Aversion to April

I may be developing an aversion to the month of April, not the giraffe.  I find giraffes to be particularly delightful.  But I digress . . .

I took April 13th and 14th off from work with the intention of, for lack of better words, getting my shit together.  The getting my shit together umbrella was to include: start running again, get all the housework caught up, catch up on swap-bot swaps, return sendsomething.net mail, catch up on pen pal letters, get the grocery shopping done, etc.  So, what happened?  For the most part, I nailed it!  Thursday the 13th – Easter Sunday I achieved my Fitbit goal each day, the house looked as immaculate as it can during projects season, and I finished the perler portrait I created for my best friend.  I was also a snail mail creating machine.  And then . . . Monday happened . . .  dun dun dun (that is to be read to the tune of ominous music).

During the warmer months, I become far more active.  Therefore, I sweat considerably more.  So, I tried a new facial cleanser that would help combat all the wonderful side effects of sweating heavily.  Well, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta have got nothing on me (this is a Face/Off reference for all of you pop culture gurus).  The purifying cleanser, its accompanying renewing toner, and the repairing lotion caused a severe allergic reaction; my eyes were swollen closed for several days, and it essentially burned my face off.  My face is now as smooth as a brand new baby’s bum, but that is because my original face sloughed off throughout the week.  I missed the entire week of work because not only was I considerably hideous in appearance, my level of discomfort was . . . well, uncomfortable.  Throw in the side effects of a body pumped chock-full of Benadryl and Claritin . . . that was . . . not what I would consider a fantastic experience either.  SO, despite all of my efforts to become and remain physically active and productive, it was short lived.

Today is Sunday the 23rd, and I return to work tomorrow.  I was gung-ho for today because I fully intended to get some raking done and add some miles to my ASICS.  That was until the most recent mishap . . .

Just moments ago, my parents’ boxer, Gracie, got a case of what we have lovingly dubbed “the zoomies.”  Zoomies def: when a boxer runs and runs and runs, at full speed, in circles around you.  It’s what Gracie does, especially during spring, and it is normally quite manageable, but today, she strayed from the circular pattern and tugged so hard on her leash that  I was down before I even knew I was going down.  Nothing on my body is broken, and my face was not harmed, but I do have some lovely parting prizes just for playing.  On my left hand, my palm and pinky and ring fingers are . . . torn open.  My left elbow, right knee, ankles, and toes are scraped and bloody.  The grand prize, however, is my left leg.  From knee to shin is a compilation of scrapes, skinless patches, and bloodiness.  I shall be the proud owner of some bad-ass bruises in a matter of hours.

Now may be an appropriate time to begin concocting a fiblet about a roller derby  match gone awry.  I mean, getting these injuries from one of the gentlest, most loving dogs I have ever known is just the sort of irony that quite accurately depicts what it is like to be me, but let’s be honest . . . it makes for a rather anticlimactic story.  The point of this entire reminiscence with the past week and a half of my life?  No matter how “together” I get myself, and no matter how hard I work toward goals, small and large alike, these sorts of things constantly creep up, or in this case, ZOOM in.  So, I may not end up going running today because . . . well, OW.  But I’m not discouraged.  Once I picked myself up off the pavement and took an inventory of all of my still fully intact bones, I laughed!  I laughed and laughed and laughed . . . because this is what it is like to be me, and after 32 years, it’s better to accept that this is just the way it is and likely always will be.

Life can only knock me down, but it cannot hold me down.  It is up to me to get back up. 🙂

SO, perhaps a slow, gentle walk with my own dog is in the near future.  I can still get out there, I just need to modify my original intentions.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture Perfect

Over the course of the past few years, I have become the anti-photograph type.  I am that pesky individual who covers her face with her hands when a camera is around, demands that pictures be reviewed and / or approved before the photographer even thinks about posting the candid on Facebook, Instagram, and whatever other media sharing / social platform exists, but mostly, I just avoid cameras altogether.  I think I experienced one too many shocks when looking at my own photos, that disbelief and utter disgust when faced with my own face.  “That’s me!?”

I run several 5K events, 10K events, and obstacle courses each summer and autumn, but I expend most of my energy worrying about the pictures, spending copious amounts of time avoiding the cameras, the GoPros, and the seemingly endless sea of cell phones and selfies.  I want to resolve to stop this behavior for 2017’s events.  Admittedly, I did far better during my last two events of 2016 (Color Me Rad (5K) and The Dempsey Challenge (10K)).  I am aware that there remain a plethora of pictures floating around on the event websites, but I am moving on from those, and I will no longer worry about their existence.  I am taking control by including a handful of photos I have recently uncovered.

So, from this point forward, it is my goal to be in at least one photo, taken at each event that I do.  After all, I should be proud of my participation, not hiding from the photographic evidence of it.

Head Hunger Games

Probably the biggest battle in my weight war is what I refer to as “head hunger.”  I’m an emotional eater.  I’m a bored eater.  I’m a sad eater and angry eater, which clearly fall most appropriately under the emotional eater umbrella.  I’m a PMS eater, and most of all, I am a STRESS EATER.

So, what exactly is this head hunger?  Head hunger encompasses all of those times when you’re not hungry, yet you find yourself rooting around in the cupboard for a snack or you’re elbow deep in a chip bag before you even realize that you’ve opened the bag.  Eventually, you realize that your body doesn’t need nor want the food you’re consuming, but something drives you to eat it despite a glimmer of rational thinking regarding your snacking.  That is head hunger, and it’s insidious.

When I started: working out, becoming a runner, eating healthier, drinking more water, and sleeping for more than a handful of hours a night, my body began to change.  Although the afore outlined is hard work, the most difficult task has been changing my thinking, especially in regards to this so-called head hunger.

My biggest battle today is against stress eating head hunger.  I do not feel hunger, and therefore, I do not want to eat.  However, I am currently experiencing a lot of stress, and this is what I mean about the HH being insidious – it’s an old habit, yet the urge to “eat my feelings” is prominent, sneaking into my psyche the moment it saw the slightest opportunity.  Tomorrow may prove to be a pivotal moment in my career, my life.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of my field, I cannot expand beyond that, but anyone who has worked hard for something: something BIG, something MEANINGFUL, something IMPORTANT knows the amount of stress, pressure, and self-doubt that accompanies said work.  In my case, this has been a nearly year long process so I am riddled with the aforementioned (stress, pressure, and self-doubt) nearly twelve-fold.

So yeah, I’m engaged today in a battle against the SEHH.  That battle alone is difficult enough, but to make the battle ever more difficult because hey, it’s Monday after all, there are approximately 100 beautiful cupcakes, slathered with vibrantly colored buttercream frosting, upstairs just screaming for consumption.  The cupcakes always call the most loudly to the cupcake connoisseur!  I keep reminding myself that I will feel better for working through the cravings, the head hunger, than I will feel if I succumb.  In my corner: positive thinking, the will to succeed, the drive to overcome self-sabotage, and it’s still Lent.

. . . I’ve got this!

Radio Flyer

So, I am back on the exercise wagon!  Granted, it’s a Radio Flyer, but it’s a wagon nonetheless!  For quite an extended period of time, working out was my priority before all else.  Somehow though, I allowed life’s other tasks to creep to the top of my ever famous ‘to do’ lists.  I was still working out consistently, but life’s tasks are stealthy ninjas and eventually, they coordinated a complete and utter takeover.

What I’ve learned after several sedentary months: the first few steps of the journey are the most difficult to take, even when it’s a journey you have been on before.  I have a little over a month to prepare for the Special Olympics: Law Enforcement Torch Run; our leg is the longest.  Therefore, I have found my most immediate goal to work toward.  Tough Mountain is a mere three months away, and so, in addition to honing my cardio abilities again, I must get my other muscles in tip-top condition as well.

Tomorrow will be my first “hard” workout in at least two months!  (Not hard in difficulty but hard as in intensity).  Who am I kidding though?  It is likely going to be all-around difficult because let’s face it, I’m not the machine I was before the winter months settled in.

So, on tomorrow’s agenda:

*3-5 cumulative miles.

*Body weight exercises: squats (weighted), lunges, pull-ups (modified), push-ups (modified), Russian twists (weighted), and sit-ups (weighted).  3 sets: 1st – 20, 2nd -15, and 3rd – 10.

*Wall sits, planks. 2 cumulative minutes.

*Agility ladder drills.  At least 5 drills, 10-15 times each.

I shall name this back to business workout … Bobby.  As in, “Damnit, Bobby, I’m gonna f*** you up!”  Bonus points to whomever names the movie that this quote is from, sans Google! 🙂

 

 

 

Bot O’ Swap

Probably the most difficult aspect of maintaining my health and fitness blog is that I am attempting to keep it health and fitness oriented.  I am multi-faceted, as are most . . . OKay, ALL individuals.  I do not think it is feasible for me to not include other aspects of my life within my blog.  I think health and fitness are influenced largely in part by the well-being of our mind and spirit, not only a healthy BMI.  I have so many hobbies, and one of my greatest passions is snail mail.  I am a pen pal extraordinaire, a snail mail connoisseur!  I have intermingled my love for tangible mail with my love for a healthier lifestyle.  How?  With a swap-bot group named Health & Fitness Foray.  Note: Anyone who is currently using swap-bot is more than welcome (and encouraged!) to join either my HFF group AND / OR my other, quirkier group, Idiosyncratic Unicorns.

About Health & Fitness Foray 

“I have recently made several lifestyle changes in order to pursue a healthier, fitter life. Despite every calorie I have counted and every step I have taken, I have found that the most motivating aspect of health and fitness has been the support system(s).

Join this group to meet and swap with others who have similar lifestyle change goals. Goals can range from drinking more water to eating less carbs, from losing weight to taking more steps, from starting to exercise to joining a 5K. Etc., etc., etc. 🙂 This group is not only devoted to health of the body but also to the health of mind and spirit.

By definition, a foray is, “a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something.” Our goals do not necessarily need to be our enemy, but we can conquer them nonetheless!

Disclaimer: This is a group with the overall intent of being supportive, motivational, and influential. Kindness is imperative here. Anyone who is negative or degrading will be removed; bullying will not be tolerated.

I will accept all individuals, with a 4.95+ rating, who request to join the group. I do not want to exclude anybody who has a goal, but the group must be able to depend on each of its members to follow through with swaps. Therefore, a rating lower than 4.95 will not be accepted. However, consider requesting membership once you’ve improved your rating.

I am accepting of newbies as we ALL started somewhere, amiright!? However, any member who does not have any rating(s), within 3 months of joining the group, will be removed. In three months’ time, there is ample opportunity to gain ratings. 🙂 If you wish to earn some ratings ASAP, join the group’s swaps or PM me for a private swap.

I will be monitoring members’ ratings. Any members whose ratings begin to drop will be evaluated. I don’t expect every member to have a perfect score, but if there begins a pattern of flaking or complaints from partners, membership may need to be reconsidered. Note: I am well aware that life, forgetfulness, chaos, stress, postal error, etc. happen so no one will ever get the boot from the group for a mistake, especially when it’s obvious the situation is being rectified. If your account becomes suspended, partially suspended, or you have not logged in for a month or more (with no communication), you will be removed. However, once your account status is rectified, you are encouraged to re-join the group.

There will be type 1, 2, and on occasion, type 3 swaps hosted at HFF. If you have swap ideas, please do not hesitate to reach out to host! I love to have an active group!

Let’s reach those goals, ladies and gents!

Because I want this group to be as active as possible, ALL members will upgraded to officer status. Officer status allows you to invite fellow friends/swap botters AND host swaps. You are encouraged to do both as much as your heart desires!”

Current HFF Swaps

Kick The Bucket

“Kick The Bucket . . . but not really! Here’s the thing . . . we ALL have something we put on the back burner. We all have a “bucket list” of sorts or just a bunch of “stuff” we want to do, but somehow, we never quite get around to it.

For this swap, pick something from your bucket list, and do it. At the very least, start it. (Some tasks are far more time consuming than others).

Send your assigned partner a two page letter (letter set), one page if you write on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, outlining what you chose to do, how you feel now that you can cross something off your list, and maybe throw in a few other things you have on your bucket list 🙂 If you don’t have a bucket list, feel free to come up with something you’d like to do, just for the sake of the swap. What you choose to do can be WHATEVER you like; it is not required to be health / fitness related.

Who can join: ALL members with no recent 1s or 3s (current / previous month). Swap is open internationally.”

Profile Deco_April

“We have done this one before, and I think it’s time to do it again, perhaps on a monthly basis! Let’s decorate our partner’s profile with something motivating / encouraging. This can be a quote, a meme, a photo.

ALL members are encouraged to join. This is an electronic swap, but the same expectations of tangible swaps apply – decorate your partner’s profile by the deadline AND recipients are expected to rate in a timely and appropriate time frame.

Please decorate your partner’s profile with a MINIMUM of 2 of the aforementioned.

Anyone who needs help / instruction on how to post images to a profile, I will gladly assist you and offer up my profile for practice – just PM me.”

Give Up

“For this swap, send your 1 partner a PC outlining at least 1 thing you are giving up,or at least TRYING to give up, for the month. The thing you are giving up should be something that will benefit you in regards to your health / fitness. A short explanation as to your choice is also required. If you are not trying to give anything up but trying to ADD something to your life / lifestyle, that is applicable also! Don’t forget to explain why 🙂

PC is sender’s choice, all members of HFF are welcome to join. PC can be sent naked or in an envie. 🙂

I can angel, but I don’t expect I will need to.”

Bullet Journal Fun Swap

“For our first HFF:Bullet Journal Fun Swap we will exchange a letter telling our partner what drew you to bullet journaling and one flat bullet journal surprise!

The letter can be typed or handwritten. You can write it on pretty paper or a card or plain paper. Be as creative as you want. Just be sure to tell your partner why you started bullet journaling. For the flat surprise it could be anything you can use in a bullet journal. Stickers, washi tape, tags, etc.

I will angle if necessary!! And don’t forget to put the swap name and your user ID.

Have fun and happy swapping!!”

Move It #1

“This is the first in a series I hope to host monthly, with the mileage increasing (at least over the summer months!).

For the month of April, move an intentional mile every day. Take a walk. Go for a quick run or light jog. Bike. Swim! Row! Elliptical. Change it up. Maybe you can’t get out every day–just make an effort to reach 30 miles by the end of the month.

Track your progress each day (or each mile, if you prefer).

Around the middle of the month (April 13-17th), send a Swap-Bot message to your partner letting them know how far you’ve come. This is meant to provide mid-month accountability and allow you to course correct as needed. This is part of the swap requirements.

At the end of the month, send your partner your tracking log and at least a few sentences about the swap experience. Also include a flat surprise such as a postcard, notecard, stickers, tea, etc. Check your partner’s profile for ideas and avoid allergies, but this is sender’s choice.

In sum:
1). Move a mile every day (average)
2). Track your progress
3). Send a mid-month check-in of your mileage to your partner via SB message
4). Mail your log, reflections, and flat surprise at the end of the month

Hope we all enjoy this and come back next month! Let me know if you have any questions.

Looking Ahead
In May, we’ll attempt 45 miles.”

Needless to say, I intend to update my blog with HFF’s swaps each month.  Why not spread the word?  After all, these swaps are assisting me along my path to achieving my goals!

 

 

I Lent My Cupcakes

As is likely simple to guess based on my blog’s title and description, cupcakes. are. my. JAM!  However, I gave up my cupcakes (actually, ALL sweets) for Lent, and I’m not even counting down the days!!  So, I honestly have no idea that there are only 30-ish more days left.  (It’s the “ish” that really sells it, that makes it seem like I’m not counting).  However, though I joke, I’m really not.

So, why did I choose sweets?  Well, anyone who practices Lent knows that what we choose to give up should not be easy; it’s a sacrifice.  Though I am not Catholic and associate with no particular denomination, I practice Lent because I think it is important for my own well-being.  During February, I completely removed soda from my diet, and I LOVED soda (and YES, that is past tense).  But I digress!  Soda has always been my go to give up for Lent, but it is no longer a viable option.  My other great love: BOOKS.  However, I could not project any feasibility in giving up books, especially when I constantly read for work.  Finally, it came down to cupcakes, and not entirely happy with that, I broadened my decision to all sweets.

I do not consume cupcakes nearly as often as I once did.  Formerly, I would buy a single cupcake every time I went to the grocery store, and I have proudly broken myself of that habit.  I was justifying the cake of the cup variety as my reward for adulting and getting the food shopping done.  However, the cupcake has truly become a once in a while treat.  Since I do not like pie or cheesecake, and I am lukewarm toward donuts, I have been envisioning myself as a casual candy consumer . . . until recently.  As of late, I noticed that I had started to grab a piece of candy from the community candy basket multiple times a day, I was eating M&Ms from the vending machine, I would not settle for my usual, one sliver of cake served for special occasions …

So, I am nipping the behavior in the bud before it becomes problematic.  It has been difficult at times, but I have yet to be tempted to the point of succumbing.  Working in a police department, we have sweets and junk food coming in nearly twenty-four hours a day.  So, it was a good choice in that I have truly been challenged!  To be face-to-face with delicious cookies and cakes and even the cupcakes I have always so coveted, it has forced me to make better decisions food wise.  Lent has given me perspective in how picking up a donut or a cookie had become almost reflexive.