The Next Step

The last time I posted on the blog I was pretty stressed out, thankfully I have employed some healthier strategies for dealing with my stress and am doing much better, though there are still good days and bad days of course. During the time since my last post I have spent a lot of time working on myself and my relationships. I have also been re-evaluating what is important to me and what direction that I want my life to take in the coming year (and beyond). December is going to be a very important month for me and will be the start of my new transition.

One of the biggest things that will be happening in December is the launch of my new blog! My website is complete and ready to go! I will officially start blogging there on December 1st. If you would like to continue to follow along with me on this new journey, please visit my new blog Tales of a Fit Kitty Mama. Until then, I wish you all well!

Choices

It doesn’t matter how small they are, the choices that we make in our lives define us and shape the paths that we take. While some choices seem insignificant, their effects are still felt and they impact every other choice that we make. I make choices every day about how I live my life… salad or burger for lunch? walk or take the bus? stay in or go out? While it may seem like they don’t have a lot of impact over my future, they do. Am I choosing to live a healthy lifestyle or an unhealthy lifestyle? Thankfully most of the time I choose to live a healthy lifestyle, but I also believe in balance, so I occasionally choose the burger or the night out.

Then there are the big choices, the ones that you know are going to change the course of your life. I’ve made a lot of those choices lately! The most notable was of course moving to Washington, though there were a lot of choices over the years that led up to that decision. Then there was the choice to go back to school, that one didn’t lead where I thought it would, but it certainly pointed my life in a new direction and brought a great friend to my life. And of course the choice to move from Marysville to Seattle was also a huge one. Every one of these choices was crucial in bringing me to the place I am in my life currently. I know each of these choices were the right ones for me to make.

Of course there are also the slightly stupid choices, like deciding to carry a 20 lb tub of cat litter 2.5 miles home from the store. I had to keep stopping along the way and my arms felt like jello by the time I finally got home. I am sure that I will be incredibly sore tomorrow!

Right now I have a lot of choices to make about my future. I don’t have to make them today or tomorrow, but they are coming up soon, so its time to start weighing what the best course of action will be. Do I continue in my current job or look for something different (with more money) while I prepare to move into a fitness career? Do I go back to school (yet again) for a degree in exercise science? Do I start looking for a place of my own even though I have a great roommate and like where I live (and honestly can’t afford to move right now anyway)? Do I pursue my writing or let that dream die out? Like I said, lots of choices to make in the near future!

What choices are you currently making in your life?

What choice has made the biggest impact on your life so far?

Sleep Disturbances

I think one of the main contributors to my melancholy mood of late has to do with the quality of sleep that I’ve been getting for the last couple of months. I wake up at least once every night, usually multiple times. Most of the time I fall back to sleep right away, but there are some nights when I am awake for at least an hour before I fall back asleep. There have even been 3 nights, including last night, when I am awake for 3 or more hours before I fall asleep again. If I work late or have the day off, this isn’t as much of a problem because I can just sleep a little later in the morning, but when I have to work early, it makes me drag for the entire day. And honestly I’m really not sleeping any later in the mornings after those nights. I wake up between 7 and 8 almost every day, even on those nights I wake up multiple times. I cannot remember the last time I slept through the entire night.

I’ve had sleep disturbances in the past, including intermittent insomnia over the years and one very notable period (about a week and a half to two weeks) where I couldn’t sleep at night at all and ended up grabbing a few hours in the morning or early afternoon each day. Most of the time these bouts of sleeplessness are accompanied by major stress or hormonal imbalances (insomnia around TOM). But this time I am not really under a lot of stress (though I do worry about money, so it’s a possible contributor). And I’m not aware of any hormonal imbalances happening, though I am at an age where its possible that I’m perimenopausal (and I think this is a definite possibility).

I don’t believe in taking sleep medication, though I have taken a homeopathic aid that helps calm my racing mind so I can sleep on occasion. But right now, my mind isn’t racing when I go to bed and I fall asleep easy, I just don’t stay asleep. I take a few other supplements that also help to promote restful sleep, but while I noticed the ability to fall asleep much quicker than before, I still wake up intermittently. And I should note that I don’t drink a lot of caffeine (an occasional soda or natural energy drink), or take any stimulants (guarana, green tea, etc.).

I’ve always slept well when it rains, but Seattle hasn’t seen a lot of rain lately (though we did get some during the day yesterday). I am hoping that we’ll get some overnight rain here soon and maybe that will help me sleep. Of course the other possibility is to evict the kitten, but she has always slept with me and it hasn’t been an issue in the past, so I don’t have the heart to do that.

In the meantime, I am going to try a few different things that might help me sleep better and hope that something does the trick. I really don’t like being so tired throughout the day, and when my mood gets affected as well, it’s just no fun for anyone!

What is Going On??

I have not blogged in so long! What the heck is going on?? Have I lost my passion for blogging? NO!! I just really need to work on my time management skills because life has gotten so busy and time is getting away from me. I need to make sure that I am finding time for the things that are most important to me in my very busy schedule right now… namely fitness and blogging. I am not doing a very good job with that right now.

Why am I so busy? Work hours have increased due to vacations this month, and my commute time has increased because I’m walking again (Yay!). Of course one of the vacations is my own, so I am busy getting ready for that as well. Then there’s studying. And social commitments. And extreme exhaustion!

So the details:
Work: As I stated, there are vacations happening at work, plus we just hired 2 brand new people who need training, this means I am working longer shifts (and sometimes 6 days) to make sure the store is fully staffed. Just yesterday I ended up leaving late because we were so busy. While this is a good thing for the wallet, it’s not so great for my focus and goals, because I have less time to commit to them and I am completely exhausted when I get home.

Fitness: My calf is feeling much better and I am back to my regular walking routine. I get some occasional tightness in my calf, but no pain. Of course, now that I am walking to work again, it means that my commute time has doubled. Of course I was walking all the time before so it’s really just back to normal, but since I’ve gotten so busy, it seems so much longer. I also restarted my strength workouts (lower body) this week as well. I will be gradually increasing my workouts until I am back up to normal in about 4-5 weeks.

Vacation: Three weeks from today I will be home for the first time in a year and a half! I am super excited of course. I can’t wait to see 4 very special people, plus anyone else I can happen to fit in. This means that I am trying to get everything together before then. I have things to buy, appointments to set, instructions to write, packing lists to make, cleaning to do, etc… I am completely burned out at work right now, so this makes this vacation so much more welcome and anticipated as well.

Studying: I was so excited to get my text books and set up a study plan that I went a little lot too ambitious when putting it together. I feel like I am so behind, when in reality, studying for my personal trainer certification does not have a due date. While ACE recommends allowing 3-6 months to take the exam, I have not registered yet and have time to prepare without trying to cram everything in right away. I’ve decided to ease back on my studying to allow more time for things like my blog, and am cutting back to an hour a day, with extra time on my days off as well.

Social: My roommate’s birthday was Monday, so we had a big football brunch on Sunday to celebrate (my roommate loves football). So many people came over and we had a really great day! Also school is back in session, so her son is back home, which means sit down dinners again and time spent talking to the kid ( in addition to the time I spend talking to his mom). These are all things I enjoy, but they also consume time, so I have to consider them when I am planning out my days.

Random: I am also still trying to build my website for my self-hosted blog. It is taking longer than anticipated, but I hope to be able to share it with you all soon (or at least before the end of the year). I joined an online dating site. I have a couple of friends who are using it… one chats with several guys every day, the other has already been on a date. I’ve gotten one very obscure, nonsensical message so far… oh well. And I’ve started a sort of virtual life coaching thing as well. My first task was to make a list of things that I am tolerating and to start eliminate them… it’s a pretty long list, but I have already eliminated 7 things and am working on more.

Really all of these things are great, it’s just that I am apparently terrible at managing my time! I am really working on that and will be posting here more frequently again!

Set-Backs and Moving Forward

So I’m pretty frustrated. I mentioned that I exacerbated my injury (torn plantaris muscle) by pushing too hard, too fast on Friday. So now it looks like there will be no walking for me for 2 weeks, and no running for at least 6 weeks. This means that I need to completely re-think my entire fitness program for the time being. I can still work on upper body and core strength, but I need to take it easy on my leg, so my lower body strength will be limited. My cross-training tends to be DVDs (kickboxing, aerobics, dance, etc. ), Zumba, or dancing; so all of those are out right now as well. Someone mentioned that the recumbent bike at the gym might be pretty low impact on my leg, so I might try that, but I really don’t want to set myself back any further than I am now. This pretty much leaves the pool… swimming, water jogging or water aerobics.

I’ve been checking out the pool options in my area. There’s a community pool about a half mile from me. Its $55/ month for a swim pass and there are designated times when the pool is open for adult swim or lap swimming. The pool is closed for refurbishment right now until the 17th. The other option is the pool at my gym, which is included in my membership. The biggest drawback here is that its only a 2-lane pool so it can get kind of crowded at times. The other big issue is that my swimsuit is way too big for me now, so I definitely need a new one (and its the completely wrong season!). I’m going to see if there might be some clearance ones still available this week, because I think my best bet to stay on track is to get in the pool until I can walk/ run/ dance again.

Through all of this, my biggest fear is that I will fall back into my old habits, gain back the weight I’ve lost and be right back where I started. I am nervous that if I take too much time off exercising that I’ll never get back to it. I know that I have mentioned this before, but its the biggest obstacle in my mind right now. I am trying to remain positive and focused on what I can do rather than dwelling on what I can’t do, but there are days that I just want to push myself and ignore the pain, but I know that is not the solution and will only make things worse in the long run.

So now I am working on a new plan and putting together some new goals. I have also picked out some rewards to help me through this down time and keep me focused. As I finalize the new plan, I’ll post it for everyone here. Plus I’ll be starting to prepare for my personal trainer certification as soon as my materials arrive (should be next week!), so I’m hoping that will help to keep me on track as well.

In the meantime I am using the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method and riding the bus. I’m on my feet all day at work, but am trying to be mindful of my injury and not put too much pressure on the injured muscle, or flex my foot in a way that pulls on it. Stairs are a little tricky right now, but thankfully there aren’t very many of  them that I have to deal with and if I lead with my right (uninjured) leg, then I can avoid pain… I just have to remember that when I hit stairs (I don’t always). A few people have recommended foam rolling to me as well, so I am going to give that a try to see if it will help as well.

Do you have any suggestions for fun workouts that won’t stress my injury?

Weekly Recap 9/8/12

This week the plan was to keep my workouts nice and easy to allow for me to heal from my injury. I started off still resting, then eased into my daily walks. Unfortunately I pushed a little too hard and ended up with a flare up of pain towards the end of my walk yesterday. My calf is still tender today and when I walk quickly I still feel pain. I will be moderating my workouts again next week and have to acknowledge that I will have to wait at least another week before I can really get my running program started.

In the past, I would have taken this injury as a sign that I shouldn’t be running and that I should just accept the status quo and live with it. Now however, I see it as a test of my determination. Do I really want to reach my goals or am I going to cave at the first sign of adversity? And I know that I really want to reach my goals. It may take a little longer to get where I want to be, but I will still get there… with or without this injury!

So here is my training for this week:

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest/ 15 minute stretch
Tuesday: 2.25 mile walk
Wednesday: 2.25 mile walk
Thursday: 5 mile walk
Friday: 4.5 mile walk
Saturday: Rest

 

Injury Update and Food Issues

First to update on my injury… I am feeling a lot better! I have been walking to work every day this week and have experienced minor twinges in calf, but nothing major, mostly when I’m walking uphill. In general, there is just a feeling of tightness in the affected calf. Today was the first time I walked both to work and home again and I am feeling fine tonight. I am a little nervous about resuming my running (re-starting? I only got the first day in before my injury took me out) next week, but I think that I should be fine. I plan to take it easy the first day or two to make sure, but overall think I am truly on the mend.

That was the good news! Unfortunately the same cannot be said for my eating habits lately. I know the primary reason I have been stuck on a plateau for so long is my eating. I have mentioned this before here on my blog. I have attempted to make loose menu plans and buy healthier food, but the truth of the matter is that I am eating too many processed foods and too much food in general in some cases. I really need to take control of the food that I am eating (and purchasing) if I am going to break through this plateau and keep losing weight. This week I really don’t have money to shop for groceries, so I will be finishing off the various processed foods that are living in my pantry. I will be working to make my meals as healthy as possible, but know that this week will not be the greatest (which is really what the last several weeks  months have been like anyway). During this time I will be putting together a detailed menu plan for all of my meals and snacks for the following week. I will be utilizing my food tracker (on Sparkpeople) to make sure that I am both staying within an appropriate calorie range and meeting my daily requirements for macronutrients when putting together these menus. I will then buy ONLY what is needed to prepare these meals and do all of the prep work immediately to ensure that I am eating what is on the plan. I am doing well with the fitness aspect of things, but I really need to get it together when it comes to food if I am going to meet my goals!!

How do you meet your food-related goals?

Fitness Recap

This week’s workouts were cut a little short due to my injury, but here you go:

Sunday: 4.5 mile walk

Monday: 2.25 mile walk

Tuesday: C25K W1 D1; 45 minute full body strength; 30 min dancing

Wednesday: 2.25 mile walk

Thursday: 2.75 mile walk

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

I am off cardio for at least the next 2 days, but will try to get some upper body and/or core work in. Depending on how things go with my leg, I have a backup plan in place if I’m not able to at least start walking again next week.

Disabled List

Yes, unfortunately, I am on the disabled list. While walking home on Sunday night I experienced a sharp and lingering pain in my left calf muscle. I was only about halfway home, but continued the rest of the way, figuring it would work itself out. I was a little sore the rest of the day, but nothing too bad. On Monday, I walked to work and had a few twinges of pain, but nothing too bad. That evening I had some soreness, but again nothing too bad. Tuesday included a run, after which I was very sore. At this point I figured I was just experiencing some muscle soreness and that it would work itself out.

I walked to work again on Wednesday and again had some twinges of pain, plus experienced soreness throughout the day at work. After I arrived home Wednesday night, my calf was extremely painful and I tried heat and massage to work out the muscle. This morning (Thursday), I again walked to work. I was in so much pain I had to admit that the issue with my calf was more that just simple muscle soreness and that I indeed have an injury. I experienced minor pain in my calf all day while working and extreme pain when I walked to the bank after work. Needless to say, I took the bus home this evening rather than try to walk the 2 miles.

While I am disappointed that I am going to need to ease off my workouts for a while, I do not want to injure myself seriously, so I know that I need to give myself some time to heal from whatever is going on. I am hoping that this is simple a muscle strain or pinched nerve and not something worse. At this point my calf is painful when my foot is flexed and when walking normally. It is tender and sore to the touch as well on the inner portion of my upper calf.

Tomorrow I will be doing no lower body work or cardio to give my leg a chance to rest. I am off work tomorrow (Friday), Sunday and Monday, so will be able to completely rest my leg on those days. While I work on Saturday and will be on my feet all day, I will be taking the bus to and from work so that I am not stressing my leg any more. I will reassess on Tuesday to see if there is any improvement. If there is, I will resume my walking program and look at reintroducing running. If there is no improvement, I will be making an appointment with my doctor to see if there is a more serious underlying issue. I am obviously hoping that things will be better by Tuesday.

I have been pushing really hard the last couple of weeks because I really want to break this plateau I am on and reach my next goal by the time I go home for a visit (8 weeks & 10 lbs), so its really hard for me to step back, but I know that my overall health is more important than this short-term goal, so giving myself a chance to heal is the right decision.

How do you respond when you have an injury?

Training Topic~ Crossfit??

Crossfit has become very big in the fitness world. I had honestly never heard about it before this year, but several of the bloggers I follow are all into Crossfit. Then it started showing up more and more on Twitter and Pinterest, and suddenly I was wondering what the hype was all about… then deciding that Crossfit was definitely NOT for me.

But what did I base this decision on? Was I intimidated by the exercises that I saw everyone posting and figuring I could never master them? Was it the blisters on people’s hands? Was is laziness or not wanting to put out the effort? Was it concern about the cost? The commitment? The Paleo lifestyle? Or was it really just the one thing that I am trying to overcome… fear?

So I decided to open myself up to the possibility of Crossfit and do some more research on it. Not only is Crossfit scalable to different fitness levels, but you can also perform the workouts at home. In reading various blogs about Crossfit, I have seen a lot of different equipment mentioned, but its nice to know that a lot of the workouts can be done without equipment.

Does this change my opinion about it? I’m not sure… I am still definitely intimidated, but I am at least open to the possibility of trying some of the workouts in the future. Right now I am focusing on my running program and don’t want to try to change too many things at one time, but down the road I might give Crossfit a try.

What do you think? Have you tried Crossfit, would you? And if you do Crossfit, how has it enriched your life? I really want to know!