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changing lifestyle

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Well, here we are in the midst of a pandemic that has created a stay-at-home order that coincided with my quitting my job. Literally, the first week that I stopped working was the week they canceled public school for my two kids. So much for time to focus on myself, alone! But it has been a good period nonetheless. My stress levels have come back down to normal. I no longer wake in the middle of the night thinking about work. I don't have racing thoughts (not often). I am getting so much more done around my home, and enjoying being able to work on projects, cook dinner each night, plant a large garden...

I have NOT been great about exercising. Over the past six weeks I have done a couple weeks of yoga; a week or so of long walks; and a lot of intensive yard work... but no routine. Partly I blame the weather. Partly I blame not having a moment to myself. And I really dearly wish I were just able to go to the gym and lift weights, which is always key for me. But really, these are all excuses. Exercise makes me feel so good - I have to simply build it into my routine.

Managing the routine for my little household has been challenging, and will be changing again in just two more weeks, as the kids finish school for the year. And who knows what will open up and when? Will my teen have her summer job? Will they be able to have friends over? Will we risk state parks and other small day trips like we used to? There is a lot of uncertainty, which also makes it easy to postpone, make excuses, etc.

I have been eating so, so much better since leaving my job. And particularly the past weeks. I haven't totally eliminated sugar or "whites", but I am staying within a great calorie range, and getting fruits, veggies and protein. I'm snacking less. Simply cutting out all convenience food and dining out (=fast food) has been wondrous. First, I learned that putting a home-cooked meal on the table nightly isn't as hard as I thought. Mind you, it does take TIME, which is the one thing I didn't have while leading a busy nonprofit. But it's amazing how little actual time it takes to put in a baked chicken, then make some veggies to go with. And I'm enjoying trying some new recipes, and revisiting old favorites. And generally we are eating incredibly well. I've been making eggs for the kids and I most mornings, and a healthy lunch too.

So now, let's address my weight, which is appalling. I weigh more (or at least as much as) I ever have. I always seem to end up back here. This time, it took 3 years in an extremely demanding job to get here from what WAS the best shape I'd been in for years... the scariest thing is, it was my health that made me finally quit that job. Not just my weight, but real, serious health concerns that I don't want to be facing in my mid-40s. So, things that I want to change, besides the number on the scale:

- my stamina (fatigue has been an issue, and still is to some extent)
- my immune system and gut health
- inflammation, which is what I was dealing with from my eye to my complexion to other parts of my body
- muscle gain / strength training - a lot of my muscle is just gone, and I want it back
- cardiovascular health (being able to do more, longer and not wheezing at the slightest effort)

In short, I'm in really rotten shape, and I'm used to being active, and pretty tough. Things I would like to work into my summer:

- hiking (with and without the kids - I need to remember that alone time is still important)
- kayaking
- biking with the kids (where? how to get there with no bike rack?)
- walking / running
- lifting weights and yoga if/when I can return to my gym

If I had a secret wish list based solely on vanity, it would include:

- wanting a thinner face
- slimmer upper arms
- belly fat reduction
- smaller boobs

Funny, but those are my biggest wishes. And I know that they will happen, and probably not even take too long. I can weigh quite a bit and still look pretty good. Especially when I have muscle tone. I am less concerned about what I ultimately weigh - though I know my ideal is under 170. (Looking at the BMI stuff helps guide me too.) Still, tracking pounds lost is motivating, at least when I keep my goals very reasonable... it's good to be able to see progress, however slow. I am MORE concerned about simply getting into better physical shape and the ability to function at a higher, more fit, level. And looking better will follow.
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