Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sound Advice #tbt

Once upon a time in the summer of 2001 . . .  I was 18 and living at home and working full time and hadn't finished high school.  I was debating moving out of my Mom's house and was battling with my boss at work.  We butted heads on a regular basis but usually resolved things by the end of the shift.  So I am on the phone with my gay best friend ranting about everything and he gives me the best advice ever:  "Hang up the phone.  Put on Alicia Keys. And clean something.  You know that's how you think best."

WHAT?!  He was 100% right.  I put on Songs in A Minor and started packing my room to move out.  My Mom came in and saw me packing and burst into tears and then we had a heart to heart.  Things didn't magically resolve themselves and I moved out at the end of the year - but we were on good terms and I was actually prepared to apartment hunt and be independent.  And my boss and I continued to drive each other crazy and fix it again. Until we stopped working together the following year.

Lots of things followed that summer when I was eighteen - 9/11 happened and shook everyone to the core.  The War on Terror started and my brother left West Point to go to Iraq.  I got my own apartment and my Mom moved to Lancaster PA.  I fell in love with the man I would marry and got my sweet dog Charlie.  I started a new job at a law firm and moved to a new apartment and we bought furniture from Ikea and spent weeks couch shopping.  Tim and I have had a billion ups and downs, 3 pregnancies, buying a house, an autism diagnosis, and countless other adventures.  I've been a runner, I've been depressed, and I have blogged.

Here I am - the summer I am 31 - and I am drawing on the advice from my gay best friend when I was 18.  "Put on Alicia Keys and clean something."  It really does help me think.  What else helps - reading.  Sitting down with a cup of coffee and writing.  Taking the dog for a walk.  Hiking.

I know I'm not the only one who doesn't know where they are going as an adult. The past year I have been trying to read more non-fiction.  I think learning about other people's lives is so interesting.  I read about people like Ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek, Olympic Runner and WWII POW survivor Louis Zamperini, Peter Jenkins and his dog Cooper who walked across America to find himself and his country, and John Krakauer who climbed Mt. Everest in 1996 and was witness to a devastating tragedy.  I read about Cheryl Strayed and David Miller aka AWOL and Bill Bryson.  I've learned I do want to thru-hike the AT and that I probably will never want to run 100+ miles in the desert.  I've learned that people can endure more than they would ever imagine and that finding yourself can happen in 1000 miles or at a chance encounter.

Green Smoothie Love
I've learned that I love green smoothies loaded with hemp protein and that searching #veganathlete on Instagram is motivating when I just want to crawl into bed with a beer and a stack of oreos.  I've learned that splurging on a personal trainer once a week is a great decision because it is an investment in my health and wellness.  I've learned that I need to take chances and push myself.  Put a bathing suit on and spend the day at the pool with my kids.  I've learned that a 6am hike on the AT is a great way to start any day - but its even better with more friends than there are bears.
5 miles on the AT for breakfast
I've learned that parenting is such a balancing act and that you aren't going to do it all right all the time.  I've learned that the past is something you should look back on fondly or shaking your head at the decisions you once made.  I've learned that its never too late to start something.  I've learned that its okay to let your blog go forever and then pick up again - just like all those journals I once started.

I've learned that its okay to ask for help when you are overwhelmed and that I have an amazing community here and I just keep finding new people I adore. I've learned that I want open shelving in my kitchen and that I will probably continue to have a stack of pallets in my backyard that may never realize their potential as shelves.  I've learned that I can grow plants from seeds but only when I can forget about them and just let them fend for themselves.

I've learned that the weight comes off slowly when you want to keep beer in your life.  But the weight will come off.  I've learned that I am strong - and I am continuing to get stronger, both mentally and physically.  Someday I will be pounding out push-ups and remembering how hard they had once been.  I've learned that my heart warms when my friends tag me or send me pins because they know me so well.  I've learned that taking chances are scary but that helping myself and others is greater than fear.

A group I really admire, City Fit Girls, is looking for ambassadors who are passionate about fitness, nutrition and wellness.  My darling friend Stacy thought of me and tagged me on Instagram and I immediately completed the form even though I am still so far from where I want to be.  And my meals don't look beautiful and I hate taking selfies and I was terrified to put myself as someone who can motivate others.  But then I remembered my first Biggest Loser program for the MOMS Club of Front Royal.  And how much I loved putting together the program and the challenges.  And I remember how I feel when I work out or hike with friends.  So I don't live in a big city where you hit the juice bar after yoga in the park.  And I don't have any certifications in training or nutrition.  But I do know how hard it is to make time for yourself.  And I know what its like to try and make your own health a priority when you have kids who take so much from you but give you so much more in return.

I guess where I am going with all of this is that - I still don't know what I want to be or do when I grow up.  But I have a lifetime to keep learning and growing and changing my mind.

Zac and I on the Woodstock Tower

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Moving forward by looking back

So - I haven't posted in over a year and a half.  Part of it is being "busy" - - but "busy" really means "lazy" - - and the other part is a fear of admitting that I have been stuck in the same place for so long.  So - fresh start!  More than 2 years ago I wrote this post:  Antidepressants and Weight Gain  I stopped taking Zoloft after tearfully visiting my doctor and weighing in more than 20 lbs heavier.  I switched to a lower dose antidepressant, which still didn't help my situation.  Fast forward to January 2014.  I realized, during Sober January, that I hadn't taken my antidepressants in a few days.  I had previously read the amazing book:  The Chemistry of Joy and was really taken with the idea of different kinds of depression, different body types and personalities.  And the fact that the author had actually addressed the forbidden topic of side effects of antidepressants!  He did not recommend taking yourself off of a medication - such results could be very detrimental to your health- but he did discuss the initial euphoria and weight loss followed by lethargy and weight gain - that is commonly experienced when beginning an antidepressant.  It was amazing to me that others had experienced what I had.  It was also amazing to me the difference when I eventually took myself off the meds. . . All of the sudden I was my usual emotional self!  Not only did I tear up at Friends re-runs, but also at touching moments with my kids, interactions with other moms, commercials for iPhones . . . it was an emotion bonanza!  I think it took a while for my body to not be regulated.  Also I was able to very easily drop Diet Coke from my life as well as finally kicking dairy to the curb.  Do you know how embarrassing it is to call yourself vegan and then scarf down half a cheese pizza from Anthony's?

Credit- Buzzfeed

So here I am - now in March of 2014.  I have been really, truly vegan for nearly 2 months.  I haven't touched a Diet Coke nor swallowed a pill.  I am still balancing myself out - I had one of my mom's traditional "Scream and Cleans" today.  Not a proud moment!  But my kids did realize they have awesome toys and pretty spectacular imaginations that don't require batteries or screens.  I am still trying to find my way back to fit.  I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.  I am still thinking a beer is the best way to wind down after a long day and a workout.
Credit - Amazon

I remember from The Chemistry of Joy that my type should take on activities that seem beyond their comfort level in an attempt to keep themselves engaged and motivated.  I would have laughed at you if you had suggested that before!  But I was at my most fit when I was doing two-a-days and when I was running 3 miles a day.  I was at my best taking on Pilates and strength and meeting each with a good attitude.  So that is what I need to do now.  I can push myself on the elliptical, I can up my weights or reps on machines, but what I really need is to take on a hike or a class or a run that I don't think I can handle and to complete it.  Maybe not at first and probably a pretty poor start - but it is a start all the same.  I love tracking my workouts in a little notebook in my bag and I love seeing when I really push myself and leave the gym dripping sweat.  Of course summer is coming!  Can't wait to plan day hikes with friends - those are the absolute best!