym and am focusing on remaining more active throughout the day. While I miss the gym, I need to focus on getting rest right now.

That being said, I have been thinking a lot about my goals over the last week or so. I have a lot of ideas for new workouts that I want to try, and I want to kick my training up a notch once I am back to a normal schedule. I also decided that I want to be “overweight” by my birthday in July. According to BMI charts, etc. I am currently “obese” since I am only 5’1″ and currently weight 184.2. The magic number that moves me to the overweight category is 158, which is completely doable.

This week I am going to focus on staying healthy and keeping positive while I finish out this insane schedule, then I will be back to work and ready to really focus on my goals again!

On a completely unrelated note, I am looking for some inspirational, fun blogs to follow. If you have any recommendations (even if its your own blog) please let me know and I will check them out! Thanks!!

What’s Changed??

My life has changed so much in the past year, it’s really amazing. This time last year I had just found out that I was going to be moving to Washington. I was making plans to pack, sell, and donate everything that was in my apartment, budgeting for truck rental and storage, cancelling utilities and all that good stuff. One of my best friends, who was my roommate at the time was in the process of moving out of the apartment and packing his stuff up. It was a time of stress, fear, excitement, nerves and a lot of work. It was a month later that I actually moved, but this is about the time it all started.

Once I moved to Washington I was introduced to a new environment, which was really intimidating. I was also truly on my own for the first time in my life. I was living with my best friend and her husband, but for the first time in my life, my family wasn’t right there to help me out if I needed it. (They are very definitely here for me, just not physically here). My brother is a couple of hours away and my parents are a couple states away. I really came to realize my strength and started getting to know my true self.

There were a lot of mis-steps along the way, and times that I closed myself away and hid who I really am, but underneath I was discovering so much more about myself. I took some paths that veered away from my ultimate goals and dreams, but they brought me new friends and new experiences that I would never have found otherwise.

I have been exposed to so many new things this year, new adventures, new foods, new people, new community, new field, new job… the list goes on. I have had more firsts this year than any other year of my adult life. It has truly been enriching and empowering.

Some of my new experiences (mostly food related):
1. Pad Thai
2. Ethiopian Food
3. Japanese Food
4. Garlic Fries
5. Brie
6. The field of pharmacy
7. Elliptical
8. Snow
9. Tilapia and Salmon
10. Adobo (both chicken and beef)
11. Creole food

But one of the biggest changes that has occurred this year isn’t my address or my job, its my attitude. I am so much more committed to myself and my healthy lifestyle. I have so much more confidence in myself than ever before. I am looking for new clothes and developing a personal style, I have developed a love for all things girly… shoes, purses, accessories, etc. I am putting myself out there a little more and feel that I am finally, really ready to start dating again. I absolutely love working out and going to the gym and the thing that makes me the most frustrated while my schedule is so busy is that I can’t spend as much time working out as I would like.

I almost feel like a new person, and its an amazing feeling! While I still miss California and consider it my home (and can’t wait until I am able to go home for a visit), I think that moving to Washington was probably one of the best decisions that I have made in my life, because it has allowed me to find myself.

I am looking forward to more great things this year and in the future because I have finally found my groove!!

Crazy Schedule and Running

My schedule is pretty insane right now and will be for another 2 weeks. My goal during that time for this blog is to post something at least once per week. Once my extern is over, I will be able to devote more time to the things that are most important to me… my fitness plan, Sparkpeople, healthy living and this blog. In the meantime, I am spending 40 hours a week at my extern site and working around 30 hours a week at my job. I leave the house at 5:25am and return home at 10:20 pm most days.

In spite of the crazy schedule, I am also starting to train to run a 5K in a few months and joined an 8 week Rookie Running team on Spark. I was able to complete all three of my training sessions for the first week and feel really good about my progress. The plan calls for gradually increasing running time and so far I am barely running at all, but I can do it, which is more than was possible just months ago. Next week could get interesting as I haven’t figured out when I will be able to fit in my 3rd training session, but I will fit it in there somewhere! Maybe I’ll run to the next bus stop when leaving the hospital or get off a few stops early and run to work… I’m not sure yet.

My sleep cycle is definitely taking a hit right now, which is not easy. And my weight loss has slowed because I am both not sleeping enough and working out less than before. The good news is that its only 2 more weeks, so the end is in sight and I will still have time to meet my March goals once my schedule gets back to normal. I am trying to eat as healthy as possible and include as much activity in my day as I can to make up for the lack of formal exercise.

I am still feeling really good about the direction my life is moving in right now, despite being tired. I know that great things are just around the corner for me and I am still heading towards my goals!