48 hours from now I'll be getting on the plane for Cuba. I've been thinking a lot about how I want to handle eating and exercise on this vacation, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to handle it at all. I'm going to eat what I want, drink what I want and get whatever exercise I get. I really want to focus on just relaxing and re-connecting with my boyfriend. Sun, sand, and sea. Maybe read a book. Maybe not.
I thought about taking my Fitbit, but I've decided to leave it at home. There's just too much chance of me losing it or going in the water with it and ruining it. So it stays home. It will be weird, because I've worn it every day since it arrived on November 1st.
When I get home, I have lots to focus on. First off, I need an event to train for. I've found that when I have an event to focus on, it keeps me working towards a goal. I'm currently considering the idea of doing a Spartan or Warrior Race, specifically this one: www.warriordash.com/inde
. This is about a 3.5 mile race with a bunch of obstacles -- mud, walls to climb, fire, water, etc. This particular event supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is where my friend's daughter received some pretty advanced treatment that left her cancer free for almost a year. So it's an important cause to me. It also has the added benefit of being vastly different than any other event I've tried before. This would be much harder for me. It would force me to work on upper body strength and agility, as well as cardio endurance and overall strength.
In the course of the last week or so, I've been thinking a lot about exercise in general. While the walking to work has been good, there are a couple of problems with it. First off, the weather is an obstacle. It's just really unpleasant (for me anyway) to walk (or run) in -25 celcius weather, no matter how well I'm dressed. And given how I have to dress, and the stuff I'm carrying because I'm going to work, I can't really get up enough speed to get what I feel is a good workout. It's a decent amount of steps for sure, but I need a more strenuous work out. And that's mainly to help my mood. I notice that when I work out hard, my mood is much better. So I think that until about April, I need to just recognize that running/walking outside is not for me, and start making a schedule for getting to the gym. In many ways, it should be easy -- get up, get dressed in workout clothes, get the kids fed and off to school, drive to the gym, work out, shower, go to work. I know that if I try to go at noon (or sometime during the day), something will come up at work that will keep me from going. And if I wait until the end of the day, I won't feel like it, or the gym will be unpleasantly busy. So that's my exercise plan, 5 days a week.
Eating, I'm going to stick with slow carb, however, I'm going to make a few adjustments. I'll stick with the fairly strict slow carb 5 and a half days a week, instead of 6. On Friday nights and Saturdays I'm going to allow myself dairy, grains and fruit. The rest of the time it's meat, legumes and non-starchy veggies. I think I'm going to limit sugar to once a month. I've found that it has too much of an effect on me -- once I get started I start craving it again and find it too hard to stop.
The other component is sleep. A couple of things need to happen here. I need to go to bed by midnight, at the latest. I also need to get my bed fixed. Ideally, I'd get a new mattress, but unfortunately we just can't afford one. We have a huge pillow top king size mattress, which was awesome when it was new, but is a little sad now, 12 years later. And very expensive to replace. But even more than the mattress, the bed frame needs to be fixed. It was never meant to sit on a hardwood floor, as it does now, and the supports are always slipping out, resulting in the head of the bed gradually getting closer to the floor so that I feel like I'm sleeping with my head down a slight incline. This results in me waking up with headaches almost every day, and ongoing aches in my shoulders and back. My boyfriend has bought stuff to reinforce the bed frame, so I'm hoping he will fix it shortly after we get back from vacation.
I expect these three things will work together -- if I'm less tired, I'll be more inclined to exercise and less inclined to eat whatever I see, if I exercise more, I'll sleep better and fuel my body better, if I eat good food, I'll have more energy to exercise and less sleep disturbances.
The other component I want to bring in is mindfulness. I need to learn to slow down and allow myself to think and consciously decide a course of action, rather than just reacting immediately. I've noticed how difficult it is for me to do just one thing at a time. I'm constantly multi-tasking. Attending a conference call and working on a presentation, eating and surfing the internet, eating and watching TV, watching TV and playing a game on my phone. Never just one thing at a time. This will be a tough one for me, and I think I'll have to change gradually, over a longer period of time. I'm toying with the idea of having one day a week where I really focus on being present in the moment -- Mindfulness Monday or something.
For now, I'll get ready for my vacation, shut down and enjoy it, and feel good that I have a plan for when I get back.
Thanks to all my Sparkfriends for your constant support and encouragement. It means so much to me. You guys are