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!

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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!

Retreat and Regroup

Every once in a while, I need to retreat into myself and withdraw from the world for a little while. Lately I have really been feeling this need. Last night I withdrew, but didn’t completely close myself off from the people around me. Today I have closed myself away for a while to just sit with myself and figure out what my next step is. Of course, I will have to venture out at some point because I do have to go to work a little later, but for now I am embracing solitude.

While my need to retreat can sometimes indicate a bout of depression coming on, it doesn’t always mean this. Sometimes its just a hint that there is something out of balance in my life or something that just isn’t working quite right. I know that this, combined with the sudden change in the weather, is what is driving me right now.

For the last several weeks my life has felt like its running out of control with work and other obligations. I have cut back on several of these obligations, but am having a difficult time shifting gears back to what I need to be focusing on. Other changes in my life (mentioned in yesterday’s blog), have me re-assessing how I spend my time as well. Like figuring out what to do on Friday and Saturday nights now. Like looking for ways to meet new people that will fit with my very limited budget and time constraints.

I know that I won’t have a lot of time to really withdraw this week, I have way too much that has to get done before I leave on my trip. But I also know that I need to spend some time in solitude to really figure out what’s going on in my head and where I need to go next. The only certainties regarding my next step are my devotion to fitness, studying for my certification, and building my blog. Everything other than those things are possibilities for change.

In truth, I am not unhappy, though I am a little discontented with things the way they are now. This tells me that I definitely need to make a change. And I need to consider what I need to fulfill myself, not necessarily what others think I should do, when I am making changes.

Hopefully I will have some answers soon. Perhaps my trip will help me realize what I need to do next, since it will take me out of my regular day-to-day world. If not, at least it will provide me with some much-needed rest and relaxation time!

Training Topic~ Injuries

So a topic that has definitely been on my mind for the last week is injuries. After injuring my calf muscle and not being able to work out for several days, I have found that I am frustrated and a bit grumpy. I knew that I was used to working out almost every day and that I enjoyed it, but I didn’t realize just how much my mood relied on my daily walks.

I know that injuries need to be treated and rested in order to heal. Thankfully my injury was pretty minor (at least it appears so) and several days rest and massage seem to have done the trick. But it was really tempting to continue to exercise and push myself towards my goals. I wanted to keep walking, keep running and keep doing my strength and dvds. I thought about it, considered it, but knew that ultimately I would be doing myself a disservice and jeopardizing my goals (not to mention my health) by continuing to push through. Now that I am feeling better, I really want to just dive right back in, but I know that could mean re-injuring myself, or delay healing if I’m not completely healed yet. It’s really hard to make myself step back and ease myself back into my routine this week.

On the other hand, there is also a part of me that is afraid to jump back into my routine because I DON’T want to reinjure myself or aggravate my leg any further. I am afraid that I will push too hard and make things worse. I really don’t want to get completely derailed from my goals and the longer I’m injured, the higher the probability that I could backslide. I know that I need to keep moving forward and push through the fear, but the fear is there just the same.

How do you handle injuries?

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!

Stalled

This is probably going to be my shortest blog ever…

I have to confess that I have stalled out a bit over the last several days. I have been feeling mildly under the weather, but nothing major, not enough that it should limit me too much. Unfortunately I have taken advantage and not really accomplished much. My hip has also been bothering me, so I am easing off on my walks a bit. I am not sure what is going on, if I’ve got some sort of low-grade virus or if I just have a case of the blahs, but either way, I need to get my momentum turned around in the right direction!

How do you get yourself going again?

Friday 5~ Gratitude

I have been going back and forth again about what I wanted to talk about in today’s Friday 5, and decided that the one topic that stands out among all others is gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for in my life, and while things are not perfect, they are pretty darn good! So here are 5 of the things that I am most grateful for…

1. My family! Yesterday I received a care package from my parents that included 3 bags of Lays Limon Potato Chips (I blogged about them in a previous Friday 5). My parents do things like this which is completely awesome! They have always supported me in everything that I have done and even though we live 1300 miles apart now, they are still looking out for me. My brother is included in all of this too… he is my sounding board and always comes to my rescue whenever I need him. I have been very blessed with my amazing family.

2. My friends! I have a lot of friends in real life and in the cyber-world, but there are a few who stand out above the rest. I know them all in real life and I know that they have my back whenever I need it. They have each been there for me in one way or another, providing me with support, insight, a refuge, whatever. Specifically I am referring to Jeremy, Octavio, Monique, Jeff, Terry, Joanna & Jaime… you all rock and make my life better with your presence.

3. My kitty! I have always loved cats and when I moved out on my own, I always talked about getting one. I am so happy that I brought Disney into my life, she gives me unconditional love and reminds me on a day-to-day basis that I am not alone in the world. I love nothing more than to wake up with her snuggled next to me (or on top of me), and I completely melt when she crawls in my lap while I’m reading.

4. My health! I am very grateful that I do not have to deal with any chronic health issues and that I am overall very healthy aside from the occasional cold or flu. Considering the fact that I was very obese (and am still technically considered obese), it is really amazing that I don’t have one or more chronic condition. Yes there are days that I feel my age when I wake up in the morning, but I still have what it takes to get my workouts in each day.

5. My blog! Now this one might sound a bit funny, but I am very grateful for what my blog has brought into my life. Since decided to become serious about blogging, I have been introduced to a variety of other really great bloggers. I have also been introduced to new products, new workouts, new ways of thinking, and have embraced the new community of healthy bloggers that I have joined. I am also grateful to my blog for giving me a place to share my ideas, my life and my struggles.

What are you grateful for today?

Visualization

For the last couple of weeks my iPod hasn’t been working, so I am walking to (and from) work without music. This allows my mind to really wander and I end up in some pretty crazy places. But more often than not lately, I find myself visualizing the effect that my walks are having on my body.

As I was walking home from work today, I noticed how my pants are fitting loosely around the thighs. Once upon a time they were rather tight in the thigh area. So I started picturing my thighs getting smaller with each step I took. I also kind of visualized what would happen if my pants fell down, because honestly I really need to get a belt (I mean I have lost 18.5 inches in addition to the 41 lbs).

Last week one of my walks took me to a lot of hills. Each time I headed up one of the steep hills, what kept me moving was visualizing my butt looking awesome. Right now I really don’t have a butt. My back kind of slopes out a bit so it looks like I have some junk in the trunk, but really there’s not a whole lot there (I inherited this from my dad). I am hoping hill walking and stairs might help me to develop a bit of a backside!

In addition to the visualizations about my body, I also visualize my blog posts. I tend to write them in my head at times while I’m walking, though by the time they actually hit the computer screen they are vastly different. I also have conversations with myself about issues at work or elsewhere in my life and sometimes am able to come to a resolution somewhere along the 2.25 mile route. So now my walks are performing triple duty~ transportation, workout & therapy!

What do you think about/ visualize during your workouts??

Re-Working the Network

This weekend I took a hiatus from my two main social networking sites while I figured out just where I am stuck and what is missing from my life right now. I spent Friday morning in a bit of a funk that had been coming on for a few days. I had been feeling disenchanted and unenthusiastic about my training, my diet and pretty much everything for a few weeks. I decided to take myself off of Facebook and Sparkpeople for the weekend and spend the time I would normally be using those sites to focus on figuring out what is going on in my head.

For the most part, things in my life are awesome right now. I have made some really healthy changes and have started moving on the right path for me. But I have been feeling that there is something missing and I think I finally figured out what it is… connection!

Most of my interaction with friends and family is through technology now. Aside from my roommate and one friend from work, I rarely see my friends any more, even the ones here in Washington. And when we do communicate it’s through social networking sites, texting, instant messaging and emails. I need to make an effort to connect more with people on a regular basis and open myself up more.

I did take some time to venture out this weekend. I went out with my roommate and some of her friends to a club on Friday night to see the band Boxer Rebellion. I had a lot of fun, got a little trashed, and felt a lot better Saturday. I will be working spend more time with friends and to meet new people to get that in-person connection happening.

I am also missing connection on some other key levels… namely intimacy and spirituality. I had been exploring my spirituality for a while and was feeling some connectedness with a few different aspects of different schools of religious thought. Unfortunately I let that slip over the last several months and am really feeling that lack of connection to a higher purpose. I need to refocus on my explorations and return to meditation.

The final area of connectedness that is missing from my life is definitely intimacy. It has been a while since I have dated, even casually, and I am missing that feeling of closeness with another person. I have recently started considering exploring the world of on-line dating sites again, though have really had NO success with them in the past. For a long time I have said that if its meant to be, I will find the right person, but lately I have been thinking that I need to do just a bit more to bring that someone into my life.

Now that I have identified what’s missing, I need to find it and bring it into my life. To start, I am altering my use of social media… using Twitter and my blogging networks as my primary sources. I will remain a member of Sparkpeople.com, but will be using it primarily for encouragement and motivation and less as a tracking site for my workouts as I have been. I will keep my Facebook account open in order to share my blog and keep in touch with some people who are special to me that I communicate with primarily there, but I will not be spending a lot of time on the site and will primarily be checking in with just those people. I will also be getting together in person with my friends here in Washington as often as possible. Our work schedules do get in the way, but we should still be able to find a way to get together once a month or so. I am also going to start attending some local Meet-ups and see if I can find some connections that way. I will be returning to my spiritual pursuits, including meditation. And I will open myself up to the possibilities of dating… still not sure if I want to do the online thing again, but haven’t ruled it out…

How do you find connections in your life?